The legendary wolf was also mentioned many times in Old Norse literary sources.

Getting Fenrir under control

Fenrir's parents were the trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda, and his siblings were the serpent Jörmungandr and the goddess of the underworld, Hel. 

Fenrir was a sort of "enfant terrible" in the nine worlds of Nordic mythology. The wolf was difficult to control and created chaos wherever it ventured. 

The gods of Aesir, whose home was Asgard, one of the nine worlds, and whose chief god was Odin, raised Fenrir themselves in an attempt to gain at least some kind of control over him. The task proved to be impossible, as Fenrir grew at a very fast pace and was exceptionally strong, so the gods decided it was time to bind him with chains.

After two unsuccessful attempts, the gods had to think of a trick to make it happen. The trick worked, and Fenrir was finally in bonds, unable to break free. 

A sword was put into Fenrir's jaws so that they had to remain open. Being chained and with the blade stuck in his jaws, Fenrir kept howling and thus created the river Ván (meaning "expectation" in Old Norse) from his drooling mouth.

Fenrir at Ragnarök  

The apocalyptic end of the world in Norse mythology, also known as Ragnarök, is the doomsday that no one can escape. 

Fenrir used Ragnarök as an opportunity to finally break free from the chains and run out into the world - with his jaws still open by the sword. 

While running around the world, Fenrir devoured anyone who got in his way – almost escaping Judgement Day! 


Fenrir even killed Odin during his rampage, which marked the beast's demise as one of Odin's sons, Vidar, avenged his father and killed the monstrous Fenrir.

Old Norse texts state that Odin was the son of Bestla and Borr. Photo: EyeShotYou / Pixabay

Fenrir vs. Vidar – how did Vidar kill Fenrir?

Vidar, son of Odin and the giantess Gridr, is a somewhat mysterious figure in Norse mythology. He is mostly famous for avenging his father Odin. 

Due to the mystery that surrounds him, he is at times called "the silent god." 

Some sources claim that Vidar was exceptionally strong – only the god Thor was stronger than him.

Vidar managed to kill Fenrir by wearing magical shoes, which enabled him to step into Fenrir's mouth without his feet and legs being torn apart. 

Fenrir's jaws were open and Vidar, using his sword and being very strong, managed to slice Fenrir's mouth and finally kill the beast.

Fenrir under different names in Norse mythology

Some Old Norse poems mention other wolves. However, some sources claim that mentions of other monstrous wolves actually refer to Fenrir - under different names. 

One of such examples is a wolf named Garm, who is described as a wolf that breaks free from chains at Ragnarök – this could quite possibly be Fenrir. 

Another "version" of Fenrir could be the wolf who devoured the moon – this wolf is called Hati (meaning "hatred"). There is a possibility that this could also be Fenrir, who destroyed a big part of the world after breaking free from the chains, killed Odin, and finally devoured the sun and the moon during Ragnarök. 

The other two wolves, or the other two versions of Fenrir, remain mysterious, so it is still unknown whether the names refer to one entity – Fenrir.

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