Hrodvitnir - Theories

Theories

In reference to Fenrir's presentation in the Prose Edda, Andy Orchard theorizes that "the hound (or wolf)" Garmr, Sköll, and Hati Hróðvitnisson were originally simply all Fenrir, stating that "Snorri, characteristically, is careful to make distinctions, naming the wolves who devour the sun and moon as Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson respectively, and describing an encounter between Garm and Týr (who, one would have thought, might like to get his hand on Fenrir) at Ragnarök."

John Lindow says that it is unclear why the gods decide to raise Fenrir as opposed to his siblings Hel and Jörmungandr in Gylfaginning chapter 35, theorizing that it may be "because Odin had a connection with wolves? Because Loki was Odin's blood brother?" Referring to the same chapter, Lindow comments that neither of the phrases that Fenrir's binding result in have left any other traces. Lindow compares Fenrir's role to his father Loki and Fenrir's brother Jörmungandr, in that they all spend time with the gods, are bound or cast out by them, return "at the end of the current mythic order to destroy them, only to be destroyed himself as a younger generation of gods, one of them his slayer, survives into the new world order."

Indo-European parallels have been proposed between myths of Fenrir and the Persian demon Ahriman. The Yashts refer to a story where Taxma Urupi rode Angra Mainyu as a horse for thirty years. An elaboration of this allusion is found only in a late Parsi commentary. The ruler Taxmoruw (Taxma Urupi) managed to lasso Ahriman (Angra Mainyu) and keep him tied up while taking him for a ride three times a day. After thirty years Ahriman outwitted and swallowed Taxmoruw. In a sexual encounter with Ahriman, Jamshid, Taxmoruw's brother, inserted his hand into Ahriman's anus and pulled out his brother's corpse. His hand withered from contact with the diabolic innards. The suggested parallels with Fenrir myths are the binding of an evil being by a ruler figure and the subsequent swallowing of the ruler figure by the evil being (Odin and Fenrir), trickery involving the thrusting of a hand into a monster's orifice and the affliction of the inserted limb (Týr and Fenrir).

Ethologist Dr. Valerius Geist of the University of Calgary, Alberta wrote that Fenrir's maiming and ultimate killing of Odin, who had previously nurtured him, was likely based on true experiences of wolf-behaviour, seeing as wolves are genetically encoded to rise up the pack hierarchy and have on occasion been recorded to rebel against and kill their parents. Geist states that "apparently, even the ancients knew that wolves may turn on their parents and siblings and kill them."

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