If the tales of the old north are to be believed, when the gods created the world, they began by murdering a giant. Ymir, as he was known while alive, was disassembled into his most basic components, then used to sculpt the planet. Mountains were carved from his bones, forests were woven from his hair, and oceans were brewed with his sweat. Once this was done, his eyebrows provided just enough thread to sew the boundaries of reality shut. The last of these stitches marked the end of his usefulness, but also, the beginning of time.
Though few and far between, there are scholars who know this tale to be true. Ymirography, as their art is known, is focused on mapping the primordial titan’s remains, as well as understanding history as the process of his decay. For these heretic few, geology is not just a science, but also a form of autopsy. They see vast stretches of empty veins where surveyors see only underground caves, and oceans of iron-rich blood where seismic waves reveal the planet’s mantle. Erosion is, to them, the highest form of decomposition: not just a return to the earth, but rather, a form of becoming Earth itself.
That’s not to say that ymirography is only a geological movement, as its adherents exist in all areas of study. Ecologists among them have posed that life as we know it evolved from the parasites that once swam through his organs. Glaciologists search for the pupils of his eyes among the scleric polar ice. Meteorologists debate with neuroscientists about whether or not lightning bolts can be understood as the synapses of an eternally dying brain. Every aspect of his body can be interpreted as a unique interdisciplinary problem.
Ymirography is most controversial among cosmologists, for whom such an origin to the planet is most questionable. Even here, however, there are proponents. The most popular of their speculations is that Ymir is not just an artifact of the past, but also, a being who is still being constructed in the present. His anatomy is not the design of the gods, but instead, that of the imaginations of those who seek to understand him. Through their work, they have taken apart the world and rebuilt it in their image.
Perhaps, then, this is why the gods chose to kill Ymir- not to create anything at all, but instead, so as not to be usurped by those who would come later.