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Alias: Monster of Ván

Place of birth: Jötunheim, Midgard
Date of death: Ragnarok
Place of death: Vígríðr, Midgard

Race: Wolf (Æsir/giant hybrid)

Known relatives: Angrboda (mother)
Loki (father)
Hel (sister)
Jörmungandr (brother)

Story: Loki had three children with the giantess Angrboda in Jötunheim: Fenris-Wolf, Jörmungandr (the Midgard Serpent) and Hel. Due to their origin, a giantess as mother and Loki as father, the children were the type of creatures, which had been foretold, to be able to bring great misfortune to the gods. When the gods of Asgard discovered this Odin therefore sent for the children. The serpent was immediately thrown into the sea and Hel was sent to Niflheim where she was given her power over nine worlds, to apportion all abodes among those that were sent to her (men dead of sickness or of old age) [1].

The wolf was brought up by the gods, though it was only Tyr who dared feed him. When the gods saw how much the wolf grew and the prophecies foretold that the wolf would be their destruction they decided to bind the wolf so it couldn't do any harm. After having tried with the two fetters Lædingr and Drómi which couldn't hold the wolf, Odin sent the messenger Skírnir to the dwarves in the region of the Black Elves to see if they could make a suitable fetter. The dwarves made a fetter named Gleipnir. It was soft and smooth as a silken ribbon, made of six things: the noise a cat makes in foot-fall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a rock, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird [1].

The Æsir went out upon the lake called Ámsvartnir, to the island called Lyngvi, and summoning the Wolf with them. Here they tried to trick the wolf into letting them bind him with the fetter by daring him to try to break out of this one too and promised to unleash him if he couldn't. The wolf became suspicious of the slender rope. It occurred to him that there would be no glory in snapping a fetter much thinner than the previous two and it therefore had to be made with cunning and wiles. He said: 'If ye bind me so that I shall not get free again, then ye will act in such a way that it will be late ere I receive help from you; I am unwilling that this band should be laid upon me. Yet rather than that ye should impugn my courage, let some one of you lay his hand in my mouth, for a pledge that this is done in good faith.' Tyr volunteered and put his right hand in the wolf's mouth. When the Wolf lashed out, the fetter became hardened; and the more he struggled against it, the tighter the band was. Realizing he had been trapped the wolf bit off Tyr's hand [1].

When the Æsir saw that the fetter held the wolf, they took the chain Gleipnir which was fast to the fetter and passed it thru a great rock named Gjöll and fixed the rock deep into the earth using a stone named Thviti. The wolf gaped terribly, and thrashed about and strove to bite them, and the gods thrust into his mouth a sword. The guards were caught in the wolf's lower jaw, and the point in the upper; becoming a gag on the wolf. The wolf howled hideously, and slaver (saliva) ran out of his mouth becoming the river called Ván [1].

The Fenris-Wolf would stay bound until the Weird of the Gods (Ragnarok). Despite being prophesized as the slayer of Odin he was not killed. The place he was bound was a holy place and sanctuary, and the gods would not stain the place with the wolf's blood [1].

At the Weird of the Gods an earthquake will free the Fenris-Wolf and along with the Midgard Serpent and led by the fire-giant Surtr, they will walk across the rainbow bridge Bifrost and fight the gods on field Vígríðr. During the battle, Odin will be swallowed by the wolf and the wolf will be killed by Vidarr who will place a foot on the wolf's lower jaw and tear its gullet asunder [1].

Continuity: Norse Mythology
First app.: Folk tales: Viking age (800-1100 CE)
Written form: The Poetic Edda (around 1250 CE)
Country of origin: Scandinavia/Iceland

Related links/characters:
- Hel
- Jörmungandr/Midgard Serpent/Vast Monster
- Loki
- Odin
- Surtr
- Tyr

References: 1: The Prose Edda