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In Norse mythology, the realm of the dead and, later, the goddess of the dead. She was the daughter of Loki. Her kingdom, Niflheim, or the World of Darkness, was divided into several sections. Murderers, perjurers, and adulterers suffered torment in a castle filled with serpents' venom, while the dragon Nidhogg sucked their blood. Those who fell in battle went to Valhalla and thus avoided Hel.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Hel, visit Britannica.com.