Fenrir in Norse Mythology

Fenrir by A. Fleming circa. 1874
Fenrir by A. Fleming
circa. 1874

Fenrir was a powerful, gigantic wolf prophesized to bring about the destruction of the world.  Oldest child of Loki and Angrboda, a giantess, Fenrir was a much feared monster by the gods.

When Fenrir was young, the gods were not in much fear of him.  But as he grew to gigantic proportions, Fenrir became a fearsome concern to the gods.  They tried to contain him through trickery.  Fenrir was challenged that if he were to be chained, he could never break free.  He accepted the challenge and broke every chain and shackle they tried on him as if they were nothing but brittle threads.

So the gods enlisted the help of dwarves to make something that could hold the beast.  The dwarves went to work and created Gleipnir, an incredibly strong substance that looked like ribbon.

Tyr & Fenrir by John Bauer circa. 1911
Tyr & Fenrir by John Bauer
circa. 1911

After some persuasion to convince Fenrir to try the challenge again, only this time with the thin ribbon.  Although he did not see honor in such a weakling challenge, he reluctantly agreed in fear that his strength would be questioned.  Suspecting some treachery, he demanded that one of the gods put their hand in his mouth.  The only one to agree was the god of war, Tyr.

When the wolf was chained with the thin ribbonned Gleipnir material, he could not break free.  Hit bit off Tyr’s hand.

The gods took Fenrir and imprisoned him a mile deep into the earth, chaining him to a rock with the Gleipnir. They placed a sword between his jaws to keep him from tearing into anyone.

It is said that on the day of Ragnarok, Fenrir will be freed and battle the gods with the giants.  Furthermore, prophecy predicts that then Fenrir will kill and devour Odin.

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