Tag: Fenrir

Ragnarok

ragnarok-surt
An axe-age, a sword-age, shields will be gashed: there will be a wind-age and a wolf-age before the world is wrecked.

First of all Midgard will be wrenched and racked by wars for three winters. Fathers will slaughter sons; brothers will be drenched in one another’s blood. Mothers will desert their menfolk and seduce their own sons; brothers will bed with sisters.

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Loki’s Flyting

On one occasion some while after Balder’s death, when they could think about him quietly and talk about him calmly for all their foreboding, many of the gods went over to the island of Hlesey for a feast.

Aegir received them in his gleaming hall under the waves. And since Thor and Tyr had secured Hymir’s mighty cauldron for him, he had no choice but to keep his promise, brew a welter of ale and entertain his guests.

Thor himself was away on another foray into Jotunheim, but Odin and Frigg led the way; Thor’s wife, Sif, and Bragi and his wife Idun, accompanied them. So did Tyr who had left one hand in the mouth of the wolf Fenrir and to him the gods renewed their thanks for the part he had played in wresting the cauldron five miles deep from his father Hymir. Njord and his wife Skadi made the journey; so did Freyr and Freyja with Freyr’s two servants Byggvir and Beyla. Odin’s son Vidar, went with them. And Loki was there.

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The Lay of Grimnir

Grimnir maskHRAUDUNG, KING OF THE GOTHS, had two sons, Agnar and Geirrod. One day when Agnar was ten winters old and Geirrod eight, the brothers gathered their tackle and went out rowing in the hope of landing some fish. But soon the wind began to bluster, and the boys were driven so far out to sea that they lost sight of land. The night-shadow grew long, and in the darkness the small boat tossed and spun and was smashed to pieces on a rocky shore. Standing bedraggled in the darkness, with waves breaking around them, Agnar and Geirrod had not the least idea where they were.

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Loki’s Children and the Binding of Fenrir

binding of fenrirTHE MOTHER OF SLEIPNIR was also the father of three appalling children. Not content with his faithful wife Sigyn, Loki sometimes took off for Jotunheim; the long-legged god hurried east and spent days and nights on end with the giantess Angrboda.

Loki and Angrboda had three monstrous offspring. The eldest was the wolf Fenrir; the second was Jormungand, greatest of serpents; and the third was a daughter called Hel. Even in a crowd of a thousand women, Hel’s looks were quite likely to single her out : her face and neck and shoulders and breasts and arms and back, they were all pink; but from her hips down, every inch of Hers skin looked decayed and greenish-black.

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Loki

Loki, the Trickster, challenges the structure and order of the Gods which is necessary in bringing about needed change. In the Prose Edda Snorri Sturluson writes that Loki:

is handsome and fair of face, but has an evil disposition and is very changeable of mood. He excelled all men in the art of cunning, and he always cheats. He was continually involving the Aesir in great difficulties and he often helped them out again by guile.

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Neither an Aesir or a Vanir, he is the son of two giants and yet the foster-brother of Odin. Loki embodies the ambiguous and darkening relationship between the gods and the giants. He is dynamic and unpredictable and because of that he is both the catalyst in many of the myths and the most fascinating character in the entire mythology. Without the exciting, unstable, flawed figure Loki, there would be no change in the fixed order of things, no quickening pulse, and no Ragnarok.

He is responsible for a wager with a giant which puts Freyja into peril (Myth 3) but by changing both shape and sex (characteristics he has in common with Odin) he bails her out. In Myth 10 he shears Sif’s hair which is more mischievous than evil, but he makes amends in the end. In Myth 8 his deceit leads to the loss of the golden apples of youth… but he retrieves them again. He helps the Gods and gets them out of predicaments, but spawns the worst monsters ever seen on the face of the Earth: Fenrir, Jormungand, the Midgard Wyrm. His other children include the goddess Hel (Hella, Holle), and Sleipnir, Odin’s 8-legged horse.

It is now generally accepted that he is not a late invention of the Norse poets but an ancient figure descended from a common Indo-European prototype and as such, Loki’s origins are particularly complex. He has been compared to a number of European and other mythological figures, most notably the Trickster of Native American mythology.

Loki

As the myths play out, the playful Loki gives way to a cruel predator, hostile to the gods. He not only guides the mistletoe dart that kills Balder but stands in his way on his return from Hel (the citadel of Niflheim). His accusations against the gods at Aegir’s feast (Myth 30) are vicious. He is an agent of destruction causing earthquakes. And when he breaks loose at Ragnarok, Loki reveals his true colors; he is no less evil than his three appalling children, the serpent Jormungand, the wolf Fenrir and the half-dead, half-alive Hel (Myth 7), and he leads the giants and monsters into battle against the gods and heros.

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