The cry throughout Asgard rang out, "Balder's death must be avenged !" Though Hod ( Hodr) was an unknowing pawn in Loki's evil deed, he still must pay for what he did and forfeit his life. In "Balder's Dreams", the witch, speaking to Odin, says : " Vali, born to Rind, in the westward halls, will one night old avenge Odin's son. He will not wash his hands or comb his hair until Balder's bane burns on the pyre ! "
After being cremated Balder is sent to Niflheim, as are all those who do not die in battle. Balder's stay with Hel seems to have been an enjoyable one, though confining. We know this because Odin is told by the sibyl / witch, that he awakened from her grave, that : " The mead was brewed to welcome Balder. A shield lies over the shining drink. " Even before Odin asks the witch any questions, in "Balder's Dreams", he notices that Niflheim is made ready for a special visitor. Odin then asks the sibyl : " Why are the benches bright with gold, the great hall gleaming , who will be the guest. This tells me that Balder is not only a welcome guest, but an honored one as well.
Balder may not be able to leave Niflheim, but he is able to receive visitors. In Gylfaginning, Hermod, another son of Odin, after a harrowing ride, " Went inside and saw his brother Balder sitting on the High Seat there. Hermod stayed there that night. In the morning Hermod asked Hel if Balder might ride home with him, telling her how much the Gods were weeping." Hemod is told by Hel: " Only if everything weeps for Balder. " "Then Hermod stood up and Balder lead him out of the hall, and taking off the ring, Draupnir, sent it to Odin in remembrance. But Nanna sent Frigga, along with other gifts, linen for a headdress, and Fulla a gold ring. Hermod then rode back to Asgard to tell his tale." Everything did weep for Balder except one old woman, who exclaimed, " I will shed dry tears for the son of Odin, let Hel keep what she holds !" It is believed this was Loki in disguise.
This generosity on the part of Hel clearly shows me, that although Balder is a prisoner in Niflheim, he is considered to be a very honored guest indeed, receiving special treatment and luxuries that the average arrival would not receive. Remember Hel herself does not have much, and what she has she has to share with all those who are sent to her and live in the halls of the dead. In Gylfaginning it says: " He ( Odin) threw her ( Hel ) into Niflheim and gave her authority over the nine worlds on the condition that she share all her provisions with those who were sent to her. " It goes on : " She has a great homestead there with extraordinarily high walls and huge gates. Her hall is called Eljudnir, her plate hunger, her knife famine, her man - servant Ganglati, her maid - servant Ganglot, the stone at the entrance drop to death, her bed sick - bed, its hangings glittering misfortune." That really tells you how little she has, and yet she shares great things with Balder to make him feel at home and welcomed, including giving him a High - Seat of honor.
Balder's death is of course the beginning, or trigger if you will, for Ragnarok. I will not go into detail about the destruction of the nine worlds, but after this catastrophic war at least some of the Gods and Goddesses survive. Vidar, Vali, Njord, Magni and Modi, all survive according to the ancient texts. It is written in Voluspa, that : " Hod and Balder will live in Odin's hall, home of the war Gods, seek you wisdom still. " Like most male written religious texts the authors always seem to forget about the women( Goddesses ). We should assume that because Hod and Balder survived in Niflheim that Nanna will also escape and stand by her husbands side in a rebuilt Asgard. I also believe that Frigga's handmaiden Goddesses will also survive the great war as well. ( UPG)
Balder's life story leaves little to be conjectured about . The Eddas follow his journey, in life and death, and re - birth fairly thoroughly. His life's story is a beautiful and tragic tale that has a happy ending. Balder is the God of the pure heart, whose wisdom is matched only by Odin himself. He is the "Best of Gods", and is the only one wise enough, strong enough, and pure enough to rule over a rebuilt Asgard. I sometimes wonder if Odin didn't plan his death, or at least let it happen, to keep Balder out of the final battle so he could come back and rule over the God's domain. For surely Odin would have known that only Balder, The Great Shining God, could replace the All - Father. All Hail Great Balder !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor' protection !