Hel is the Norse goddess of death. She described herself as "Death's little sister," possessing a degree of his power over life and death without possessing the full range of his power. Her power had been greatly weakened since belief in her faded, but she still possessed enough srength to manifest as a spectral entity. Hel is the primary -- although secret -- antagonist of the spin-off novel Supernatural: Carved in Flesh.
Powers and abilities
- Immortality – As a god, Hel was not subject to old age or natural death.
- Invulnerability – Hel could not be harmed by conventional weapons.
- Possession – Quite unique amongst gods, Hel needed a human host to be on Earth, but she could only manifest in a dead body that had been specially treated to sustain her presence.
- Super strength – As a god, Hel's strength far exceeded that of normal humans, even in a weakened state.
- Fire – Since her domain (Niflheim) was said be icy cold and she thrived in it, the brothers deduced that the opposite of cold i.e, heat/fire could at least harm her; this was not possible when she was at the peak of her power, but could be achieved when she had been weakened.
- Incapacitation – Although powerful, Hel still possessed a human body's limitations so long as the necessary level of damage was done in the right place.
Eventually making contact with eighteenth-century alchemist Conrad Dippel, Hel was able to teach him how he might bring the dead back to life. Although her lessons were able to teach Dippel how to sustain his own life for over three centuries, he was unable to perfect the process to create a body for Hel with their early efforts being short-lived monstrosities that would continue to decay. Using a combination of science and the supernatural- the last gained in the form of the channeled power of Daniel, a captured reaper- Hel gained a new body in the form of Bekah Luss, the daughter of Dr. Catherine Luss, who had been manipulated by Dippel into helping him perfect the process of reanimating the dead.
After she was brought to Earth in a new body, Hel killed Dippel as he was no longer needed. As the Winchesters prepared to make a stand, Catherine pretended to join her "daughter," only to impale her in the back of her head with a scalpel, severing her brain's connections to the rest of the body. In order to ensure that she remained dead, the Winchesters chopped up the body, burned the parts and buried them in various places. However, while the body would likely decay to nothing like the rest of the people Dippel resurrected, they were left unsure of what would happen to Hel, if she would be trapped in the remains or returned to Niflheim.
Hel in Lore
Hel is identified in Norse mythology as the third child and only daughter of Loki, described as appearing half-alive and half-dead, who was banished to the underworld by Odin out of fear of what she might become. In this role, she commanded the souls of those dead who did not die in battle, with her realm being a cold, unwelcome place. The idea of her appearing half-dead is reflected in her inability to manifest on Earth by herself, but it is unclear if the Supernatural version is meant to share her family heritage, given Loki's true identity as Gabriel, apart from the reference to her body being her 'vessel' much like angels.