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30+ Fenrir Tattoo Ideas

idées de tatouage Fénrir

The wolf is a powerful creature in nature and mythological tales from around the world, making it one of the most popular motifs for those looking to get inked.

Fans of Norse mythology have several significant wolves to choose from, such as Odin’s faithful companions Geki and Freki, or Hati and Skoll, destined to chase the sun and the moon until the end of the world.

By far the most popular, however, is Fenrir, the infamous wolf feared by the gods themselves (and rightfully so).

The monstrous beast is the offspring of the god Loki and the giantess (or jötunn) Angrboða.

It is prophesied to kill Odin during Ragnarök, the end of the world.

Fenrir appears in old Norse texts from the 13th century, such as the Edda and Heimskringla, and has endured in popular culture, appearing in the Marvel blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok” and inspiring characters in the fantasy novel series of JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, and CS Lewis.

Alongside Odin’s knot tattoos and Yggdrasil tattoos (the Tree of Life), Fenrir is one of the most popular modern tattoos inspired by Norse mythology.

Meaning of Fenrir Tattoo

To understand the different meanings that Fenrir tattoos can have, we need to grasp the history behind the mythological creature.

Legend has it that the Aesir gods raised Fenrir from a small pup to the massive wolf he became to prevent him from wreaking havoc across the nine realms.

The gods grew concerned when they saw how quickly Fenrir was growing and decided they needed to chain him up.

Their first two attempts were unsuccessful as Fenrir easily broke free, and for their third, they sought the help of the dwarves to forge the strongest chains in existence.

Fenrir was told that it was all a game to test his strength, but he was suspicious and would only proceed if one of the gods placed their hand in his mouth as a sign of trust.

The god of war, Tyr, stepped forward, knowing it would almost certainly mean the loss of his hand.

When Fenrir was unable to break free, he clamped his jaws shut, and Tyr’s hand was torn from his wrist.

Fenrir’s furious howls gave rise to a frothy river called “Expectation.”

When Ragnarök arrives, it is said that Fenrir will break free and devour the world with his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw in the sky.

As a symbol, Fenrir tattoos represent strength and power.

After all, this is a creature that even the gods feared and is destined to literally devour the world.

Depending on the tattoo style, Fenrir can also be used to symbolize the struggle against adversity and oppression, breaking the world’s strongest chains.

A Fenrir tattoo can also symbolize fate: in mythology, he must fulfill the prophecy of ending the world and killing Odin, before being avenged by Odin’s son, Víðarr.

Another meaning of a Fenrir tattoo is triumphant success.

In a chapter of the book “Edda,” a figure enthroned declares that “breaking Leyding” and “striking Dromi” have become sayings for achieving something with great effort, referring to the first two chains with which the gods tried to bind Fenrir.

Manteau fausse fourrure viking

Manteau en fausse fourrure Viking

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Key Themes in Fenrir Tattoos

There are several themes that we see in many Fenrir tattoos.

For the most part, these are based on the mythology itself, with Fenrir as the central subject posed alongside key gods and creatures from Old Norse tales.

Other designs incorporate runes into the tattoo, but it’s always a good idea to consult an expert when adding characters and symbols from another alphabet to ensure there are no errors or mistranslations.

Fenrir vs. Odin Tattoos

One of the most common themes for a Fenrir tattoo sees the giant wolf facing off against the All-Father himself.

According to Norse mythology, Fenrir is destined to kill Odin during Ragnarök, making it a powerful tattoo.

The iconic moment will be immediately recognizable to other Viking enthusiasts, and the contrast between the man and the beast is sure to create a dramatic scene, with Odin wielding his mighty spear Gungnir.

Fenrir vs. Odin Tattoo
Fenrir vs. Odin Tattoo

Fenrir Head Tattoo

Wolf head tattoos have always been a popular choice given the majestic appearance of the animal facing forward or howling at the moon.

With a Fenrir tattoo, you have a chance to get a bit more creative by depicting the beast breaking free from its chains or brandishing the sword that once held its jaws open.

Fenrir Head Tattoo

You might be tempted to go boldly, but some of our favorite designs are on the minimalist side and incorporate Scandinavian runes into the pattern.

Fenrir Head Tattoo

Skoll and Hati Tattoos

You can’t talk about Fenrir without mentioning that he is a father.

Skoll and Hati are Fenrir’s children, and in the Eddic poem “Völuspá,” they are the wolves that devour the sun and bring about the downfall of the cosmos.

They are rarely discussed, except for the fact that one chases the sun while the other chases the moon.

This makes for some very interesting tattoo designs that share similarities with the Chinese Yin and Yang.

Other designs share similarities with the Greek three-headed hellhound Cerberus, with Fenrir as the central head and Skoll and Hati on each side.

Skoll and Hati Tattoo
Skoll and Hati Tattoo
Skoll and Hati Tattoo

Tyr and Fenrir Tattoo

As we learned earlier, Tyr is a character who plays a key role in Fenrir’s story, being the only god courageous enough to sacrifice his hand to imprison him.

Tyr also has deeper ties to the wolf, as he was the god tasked with raising it.

A tattoo of a young Fenrir side by side with Tyr would make an interesting design.

For something a bit more graphic, we recommend depicting the scene of Fenrir’s binding with the god of war’s hand between the wolf’s jaws.

Tyr and Fenrir Tattoo
Tyr and Fenrir Tattoo
Tyr and Fenrir Tattoo
Tyr and Fenrir Tattoo
Tyr and Fenrir Tattoo

Fenrir Tattoo : Body Placement

With a few design choices in mind, it’s time to decide where on your body you want to get your Fenrir tattoo.

There are no strict rules for body placement here, as there isn’t much scientific evidence to suggest that many Vikings had tattoos.

However, according to a 10th-century traveler’s account, Ibn Fadlan, the Norsemen were “tattooed from their fingertips to their neck,” so the hand could be a good starting point.

Fenrir Hand Tattoos

Some of the best Fenrir hand tattoos we’ve seen are designed in a simple side profile style that mimics traditional Middle Ages illustrations.

Popular themes for hand tattoos include Fenrir battling Odin and wielding the sword that once held his jaws open when the gods trapped him.

Not only will a hand tattoo be clearly visible when you channel your inner Viking and wield an axe, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to get some runic symbols tattooed on your knuckles.

Make sure you’re certain before getting a hand tattoo.

Remember that it will always be visible, and be aware that some employers consider them unprofessional, which could influence their decision in job interviews.

Fenrir Hand Tattoo
Fenrir Hand Tattoo

Fenrir Forearm Tattoo

The forearm is always a good place to start if you’re new to tattooing, as it’s a relatively low-pain area.

It’s also incredibly easy for your tattoo artist to reach, making it a perfect canvas for your Fenrir tattoo.

Due to the length of the area, we think a design that includes Fenrir breaking free from his chains is an excellent choice for a forearm tattoo.

If you want to go with something truly ironic, this would be the perfect spot for a Fenrir and Tyr tattoo.

Fenrir Forearm Tattoo
Fenrir Forearm Tattoo
Fenrir Forearm Tattoo

Fenrir Sleeve Tattoo

Sleeve tattoos are a significant commitment, not to mention quite painful as well, so make sure you know what you’re getting into first.

We think Fenrir is an excellent choice for a Norse-themed sleeve; since he’s known as a massive creature, why not go all out and have the wolf wrapping the entire length of your limb?

There’s plenty of room for imagination here, as you have a whole cast of Norse gods and beasts to embellish your sleeve.

Make sure to check with your tattoo artist to see what ideas they have for a Fenrir sleeve.

Fenrir Tattoo Sleeve
Fenrir Tattoo Sleeve
Fenrir Tattoo Sleeve

Fenrir Tattoo Ideas

Looking for inspiration for your Fenrir tattoo?

We have some ideas for you.

While it’s a good idea to incorporate elements of Viking artwork into your tattoo design, there are no defined or traditional styles when it comes to Fenrir tattoos, meaning you’re free to experiment as you wish.

Sometimes the simplest ideas make the best tattoos.

There’s no doubt that Fenrir, as the original big bad wolf of Norse mythology, looks particularly menacing with his wide jaws and snarling in a back or shoulder tattoo.

To truly pay homage to the myth, have your design feature a sword in his mouth, as that’s how his chains were attached when the Aesir gods imprisoned him.

According to different interpretations of the myth, it’s either Fenrir or Skoll and Hati who devour the sun during Ragnarök.

Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo

Nordic Fenrir Tattoo

Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo
Fenrir Tattoo

Conclusion

A Fenrir design is a strong choice for your first Viking tattoo, representing power and retribution against those who would try to hold you back.

The History Of The Viking Knife

The History of the Viking Knife

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