the dictionary of norse mythology


WOLF Wolves were both friends and enemies of the gods in Norse mythology. They were compan-ions of the great god odin, for example, who fed geri and freki table scraps at valhalla. These wolves roamed throughout the great hall, walking among the souls of human warriors. humans in bat-tle, therefore, considered wolves to be signs of Odin's presence. A gray wolf on the battlefield was a positive sign to warriors, for they believed it would guide their spirits to Valhalla if they died in the battle.More often, however, wolves were vicious ene-mies of the gods. Wolves chased the sun and moon across the sky, threatening with growls and gnashing teeth to devour both, which they finally did at ragnarok, the ultimate conflict between the gods and the giants. The gods turned vali 1, a son of the trickster god, loki, into a wolf that then tore to pieces his brother narfi. The gods then con-verted Narfi's entrails to iron and used them to bind Loki.The most powerful wolf, the giant fenrir, also a son of Loki, threatened the very existence of the gods. They eventually succeeded in chaining him as a captive, but at Ragnarok he broke free. Scholars see the binding of Fenrir as a symbolic attempt to protect humankind from this enemy of nature.

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