Fenrir was the first-born offspring of Loki – the god of trickery – and the giant Angrboda, their other foul creations being Hel and Jormungand. All their children were to play a part in the twilight of the gods, but it was Fenrir who was most feared, in the form of a gigantic ferocious wolf, who would eventually feast on Odin at the end of times.
Fenrir was at first free to roam around Asgard, but he grew bigger and bigger as time passed. The gods decided that it would be wise to bind him, after all Odin had been warned by Urd, Verdandi and Skuld that Fenrir would be his undoing.
First they made a vast iron chain named Laeding, hoping to trick Fenrir, they approached him and asked if he thought that he were as strong as the chain. He answered that he was much stronger, and let the gods bind him, only to break through the links as though they were butter.
Next the gods forged another chain, which they named Dromi, twice as strong as the first chain. They again approached Fenrir, and told him that if he were able to break this chain then he would be famed throughout the nine realms for his strength. Again he allowed himself to be fettered, and again broke through the chain as though it were made from cobwebs.
In desperation the gods turned to the magical smith craft of the dwarves, who forged a chain from the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the sound of a cat moving, a woman’s beard, a bird’s spittle and the breath of a fish. This chain was named Gleipnir and was the strongest chain ever forged.
The gods took this chain to Fenrir, who refused to try and break such an obviously magical item. He was persuaded when Tyr – the god of war – agreed to place his hand in the wolf’s mouth as a token of their honesty. Fenrir could not break this chain and realising that he had been tricked bit Tyr’s hand off.
Fenrir thus bound, was tied by a longer chain to a gigantic boulder, which was driven a mile into the earth beneath a larger rock. The wolf’s gaping jaws were wedged open by a sword, and there he was set to remain until Ragnarock, when he would have his revenge on the gods, swallowing Odin whole. Fenrir was fated to be slain by Vidar, the son of Odin, in revenge for his father’s death.