This past spring semester I took a class dealing with shadow puppetry, and our midterm dealt with giving a performance of any story we wanted. Fenrir wanted me to do His Binding, and while I don’t have a video (trust me, you’re not missing something truly spectacular), I have a copy of the script I wrote for my narrator to read. I could have looked into Lore and tried to be as historically accurate as possible, but I honestly didn’t do that. It was probably 2 or 3 am when I initially wrote it, and I’m pretty sure Someone snuck in some seeds for upg.
I didn’t want to dump everything on my audience, who I correctly assumed weren’t already familiar with this story, and I also needed to build in ‘puppet moments’ as my professor termed them (actions and effects that are unique to using puppets; showing Fenrir growing, breaking the first two chains, and the creation of Gleipnir (tying a knot in a piece of tie line where the audience could see my hands) were the main puppet moments I was striving for).
[What I hold as personally applicable and accurate for my path may change aka this isn’t a permanently set in stone reflection of what I believe to have happened.]
The Jotuns Loki and Angrboda conceived and bore three children: Fenrir, the Wolf of Destruction; Hela, the Goddess of Death; and Jormundgand, the World Serpent. Some say the Norns could see in the strands of wyrd the roles these children would play at Ragnarok, which prompted the actions taken. Others say that the Aesir feared the potential power waiting in the children. Regardless, the three children were separated from Their parents and each Other.
Since Fenrir was a cub and still young enough to train, the Aesir brought Him back to Asgard. They hoped that Fenrir could be domesticated and join the wolf guardians of Asgard after proper training, but Someone would need to raise Him. The son of a frost giant and mountain giantess, Tyr, stepped forward to raise Fenrir. He was a loyal protector and the current Chieftain of Asgard, and He knew the self-control needed to keep pure Jotun-blood in check.
Tyr raised Fenrir to the best of His abilities and Fenrir trusted Tyr to not hurt Him. Tyr went through the lessons and the training, but as Fenrir grew, it was harder for Him to maintain self-control. Wyrd isn’t set in stone, but the Aesir couldn’t deny that Fenrir was heading in the direction of His stated destiny of Devourer.
They devised a game to trick Fenrir into being bound. A chain would be placed around the wolf and They would see if He was strong enough to break free. Fenrir had already broken the chain keeping Him confined within the hall, so He accepted the game on the grounds that it didn’t sound like a challenge. The strongest iron chain They could find called Laeding was placed around Him, and Fenrir broke it. The Aesir found another iron chain, twice as strong as before, called Dromi, and placed it around Fenrir. He broke this chain as well.
The Aesir let Fenrir go while They tried to find another chain. They asked Their ambassador to many of the other realms, Loki, if He could deliver a message to the dwarves. Loki knew it was better for His son to be restrained, but He would play no part in it. Another messenger was found, and He delivered the challenge to the dwarves to make a chain that cannot be broken. They combined six impossible ingredients together – the sound of a cat’s footfall, the beard of woman, the roots of a mountain, the nerves of a bear, breath from a fish, and the spit of a bird – into a chain called Gleipnir.
Gleipnir was thinner and lighter than the previous chains, so when the Aesir presented it to Fenrir, He became suspicious of Their game that had stopped being fun. He could tell that the chain had magic, and decided to get an agreement before letting Anyone put it on Him. Someone would have to put Their right hand inside His mouth, and if He could not break Gleipnir, They would free Him. No One would step forward because of the dishonor of being called an Oathbreaker.
Finally, Tyr stepped forward. He was the protector of His people, and Fenrir trusted that He wouldn’t hurt Him. Tyr placed His right hand inside Fenrir’s mouth, and Gleipnir was placed around Fenrir. Fenrir struggled and struggled, but He could not break the chain. The surrounding Aesir laughed and were relieved that Their plan had worked. Tyr was the only One Who didn’t laugh. It pained Him to betray the wolf He had raised and keep His hand inside Fenrir’s mouth instead of undoing the chain.
Fenrir’s self-control slipped away in the hurt and betrayal of the One Aesir Who had been kind and trusted Him. The anger of destruction burst forth, and Fenrir bit down. The Oath was paid in blood, and Fenrir was bound.