The Legend of Fenrir the Giant Wolf

The Legend of Fenrir the Giant Wolf

Symbol of Strength in Viking folklore, Fenrir is one of the children of Loki and the giant Angrboda, a direct descendant of Ymir, the giant at the origin of all things. From this monstrous union were born three children: Fenrir, Jörmungand and Hel. Sleipnir, a fabulous eight-legged horse and another child of Loki, later became Odin's mount. But this is another story...



Despite their monstrous nature, they were all born on Asgard, the world of the Aesir. This trio is feared because according to an ancient prophecy, they would be the main actors of Ragnarok. More precisely, two of the three children are rivals of the gods: Odin for Fenrir and Thor for Jörmungand. Hel was assigned to manage the kingdom of Helheim, the world of the dead.

Fenrir, a monstrous offspring...


odin and fenrir the wolf - american wolves


Odin rushed Jörmungand to Midgard (the world of humans) and forced him to bite his tail, thus ensuring the calm of the sea. Finally, Thor took care of Fenrir, that is the story we tell you today. Fenrir is not only Loki's eldest son, but he is also the most dangerous of them all.

At first, he was of reasonable height and was raised normally among the Aesir. But as time went by, he kept growing, soon becoming too big and powerful to be ignored.

His colossal size and titanic strength make him one of the most dangerous creatures in all worlds, so much so that even the gods would find it difficult to oppose him. Only Tyre, the god of heaven and just war, still dares to come and feed him.

Two resounding failures

Faced with the growing strength of the monster, the Aesir wanted to act by trying to hinder the animal. Unfortunately, Fenrir did not let them do so and freed himself from all the bonds imposed on him.

Odin then asked the dwarves to forge the strongest possible chain (loeding) and offered to tie Fenrir to prove his ability to break these bonds. Willing to increase his notoriety and prestige, he did so and, against all expectations, he broke the heavy links of the chain and freed himself without the slightest harm.

Faced with this failure, Odin wanted to repeat the experience. He ordered the dwarves to forge a new chain, but changing the materials and making it stronger, hoping this time to see Fenrir fail.

He then returned to the giant wolf with Dromi (the new chain) and offered to try the experiment again. The monster was even more able to break it, causing the Aesir's despair.

Faced with this second failure, Odin sent Skirnir (Freyr's messenger) to the land of the dark elves to ask them to make a chain that no one could break.

The Dark Elves Skills

Skirnir travels to Svartalaheim (the land of the Dark Elves) to take advantage of the incredible magical abilities and unparalleled mastery of the elves in the forge. They accepted the challenge and set to work.

Once their work was done, they presented themselves in front of the dwarf with a very fine and soft silk ribbon called Gleipnir.

The ribbon was fragile in appearance, but it consisted of six magical elements that were almost impossible to find: the sound of cat footsteps, a woman's beard, bear tendons, mountain roots, fish breath, and bird saliva.

So he returned to Asgard with Gleipnir and introduced him to Odin, explaining that this is no joke and that this ribbon could be the solution. Odin suggested to Fenrir that he should try the test again. Seeing this ribbon, he thought that he wouldn't gain any glory by freeing himself from such weak shackles and suspected a deception.

By dint of persuasion, he let himself be convinced on one condition: that one of the Aesirans put his hand in his mouth as a token of good faith and that in case of deception, his gigantic jaw would close on the hand of the liar.


fenrir the wolf chained - american wolves


One arm against the world

Faced with this announcement, the gods decided to withdraw to discuss it. None of them wanted to sacrifice his arm, or even more if the monster decides that a hand is only a small compensation for eternal captivity. So they tried to find another solution until Tyr offered himself.

After a long discussion, they concluded that this was the only way to imprison Fenrir and Tyr maintained his proposal. So they presented themselves the next day before the wolf and the god of heaven put his arm between his fangs. Odin wrapped Fenrir in a ribbon.

Once tied up, he began to struggle. Furious to see that the more he moved, the tighter the bond became, he tore off Tyre's arm, and Tyr quickly retreated. Mad with rage, he swore to take revenge and devour those who had dared to play him.

He announced that when Mani (the moon) and Sol (the sun) disappear, all shackles will give way and no one will be able to hide from his vengeance. He had just announced what everyone feared, the Ragnarök.

A foreseen apocalypse

Fenrir was imprisoned, unfortunately, his dark warning was inevitably going to come true. Indeed, these two children, born from his adventure with the giant Larnvidia, Sköll, and Hati had already set off in pursuit of the two stars Mani and Sol. Once their prey between his fangs, there will be no more night or day which will sound the death knell of the world and the end of reality as every living being on Yggdrasil knew it.

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  • Lilly Cowan


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