Norse by Norsevest

Norse by Norsevest
"Norse by Norsevest"
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 506
Directed by John Laing (Director)
Written by Gerry Conway
Paul Robert Coyle
Production code V0333
Original air date 2 November 1998
Guest stars

Ben Reed (Thor)
Tamara Gorski (Morrigan)
Ian Hughes (Loki)
Rupert Cocks (Balder)
Peter McCauley (Odin)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Render unto Caesar"
Next →
"Somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge"

"Norse by Norsevest" is the sixth episode of the fifth season of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.



Hercules, having had a vision that he must save a man's life, heads to Norway, where he learns that the man is in fact Norse God Balder, and soon becomes entangled in an end-of-the-world prophecy.

Plot synopsis

An opening dream sequence has Hercules initially saving a man from a thrown dagger in the back, but it turns into an ominous nightmare as they are both the targets in a hail of more daggers and axes when they are both startled awake. Hercules is told by the child druid Mabon that this may be more than a dream and so Hercules decides to leave Morrigan and go off to help this man in danger.

In a cold and snowy land, Loki talks with a Norn about Hercules' arrival and Baldar's fate. Meanwhile, Hercules does indeed land on Scandinavian shores where he rushes off towards the sounds of a damsel in distress. He stops two men who are throwing hatchets at an unlikely target—a woman in stocks. After dispatching the men and freeing the maiden, Hercules is slapped by the maiden for having assaulted her brother and her father. As Hercules is surprised to understand why a woman whose life he had just saved would be upset with him, Hercules is thrown through the roof and into the woods when Thor strikes him with a thunderbolt. Then Thor is also surprised to find Hercules still alive after being thrown so far and prepares for battle but Balder appears and stops them since Balder and Hercules recognize each other from in their shared vision.

Hercules and Balder walk through a village where villagers skirmish in the streets, while Balder explains the woman was undergoing a trial of the axe to disprove her infidelity and that Viking people there do things differently than Greeks. They are joined by Loki and when Balder heals a wounded villager, Hercules also learns Norse Gods are also different than Greek Gods as they can be caring and show mortals mercy. After Hercules compliments Balder, Loki mentions how disappointing it is that Balder is prophesied to die as Balder found a page from the Norn's book of fate. Loki shape shifts into a wolf and runs off to a cavern and announces Hercules has arrived and that all goes as planned. A sinister figure gives Loki a dart and some of his blood and tells Loki that the bloodied dart will kill a god.

Back in a village tavern while looking for a place for the night, Hercules encounters more strange Norse customs particularly a ritual of headbutting which the supreme Odin respects as a sign of strength which in turn helps determine a Norseman's seat in Valhalla. There he finds the young maiden whose trial by axe Hercules foiled earlier and is challenged to a headbutting contest. Hercules avoids the contest (and the headbutt) and refers to the god Odin as an idiot if he honors such rituals.

In Asgard, Odin and his sons, Balder, Loki and Thor see Hercules insulting Odin. Thor wishes to kill Hercules for the dishonor but Balder objects and Frigga wanting to protect her youngest son Balder agrees—so Odin forbids Thor from harming Hercules. Upset Thor storms off. Odin, wishing to further protect Balder, extracts an oath from all things made by man or god so that no weapon will ever injure Balder.

We return to Hercules who finds an abandon cabin. He is blessed by Balder who conjures a fire from the wet wood and conjures food and drink before appearing and joining Hercules to discuss Norse way of life and how people in such a harsh land also need to be strong and harsh and how Thor is also needed to battle the darkness they find there at the edge of the world.

Meanwhile, a pouting Thor is consoled by Loki who tells Thor of Odin's pact with all weapons so that Balder cannot be injured and cajoles Thor into proving it to Balder so that things can return to normal and they can ignore these foolish prophecies.

Hercules finds he is not alone in the cabin but it is the home of the Norn who paints a new page of Balder getting assailed by weapons causing Hercules to run off to save him. Hercules arrives in time to live dream and he blocks the first dagger then continues to block much of the hail of weapons as Balder urges him to stop as there is no need. But some of the weapons do make it through but they shatter leaving Balder unharmed. Hercules stops and watches as even Thor's hammer smites Balder ineffectively. They explain this and urge Hercules to try attacking Balder himself, but Hercules refuses. Thor and those assembled continue badgering Hercules until a little girl offers a small dart and Hercules finally relents but the dart kills Balder. Before Thor and the Vikings can do Hercules any harm, Loki appears and encases Hercules in stone and convinces Thor to take Balder back to Odin in Asgard for his funeral.

Hercules eventually breaks out of the stone to see the maiden again when she thanks him and says she has embraced his advice to think for herself and refuse idiotic rituals. Hercules gets directions to Asgard from her and sets off to the Rainbow Bridge but he is intercepted by Thor and the two finally have an all out battle. Hercules manages to defeat the enraged Thor and takes the unconscious Thor back to Asgard. Odin who tells Hercules that the end is near and that two of three tragedies have already taken place and with a third prophesy would come Ragnarok -- the end of all things!

-- end of episode 1 in 2 parter --

Cultural references

Main cast

Continuity Flaw

External links

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