Fáfnir Le Dragon de la Mythologie Nordique

Fáfnir: The Dragon of Norse Mythology

Great Hobbit fans will no doubt be interested. Indeed, the dragon Fáfnir present in Norse mythology has indeed inspired Tolkien's dragon Smaug in his bestselling books. But precisely, do you really know the Scandinavian legend told to each little Viking for centuries?

Who is the dragon Fafnir?

Who is the dragon Fafnir

Fáfnir is a great dragon, if not a great serpent. But that is not his birth appearance. Indeed, according to Norse legends, Fáfnir was actually a dwarf , long before he was transformed. The one who has two brothers -Otr and Regin- is the son of King Hreidmar. His story is told for the first time in the Poetic Edda , and more precisely in the Reginsmal.

The true story of Fafnir and his curse

Fafnir's story

Hreidmar was an extremely wealthy dwarf king . His house, made by his son Regin who was a master blacksmith, is made of gold and is adorned with precious stones. His second son, Fáfnir, transformed himself into a dragon to guard and protect the abode . And his third son, Otr, went out to catch fish for the family in the form of an otter.

But then one fine day, while they were on a trip, the gods Odin , Loki and Hoenir kill Otr while he is out fishing . When they arrived at the king's house, Loki couldn't help showing off the nice fur he had won, unaware that it was his son of course. All the dwarves understood then what had been the fate of Otr. Hreimdar, Regin and Fáfnir immediately seized the deceitful god to demand compensation, in exchange for the life he had just taken from an innocent. What they demanded was clear: the equivalent of Otr's ​​weight in gold.

The god Loki remembered seeing a huge treasure in the same lake where he found the dwarf transformed into an otter. But the latter was guarded by another dwarf , also transformed into a pike this time. To save the god Loki, the one who bore the first name of Andvari agreed to put the treasure in his hands but on one condition: to keep the gold ring of the name of Andvaranaut. Considering it the finest object in the treasure, Loki refused. Andvari therefore curses the ring, which will bring bad luck to whoever wears it .

Back at the king, Loki deposited the treasure and handed the ring to the dwarf, warning him of the curse . Whatever. The king was so attracted to gold that he decided to keep it for himself. Having become greedy for treasure, Regin and Fafnir killed their father to possess all his gold. Then Fáfnir decided not to share this with his brother. So he turned into a dragon and chased Regin from the family estate, to guard the treasure that had become his day and night.

How did Fafnir die?

Death Fafnir Sigurd

It is Sigurd , great hero of Norse mythology, who comes to kill Fáfnir . After running away from his brother, Regin established himself as a master blacksmith for a Danish king. There, the dwarf was also responsible for raising the latter's son, Sigurd. For a long time, he hires him and prepares him to go and avenge him and kill his brother. So for that, Regin makes his adopted son a sword of incredible strength .

Armed with the latter, Sigurd leaves for the territory of the dragon and digs a hole not far from the water point where Fáfnir drinks. His plan is simple: hide there and stab the dragon in the stomach as soon as it approaches. But as Sigurd prepares, the god Odin appears and advises him to dig many holes, so that the dragon's blood can flow out without drowning it. What he did. When Fáfnir finally arrived , the hero thrust the sword into his body as planned, and mortally wounded him .

In full agony, the dragon asked Sigurd to reveal his identity and tell him who had sent him. He then realized that his brother, Regin, was behind it all . He warned Sigurd that anyone who possessed the gold, and especially the ring , would bring misfortune and meet a fatal outcome. But the hero did not listen to him.

Regin, who slowly approached as Sigurd completed his task, then demanded that he cook Fáfnir's heart for him to eat . While cooking the latter, Sigurd touched it and licked his finger. In just an instant, Sigurd understood the language of the birds and conversed with Odin's two crows, who revealed to him Regin's diabolical plan : to kill him . Sigurd then cut off the dwarf's head with his sword, and tasted the whole dragon's heart before leaving with the treasure, the ring, ... and the curse .

The moral of the legend of Fáfnir

The legend of Fáfnir carries a real moral for the vikings . She indeed warns against greed and its ravages, but also on the dangerous way in which this defect can spread from father to son . The foundation of Scandinavian culture is such that gold was to be used to build bonds between people, and to develop communities in which everyone could flourish.

Fáfnir and his connection to The Lord of the Rings

Smaug Lord of the Rings

To some, the legend of Fáfnir may seem familiar . And for good reason, she is the very inspiration of Tolkien, for his literary masterpiece The Lord of the Rings . In both the book and the film, the dragon Smaug can be seen as the equivalent of Fáfnir . And Bilbo (or Turin) -who travels with a party of dwarves- as the equivalent of Sigurd .

Indeed, the exchange between Bilbo and Smaug strangely resembles that of Sigurd and Fáfnir. Similarly, Tolkien's dragon is slain in the same way as one in Norse mythology: pierced by a sword in its belly.

Older Post Back to Blog Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.