Fenrisúlfr, also called Fenrir, is the great wolf who devoured Odin in Ragnarök. It was foretold that he would do as much at his birth, and so the gods were filled with great fear for what Fenrir would someday become. He was imprisoned as a pup within the Æsir’s own watchful stronghold rather than banishment as they imposed upon his siblings.
Origins and Abilities
‘A certain giantess lives east of Midgard in a forest called Ironwood. In that forest live trollwives called Iarnvidiur.
Born of the trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda, with two monstrous siblings also, the half corpse goddess Hel and the great serpent Jörmungandr.
Fenrir grew rapidly and to monstrous size, likely due to the troll blood from his mother’s side. He was also born wolfkin, able to communicate with wolves — and notably, to control them.
Like all Loki’s children by Angrboda, his thread is an aberration in the Pattern.
Confinement in Asgard
For a while the Æsir tried to tame Fenrir, yet nearly all the gods were wary of him. Only the god of justice Tyr was brave enough to forge a tentative friendship, encouraged to do so by the wolf’s father Loki.
Ultimately, though, it was a trust used to trick him into being chained indefinitely. The betrayal cost Tyr a limb that Fenrir was in his rights to claim although the violent act fueled already-inflated perception of his ferocity. His sheer size and appearance added to that perception. It was why Odin acted against him.
The Binding of Fenrir
Fearing his capabilities, the Æsir eventually chained Fenrir using Gleipnir; the only ward capable of binding him against his will. The glyph was carved into his very soul, and remains throughout the Ages. It is a circular design, a sinuous and thin stroke of black formed all of one line in the following images:
A cat poised with one paw raisedSoteria
A raven with its beak splayed wide
A triangle inverted between two circles
A bear raised on its hind legs
A jagged mountain peak rising tall
The Corruption of Gleipnir
A final symbol, a trollkors, settled over his heart.Soteria
In order to achieve the impossible, the chain of Gleipnir was made by the Dvurges from five impossible things. Moreover, it was fastened to Fenrir’s soul so that it might persist throughout the Ages, and manifests as a tattoo on his chest. It was intended to bind Fenrir from his fate, preventing the events of Ragnarök — and also to keep him from wreaking such destruction in future Ages. And it would have worked.
But for the trickster Loki and the mighty Ironwood witch Angrboda.
Together they conspired to thwart the binding, and in the final hours before the twilight of the gods, Angrboda slipped into the bloody shallows of the river Van and added a final glyph to her son’s chest.
Now the trollkors centers the design, corrupting the ward. It neutralises Gleipnir’s might, and is responsible for Fenrir’s savage escape at Ragnarök.
The final rune persists between Ages, as does Gleipnir itself, however its exact nature is unknown. How this may affect consequent rebirths is also as yet unknown.
In the end, the measures made by Odin and Asgard were all for naught. Fenrir broke free in the chaos of the final war, Ragnarök, and slaughtered Odin anyway.
Avenging his father’s life, Odin’s son Víðarr, killed Fenrir in return.