Ran is the Goddess who is literally the sea itself. From her and her husband Aegir, who lives within her elemental being, they produced nine daughters whose names represent the waves themselves. They are Himinglaefa ( clear top ), Dufa ( wave ), Blodudhadda ( Bloody - Hair ), Hefring ( uplifting ), Unn ( wave ), Hronn ( wave ), Bylgja ( billowing ), Kara ( powerful ), and Kolga ( cold wave ). Surprisingly only three of the daughters have names that denote violence, Blodushadda, Bylgja, and Kara.
There are several references in the Eddas and Sagas where Aegir, Ran or her daughters are held responsible for wrecking Viking longships, and dragging their crew to the bottom of the ocean. Sometimes Ran, however, could not hold her prized dead. In the Eyrbryggja Saga there is a wonderful little story that I will condense here. 54. " Next morning Thorodd and his men put out from the Ness with their dried fish, and they were all drowned off Enni. The boat and the fish washed up on shore but not the bodies of the men. Kjartin and Thurid invited all their neighbors to a funeral feast , and when all the guests were seated, Thorodd and his men came into the room dripping of salt water and covered in seaweed. Everyone welcomed Thorodd and his men and felt that it was a good omen that Ran had allowed the men to come to their own funeral, and all felt that they were well received by the Sea Goddess." There is more to that tale but it is not relevant to our discussion of Ran.
Ran it is said has a net that she can drag men to their deaths with. In Reginsmal Loki goes to Ran and borrows her net in order to capture the Dwarf Andvari, who was in the form of a fish swimming in a river. This story is of course contradicted in the story of Loki' s capture and binding, which states that Loki invented the very first net and then burned it so no one else would know how to make one and capture him. loki at the time was hiding in a waterfall at the time in the form of a salmon. Kvasir, the wisest of all Gods, understood from the few threads that remained in the ashes, and fashioned a new net to capture Loki.
Most mentions of Ran, and her daughters tell of her doing ill will towards sailors, and their ships. To me that is seeing the glass as being half empty. There are more good sailing days on the ocean than there are bad ones, and many many more voyages were sucessful in reaching their destinations than were not. If Ran chooses you for death it is because, in my opinion, you have done something that deserves her punishment, rather than some random act of violence on her part. But have no doubt about the fury she can throw at the most heartiest of sailors and the strongest of ships. On the open ocean she is in command !
I will leave you with a few lines from Frithjofs Saga :
"On bolster I sat In Baldur's Mead erst, And all songs that I could To the king's daughter sang; Now on Ran's bed belike Must I soon be a-lying, And another shall be By Ingibiorg's side."
"The red ring here I hew me Once owned of Halfdan's father, The wealthy lord of erewhile, Or the sea waves undo us, So on the guests shall gold be, If we have need of guesting; Meet so for mighty men-folk Amid Ran's hall to hold them."
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !