Jormungand (pronounced “YOUR-mun-gand;” Old Norse Jörmungandr, “Great Beast”)
In Norse mythology, Jormungand is one of the three children of the god Lokiand the giantess Angrboda.The gods were well aware that this monster was growing fast and that it would one day bring much evil upon gods and men. So Odindeemed it advisable to render it harmless. He threw the serpent in the ocean that surrounds the earth, but the monster had grown to such an enormous size that it easily spans the entire world, hence the name Midgard Serpent. It lies deep in the ocean where it bites itself in its tail, and all mankind is caught within his coils.
Jormungand was the second eldest child between Loki 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 own tail.
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.
(Encyclopedia Mythica, vikingage.com,)
Fenrir (or Fenris) is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf. He is the eldest child of Lokiand the giantess Angrboda. The gods learned of a prophecy which stated that the wolf and his family would one day be responsible for the destruction of the world. They caught the wolf and locked him in a cage. Only the god of war, Tyr, dared to feed and take care of the wolf.
When he was still a pup they had nothing to fear, but when the gods saw one day how he had grown, they decided to render him harmless. However, none of the gods had enough courage to face the gigantic wolf. Instead, they tried to trick him. They said the wolf was weak and could never break free when he was chained. Fenrir accepted the challenge and let the gods chain him. Unfortunately, he was so immensely strong that he managed to break the strongest fetters as if they were cobwebs.
After that, the gods saw only one alternative left: a magic chain. They ordered the dwarves to make something so strong that it could hold the wolf. The result was a soft, thin ribbon: Gleipnir. It was incredibly strong, despite what its size and appearance might suggest. The ribbon was fashioned of six strange elements: the footstep of a cat; the roots of a mountain; a woman’s beard; the breath of fishes; the sinews of a bear; and a bird’s spittle.
The gods tried to trick the wolf again, only this time Fenrir was less eager to show his strength. He saw how thin the chain was, and said that was no pride in breaking such a weak chain. Eventually, though, he agreed, thinking that otherwise his strength and courage would be doubted. Suspecting treachery however, he in turn asked the gods for a token of good will: one of them had to put a hand between his jaws. The gods were not overly eager to do this, knowing what they could expect. Finally, only Tyr agreed, and the gods chained the wolf with Gleipnir. No matter how hard Fenrir struggled, he could not break free from this thin ribbon. In revenge, he bit off Tyr’s hand.
Being very pleased with themselves, the gods carried Fenrir off and chained him to a rock (called Gioll) a mile down into the earth. They put a sword between his jaws to prevent him from biting. On the day of Ragnarok, Fenrir will break his chains and join the giants in their battle against the gods. He will seek out Odinand devour him. Vidar, Odin’s son, will avenge his father by killing the wolf.
Then is fulfilled Hlín’s
when Óðinn goes
to fight with the wolf,
and Beli’s slayer,
bright, against Surtr.
Then shall Frigg’s
sweet friend fall.
( Encyclopedia Mythica, Poetic Edda, )
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