Thought of the Day for July 1st, 2014… Fenrir was framed!
Outside of Loki, the most popular and worshipped of the etins or Rokkatru “pantheon” is Fenrir, the son of Loki and Angrboda. The giant wolf, so strong most fetters could not hold him. So fierce, he lived outside of Asgard and only Tyr, the bravest of the Aesir, had the fearlessness to feed him.
Odin was told the prophecy of the Volva, that at Ragnarok, when the sons of Muspel and fire giants came over the Bifrost, destroying it and Naglfar, the ship commanded by the dead of Helheim came captained by Loki, that Jormundgar the Midgard Serpent and Thor would kill each other, Garm the hound of Hel would kill Tyr, Heimdallr and Loki would kill each other and Fenrir would kill Odin – the world would end. Vidar would kill Fenrir by ripping his massive jaws open. Also in this prophect Magni and Modi would inherit Thor’s hammer, Baldr and Hodr would rule Asgard, human life would continue on, Gimli would be the hall they reside, Hoenir would also survive and so would Yggdrasil. No mention is made of Freyja and her chosen dead.
But Fenrir up to this point in survivng lore had not moved against or broken the unsteady frith between the Aesir and himself. He lived, and ate and grew in the woods outside of Asgard. The prophecy told to Odin said he would kill the Allfather at Ragnarok. No mention of why he would want to do this is mentioned.
Some people believe Fenrir was just evil, the spawn of the flawed evil Loki who wanted to destroy Odin and the gods because it was his nature. Some think there’s a reason and we just dont know it. If the reason was known, wouldnt it be mentioned in the stories that contains Ragnarok and his binding? The binding is mentioned many times, in many different tellings and none mention why Fenrir would do this. Past deeds and earned names were commonly used in poetry.
So why would Fenrir do this? Because the gods caused it themselves.
WHAT?! The GODS did it? Think about it.
Odin consults the Volva, who only tells him Fenrir would kill the Allfather and describes the other battles, deaths and rebirths of Ragnarok. Some parts were added later that do no appear in the Eddas (like Loki even being present…). She does not tell him why Fenrir would kill him. And as we can see by the lore, Fenrir had no past attempts at harming the Allfather, or the Aesir. Crimes in Asgard, and in Scandinavia, are not punished pre-emptively and there are no “extenuating circumstances”, as Hodr was still put to death by Vali for his hand being the one that throw the mistletoe dart that killed Baldr even though Loki was the architect of this (and even that is in question, but I dont agree in either side, I see a third). Fenrir wasn’t killed outright because he had NOT committed the crime of killing Odin. Killing him would be a spot of dishonor.
Fenrir was chained, twice unsuccessfully and finally by Gliepnir, a bind made by dwaves, made of the roots of mountains, sinews of a bear, spittle of a bird, beard of women, a fishes’ breath and the footfall of a cat and he stipulated that if the gods bound him that one must put their hand in his mouth, so if they were not to untie him, he would bite it off. Tyr did this, as the other gods were weary. And since he was bound and they would not, Tyr lost his hand. To further his binding, Fenrir was chained to heavy rocks on and island and a sword placed in his mouth against his pallet so if he bit down he’d get a sword in the brain killing him.
This is an odd sense of justice, even for the Aesir. Some would argue inherent morality. The gods did what they could to stave off Ragnarock and Odin’s death for he is needed there. But Fenrir committed no crime before or at the time of his binding. Fear of what he COULD do is what caused his binding and subsiquent torture (a sword in the mouth while being tied is torture).
So this created a cycle – the gods created their own enemy. No matter his mind, Fenrir did not cross the gods and was a victim of a self fulling prophecy which the gods played their part by binding Fenrir for a crime he possibly wouldn’t of committed without the gods learning the prophecy. The prophecy created the situation which created the prophecy.
The Volva framed Fenrir.
American Asatru Association TM 2013 Matthew Barker
This work is copyright 2014 Matthew Barker
Artwork (c) respective artists:
Image 1: Fenrir by janiceduke
Image 2: Fenrir by Pulse l’Cie