Balder the Brave was one of the Asgardians, an extra-dimensional race of beings once worshiped by the Vikings and Germans, as well as half-brother and close friend to Thor. Due to prophecies that Balder's death would help trigger the coming of Ragnarok, the destruction of Asgard and its inhabitants, Odin, ruler of Asgard, commanded his wife Frigga to make Balder invulnerable to harm.
Before he allowed her to cast the spells, however, he accused Balder of treason, because during a battle with the Storm Giants, he had deserted the fight to put a bird who had fallen from its nest, back with its mother. Odin ordered his brothers Tyr and Honir to shoot arrows and throw lances at Balder, but the projectiles were stopped by an eagle and a plant. Seeing that Balder did not flinch, Odin was content that Balder was the bravest in all of Asgard and decided to grant him the invulnerability
Frigga cast spells that would protect Balder form harm by any living or inanimate thing while he was in the Asgardian dimension; however, Balder remained vulnerable to mistletoe. Loki, the god of mischief, learned of the prophecies and vulnerability, and tricked the blind god Hoder into firing an arrow tipped with mistletoe wood at Balder. Odin prevented Balder from actually dying, but when he was finally restored to life, his hair had turned white as a result from his experiences in Hel. Later, Balder's beloved, Nanna, sacrificed herself to save Balder from entrapment in marriage to Karnilla, and Balder was so distraught that he resolved never to speak of this incident or of her again.
These experiences of death led Balder to forswear the life of a warrior and tried to forget his misery through eating, growing considerably fat. He rode to the desert to die, but encountered the Norns, three goddesses who oversaw the workings of destiny. The Norns gave Balder a vision that restored his faith, and he rode back to Asgard, eventually losing his excessive weight as he became a warrior again.