The Poetic Edda: A Study Guide
 The Speech of the Masked One
Codex Regius
MS No. 2365 4to  [R]
Arnamagnæan Codex
AM 748 I 4to [A]
1954 Guðni Jónsson
Normalized Text:

 glaðr ok gyllir,
gler ok skeiðbrimir,
silfrintoptr ok sinir,
gísl ok fálhofnir,
gulltoppr ok letfeti,
þeim ríða æsir ióm
dag hvern,
er þeir dæma fara
at aski Yggdrasils.  

glaðr ok gyllir,
glær ok skeiðbrimir,
silfrin toppr ok sinir,
gisl ok falæpnir,
gulltoppr ok léttfeti,
þeim ríða æsir iovm
dag hvern,
er dæma
at aski Yggdrasils 

30. Glaðr ok Gyllir,
Glær ok Skeiðbrimir,
Silfrintoppr ok Sinir,
Gísl ok Falhófnir,
Gulltoppr ok Léttfeti,
þeim ríða æsir jóm
dag hvern,
er þeir dæma fara
at aski Yggdrasils.  

English Translations
1797 Amos Simon Cottle
in Icelandic Poetry
The Song of Grimnir
1851 C.P. in
The Yale Magazine, Vol. 16
The Song of Grimner

XXX. Those steeds[1] with unrein'd fury glide,
On which the sons of Asi ride;
When studious of the Thund'rer's will,
They crowd the ash of Yggdrasil

[1] "Those steeds," --- Their names are Gladr, Gyllr, Gler, Sceidbrimur, Silferintoppr, Sinir, Gisl, Falhofner, Gulltoper, Lettfeti.

On Glathr and Gyller, and other eight steeds are borne
The Aser, when they too go to Yggdrasill.


1866 Benjamin Thorpe
in Edda Sæmundar Hinns Frôða

The Lay of Grimnir
1883 Gudbrand Vigfusson
in Corpus Poeticum Boreale

The Sayings of the Hooded One

30. Glad and Gyllir,
Gler and Skeidbrimir,
Sillfrintopp and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir,
Gulltopp and Lettfeti;
on these steeds the Æsir
each day ride,
when they to council go,
at Yggdrasil’s ash.

Gleed and Gylli, Gler and Skidbrim, Silvertop and Sini, Hostage and Fallow-hoof, Goldcrest and Lightfoot, these steeds the Anses ride every day when they go to court at the ash Ygg's-steed.


1908 Olive Bray
in Edda Saemundar
The Sayings of Grimnir
1923 Henry Bellows
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnismol: The Ballad of Grimnir

30. Glad One, Goldy, Gleamer, Race-giant,
Silvery-lock and Sinewy,
Shiner, Pale-hoof, Gold-lock, Lightfoot,
these are the steeds which the gods ride,
when they fare each day to their thrones of doom
under Yggdrasil's ash.

30. Glath and Gyllir, Gler and Skeithbrimir, Silfrintopp and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir, Golltopp and Lettfeti,
On these steeds the gods shall go
When dooms to give each day they ride
To the ash-tree Yggdrasil.

1962 Lee M. Hollander
in The Poetic Edda
The Lay of Grimnir
1967 W. H. Auden & P. B. Taylor
in The Elder Edda
The Lay of Grimnir

30. Glath and Gyllir,    Gler and Skeithbrimir,
    Silfrintopp and Sinir,
    Gisl and Falhofnir,    Golltopp and Lettfeti --
    these steeds ride heavenly hosts
    every day,    to the doom when they fare
    'neath the ash Yggdrasil.

30. Glad and Gyllir, Gler, Skeidbrimir,
Silfrintop and Sinir,
Gisl, Falhofnir, Gulltop, Lettfeti,
Are the steeds astride which the gods
Ride each day to deal out fates
From Yggdrasil the ash tree.

1996 Carolyne Larrington
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnir’s Sayings
2000 Eysteinn Björnsson
at Jörmungrund

30. Glad and Golden, Glassy and Skeidbrimir,
Silvertuft and Sinir,
Brilliant and Hidden-hoof, Goldtuft and Lightfoot,
these horses the Æsir ride
every day, when they ride to sit as judges,
at the ash of Yggdrasill.

Glad and Gyllir,
Glær and Skeidbrimir,
Silfrintop and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir,
Gulltop and Lettfeti,
these horses the Æsir ride
every day,
when they go to judge
at Yggdrasil's ash.

2011 Ursula Dronke
in The Poetic Edda, Vol. III: Mythological Poems 
“The Lay of Grimnir
2011 Andy Orchard
The Elder Edda: A Book of Viking Lore
'The Lay of Grimnir"

30. Glad and Golden,
Glass and Race Foaming,
Silvery Forelock and Sinews,
Hostage and Hidden Hoof,
Gold Forelock and Light Foot
-those steeds the Æsir ride
every day,
when they go to give judgement
at Yggdras
ill's Ash.

30. ‘Glad and Golden, Glær and Skeidbrimnir,
Silver-top and Sinir,
Gísl and Falhófnir, Gold-top and Light-foot;
these are the horses the Æsir ride,
each day, when they journey to judgement
close by the ash Yggdrasil.

The Horse Mural from Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in Southern France

The Horses of the Gods
The names of the gods' horses are rendered as follows in the French translation of F.G. Bergmann (1871), and the English translations of Gudbrand Vigfusson (1883), Olive Bray (1908), Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur (1916), Carolyne Larrington (1996), Ursula Dronke (2011), and Andy Orchard (2011), respectively:
Glaðr: Joyeux [Joyous], Gleed,  Glad One, Bright or Glad, Glad, Glad, Glad
Gyllir: Doré [Gilded], Gylli, Goldy, Golden, Golden, Golden, Golden
Glær: Clair [Clear], Gler, Gleamer, The Starer, Glassy, Glass, Glær
Skeidbrimir: Frémit-à-courir [Shudders-to-run], Skidbrim, Race-giant, Fleet Courser, Skeidbrimir, Race Foaming, Skeidbrimnir
Silfrintoppr: Crins-d'argent [Mane-of-Silver], Silvertop, Silvery-lock, Silver-top, Silvertuft,  Silvery Forelock, Silver-top
Sinir: Saigné-au-jarret [Bled-to the-knuckle], Sini, Sinewy, Sinewy, Sinir, Sinews, Sinir
Gisl: Fouet [Whip], Hostage, Shiner, Beam or Ray, Brilliant, Hostage, Gísl
Falhófnir: Sabot-blême [Pale hoof], Fallow-hoof, Pale-hoof, Hairy-hoof, Hidden-hoof, Hidden-hoof, Falhófnir,
Gulltoppr:  Crins-d'or [Mane-of-Gold], Goldcrest, Gold-lock, Gold-top, Goldtuft, Gold Forelock, Gold-top
Léttfeti: Pied-léger[Light-foot], Lightfoot, Lightfoot, Light-stepper, Lightfoot, Light Foot, Light-foot
From this we gather that there is no consensus on the translation of the names Glær, Skeidbrimir, Sinir, Gisl, and Falhofnir.
The verse lists ten horses belonging to the Æsir. With the exception of Gulltop who belongs to Heimdall (see below), the identity of their riders is unknown. Presumably, this list does not include the horses ridden by the goddesses. Goddesses are depicted as riders in a loose verse preserved by Snorri regarding Frigg's messenger Gna, and in the Second Merseburg Charm. In Völuspá 30, Valkyries are said to ride to the land of the Goths .

According to Snorri, who includes Sleipnir's rider Odin, and Baldur, whose unnamed horse was burnt with him, the gods are twelve in number. Yet, among the riders, Snorri expressly excludes Thor, who walks according to Grímnismál 29 which he subsequently quotes, which would bring the total number of gods to thirteen.

Hyndluljóð 29 says that the Æsir were eleven in number after Baldur died. In Grímnismál 4-17, eleven homes are enumerated (although more are named), including Thor's home Thrudheim and Baldur's home Breidablik.  Thus, the number of horses named here, excluding Thor who walked. would equal the number of gods. If Baldur's horse is excluded, then one of the horse-names must be Odin's horse Sleipnir under an alternate name. If Baldur's horse is included, Sleipnir is not among the list.
  Yggdrassil: A Horse, of Course!  
  The name of the world-tree popularly called Yggdrasil means 'Odin's horse.'  Yggr ['The Terrible One'] is an alternate name of Odin found in Grímnismál 44. Drasil (Drösul) is a poetic word for horse, etymologically related to OHG drāson, drāsjan, 'to snort, breathe heavy, puff and blow.' Odin's horse, of course, is the eight-legged Sleipnir, named in Grímnismál 44, along with Odin and the world-tree, as the best in their class.  

In this poem, beginning in Grímnismál 29, the world-tree is designated seven times as Askur Yggdrassils. ('The Ash of Odin's-Horse'). Yggdrasil, quite literally, forms the central theme of the poem as the subject of verses 29-35. It is named in every one of these verses except for 33, where it nevertheless remains the subject. The name occurs again in verse 44. Previously, in verses 25 and 26, the tree was designated as Læraðr, 'Listener' (?).

Since Askur is the name of the first human man (Völuspá 17) and humans are commonly designated as trees in kennings, 'the Ash of Odin's horse' would be its rider, i.e. Odin himself. Sleipnir is also ridden by Hermod in Gylfaginning 49, and presumably by Skirnir in Skírnismál. Its eight legs are thought to represent the eight winds, which in turn represent the eight directions (the four cardinal points of the compass and the four points in between) recognized by ancient Norwegians and Icelanders. For a detailed explanation of this, see Eirikur Magnusson's book,
Odin's Horse Yggdrassil, particularly the final chapters.

The name Yggdrasil occurs once in all of Eddic poetry, where it is otherwise designated Askur Yggdrassils. The name Yggdrasil is found in the Codex Regius and Hauksbók mss. of Völuspá 17 which read, Ask veit ek standa, heitir Yggdrasill, "I know an ash standing named Yggdrasil." However, the same verse, cited in the Codex Regius manuscript of Gylfaginning 16 and other manuscripts of Snorri's Edda reads, Ask veit ek ausinn heitir Yggdrasils, "I know an ash sprinkled named Yggdrasil's", suggesting that Askur Yggdrassils was the original designation of the world-tree. The name has never been satisfactory explained, although it is thought to refer to Odin's self-sacrifice by hanging on the tree in Hávamál 138. In Sonatorrek 15, men are called "those who dwell beneath Odin's gallows."

Ursula Dronke (1997) explains: "This name must relate to sacrificial practice that goes back to ancient IE tradition. In Adam of Bremen IV, xxvii the sacrifice practised at Uppsala every nine years is described, in which bodies of men, dogs, and horses are hung on the trees in the temple grove and the trees are considered to be divine, 'because of the putrefaction of the victims.' Though the sacrifice and veneration of horses is well-attested in Germanic lands, the only recorded instance of a sacrifice of a horse on a tree is that at Uppsala. As de Vries notes, the archaic practice of horse sacrifice is most sharply illuminated by Indian religious texts.

"...In Indian sacrificial practice the sacrificial tree or post may be regarded as standing for the sacrificer (Viennot 44). If the sacrificial tree is the world tree, and the sacrificer a god, the world tree stands for the god himself. Sauvé cites the legend of Agni, the fire god, hiding from the other gods, and taking the form of a horse; he then lives in the world tree (here named ásvattha, 'horse-abode')  for a year, identifying with both the horse and the tree (Suavé 187).

"...In the Indian horse sacrifice ritual, the priest, as he prepares for the sacrifice whispers into the ear of the horse the enumeration of all the good fortunes that will come because of the sacrifice. So Óðinn whispers into the ear of the sacrificed Baldr— the tívorr, heilagt tafn—as he lies on the funeral pyre (Vafþ. 54). We may guess the secret is the renewal of the world's life and Baldr's (Compare the healing of a horse by whispering in its ear in an OHG Charm, Braune 78, 77, XXXI, 7. Wodan's magic power to heal a horse is seen in a Merseburg spell, Braune 77, XXXI, 1b.).

"...The sun as originator of life, and the horse as symbol of the moving sun) and therefore the appropriate sacrifice to be made for the renewal of the sun and the life it brings to the world), play a part in the mythology of Óðinn because he —or his IE ancestor— was a solar deity. He has only one eye, that sees everything—like the sun. He is a traveller visiting the homes of men—like the sun. His eclipse is to be swallowed by a wolf—like the sun." (Poetic Edda II, p. 125-26).
  Vendal period bracteates from Götland appearing to show
a male figure, probably a god (Odin?), accompanied by a bird,
whispering into a horse's ear. (Note especially images a and d).
The figure's hair may be tied in a Suevian knot.

Source: Vendal Period Braceates on Gotland: On the Significance of Germanic Art
by Márit Gaimster, 1998
  The world-tree is called Læraðr in Grímnismál 25 and 26 and Mímameiðr in Fjölsvinnsmál 20. In the same poem, the top of the tree is designated as Veðrglasir (Weather-Glasir) and the part below ground as Aurglasir (Mud-Glasir), in verses 24 and 28 respectively, making it likely that Glasir ('Glassy'), the grove with golden leaves outside of Asgard known from Skáldskaparmál 42, is another name for the world-tree.

Völuspá knows the tree as miötviðr, 'measuring-tree'; mjöðviðr, 'mead-tree'? (2), hárbaðm, 'high-tree' (19), Yggdrasill (19), heiðvönum helgom baðmi, 'the bright-(mead or sky)-accustomed holy tree', and Yggdrasils Askur (47); In Grímnismál, the tree is known as aski Yggdrassils (29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35) and Askr Yggdrassils (35, 44). In Hávamál 138,  it is called vindga meiði, 'the windy tree'. Hrafnagaldur Óðins designates it harbaðm ['hoar-tree', 'hair-tree'?] with the variant harðbaðm ['hard-tree'] in verse 7 and as aðalþollar ['noble tree'] in verse 25.

A movie which adeptly captures the essense of the world-tree is The Fountain, a film by Darren Aronofsky (2006).

When they do not travel on foot or in wagons drawn by draught-animals, the primary means of transport among gods is the horse. Gods are depicted as riding or owning horses in several sources.

Many divine horses are named in a þula of horse-heiti said to be composed by Thorgrim, in Skáldskaparmál 58, as well as in Kálfvisa (Alsvínnsmál), according to the same passage. All of the horse-names from Grímnismál 30 reappear here:

Þessi eru hesta heiti talið í Þorgrímsþulu:

Hrafn ok Sleipnir,
hestar ágætir,
Valr ok Léttfeti,
var þar Tjaldari,
Gulltoppr ok Goti,
getit heyrðak Sóta,
Mór ok Lungr með Mari.

Vigg ok Stúfr
var með Skævaði.
Þegn knátti Blakkr bera,
Silfrtoppr ok Sinir,
svá heyrðak Fáks of getit,
Gullfaxi ok Jór með goðum.
Blóðughófi hét hestr,
er bera kváðu
öflgan Atriða,
Gísl ok Falhófnir,
Glær ok Skeiðbrimir,
þar var ok Gyllis getit.

Þessir eru enn talðir í Kálfsvísu:
Dagr reið Drösli,
en Dvalinn Móðni,
Hjalmr Háfeta,
en Haki Fáki,
reið bani Belja
en Skævaði
skati Haddingja.
Vésteinn Vali,
en Vífill Stúfi,
Meinþjófr Mói,
en Morginn Vakri,
Áli Hrafni,
er til íss riðu,
en annarr austr
und Aðilsi
grár hvarfaði,
geiri undaðr.

Björn reið Blakki,
en Bjárr Kerti,
Atli Glaumi,
en Aðils Slöngvi,
Högni Hölkvi,
en Haraldr Fölkvi,
Gunnarr Gota,
en Grana Sigurð.

Árvakr ok Alsviðr draga sólina, sem fyrr er ritat. Hrímfaxi eða Fjörsvartnir draga nóttina. Skinfaxi eða Glaðr fylgja deginum.

These are the horse-names listed in Thorgrím's thula:

Raven and Slipper,
famous horses,
Hawk and Lightfoot,
There was Racer(?),
Goldtop and Goti (?),
I heard Sooty mentioned;
Gray and Lungr (?) with Steed.

Carrier (also 'Ship') and Stump
were with Hoof-Tosser;
Black could well bear Thegn.
Silvertop and Sinew,
I heard Jade spoken of;
Goldmane and Horse were with the gods.

Bloody-hoof a horse was named
that they said bears
the mighty Atridi;
Hostage and Hollow-Hoof,
Shining and Swift-Runner,
Mention, too, was made of Golden.

These also are recorded in Kálfsvísa:

Day rode Roamer,
and Dvalinn rode Spirited;
Hjálmthér, High-foot
Haki rode Fákr;
The Slayer of Beli
rode Bloody-hoof,
and Skævadr was ridden
by the ruler of the Haddings.

Vésteinn rode Valr,
and Vifill rode Stúfr;
Meinthjófr rode Mór,
and Morning on Wake;
Áli rode Raven,
They rode to the ice:
but another, southward,
under Adils,
a gray one, wandered,
wounded with the spear.

Björn rode Black,
And Bjárr rode Kerti (dat. of Körtr);
Atli rode Tumult,
And Adils on Slinger;
Högni on Hölvir,
And Haraldr on Fölkvir;
Gunnarr rode Goth,
And Sigurdr, Grani.

Early-Waker and All-Swift draw the Sun, as was written before; Frosty-Mane or Fjörsvartnir draw the Night; Shining-Mane and Glad are the Day's horses.

In the ending prose, Dag (Day) is assigned Glaðr, said to be another name of Skinfaxi, while in a preceeding verse, Dag  is said to ride Drösl ('horse', -drasill, as in Yggdrasil, pl. dröslar).  In Vafþrúðnismál 12, Skinfaxi, "held to be the best of horses among the Reid-Goths", bears Dag, and in Hrafnagaldur Óðins 23, Dag and his horse are described as they rise at daybreak:

Dýrum settan
Dellings mögur
jó fram keyrði
mars of Manheim
mön af glóar,
dró leik Dvalins
drösull í reið.

Delling's son (Dag)
urged on his horse,
well adorned
with precious stones;
the horse's mane glows
above Man-world,
the steed drew Dvalin's playmate (Dag)
in his chariot

Hrimfaxi, also called Fjörsvartnir  here, is said to carry Dag's mother Nött (Night) in Vafþrúðnismál 14. Foam dropping from her horse's bit forms dew in dales each morning. The dwarf Dvalinn, whose name also occurs in Grímnismál 33 is said to ride Móðnir. Dag is Dvalins leik, a word meaning that he is his plaything, playmate, or foster-child. Sol is also said to be his leika in Alvismál 16. The common scholarly interpretation explains this unsual metaphor as  ironic, in that dwarves such as Alvis turn to stone when exposed to sunlight. The horses Árvakr and Alsviðr who draw the sun occur again in Grímnismál 37. In Sigurdrifumál 15, runes are said to be cut on the ears of Árvakr and the hoof of Alsvinn, which is usually interpreted as an alternate name for Alsviðr. The same verse says that runes were cut on Sleipnir's teeth.

The great number of celestial horses, ridden by the gods and divinities of light, may explain the term iodyr found  in the Codex Regius manuscript version of Völuspá 5, which says "Sun, Moon's companion,  threw her right hand around heaven's horse-door" (Sol varp svNan /siNi mana /hendi iNi hogri/ vm himin /iodyr).  The word iodyr is usually emended to ioður based on the Hauksbók reading, which doesn't include the prefix himin-, and thus read as "heaven's edge." Might the Codex Regius' iodyr imply that these celestial horses enter the dome of the sky through "horse-doors" leading from the underworld? As subterreanean dwarves forge treasures and Dag rides in a jeweled chariot, assuming the divinities of light retire to their homes in the underworld each night, might the expressions Dvalins leik and Dvalins leika for Dag and Sol indicate a familial relationship between the dwarves and these celestial beings? Since the terms leikr and leika are used of foster-children, the dwarf Dvalin may have fostered the divinities of light.

From the þula cited above, we gather that Frey's horse is named Blóðughófi, "Bloody-hoof", an appropriate name for a war-horse. It is ridden by Beli's slayer and Atriði. Frey is "Beli's slayer" (Völuspá R52/H45, bani belia) and therefore presumably also Atriði. Atriðr is name of Odin in Grímnismál 48. Týr calls Frey a ballriða, "a brave knight" in Lokasenna 37, and a horse sacred to Frey, named Freyfaxi, was kept near a heathen temple in Iceland according to Hrafnkels Saga Freysgóða and Vatnsdæla Saga (See "The Cult of Freyr and Freyja").

Odin's horse Sleipnir is said to be the best of all horses in Grímnismál 44 and, in Skáldskaparmál 17, Thor gives the giant Hrungnir's horse Gullfaxi to his son Magni, after Magni lifts Hrungnir's leg off of him, at only three years of age.

Snorri also quotes a verse naming three divine horses from an otherwise unknown poem in Gylfaginning 35, where he enumerates the Ásynjur:

Fjórtánda Gná, hana sendir Frigg í ýmsa heima at erendum sínum. Hon á þann hest, er renn loft ok lög ok heitir Hófvarpnir. Þat var eitt sinn, er hon reið, at vanir nökkurir sá reið hennar í loftinu. Þá mælti einn:

"Hvat þar flýgr,
hvat þar ferr
eða at lofti líðr?"

Hon svarar:

"Né ek flýg,
þó ek ferk
ok at lofti líðk
á Hófvarpni,
þeim er Hamskerpir
gat við Garðrofu."

Af Gnár nafni er svá kallat, at þat gnæfar, er hátt ferr.

The fourteenth is Gná: Frigg sends her to various worlds on her errands; she has that horse which runs over air and sea and is called Hoof-Tosser. Once when she was riding, sure that the Vanir saw her course in the air; then one spoke:

"What flies there?
 What fares there,
 or glides in the air?"

She replied:

"I fly not, though I fare
 and glide in the air
 on Hoof-Tosser,
 he who Hamskerpir
 begot with Gardrofa."

From Gná's name that which soars high is said to gnæfa

Loki is said to have given birth to Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir by the giant horse Svadilfari in Hyndluljóð 40. The tale is told at length in Gylfaginning 42.  In Grímnismál 17, Odin's son Vidar is said to ride a horse when he avenges his father, who is swallowed by Fenrir, another child of Loki named in Hyndluljóð 40.

In Lokasenna 28, Loki confesses to Frigg that he is the reason the gods "no longer see Baldur riding to halls." In Saxo Grammaticus' Danish History, Book 3, the god Baldur's horse is said to open fresh springs with his hooves, for thirsty men.  Benjamin Thorpe states that “on the right hand side of the road leading from Copenhagen to Roeskilde there is a well called Baldur's Brönd.  …The tradition among the country people is that it was produced by a stroke of the hoof of Baldur's horse.” [
Northern Mythology (1878), p. 26 citing P.E. Müller's edition of Saxo and Just Mathias Thiele's Danmarks folkesagn].
Odin heals Baldur's Horse by Emil Doepler
The gods are also depicted as riders in the 10th century Second Merseburg Charm, which contains the earliest occurrance of the name Baldur:

Phol ende Uuodan
uuoron zi holza,
du uuart demo Balderes volon
sin vuoz birenkit;
thu biguolen Sinthgunt,
Sunna era suister;
thu biguol en Friia,
Volla era suister,
thu biguolen Uuodan,
so he uuola conda:

sose benrenki,
sose bluotrenki,
sose lidirenki:
ben zi bena,
bluot zi bluoda,
lid zi geliden,
sose gelimida sin.

Phol (Baldur?) and Wodan
rode into the woods,
There the foot of Baldur's foal
went out of joint.
It was charmed by Sinthgunt (Nanna?),
Sunna her sister;
It was charmed by Friia (Frigg),
Volla (Fulla) her sister;
It was charmed by Wodan,
as he well knew how.

as blood-sprain,
as limb-sprain:
Bone to bone,
blood to blood,
Limb to limb,
As though they were glued.
Further Reading
For a more detailed look at the sources pertaining to Baldur, see: Frigg, Odin's wife & Frigg, Baldur's Mother in Odin's Wife: Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology.
  The Journey to the Thingstead by Urd’s Well, Part II
(continued from Part I)

Snorri paraphrases this verse in Gylfaginning 15:

Þriðja rót asksins stendr á himni, ok undir þeiri rót er brunnr sá, er mjök er heilagr, er heitir Urðarbrunnr. Þar eiga goðin dómstað sinn. Hvern dag ríða æsir þangat upp um Bifröst. Hon heitir ok ásbrú. Hestar ásanna heita svá: Sleipnir er baztr, hann á Óðinn. Hann hefir átta fætr. Annar er Glaðr, þriði Gyllir, fjórði Glenr, fimmti Skeiðbrimir, sétti Silfrintoppr, sjaundi Sinir, átti Gísl, níundi Falhófnir, tíundi Gulltoppr, ellifti Léttfeti. Baldrs hestr var brenndr með honum, en Þórr gengr til dómsins. The third root of the Ash stands in heaven; and under that root is the well which is very holy, that is called the Well of Urdr; there the gods hold their tribunal. Each day the Æsir ride there up over Bifröst, which is also called the Æsir's Bridge (Ás-brú). These are the names of the Æsir's steeds: Sleipnir is best, which Odin has; he has eight feet. The second is Gladr, the third Gyllir, the fourth Glenr [Glær in the R mss, as in Grímnismál; Glenr in T and W, missing in U], the fifth Skeidbrimir, the sixth Silfrintoppr, the seventh Sinir, the eighth Gisl, the ninth Falhófnir, the tenth. Gulltoppr, the eleventh Léttfeti , Baldr's horse was burnt with him; and Thor walks to the judgment

Snorri adds two additional horses to the list of ten horses named in Grímnismál 30: Odin’s horse Sleipnir, and Baldur’s horse which was burnt with him. Thor, as we know from Grímnismál 29, walks to Urd’s well. Of these horses, we only know the identity of one of their riders with certainty. That is Heimdall, who rides Gulltopp.

Gylfaginning 27:

Heimdallr heitir einn. Hann er kallaðr hvíti áss. Hann er mikill ok heilagr. Hann báru at syni meyjar níu ok allar systr. Hann heitir ok Hallinskíði ok Gullintanni. Tennr hans váru af gulli. Hestr hans heitir Gulltoppr. Hann býr þar, er heita Himinbjörg við Bifröst. Hann er vörðr goða ok sitr þar við himins enda at gæta brúarinnar fyrir bergrisum.

"Heimdallr is the name of one: he is called the white god. He is great and holy. He as born to nine maidens, and all sisters. He is called Hallinskídi and Gullintanni; his teeth are of gold, and his horse is called Gold-top. He dwells in the place called Himinbjörg by Bifröst: he is the watchman of the gods, and sits there by heaven's end to guard the bridge from the mountain-giants.

Snorri reaffirms this in Skáldskaparmál 15: Heimdallr er eigandi Gulltopps. In Gylfaginning 49, Heimdall rides the same horse to Baldur’s funeral (en Heimdallr reið hesti þeim, er Gulltoppr heitir).

Thus, among the riders travelling to Urd’s well “every day” we can identify Heimdall, who rides the horse Gulltop. Since he travels there daily, we can assume that he rides from his home in Himinbjörg (cf. Grímnismál 13), located near a bridgehead of Bifröst.

From this verse and the previous verses we know that Asgard is located on one side of the bridge and Urd’s well is located on the other. In Gylfaginning 14, cited above, Snorri tells us that the way from Asgard to Urd’s well is upward, over Bifröst, the bridge that connects earth and heaven. Snorri places Urd’s well in heaven. In Gylfaginning 9 and several other places in the Prose Edda, we saw that Snorri identified Asgard with the classical city of Troy, an earthly metropolis. Thus, in the Prose Edda, Snorri understands Grímnismál 29 and 30 to mean that the gods ride from their homes on earth to Urd’s well in heaven, travelling upwards every day.

Gylfaginning 9:

Þá er þeir gengu með sævarströndu Borssynir, fundu þeir tré tvau ok tóku upp trén ok sköpuðu af menn.

...Þar næst gerðu þeir sér borg í miðjum heimi er kölluð er Ásgarðr. Þat köllum vér Trója. Þar byggðu goðin ok ættir þeira, ok gerðust þaðan af mörg tíðendi ok greinir bæði á jörðu ok í lofti.

Þar er einn staðr, er Hliðskjálf heitir, ok þá er Óðinn settist þar í hásæti, þá sá hann of alla heima ok hvers manns athæfi ok vissi alla hluti þá er hann sá. Kona hans hét Frigg Fjörgynsdóttir, ok af þeira ætt er sú kynslóð komin, er vér köllum ása ættir er byggt hafa Ásgarð inn forna ok þau ríki, er þar liggja til, ok er þat allt goðkunnug ætt.

"When the sons of Borr were walking along the sea-strand, they found two trees, and took up the trees and shaped men of them:
"…Next they made for themselves in the middle of the world a city which is called Ásgard; men call it Troy. There dwelt the gods and their kindred; and many tidings and tales of it have come to pass both on earth and aloft.
There is one abode called Hlidskjálf, and when Allfather sat in the high-seat there, he looked out over the whole world and saw every man's acts, and knew all things which he saw. His wife was called Frigg daughter of Fjörgvinn; and of their blood is come that kindred which we call the races of the Æsir, that have peopled the Elder Ásgard, and those kingdoms which pertain to it; and that is a divine race."
The identification of Heimdall as one of the riders allows us to spot an inconsistency in this view, as well as its incompatibility with the views expressed in the older heathen poetry, which is supposed to be its source.
In Gylfaginning 14, Snorri speaks of the construction of the earthly Asgard:

"Hvat hafðist Alföðr þá at, er gerr var Ásgarðr?"

Hárr mælti: "Í upphafi setti hann stjórnarmenn í sæti ok beiddi þá at dæma með sér örlög manna ok ráða um skipun borgarinnar. Þat var þar, sem heitir Iðavöllur í miðri borginni. Var þat hið fyrsta þeira verk at gera hof þat, er sæti þeira tólf standa í önnur en hásætit, þat er Alföðr á. Þat hús er bezt gert á jörðu ok mest. Allt er þat útan ok innan svá sem gull eitt. Í þeim stað kalla menn Glaðsheim. Annan sal gerðu þeir. Þat var hörgr, er gyðjurnar áttu, ok var hann allfagr. Þat hús kalla menn Vingólf.

"What did Allfather do then when Ásgard was made?"

Hárr answered: "In the beginning he established rulers, and bade them ordain men's fates and give counsel concerning the plan of the city. The place called Idavellir was in the middle of the town. Their first work was to make that court in which their twelve seats stand, and another, the high-seat that Allfather owns. That house is the best-made of any on earth, and the greatest; without and within, it is all like one piece of gold; men call it Gladsheim. They made also a second hall. That was a sanctuary that the goddesses owned, and it was very beautiful; men call it Vingólf."

 So according to Snorri, Gladsheim and Vingolf are earthly abodes, located on Idavellir, within Asgard, which is identical to the classical city of Troy located at the center of the world. This is confirmed in part, by the first chapter of Gylfaginning. When the Swedish king Gylfi approaches new Asgard, located in the town of Sigtuna (according to the Prologue of Gylfaginning), he sees a high hall whose roof is covered with gilded shields, like tiles. This is Valhall. In Gylfaginning 20, Snorri informs us that warriors, chosen on the battlefield, are equally divided between Valhall and Vingolf:

Óðinn heitir Alföðr, því at hann er faðir allra goða. Hann heitir ok Valföðr, því at hans óskasynir eru allir þeir, er í val falla. Þeim skipar hann Valhöll ok Vingólf, ok heita þeir þá Einherjar.

He is also called Father of the Slain, because all those that fall in battle are the sons of his adopted sons; he assigns them places in Valhall and Vingólf, and they are then called Einherjar.

If this is the case, then Vingolf must be another name for Freyja’s hall, Folkvang, because in Grímnismál 14, we are told that she and Odin divide the slain between them. Why Snorri doesn’t draw this conclusion is puzzling, since he quotes and paraphrases Grímnismál 14  in Gylfaginning 24:

En Freyja er ágætust af ásynjum. Hon á þann bæ á himni, er Fólkvangr heitir. Ok hvar sem hon ríðr til vígs, þá á hon hálfan val, en hálfan Óðinn, svá sem hér segir:

But Freyja is the most renowned of the goddesses; she has in heaven the dwelling called Fólkvangr, and wheresoever she rides to the strife, she has one-half of the kill, and Odin half, as is here said:

Folkvangr heitir,
en þar Freyja ræðr
sessa kostum í sal;
halfan val
hon kýss hverjan dag,
en halfan Óðinn á.

Fólkvangr it is called,
where Freyja rules
Degrees of seats in the hall;
Half the kill  she keepeth each day,
And half Odin hath.

Salr hennar Sessrúmnir, hann er mikill ok fagr. Her hall Sessrúmnir is great and fair.

Outside of Snorri's Edda, the name Vingolf only occurs in Hrafnagaldur Óðins 17, where it appears to be another name of Valhall itself.

Vingólf tóku
Viðars þegnar
Fornjóts sefum 
fluttir báðir;
iðar ganga,
æsi kveðja
Yggjar þegar 
við ölteiti.

Arrived at Vingólf
Viðar's [Odin's] thains
by Fornjót's sons [the winds]
both transported;
they walk within,
 greet the Æsir
forthwith at Yggur's [Odin's]
merry ale-feast.

In Gylfaginning 9, Snorri identifies Vingolf with Gimle, known from Völuspá (R62/ H56) as surviving Ragnarök: 

Sal sér hon standa
sólu fegra,
gulli þakðan,
á Gimléi:
þar skulu dyggvar
dróttir byggja
ok um aldrdaga
yndis njóta.

A hall she saw standing
Fairer than the sun
thatched with gold
at Gimle;
there shall noble
lords dwell
and always
enjoy pleasure

Drawing on Váfþrúdnismál 43, Snorri adds:
“All men who are righteous shall live and dwell with him [Odin] in the placed called Gimle or Vingolf, but wicked men go to Hel and on to Niflhel that is down in the ninth world.”   

In Gylfaginning 52, Snorri further identifies Gimli as a hall in heaven which will survive Ragnarök. In Gylfaginning 54, he explains any apparent contradiction, stating: 

En æsir setjask þá á tal ok ráða ráðum sínum ok minnask á þessar frásagnir allar er honum váru sagðar, ok gefa nöfn þessi hin sömu, er áðr eru nefnd, mönnum ok stöðum þeim er þar váru, til þess at þá er langar stundir liði, at menn skyldu ekki ifask í at allir væri einir, þeir æsir er nú var frá sagt ok þessir er þá váru þau sömu nöfn gefin. Þar var þá Þórr kallaðr, ok er sá Ásaþórr hinn gamli, sá er Ökuþórr, ok honum eru kend þau stórvirki er Þórr (Ektor) gerði í Troju. En þat hyggja menn at Tyrkir hafi sagt frá Ulixes ok hafi þeir hann kallat Loka, þvíat Tyrkir váru hans hinir mestu óvinir.

"But the Æsir sat down to discuss and hold a conference and went over all these stories that had been told to him [the Swedish king Gylfi], and assigned those same names that were mentioned above to the people and places that were [in Sweden], so that when long periods of time had passed men should doubt that they were all the same, those Æsir about whom stories were told above and those who were now given the same names. So someone there was given the name Thor—and this means the ancient Thor of the Æsir, that is Oku-Thor— and to him are attributed the exploits which Thor (Hector, Ek-Tor, cf. Öku-Thor) performed in Troy. And it is believed that the Turks told tales of Ulysses and that they gave him the name Loki, for Turks were especially hostile to him."

Despite Arthur Gilchrist Broedur’s assurance in his 1916 translation of the Prose Edda  that “all reject" the passage, the text appears in three of the four primary manuscripts of Snorri’s Edda, including the Codex Regius, Trektar, and Wormius mss. Because the passage in question is so obviously a literary creation, scholars such as Finnur Jónsson (1900) and Ernst Heinrich Wilken (1883) omitted it from their editions, leaving a false impression about the nature of the work as a whole. This passage, along with the Prologue to Gylfaginning and similar passages in Skáldskaparmál, is critical for understanding Snorri’s approach to the Eddic poems he used as his source. In modern times, only Anthony Faulkes (1988) has produced a complete English translation of Snorri’s work. 
Thus Snorri provides a confused account of Vingolf. Although he mentions Vingolf three times in Gylfaginning, his statements reagrding it are inconsistant. In Gylfaginning 3, he says Vingólf is another name for Gimlé, a place where righteous souls dwell with Óðinn after death. In Gylfaginning 14, Vingólf is the palace of the goddesses in Ásgarð, while in Gylfaginning 20, he says that the einherjar live in either Valhöll or Víngólf. Taken together, we have good reason to doubt the correctness of Snorri's views  from a genuine heathen perspective. Nor is this the only place we have reason to do so.

According to Grímnismál 8, Gladsheim is the site of Valhall, which men who die on the battlefield come to, riding over Bifröst (see Grímnismál 21 and 29, cf. Eiriksmál, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II, 49, and elsewhere). According to Snorri in Gylfaginning 14, it is the bridge that the human Æsir ride up from their homes in Troy to reach Urd’s well in heaven. In Gylfaginning 13, the human Æsir, who are inhabitants of the city of Troy, build the Bifröst bridge to heaven. They are clever magicians, and so their ambitious plan succeeds: 

Þá mælti Gangleri: "Hver er leið til himins af jörðu?"
Þá svarar Hárr ok hló við: "Eigi er nú fróðliga spurt. Er þér eigi sagt þat, er goðin gerðu brú af jörðu til himins, er heitir Bifröst? Hana muntu sét hafa. Kann vera, at þat kallir þú regnboga.

"'What is the way to heaven from earth?' Then Hárr answered, and laughed aloud: 'Now, that is not wisely asked; has it not been told to you that the gods made a bridge from earth to heaven called Bifröst? You must have seen it; perhaps you call it rainbow.'

Arriving in heaven, the human Æsir find Urd’s well, home of the three Norns, Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. In a passage which draws on Völuspá 20, Snorri says:

Gylfaginning 15:

Þá mælti Gangleri: "Brenn eldr yfir Bifröst?"
Hárr segir: "Þat, er þú sér rautt í boganum, er eldr brennandi. Upp á himin mundu ganga hrímþursar ok bergrisar, ef öllum væri fært á Bifröst, þeim er fara vilja. Margir staðir eru á himni fagrir, ok er þar allt guðlig vörn fyrir. Þar stendr salr einn fagr undir askinum við brunninn, ok ór þeim sal koma þrjár meyjar, þær er svá heita: Urðr, Verðandi, Skuld.

"That which you see as red in the bow is burning fire; the mountain-giants might go up to heaven, if passage on Bifröst were open to all those who would cross. There are many fair places in heaven, and over everything there a godlike watch is kept. A hall stands there, fair, under the ash by the well, and out of that hall come three maids, who are called thus: Urdr ("Past"), Verdandi ("Present"), Skuld ("Future")."

Once they arrive there, the human Æsir begin to establish halls, much like ancient Icelandic delegates who attended the annual Thing, who built temporary residences to house themselves while the Thing was in session. Of the various places named in Grímnismál 4-17, Snorri says that most of the halls are either located in Asgard or near Urd’s well.  
Gylfaginning 17:

Þá mælti Gangleri: "Mikil tíðendi kannt þú at segja af himninum. Hvat er þar fleira höfuðstaða en at Urðarbrunni?"
Hárr segir: "Margir staðir eru þar göfugligir. Sá er einn staðr þar, er kallaðr er Álfheimr. Þar byggvir fólk þat, er Ljósálfar heita, en Dökkálfar búa niðri í jörðu, ok eru þeir ólíkir þeim sýnum ok miklu ólíkari reyndum. Ljósálfar eru fegri en sól sýnum, en Dökkálfar eru svartari en bik. Þar er einn sá staðr, er Breiðablik er kallaðr, ok engi er þar fegri staðr. Þar er ok sá, er Glitnir heitir, ok eru veggir hans ok steðr allar ok stólpar af rauðu gulli, en þak hans af silfri. Þar er enn sá staðr, er Himinbjörg heita. Sá stendr á himins enda við brúarsporð, þar er Bifröst kemr til himins. Þar er enn mikill staðr, er Valaskjálf heitir. Þann stað á Óðinn. Þann gerðu goðin ok þökðu skíru silfri, ok þar er Hliðskjálfin í þessum sal, þat hásæti, er svá heitir, ok þá er Alföðr sitr í því sæti, þá sér hann of alla heima. Á sunnanverðum himins enda er sá salr, er allra er fegrstr ok bjartari en sólin, er Gimlé heitir. Hann skal standa, þá er bæði himinn ok jörð hefir farizt, ok byggja þann stað góðir menn ok réttlátir of allar aldir.
 "What chief abodes are there more than at Urdr's Well?"

Hárr said: "Many places are there, and glorious. That which is called Álfheimr is one, where dwell the peoples called Light-Elves; There, too, is the one called Glitnir, whose walls, and all its posts and pillars, are of red gold, but its roof of silver. There is also the abode called Himinbjörg: it stands at heaven's end by the bridge-head, in the place where Bifröst joins heaven. Another great abode is there, which is named Valaskjálf; Odin possesses that dwelling; the gods made it and thatched it with sheer silver, and in this hall is the Hlidskjálf, the high-seat so called. Whenever Allfather sits in that seat, he surveys all lands. At the southern end of heaven is that hall which is fairest of all, and brighter than the sun; it is called Gimlé. It shall stand when both heaven and earth have departed; and good men and of righteous conversation shall dwell therein."

The names of these halls are drawn from Grímnismal 5 (Alfheim), 15 (Glitner), 8 (Himinbjörg), 6 (Valaskalf) and Völuspá R62/ H56 (Gimli).  

In fact, most all of the realms and homes mentioned in Grímnismál 4-17 reappear in Snorri’s Edda, except Ull’s home Ydalir ‘Yew-dales’ (4) and Vidar’s home Viði, ‘Wood’(17), which Snorri may have interpreted as forests, not residences proper, and so excluded.


4. Thrudheim: Prologue to Gylfaginning
5. Alfheim: Gylfaginning 15
6. Valaskjalf: Gylfaginning 15
7. Sokkvabekkr: Gylfaginning 35
8. Gladsheim:  Gylfaginning 14
8, 9, 10. Valhall: Gylfaginning 1, 20, 36, etc.
11. Thrymheim: Gylfaginning 23, Skáldskaparmál 3
12. Briedablik: Gylfaginning 15, 22
13. Himinbjörg: Gylfaginning 15
14. Folkvang: Gylfaginning 14
15. Glitnir: Gylfaginning 15
16. Noatun: Gylfaginning 23

Snorri’s placement of Himinbjörg and Valaskjalf in heaven near Urd’s well (as opposed to in Asgard on earth),  is problematic.

In Gylfaginning 15, Snorri places Heimdall’s home Himinbjörg in heaven, near Urd’s well. In agreement with Grímnismál 30 which he paraphrases, he also tells us that the gods ride their horses across the bridge daily to sit in council by Urd’s well. One of these horses is Gulltop. As shown above, Gulltop belongs to Heimdall. Thus, in the Prose Edda, Heimdall’s home is not located in Asgard, but near Urd’s well. So, we must conclude that Heimdall rides from Asgard every day to Urd’s well, near which his home Himinbjörg is located. This means that instead of riding from home each day, Heimdall rides from Asgard, upwards  toward  his home near Urd’s well. We are told in Lokasenna 48, Grímnismál 13, and elsewhere that Heimdall is the watchman of the gods (vörða goða). The proper place of a watchman is near the people he protects.  Presented with this fact, no doubt some readers will attempt to rationalize it. Of course, Heimdall could be accompanying the gods from his jobsite to his home, since Snorri assures us that he requires less sleep than a bird, but is this the way the ancient heathens understood it?

 The problem is compounded by the placement of Valakjalf near Urd’s well. Here Snorri locates Odin’s seat Hlidskjalf. From this seat, Snorri says, Odin can see out over all the worlds. Naturally, the place of such a seat is in heaven, which provides the best vantage point to look out over all the worlds. However, in Gylfaginning 9, Snorri previously said this seat was located in the earthly city of Asgard:

Þar næst gerðu þeir sér borg í miðjum heimi er kölluð er Ásgarðr. Þat köllum vér Trója. Þar byggðu goðin ok ættir þeira, ok gerðust þaðan af mörg tíðendi ok greinir bæði á jörðu ok í lofti.
Þar er einn staðr, er Hliðskjálf heitir, ok þá er Óðinn settist þar í hásæti, þá sá hann of alla heima ok hvers manns athæfi ok vissi alla hluti þá er hann sá.

“Next they made for themselves in the middle of the world a city which is called Asgard; men call it Troy. There dwelt the gods and their kindred; and many tidings and tales of it have come to pass both on earth and aloft. There is one abode called Hlidskjálf, and when Allfather sat in the high-seat there, he looked out over the whole world and saw every man's acts, and knew all things which he saw.”
No matter how one tries to rationalize it, Hlidskalf cannot be in two places. It is either located in the city of Asgard (Troy) on earth, or near Urd’s well in heaven. Since the gods travel from Asgard to Urd’s well daily, it must be either on one side of the bridge or the other. Logically, Odin’s throne would be located where he lives. Yet, such a seat is best located in heaven. If Asgard is truly located in heaven, then Urd’s well must be located somewhere else.  As shown in the commentary to Grímnismál 29, several sources indicate that Asgard is indeed a celestial city. But, as we have seen, Snorri places Asgard on earth and Urd’s well in heaven. If we ignore Snorri and decide to place Asgard in heaven, as most modern scholars do, but still accept as accurate Snorri’s statement that Urd’s well is located in heaven, then they cannot be on opposite sides of the Bifröst bridge as Grímnismál 29 and 30 indicate. Thus, when it comes to Snorri's account of the heathen cosmology, something is amiss. Logic dictates, we look for Urd’s well, somewhere else. (See Old Norse Cosmology drawn from passages in the Elder Edda).

We face similar problems when we consider the location of the other mythic places described by Snorri. In Gylfaginning 15, Snorri places Baldur’s home Briedablik near Urd’s well. In Gylfaginning 22, he confirms that this place is in heaven.  In Gylfaginning 15, he also places the home of Baldur’s son, Forseti, there, yet provides no explanation why the halls of these two gods should be located outside of Asgard.

Likewise we gather from Gylfaginning that Thor’s home is not located within Asgard’s walls. In Grímnismál 4, Thor is said to live in Thrudheim until Ragnarök. The Prologue to Gylfaginning says that Thor took possession of Thrudheim which it identifies with the classical city of Thrace.

Prologue to Gylfaginning:

Nær miðri veröldinni var gert þat hús ok herbergi, er ágætast hefir verit, er kallat Trjóa, þar sem vér köllum Tyrkland.
...Einn konungr í Trjóu er nefndr Múnón eða Mennón. Hann átti dóttur höfuðkonungsins Príamí. Sú hét Tróan. Þau áttu son. Hann hét Trór, er vér köllum Þór. Hann var at uppfæðslu í Trakíá með hertoga þeim, er nefndr er Lóríkús, en er hann var tíu vetra, þá tók hann við vápnum föður síns. Svá var hann fagr álitum, er hann kom með öðrum mönnum, sem þá er fílsbein er grafit í eik. Hár hans er fegra en gull. Þá er hann var tólf vetra, þá hafði hann fullt afl. Þá lyfti hann af jörðu tíu bjarnarstökkum öllum senn, ok þá drap hann Lóríkúm hertoga, fóstra sinn, ok konu hans, Lórá eða Glórá, ok eignaði sér ríkit Trakíá. Þat köllum vér Þrúðheim.

"Near the center of the world was constructed that building and dwelling which has been the most splendid ever, which was called Troy. We call the land there Turkey (Tyrkland).
…Among them one king was called Múnón or Mennón; and he was married  to the daughter of the High King Priam. Her name was Tróán; they had a child named Trór, whom we call Thor. He was fostered in Thrace by a certain duke named Loricus; but when he was ten winters old he took up the weapons of his father. He was as handsome to look upon, when he came among other men, as ivory inlaid in oak; his hair was fairer than gold. When he was twelve winters old, he had his full measure of strength; then he lifted clear of the earth ten bear-skins all at one time; and then he slew Duke Loricus, his foster-father, and with him his wife Lora, or Glora, and took into his own hands the realm of Thrace, which we call Thrudheim."

Gylfaginning 21, however,  locates Thor’s home Bilskirnir on Thrudvang.

Hann á þar ríki, er Þrúðvangar heita, en höll hans heitir Bilskirrnir. Í þeim sal eru fimm hundruð gólfa ok fjórir tigir.

"Thor has his realm in the place called Thrúdvangar, and his hall is called Bilskirnir; in that hall are five hundred rooms and forty."

In Gylfaginning 23, Snorri places Njörd’s hall Noatun in heaven, but then says that when he married Skadi, he wished to live by the sea.

Gylfaginning 23:

Hann býr á himni, þar sem heitir Nóatún. Hann ræðr fyrir göngu vinds ok stillir sjá ok eld.  ...Njörðr á þá konu, er Skaði heitir, dóttir Þjaza jötuns. Skaði vill hafa bústað þann, er átt hafði faðir hennar, þat er á fjöllum nökkurum, þar sem heitir Þrymheimr, en Njörðr vill vera nær sæ. Þau sættust á þat, at þau skyldu vera níu nætr í Þrymheimi, en þá aðrar níu at Nóatún

"Njördr dwells in heaven, in the abode called Nóatún. …Njördr has to wife the woman called Skadi, daughter of Thjazi the giant. Skadi wanted to dwell in the abode which her father had had, which is in some mountains, in the place called Thrymheim; but Njördr would be near the sea. They agreed that they should stay nine nights in Thrymheim and then alternate nines at Noatun.

Nóatún means 'ship-yard', a place which naturally would be located on the water. This is even more probable, since Snorri himself says that when Njörd married Skadi, he wanted to live by the sea.  He could not be happy in Skadi's mountain home due to the howling of wolves, nor could she be happy in his home because of the shrieking of sea birds. Nóatún cannot be located both in heaven and by the sea. The context also makes it likely that if Nóatún was located in Asgard, that Asgard was not located on a mountaintop.
The mythic poems which Snorri used as his source provide little information about where these halls were thought to be located, and it is evident that Snorri himself gave the matter little consideration. He mentions most of the halls named in Grímnismál 4-17 only once, omitting Ull’s home Ydalir and Vidar’s land Vidi, although he devotes chapters to both gods. Thus, from the perspective of a genuine heathen view of cosmology, evidenced in such poems as Völuspá, Vafþrúðnismál and Grímnismál, the cosmology Snorri presents in Gylfaginning need not be considered a reliable account of old heathen cosmology.

Simply said, the mythic universe cannot be consistently mapped according to Snorri's statements. For vivid evidence of this fact, see Old Norse Cosmology drawn from passages in Snorri's Edda which amply illustrates this point. Despite numerous attempts  to draw Snorri's account  of old heathen cosmology, no consistent picture has emerged. Regardless, the modern view of Old Norse cosmology incorporates statements from Gylfaginning as irrefutable fact, while dismissing others or rationalizing them away as a Christian veneer designed to placate his Christian audience.

The modern scholarly view is thus an odd mixture of statements taken from Snorri’s Edda (primarily the learned Christian concept of the placement of the three wells in Heaven, Earth and Hell), and genuine heathen concepts taken from Old Norse skaldic and Eddic poetry (primarily Asgard’s celestial position, sometimes interpreted to mean that Asgard is in heaven, or else atop a mountain, in likeness with the Greek pantheon on Mt. Olympus).

By melding these two incompatible views, we are left with a hybrid cosmology that is self-contradictory, one which places both Asgard and Urd’s well in heaven, and yet at opposite ends of the Bifröst bridge. In turn, the Bifröst bridge is still thought to connect heaven and earth based on Snorri’s Christian interpretation of the Æsir as human men from the city of Troy, who build a bridge to heaven.
As a result, the modern view cannot be reconciled with either the poems of the Elder Edda or the statements of Snorri’s Edda. Although  many will rationalize these inconsistencies once they encounter them, I believe that only a theory that incorporates all of the statements in regard to heathen cosmology found in the oldest sources (skaldic and Eddic poetry) can be the correct one.
A comprehensive account of Old Norse Cosmology can be found HERE.
“We have to be content with an imperfect and patchy understanding of the old religion. But this does not entitle us to assume that the religion itself was correspondingly primitive or incomplete. We must bear in mind that no extensive direct information about the pagan religion was recorded until fully two centuries after the conversion to Christianity, and the generations which had come and gone meanwhile were, or were supposed to be, hostile to these pagan heresies.”

—Jónas Kristjánsson, retired head of the Arni Magnússon Institute in Reykjavik, Iceland writing in Icelandic Manuscripts: Sagas, History, and Art; translated by Jeffrey Cosser; The Icelandic Literary Society, 1996.