Updated: Feb 10
It’s tough to top devouring a god, at least in terms of being an epic, mythical creature, so we are discussing our boy Fenrir. Fenrir, weighing in at 4,000 pounds, is best known for his role in the Norse apocalypse Ragnarok, where he devours the father of the gods, Odin. Like Cerberus, who was covered last week, Fenrir is born from a powerful union, and he is the sibling to two equally menacing deity creatures.
Best known is his sister Hel, ruler of the Norse underworld and namesake for the Christian realm of Satan, demons, and damned souls. Not to be outdone, Fenrir’s brother, Jormungandr, is the serpent who will devour the world and Thor while he’s at it.
While his siblings are formidable beings in their own rights, Fenrir is the big brother and certainly the most ferocious. In fact, of Loki’s children, the giant wolf is the only one forced into outright restraint and gagged with a frickin’ sword!
The giant serpent gets tossed in the ocean, and Hel actually gets a job and a basement office with the gods. I suppose, since the gargantuan wolf is destined from birth to devour the most powerful and cunning of the Norse pantheon, he warrants a closer eye. I don’t know if any of you have seen a wolf in the wild or even a huge dog, but let me tell you, it is a scary sight to see a canine that weighs upward of 100 pounds. Aside from being swift, silent, and equipped with a lethal bite force, wolves are amongst the most sly and efficient predators in the animal kingdom. Have you ever seen a dog catch a mouse in its jaws? Well, if Fenrir wanted to kill you, I wager that’s about what you’d be in for.
I mean, Fenrir is tough as nails; there is simply no other way to put it. As the gods are raising him, he demonstrates his raw ferocity so often they become uneasy around him. Eventually, they get so wary they decide to chain him with the most powerfully forged, dwarven manacles the will of the gods can find.
By that point, Fenrir had grown so large even all the gods together feared to try shackling him by force. Instead, they tricked him by challenging him to break the chains as a test of his strength. He agreed, but only after demanding one of the gods place a hand in his mouth as a show of good faith. The god chosen was Tyr, the only one who had spent time with and fed Fenrir and the only one courageous enough. This part of the story actually makes me sad, as our wolf companion is forced to literally bite the hand that fed him in answer to their profound betrayal.
The average timber wolf in Montana has a territory of 120 square miles, can run up to 40 miles per hour, and can keep moving for up to fifteen days straight at a pace to keep up with an elk. As a matter of fact, that is often how wolves hunt elk.
They separate one from the herd, then nip at and dog it until it collapses from exhaustion. This process is faster in the snow since elk sink into it, but wolves are so light on their feet they can run right on top of powdery layers.
All their abilities stack up to make wolves one of nature’s most respected predators. That could be the reason they are featured so heavily in folklore across the world.
Now take that mighty beast and scale it up to elephant size or larger. How do you like them apples?
I would prefer to avoid such metaphorical apples, but that’s only because I like being alive.
So what do you think? Would you stick your hand in Fenrir’s mouth to chain him and save humanity? Would you ever be a big enough jerk to gag someone or something with a sword? If you could have Fenrir as your animal companion, what would you do? Let me know on Instagram, email, or LinkedIn! I’d love to hear from you :)
Thank you for reading and see you next month.