Tyr and Fenrir Picture

Pencils and some photoshop after freehand pencil sketch [link] no references for God and wolf, but I used a photo of mine as reference for the sky.

Tyr is the Norse God of war and patron deity of the old Saxons. He was also known as Ziu, Tiw, Tiwaz, and Saxnot, and may have been the primary sky god of the Germanic tribes before the rise of the Wotan/Wodanaz/Woden/Odin cult.
There are few images of Tyr around, and none I know that I really like. I was born on his day and wanted for a long time to draw him in a way that in my belief did him justice. The inspiration eventually came from a book I read in 2011, 'The Philosopher and the Wolf' by Mark Rowlands.
Tyr sacrificed his right hand, so that the wolf Fenrir, one of Loki's children, could be bound. I wanted to put emphasis on the Man/Wolf relationship.

While I really like Rowlands' book and most of his points of view, I have to say he totally misunderstood the whole mythology part about Tyr and the binding of Fenrir, which he interprets as a kind of betrayal - this part of the book really is on our perceptions on wolves and the bad treat they get in myth and folk tales.
Yet wolves to our Pagan ancestors were not just the beasts and monsters we encounter in the common and later fairy tales, they were animals or supernatural beings, killer or quarry, pet or enemy as in Odin's wolves and the ones who hunt the sun and the moon. It is Fate that decides which one is your friend or enemy, and Fate (or Wyrd or the Norns) that decreed that Fenrir would be Odin's doom in the last days when the last battle will be fought. Fate and its knowledge, a crucial theme in Pagan worldview and stories (Norse and Greek alike), is not very popular anymore in the West, and so the philosopher misses the point on this.
In the face of death and impending doom the hero shows his quality by staying true to himself and fulfilling his oaths and his duty - survival is not an option, Fate is inexorable. So in this story, Tyr does what he has to do - he probably knows that he cannot stop Ragnarök, and he may feel that he betrays his pet. Alas he is the only one who can accomplish it, and his oath to his comrades is older and more important than the compassion that he shares with Fenrir, who is feared by all other Aesir because of his size and might. Tyr binds him and willingly pays the price for he does: He knows he will lose his hand in the process, the hand he places in the wolf's maw as a token of faith. He does not flinch.
The Pagan Gods ever are role models. Sometimes you have to do something that is hard to do, feels wrong, something you might despise yourself for doing it. Yet something that has to be done. If you ever had to put your dog to death, you know what I'm talking about.

Think of Tyr then!
That's what I wanted to put into the picture.

Tyr is the warrior god in a positive sense - his sphere of influence covers courage, responsibility, and the meaning of sacrifice.
Continue Reading: Heroes