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"An eye for an eye. A son for a son. For if ours must suffer needlessly to the end of his life, so too will his tormentor."
―Loki, on Fenrir's imprisonment by Odin.[src]-[m]

Fenrir was an Isu that was imprisoned by the Æsir Odin. Mythologized in Norse folklore as a legendary wolf and bastard son of the Asgardian Isu Loki and the jötnar Isu Aletheia, Fenrir was the eldest sibling of Jörmungandr and Hel.

Biography

Fenrir was one of the illegitimate children of Loki and his mistress Angrboða. Odin threatened to imprison Fenrir for what Loki claimed were "invented crimes" and, at some point before the Great Catastrophe, Odin followed through with his threats. Enraged by this, Loki wished to find a recourse to help his son, but Angrboða reminded him that they would have to explain themselves to Loki's wife Sigyn and she feared for the safety of the rest of their children if they went public with Odin's mistreatments. In retaliation for Fenrir's imprisonment, Loki poisoned Odin's son Baldr, leading to his death.[1]

Legacy and influence

Fenrir's depiction as a wolf in Norse mythology

Fenrir passed on to myth after the Great Catastrophe, where he was depicted as a great wolf, with his parentage intact. In myth, Odin and the Æsir feared him due to prophecy that he would kill Odin during the final battle of Ragnarök, before being killed in turn by Víðarr as he avenged his father.[2] When Fenrir was imprisoned by the gods who feared his prophesied wrath, he managed to bite off the arm of Týr, one of his captors.[3]

Due to the beast's legendary nature, Vikings like Eivor Varinsdottir[4] and Dag Nithisson[5] were known to curse oaths revolving around Fenrir. In England, a group of Viking children played a game of hide-and-hunt in which others hid while one, pretending to be Fenrir, "hunted" them. While visiting East Anglia, Eivor joined one group of children in their game and won due to her superior hiding skills.[6]

Centuries later in 2020, the Assassin Layla Hassan relived Eivor's genetic memories and modified her Animus to include two weapons named after the great wolf, the shield Fenrir's Bite and the dagger Fenrir's Incisor.[7]

Eivor's visions

During the 9th century, Eivor, the reincarnated Sage of the Isu Odin, consumed psychoactive mixtures prepared by her clan's resident oracle Valka, which sent her on hallucinogenic visions where she explored mythical realms from Norse cosmology as "Havi", subconsciously merging her Norse religious beliefs with the real genetic memories of Odin present within her DNA. Within these visions Fenrir played an important part, presented as a giant wolf.[8]

In these visions, Fenrir was born in a cave beneath a waterfall just south of the Heart of the Wood in Jötunheimr, an illegitimate child resulting from Loki's affair with his mistress Angrboða.[9] Fearing the fallout from his indiscretion, Loki broke into the Well of Urðr and hid Fenrir there, hoping he would be safe. However, Odin and Týr were alerted to the entry when Asgard's security failed and they found that the reflective solar lenses which locked the Well had been moved.[10]

Entering the Well to ensure that nothing was amiss, Odin came across the great wolf who appeared as a cub.[10] Fearing the Nornir's prophecy which foretold that his fate was to be killed by a wolf,[11] Odin came close to slaying Fenrir, only for Týr to intervene, arguing it was forbidden to take a life within the Well.[10]

Odin fighting Fenrir on the plateau

He then brought the rapidly maturing wolf back to Asgard, where it broke free and led Havi on a chase, ending with the two of them facing off on a plateau. Loki intervened before Havi could kill Fenrir, confessing that the wolf was in fact his son. Thus, Havi charged Týr to imprison Fenrir in Lyngvi.[12]

To bind the wolf, Odin had the dwarf Ivaldi craft for him the magical cord Gleipnir, which would hold Fenrir until Ragnarök.[13] Once he obtained Gleipnir, Odin visited Týr and Fenrir, and found that their treatment of the wolf had turned him cruel. Odin then convinced Fenrir and Týr, both under false pretenses, that he would place a tracking collar on Fenrir and allow him to roam free. To alleviate Fenrir's fears of betrayal, Týr stuck his right hand within the wolf's maw in order to appease his suspicions.[14]

Fenrir caught in Gleipnir.

Upon placing Gleipnir on Fenrir, however, the cord burned the wolf, causing him to bite down on Týr's hand and tear it off at the elbow. Fenrir attacked Odin, taunting him with the words of prophecy he feared. Odin questioned where the wolf had heard these, and Fenrir replied that it was a tale he told himself every night. Eventually besting the beast and tying him down with the cord, Odin left Fenrir confined and badly hurt.[14]

Behind the scenes

Fenrir is a mythological creature featured in Norse mythology as a large wolf, the son of Loki and Angrboða that was foretold to kill the god Odin during Ragnarök. In the Assassin's Creed series, Fenrir was first mentioned as a mythological being in the 2017 young adult novel Assassin's Creed: Last Descendants – Fate of the Gods, and was first presented as a character in the 2020 video game Assassin's Creed: Valhalla.

Etymology

Fenrir is Old Norse for fen-dweller.

Gallery

Appearances

References

  1. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaAnimus Anomalies
  2. Assassin's Creed: Last Descendants – Fate of the Gods – Chapter 12
  3. Echoes of Valhalla – Episode 1: The Sons of the Great North
  4. Assassin's Creed: RebellionThe Ravens' WoundThe Horn of the Valkyrie
  5. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Song of GloryIssue #01
  6. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaHide and Hunt
  7. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
  8. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaA Seer's Solace
  9. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaMistress of the Iron Wood
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaWell-Traveled
  11. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaView Above All
  12. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaExtended Family
  13. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaForging a Bond
  14. 14.0 14.1 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaBinding Fate

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