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A depiction of Garmr beside Hel, who is holding a staff, by Johannes Gehrts.

Garmr or Garm is a dog in Norse mythology sometimes seen as a hellhound, comparable to Cerberus.

Quotes

  • Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning assigns him a role in Ragnarök:
Then shall the dog Garmr be loosed, which is bound before Gnipa's Cave
he is the greatest monster; he shall do battle with Týr, and each become the other's slayer. - Brodeur's translation
  • The Eddic Poem Grímnismál mentions Garmr:
The best of trees | must Yggdrasil be,
Skithblathnir best of boats;
Of all the gods | is Othin the greatest,
And Sleipnir the best of steeds;
Bifrost of bridges, | Bragi of skalds,
Hobrok of hawks, | and Garm of hounds. - Bellows' translation
  • One of the refrains of Völuspá uses Garmr's howling to herald the coming of Ragnarök.
Now Garm howls loud | before Gnipahellir,
The fetters will burst, | and the wolf run free;
Much do I know, | and more can see
Of the fate of the gods, | the mighty in fight. - Bellows' translation
  • After the first occurrence of this refrain the Fimbulwinter is related; the second occurrence is succeeded by the invasion of Jotun in the world of gods; after the last occurrence, the rise of a new and better world is described.

Baldrs draumar describes a journey which Odin makes to Hel. Along the way he meets a dog.

Then Othin rose, | the enchanter old,
And the saddle he laid | on Sleipnir's back;
Thence rode he down | to Niflhel deep,
And the hound he met | that came from hell.
Bloody he was | on his breast before,
At the father of magic | he howled from afar;
Forward rode Othin, | the earth resounded
Till the house so high | of Hel he reached. Bellows' translation

This dog is sometimes assumed to be Garmr. Alternatively, Garmr is sometimes assumed to be identical to Fenrisulfr. In either case it is often suggested that Snorri invented the battle between Garmr and Týr, since it is not mentioned in the surviving poetry.

References

  • Bellows, Henry Adams (trans.). 1923. The poetic Edda. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.
  • Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist (trans.). 1916. Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.
  • Orchard, Andy. 2002. Cassell's dictionary of Norse myth & legend. London: Cassell. First published: 1997. ISBN 0-304-36385-5.
  • Simek, Rudolf. 1996. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by Angela Hall. First published by Alfred Kröner Verlang in 1984. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer. ISBN 0-85991-513-1.