We know that Vidar was the son of the giantess Griðr and Odin, so he belonged to the younger generation of Norse gods. He was also one of the rare beings to survive Ragnarök.

Ragnarök, the end of the world in Norse mythology, was marked by a number of cataclysmic events that ended with everything being destroyed by a great flood. 

Vidar was one of the few to survive, and he was tasked with creating the roots of the new world.

What was Vidar’s role during Ragnarök?

The final fight between gods and giants, in which gods were seen as the forces of order and harmony, and giants as the representatives of chaos and destruction, resulted in the majority of gods and giants being killed. 

Odin, the principal god in Norse lore, was devoured by the mythical wolf Fenrir. Fenrir, son of Loki (the trickster god), was a monstrous wolf, an epitome of destruction and killing. He devoured everyone and everything in his way. Odin fell victim to Fenrir, setting in motion a chain of events in which Vidar played a key role. 

Vidar decided to avenge his father. He acquired a magical shoe made especially for this important moment in his life. The shoe gave him such strength that Vidar was able to open Fenrir's jaws using the power of his leg and foot, eventually slicing Fenrir's mouth to pieces and killing the monster.

The shoe aside, Vidar was known for his physical strength – he was said to be the strongest of the gods, second only to Thor. 

Vidar used his monstrous strength to kill Fenrir, a formidable beast that was among the strongest creatures in Norse mythology. 

Vidar is often associated with vengeance in Norse mythology. Photo: Justin Ziadeh / Unsplash

What else is known about Vidar?

Apart from killing Fenrir and avenging Odin, there is little information about Vidar, so he remains a mystery. 

According to some theories, the fact that Vidar is one of the few who survived Ragnarök is also a matter of speculation because, according to other sources, everyone died during Ragnarök.  

There isn't enough information to create a clearer picture of Vidar. He was also known as "the silent god," which added another layer of mystery to him because there is no explanation for how he got this "nickname." 

The place that is described as "his land" is covered in tall grass, and again, there is no known reason why areas covered in tall grass are associated with Vidar.

However, there are names of two places in Norway that contain Vidar's name – Virsu and Viskjøl (Temple of Vidar and Pinnacle of Vidar), suggesting that Vidar wasn't just a literary figure. Later on, with the rise of Christianity, some motifs depicted a man killing a wolf. 

Such art could point to Vidar killing Fenrir, but there is again not enough evidence to confirm that it was really a portrayal of Vidar killing Fenrir. It could have just as well been Jesus Christ killing a wolf as a metaphor for good winning over evil. This was a common metaphor and image in medieval paintings. So Vidar, the silent god, remains a mysterious god in Nordic mythology.

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