For generations and over the centuries, wolves have figured in fairy tales and have been the subject of much controversy. Also present in northern mythology, some wolves are feared while others prove to be faithful and useful companions. By making this creature mysterious, a bond of fascination is born between beast and man, allowing the animal to be both feared and respected.
This is what makes wolves so special in Scandinavian mythological stories. Among them, 5 occupy the Norse myths and beliefs: Fenrir, the giant destructive wolf, Hati and Sköll, the devourers of the Astres (Sun and Moon) and Geri and Freki, the two wolves of Ódin.
ORIGINS OF FENRIR, WOLF OF NORSE MYTHOLOGY
The mighty giant wolf of the Nordic myths, Fenrir (also known as Fenris wolf) is the one who will trigger Ragnarök, the end of the world. Fenrir's crimes in Scandinavian mythology are countless. His appearance signals a terrible danger, even to the Gods. However, Fenrir's stories do not reflect his true nature. That of a wounded animal, betrayed and misunderstood by the fear he generates.
Son of the deceitful God Loki, he is the most famous wolf in the Nordic legends because of his direct link with Ragnarök: the Twilight of the Viking Gods. The gods looked upon this beast with a malicious eye, which was able to confront and perhaps defeat them, especially since an oracle warned them about prophecies that one day Fenrir would turn against them.
POWER OF THE GIANT VIKING WOLF
Beyond his violent actions, Fenrir, the viking wolf, embodies many qualities:
- A savage power: Though raised by the gods, he did not hesitate to use his power to defy Norse gods to defend himself and kill Odin.
- His independence: he suffered greatly from being sidelined and chained in chains due to his formidable power.
- Loyalty: Until the day of Ragnarök, he was deeply attached to his family, even though they separated from him shortly after his birth.
- His thirst for liberation: Fenrir always wanted to be free, to get rid of the gods and to lead the life he wanted.
By highlighting the complexity of Fenrir's character, Norse myth enthusiasts recognize his good sides. Thanks to his warrior spirit and his spirit of an abandoned child, the destructive giant remains the best symbol of the Viking wolf and a true emblem of courage and power for Vikings warriors.
As a result of the fascination for this wolf, many jewels and runes were forged in his effigy such as the amazing Fenrir ring. Some Viking tribes also carried banners with the effigy of Fenris.
A WOLF RAISED BY THE SCANDINAVIAN GODS
This giant wolf, son of the god Loki and the giant Angerdoba, was the brother of Jormungand and the goddess Hel. Fenrir was endowed with a colossal strength making him formidable even for the gods. With the giant Larvindia he has two children, the wolves Sköll and Hati. Sköll pursues the sun over Yggdrasil and Hati the moon.
The gods looked with an evil eye on this beast, which was in a position to confront them and perhaps defeat them, especially since an oracle warned them that one day Fenrir would turn against them. The king of the gods, Odin, offered to imprison him so that his blood would not stain the world, and the entire council of the gods agreed.
Twice they tried to chain the animal, but his strength was so great that he managed to break them. Odin then went to the dwarves to make Fenris wolf chain, the largest and strongest in the world.
When the dwarves presented their work, they surprised Odin, for instead of giving him a chain with heavy links, they gave him a simple, soft, silky ribbon created with their magic and six elements: the meow of a cat, a woman's beard, mountain roots, bear sinew, fish breath, and bird saliva. Odin felt it and saw the strength of the ribbon, which nothing seemed to be able to tear, cut, or break. He named this chain, Gleipnir.
Tyr's sacrifice, the one handed god
However, it was not easy to attract Fenrir, especially since the creature was now suspicious. The gods organized a challenge in which they had to try to break the ribbon. All gods failed, and they offered Fenrir a chance to try.
First, the wolf refused, but he finally accepted for fear of being seen as a coward. Suspicious, the animal accepts this new tie on the condition that one of them places his hand in its mouth which he would devour in case of betrayal. Of course, the size of his sharp jaw did not make anyone feel confident, but Tyr sacrificed himself for the survival of the 9 worlds.
As expected, Fenrir was unable to free himself from the ribbon and, in anger, devoured Tyr's hand.
Trapped, the wolf was now at the mercy of the Gods. Annoyed to hear the wolf's howl of pain, the god Odin put a sword in his jaw and exiled him to the depths of the earth. From this act, Fenrir understood that his masters saw in him only a monster.
Fenrir swore revenge on the cunning of the Gods. Once the shackles give way, no one will be able to hide from his vengeance. He had just announced what everyone feared, the Ragnarök.
FENRIR LEGEND OF THE RAGNAROK
Fenrir was imprisoned, unfortunately his dark warning would inevitably come true. Indeed, these two children, born from his adventure with the giant Larnvidia, Sköll and Hati had already set out in pursuit of the two stars Mani and Sol. Once their prey between its fangs, there will be neither night nor day anymore what will sound the death knell of the world and the end of the reality such as any living being on Yggdrasil knew it.
During Ragnarök, the animal freed itself and ran with a jaw so large that it touched the ground and opened up to the sky, devouring everything in its path. In this way, it swallowed Óðinn. To avenge his father, Vidarr managed to kill the destructive wolf. This amazing fight is transcribes on our Fenris wolf pendant.
Frightened by his corpulence, the deities transformed Fenrir into a ferocious creature. Instead of teaching him to take advantage of his greatness, they incited him to become the beast they feared he would become.
TO SUM UP...
From this sad story, let us remember that Fenrir's fury, and thus the fulfillment of the prophecy, could have been avoided if the Gods had not so much feared his power. Often described as a fierce wolf in myths and legends, its difference was a curse that caused his downfall.