Fenrir, Hati, Skoll: Three Mighty Wolves in Norse Mythology
Fenrir was a famous name in Norse mythology. What many might not know is that, there were two more wolves in Norse myth who were nearly that powerful. In this blog post, we discuss their origin and their power in the myth.
Fenrir the Wolf
Fenrir was the son of Loki and the giantess Angrboda who brought only grief and sorrow to those she wanted to suffer. Seemingly, Fenrir's parents did not do anything good, generally. He had some other powerful siblings as well: Jormungandr and Hel - both of whom had special roles in Norse myth.
Fenrir was born by Angrboda but he was raised by Norse gods. As Odin learnt of what Fenrir would be capable to do in the future, he decided to bring Fenrir to Asgard. But what the gods didn't think of was Fenrir grew up at an incredible speed.
He grew up to the size that gods could no longer keep him running around Asgard. They decided to bind them to a rock with a magical chain with a hope of keeping him there forever. But of course, Fenrir broke himself free. One part of his power was revealed here.
The magical chain was undoubtedly the best chain in the cosmos because it was made by the dwarves (in case you miss it, dwarves made Mjolnir hammer and Gungnir spear of Odin). But Fenrir could break it to join Ragnarok with his father.
What he did in Ragnarok was more than terrible. Maybe the jotun side of Fenrir was finally revealed here too. He would kill anything that dared to appear in his path. He stretched his jaws from sky to earth swallowing whatever in his sight. No excuse, no mercy.
And the final point was when he swallowed Odin. That's what the prophecy said for the fate of Odin the Allfather. Wolf swallowed the High One followed by the collapse of Norse Pantheon. We didn't know exactly how Fenrir did it. But things happened Norse myth.
Hati and Skoll
From what we have from surviving sources, Norse mythology had it that Fenrir had two sons - Skoll and Hati (treachery and mock)
The identity of the wolves' mother remained a mystery. Some said it was Angrboda who gave birth to Hati and Skoll (yes, with Fenrir - her own son). Some claimed that it was a giantess who had the appearance of a wolf. But whatever sources we have, we are sure who could be the mother of these powerful wolves.
In Norse mythology, Hati and Skoll spent everyday chasing after the sun and the moon. But it was not until Ragnarok that they managed to chase down the two beautiful stars.
Then they devoured the Sun and the Moon sending the whole cosmos into blackness. Norse cosmos lost both shining stars, nothing could be seen, and Surtr the fire giant even set the whole cosmos on fire.
Wolf symbolism in modern time
In the past, wolf might symbolise something terrible - death, destruction, greed, you name it. But the table has turned in modern time. When we look at things through various lens, we have a different viewpoint and we all have to agree that they all make sense.
Fenrir had his reason to trigger off Ragnarok. It is us who say that Fenrir revealed himself as a villain jotunn but we haven't gone through what Fenrir had been through. After all, he was just a pup when he was brought to Asgard. He would not have done anything harm if the gods had not mistreated him in Asgard.
Wolf symbolism has changed from something negative into something complicated and neutral. It now presents the life cycle of everything: birth - growth - demise - something new incoming. It is forever the natural life cycle: when something has reached its climax, it has to go down and demise. And so did the Norse Pantheon. Fenrir only contributed to speed up this process, making sure that a new generation would come. And so did Hati and Skoll.