Fenrir and fam

TL, DR? Video at the end.
Could the concept of Dogmen really be referenced in Norse mythology?
Well, we know about the Berserkers– the bear warriors clad in bear skins,  the Úlfhéðnar– the wolf warriors and Odin’s special forces, and the Svinfylkings– the wild boar warriors.
But what about the actual characters from the mythology?

Fenrir, the Fenris wolf, Hróðvitnir- the famous wolf.
This is the most interesting character from Norse mythology for me. Of course.
Fenrir- the giant wolf, the monster destined to swallow Odin himself at Ragnarök.

Odin and Fenrir, Dorothy Hardy 1909

But guess what the actual name Fenrir means?
Fen is actually a type of wetland, a swampy area.
Fenrir means “the one who lives in the fen”
The wolf of the swamp. The swamp dog.
Are you beginning to see my interest in Fenrir?

Dogmen love swamps. Wet, marshy and somewhat stinky seems to be home to them.

But there’s more.

According to Norse mythology Fenrir is the son of Loki and Angrboða, but in other sources Angrboða is claimed to be a giant/troll woman in Járnviðr– the iron wood.
The iron wood is forest east of Midgard, inhabited by trolls and giants.
In the Völuspá section of the Poetic Edda we can read;

The giantess old | in Ironwood sat,
In the east, and bore | the brood of Fenrir;
Among these one | in monster’s guise
Was soon to steal | the sun from the sky.

There feeds he full | on the flesh of the dead,
And the home of the gods | he reddens with gore;
Dark grows the sun, | and in summer soon
Come mighty storms: | would you know yet more?

Völuspá means the prophecy of the Völva- the Seeress. It tells the story of the creation of the world and foretells it’s end- Ragnarök.

Snurri Sturluson refers to these verses in his Prose Edda and the section Gylfaginning;

A witch dwells to the east of Midgard, in the forest called Ironwood: in that wood dwell the troll-women, who are known as Ironwood-Women [járnviðjur]. The old witch bears many giants for sons, and all in the shape of wolves; and from this source are these wolves sprung. The saying runs thus: from this race shall come one that shall be mightiest of all, he that is named Moon-Hound [Mánagarmr]; he shall be filled with the flesh of all those men that die, and he shall swallow the moon.

This Mánagarmr also goes by another name- Hati.
Hati- the hater, the one who hates.
Something virtually every Dogman is said to seem to do.

Note the sentence; “The old witch bears many giants for sons, and all in the shape of wolves; and from this source are these wolves sprung.”
These wolves.
Not wolves in general, but these wolves- the giants in the shape of wolves.
Could we interpret this to refer to Dogmen?
Hybrids of a troll and a giant wolf?
And the phrases “There feeds he full | on the flesh of the dead”
and “he shall be filled with the flesh of all those men that die”,
do they refer to the Dogman’s penchant for graveyards?

About the whole moon swallowing business I’m thinking that Hati and his chasing of the moon, like his brother Sköll, meaning treachery,  chases the sun, could be referencing when it’s active.

Sköll and Hati chasing the sun and the moon. Willy Pagany 1920

Hati chasing the moon could possibly mean that he’s active while the moon is up- at night.
Wolves are mostly crepuscular, meaning they are mainly active at dawn and dusk, but they are also active at night.
That doesn’t mean they are completely inactive during the day, it’s just when they are the least active.
Dogmen are quite often seen in the daytime, but dawn and dusk does seem to be their most active time.
They could of course be nocturnal too, but since most people sleep at night, not too many night time sightings are reported.

Some people believe Hati/ Mánagarmr and also Sköll are just other names for Fenrir himself.

Fenrir, who started out as a cute little pup quite quickly grew much to large and ferocious, forcing the Aesir to come up with a way to bind him. Since he managed to easily break the beefiest chain they had the Aesir were forced to employ dwarf magic for this task.
The dwarves constructed a rope from the roots of the mountains, the sound of a cat’s footfall, the sinews of bears, the breath of fish, the beards of women and the spittle of birds, because we all know that’s how you make a really strong rope…
This rope, Gleipnir, was as thin as a silken ribbon but stronger than any chain.
When the Aesir then went to Fenrir with this rope, sort of challenging him “hey man, bet you can’t break this rope”, he was very suspicious there was magick in the rope. He only agreed to let them bind him with the it after Tyr offered to place his hand inside Fenrir’s mouth.
The rope proved very effective. Fenrir was bound and everyone rejoiced.
Except Tyr who got his hand bitten off…

Tyr and Fenrir by John Bauer 1911

Now there he stands, Fenrir, bound, in Jötunheimr, waiting for Ragnarök when he will break free and take his revenge on Odin, together with his siblings Jormungardr and Hel and his father Loki.

In the meantime, his brood is running around being gigantic troll/wolf hybrids…

7 thoughts on “Fenrir and fam”

  1. Your essay just made me feel dogman is even more real. I have always believed, I listen to a lot of accounts interviews but even tho this is supposed to be mythology. It it’s home.

  2. In 197 BC there was a battle between the Romans and the Macedonians on a range of hills known as Cynoscephalae, which even before the battle had a somewhat sinister reputation. Cynoscephalae means ‘Dog Heads’…

    1. Interesting.
      Do you have any information on why this hill was given this name?
      It’s spelled somewhat differently than the cynocephali we’re more used to. I wonder if the -s after cyno means plural maybe? And the -cephalae part… The word cephalus doesn’t seem to end with -ae in any declension form, but I guess it could have once, in ancient times. It’s probably plural too though so this hill is called “heads of dogs”.
      I looked at it on a map, it’s not dog-shaped anywhere as far as I can see, so I do wonder why it was given that name.
      Good find! Thank you for sharing!

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