Fenrir

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Story of the Norse god Fenrir, son of the pseudo-god Loki.


One of the three children of Loki by a giantess(jtunn ) named Angrboa, Fenrir plays an imperative, though short, role in Norse mythology. A wolf of remarkable size and strength, Fenrir has one major story recorded in the Norse sagas, yet this singular story paints a picture of bravery for one god and an omen of death for the rest of them. Fenrir, unfortunately for the sir and Vanir, turned out to be one of the many foreshadowing signs of the end of the Norse world: Ragnark. According to Snorri Sturluson'sProse Edda, Fenrir's tale begins, as any tale should, with his unlikely and terrible birth. When Fenrir (also calledFenrislfr ) was born, along with his other siblings, the great serpent Jrmungandr and the dark haired woman Hel, the sir of Asgard, assembled to discuss what to do with these three very dangerous beingsall of whom were prophesied to aid in the future destruction of the Norse cosmos. Hel was sent to Niflheim, a location similar to the Christian concept of Hell, a very cold and dark place, while Jrmungandr was sent into the sea, to remain submerged until the end of days. Fenrir, however, posed a much more dangerous problem. While Hel and Jrmungandr could be sent away, Fenrir was growing at a rapid speed, and soon became a jtunn among wolves, as it were. To protect the sir from his size and the terrible fate they knew would one day come, they decided that Fenrir needed to be contained. Three different types of fetters, or bindings, were created before the gods were successful in confining the wolf. The first was called Leyding. It did not last long as one sharp kick from Fenrir snapped the chain apart. The second attempted fetter was twice as strong as Leyding and was known as Dromi; though it took Fenrir longer to break, it did meet the same fate as the first. By the third attempt the gods knew they needed skill beyond their own. Odin, the primary chief of the sir, sent word to the dwarves of Svartlfaheimr, the land of the black elves. These dark dwarves lived underground and were ill-natured for the most part, but they nonetheless agreed to craft a chain powerful enough to prevent the giant wolf from escaping. The dwarves soon presented Odin with Gleipnir, a shackle made of six mythical ingredients: the sound of a cat's feet, the roots of a mountain, a bear's sinews, a woman's beard, a fish's breath, and a bird's spit. With these six ingredientssupposedly no longer in existence today due to this procedurethe resulting chain was as smooth as ribbon, but as strong as iron would be to mortals. When the fetter was to be placed upon Fenrir on the island of Lyngvi, even the wolf doubted his ability to escape. And when the gods goaded him into trying to break free, Fenrir demanded a show of good faith before allowing it to be put upon him. The god of law and justice, Tyr stepped forward then and placed his hand in the mouth of the wolf, the only god of the sir brave enough to risk himself for the good of the whole. Only then did Fenrir allow himself to be chained again, the goading as successful a tactic as Tyr's bravery. Every attempt the wolf made to be freed turned out to be futile. In anger at his failure and the gods' ability to entrap him, Fenrir snapped off Tyr's hand. Relieved that Fenrir was bound, all except Tyr of course, the sir looped Glepinir's cord Gelgja through a massive stone slab called Gjll, and anchored it with a large rock known as Thviti, effectively binding Fenrir permanently to one spot. The wolf's unrelenting howls led to a sword being shoved between his jaws, the hilt keeping his mouth wide, silencing him until the time of Ragnark. Then and only then would Fenrir see freedom. The shaking of the earth and the uprooting of mountains would tear Gleipnir apart, unleashing the wolf on Odin, enabling him to swallow the chief of the gods whole. This would be the beginning of the end of the sir. TheProse Edda dictates that Fenrir's two sons, Skll and Hati Hrvitnisson, would follow in the footsteps of their father, swallowing the sun and the moon respectively, destroying the stars and all essence of time. Only after all this had occurred would Fenrir be killed by Odin's son Varr. Fenrirs jaws which were kept silent for so long would finally be torn apart by Varr's foot stretching his mouth. Shortly after, the worlds of the sir would be consumed and a new world would rise in its place. Information courtesy of http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/legend-fenrir-wolf-bite-002498 There are different versions of this story but the main components are the same. My understanding is the Norse gods feared the children of Loki and of the three they feared Fenrir the most. While I can comprehend their fear I see this as a self-fulfilling prophecy though others disagree. Here's my reasoning. At a time when he had done nothing wrong they tricked Fenrir into being chained for centuries with a sword shoved down his throat. How would you react if you ever managed to get free? They also foresaw him bringing aboutRagnarkyet despite their actions this future is supposedly a set event that will happen eventually. So...what did you succeed in besides angering and driving Fenrir insane? Perhaps you bought some time but unless the prophecy revealed a time period that has since passed as far as you know these actions were for nothing, except possibly insuring the future you foresaw.

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Added to on Apr 14, 2016
Last edited on Sep 28, 2019
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