In the land of Niflheim, below the ancient roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil lies a hall called Sleet-Cold in the Kingdom of Helheim far north of Ginnungagap. It is the land of the dead. Those who do not die in battle go to this hall. The ruler of this realm is known as Hel.
Hel is the daughter of the god Loki. Her brothers are Fenris the Great Wolf and Jormundgandr the World Serpent. Their mother is named Angrboda, a giantess, witch and werewolf called The Wolf of the Iron wood.
Hell appears to be a lovely maiden that is half white and half snow-dead black, usually having a scowl on her face and because her appearance was so disturbing to the other gods she was cast from Asgard and given her own kingdom under the roots by Odin himself.
Even though Hel is surrounded by the spirits of the dead she is lonely and sorrowful. She cries upon her bed called Disease.
From Gylfaginning, chapter 34: Hel he (Odin) cast into Niflheim, and gave to her power over nine worlds, to apportion all abodes among those that were sent to her: that is, men dead of sickness or of old age. She has great possessions there; her walls are exceeding high and her gates great. Her hall is called Sleet-Cold; her dish, Hunger; Famine is her knife; Idler, her thrall; Sloven, her maidservant; Pit of Stumbling, her threshold, by which one enters; Disease, her bed; Gleaming Bale, her bed-hangings. She is half blue-black and half flesh-color (by which she is easily recognized), and very lowering and fierce.
Hel guards the dead and she has a glowing eye that sees all truth. She can not be lied to.
Her kingdom is little consolation for the shunning of the other gods.
During Ragnarok she opens the gates to her Kingdom wide for all the dead souls to ride into battle with her father Loki on a ship of dead men’s nails for the destruction and rebirth of the world.