There must be no creature in the cosmos that can give the controversial senses as the wolf can, the sense of both danger and security, betrayal and loyalty. Maybe because of this complexity, the wolf has suffered a lot. In Norse mythology, the wolf and the wolf symbol evoke many emotions and still gain much reputation for their importance in the myth.
The Symbol of Chaos and Destruction
In Norse mythology, the most notorious villain must be Fenrir the Wolf. Fenrir was a monstrous wolf who was prophecised to swallow Odin in the event of Ragnarok. Fenrir was a pure giant in the myth, being the son of a giant couple Loki and Angrboda. This made Fenrir become the siblings of other notorious figures Jormungand Midgard Serpent and Hel the queen of Helheim, the world of the dead.
Wolf Fenrir binding
As the Norse gods knew that Fenrir would trigger off Ragnarok, they decided to raise Fenrir themselves in Asgard. But the little pup grew up at so incredible a speed that the gods realized that there should be something that prevented the wolf from roaming. They tricked Fenrir into the binding with a magical chain. For Fenrir to fall for the gods’ trick, one thing had been made a sacrifice, the hand of Tyr God of Justice and Honor. After being bound, Fenrir was banished to a place where he lay harmless and waited for the days of Ragnarok to come.
During the event of Ragnarok, Fenrir and his father, Loki, led the army of the giant to come to Asgard and battle against the Norse gods.
The Symbol of Darkness
Other famous wolves that came from Norse mythology were Hati and Skoll. This pair of wolves was the children of Loki. In Old Norse, Hati meant "The One Who Hates" while Skoll meant "The One Who Mocks". The most famous story revolved around them was their chasing after the Sun and the Moon. But it was not until the days of Ragnarok that Hati and Skoll successfully purchased their preys and the earth darkened and collapsed. That was the reason why wolves in Norse mythology were the emblem of the darkness.
The depiction of Hati and Skoll
The Symbol of Odin’s Companions
In many depictions, we might catch sight of Odin sitting on his High Throne holding his Gungnir weapon and a pair of wolves just lying below his feet. Odin’s pair of wolves were known as Geri and Freki, both meaning “the ravenous”. In the myth, Odin often gave all of his food to his wolves and what he chose for himself was only wine, enough for his food and drink. Though there were few surviving materials about Geri and Freki, the Vikings often held the symbol of wolves in high esteem because they believed it was the symbol of Odin and his presence.
Wolves as Odin's constant companions
Wolf symbol was Meaningful
As mentioned above, wolf must be the only creature in the cosmos that is viewed with many controversies. As for Fenrir, though many might regard Fenrir as the God of Destruction, Fenrir was also the Creator of the new world. Yes, he ignited the flames of Ragnarok that engufted the world into the darkness. But because of that, a new world was created. If we change the lens, we might feel the deeds of Fenrir and Loki were the revenge attacks they took upon those who once lied and hurt them. Moreover, nobody could deny the fact that Fenrir was very clever, powerful, and somehow family-oriented.
Thereby, in the modern sense, Fenrir does not play the villain only. He is, in fact, a complicated figure just like his father, Loki. Overall, Fenrir, Geki, and Freki have become the symbol of strength, destruction and creation, and the symbol of Odin as well. And what qualities the wolf presents in common overlaps what Fenrir and Odin’s wolves showed in the myth: loyalty, fierce spirit, and desire for freedom.