Fenrir (Old Norse: "fen-dweller") or Fenrisúlfr (Old Norse: "Fenrir's wolf", often translated "Fenris-wolf"), also referred to as Hróðvitnir ("fame-wolf") and Vánagandr ("monster of the [River] Ván"), is a monster and wolf-like Jötunn in Norse mythology and one of the several monstrous offspring born to the traitorous god known as Loki. Fenrir was born as an abnormally large and powerful wolf with great intelligence but an evil temperment and became a formidable enemy of the gods until they arranged for mystical chains to be forged to contain the monstrous beast until the day of Ragnarök. When that day comes, Fenrir, alongside all other evils, engaged the Gods of Asgard in which he was prophesied to kill the Lord of Asgard by the name of Odin.
Role in Myths
For destined to help end the world, Fenrir was bound as a child with a chain made of impossible things, had a sword stuck in his mouth and was abandoned in the middle of nowhere. The chain's links were:
- The stomping of cats
- The beards of women
- The roots of mountains
- The spit of birds.
- The breath of fishes
- The nerves (ie. nervousness) of bears.
Before the use of said binding, several inferior yet durable manacles were used, only for Fenrir easily break every single one of them. The god who volunteered to bind the wolf Jötunn was Tyr, though the process caused him to lose one of his hands when Fenrir saw the trick. Nevertheless, the endeavor to bind him eventually successful.
During the Ragnarök, Fenrir successfully break free from his chains and devours Odin. He then in turn, slain by one of his sons Vidarr.
Far more law-abiding than one might expect, Fenrir agreed to test the chain as long as they swore to let him go afterwards. However, this hardly veils his hostility towards the Gods of Asgard he inherited from his Jötunn parent since the day the Gods killed their predecessor Ymir, showing a genuine malice. When the gods broke their oaths, he bit off the hand of Tyr the war god in recompense.
Powers and Abilities
As an enormous wolf-like Jötunn whose gape said to large enough to reach the sky, Fenrir arguably possesses wolf-like traits and abilities befitting to his form albeit in god-like scale. However, the most terrifying aspect of this Jötunn is his ability to devour anything and everything, even the Gods. Such traits later passed to his progenies Sköll and Hati, who are destined to eat the sun and moon upon Ragnarok.
In Popular Culture
- Harry Potter: Fenrir Greyback, a Death Eater werewolf who serves Lord Voldemort, shares the first name with the mythical Fenrir, given his lycanthropyc appearance and tendencies.
- Marvel Comics: In Marvel Comics, Fenrir, under the name Fenris Wolf, shared his role and portrayal with that of his mythical counterpart. However, the character's history was expanded in which he was responsible for an event that became the staple of the tale called Little Red Riding Hood.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Fenris's Marvel Comics incarnation in turn, adapted into Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here however, Fenris Wolf is a female and hailed from Asgardian Wolves, a race of giant wolves native at Asgard. By the time it appears in Thor: Ragnarok, Fenris Wolf already following Hela's exile before eventually revived as undead version of herself. She then eventually killed by Hulk who hurled him to the outer space.
- Magnus Chase: Fenrir also featured in Magnus Chase book series as Fenris Wolf and an antagonist.