The Evil to Come
By: Eric A. Anderson
Fenrir was the eldest of three children between Loki and the giantess
Angrboda. Fenrir took the form of a wolf while his younger brother Jormungand
took the form of a serpent and his younger sister Hel was half alive and
half dead. The gods feared them all and captured them in middle of the night
from Angrboda's hall. The gods then brought the three monsters back to Asgard
where they threw Jormungand into the ocean and Hel into Niflheim where she
rules until Ragnarok. They kept Fenrir in Asgard so that they might keep
an eye on him.
Fenrir grew so large and fierce that only Tyr was brave enough to feed him. After some time the gods decided to bind Fenrir, as killing was forbidden in Asgard. So they made a chain of iron links called Læding and challenged Fenrir to be bound by it to see if he was stronger than the chain. Fenrir took the challenge and broke the bonds with no problem.
The gods then quickly made another chain from larger links, larger than even anchor chains, and they called it Dromi. The gods then took it to Fenrir and challenged him to break that chain. He too broke it with no problem, for he had grown even stronger since his breaking of Læding. The gods where truly frightened after Fenrir broke Dromi that Odin sent Frey's servant Skirnir out into the nine worlds to find someone to make a chain strong enough to bind the giant wolf.
Skirnir then went to the land of the dwarfs in Svartalfheim where they made a silk rope called Gleipnir. Gleipnir was made from the sound a cat makes when it moves, a woman's beard, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish and a birds spittle. That is why these things are very rare in the world today.
Skirnir then returned to Asgard with the silk rope and gave it to Odin, where he and a group of gods invited Fenrir to break it on the island of Lyngvi in middle of Lake Amsvartnir. Fenrir took the challenge but when he saw Gleipnir, he suspected that magic was involved and hesitated until Tyr offered to place his right hand into Fenrir's mouth. Fenrir was bound, but when he could not break the rope, he bit Tyr's hand off. The gods then took a chain called Gelgja and tied it to Gleipnir, then tied Gelgja to a boulder called Gjoll and drove Gjoll one mile into the earth. After that was done, they placed an even larger boulder called Thviti on top of Gjoll. The gods then gaged Fenrir with a sword, it's tip on the roof of Fenrir's mouth and the hilt on his lower jaw and that is where he will be until Ragnarok.
When Ragnarok comes, Fenrir's chain will break, and he will join his father, brother, sister and the giants in the mighty battle that will end the nine worlds. Fenrir and Odin will be the first to engage into battle, but in the end he will swallow Odin, killing the Allfather. Odin's son Vidar will then come forward to tear Fenrir apart avenging his father and killing the wolf son of Loki.
He was also called the Fenris Wolf.
Jormungand was the second eldest child between Loki the Trickster and
the giantess Angrboda. Kidnapped by the gods, he was cast into the waters
that surround Midgard. There he laid until he grew so large that he ate
large whales and was able to wrap himself around the world and bite his
Thor and Jormungand would meet three times, the first time when Thor, Loki and two human servants traveled into Jotunheim, the land of the giants, and to the great hall of Utgard. There, the giant master of the hall, Utgard-Loki, put the travelers to great tests, one of which was for Thor to pick up his cat. Thor was only able to just lift the cats foot off the ground before admitting defeat to the task. It was later revealed to Thor, Loki and the others that this was only a magic trick, and that the cat was really Jormungand the Midgard Serpent.
The second time that Thor and Jormungand met was when Thor and Tyr traveled to the giant Hymir hall to get a large cauldron to brew ale for the gods. While there, Hymir and Thor went out fishing for food. Thor killed Hymir's prize bull to use it's head for bait. Thor cast his bull headed line into the water where Jormungand took the bait and bit hard onto the bulls head. Thor dragged the mighty serpent up and out of the water where he towered over the boat that Thor and Hymir where using. Thor then grabbed his hammer Mjollnir and threw it at the head of Jormungand, but Hymir cut the line because he was afraid of the World Serpent, and Jormungand sank back into the water before the hammer hit, leaving a very angry Thor.
The last time Thor and Jormungand would meet is at the time of Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. Jormundgand will join up with his father Loki, his brother the Fenrir Wolf, his sister Hel and her army of dead among others. Thor and Jormungand will battle as Thor will finally throw his hammer at Jormungand, smashing his head and killing him. But before the World Serpent dies, he will drop his poison on Thor, where he will only take nine steps back before he too dies.
Hel was the youngest of three children between Loki and the giantess Angroboda.
When the gods kidnapped all three children, Hel was cast into Nifilheim
to look over the dishonored dead, or those that died of illness or old age,
sharing whatever food she had with them.
It was in Nifilheim that she built her hall called Eljudnir, and within she had a manservant and maidservant named Ganglati and Ganglot, who's name means tardy. They where so slow that no one could tell that they where moving. On her table sat Hel's plate which was called Hunger, her knife which was called Famine. In her hall was her bed named Sick Bed and her bed hangings called Glimmering Misfortune.
Hel herself was very odd, yet horrifying looking monster. Half of her face was lovely and fair to look at, taking after her father, while the other half was ugly and misshapen like her mother. From her waist up her skin was pink and alive while from her waist down it was dead and rotting
When the fair god Balder and his wife Nanna died, they went to Hel's hall. Nine days later, Balders brother Hermod rode Sleipnir to Nifilheim and spent the night with his brother. The next day Hermod met with Hel and express the grief the gods had because of Balders death, and if she would let Balder go back to the living world. Hel agreed to let Balder go if everyone in the nine worlds truly did grieve him. Hermod returned to the living world and informed the gods of the agreement. The gods managed to get all things in the nine worlds to grieve, except for one giantess named Thokk, who was really Hel's father Loki in disguise. Because of Loki's act, Balder would remain in Nifilheim until Ragnarok.
Hel will make her last stand at the twilight of the gods when she brings her hoard of dead up and out of Nifilheim to join her father and the other giants in the final battle of Ragnarok. Unlike her brothers Fenrir the Wolf and Jormungand the Serpent, we do not know how she will meet her doom on the field of Vigrid.
Other names she was known by is Hell and Hella. She was also described as being half black as night, and half white as snow in some accounts.
* * * * *
© 1996 Eric Anderson