Steering away from book inspired immortals on today’s Immortal Monday, let’s throw something else on the coffee table. Try not to spill the venti though, okay? How much do you really know about the gods?
When I mentioned this idea to my husband, he thought it would be tired. Done and overdone! What say you? Would you like to talk about the gods as we go further down this path?
Well, today I was specifically thinking about Thor. Why Thor? Um, (suppresses cough) believe it or not my daughter has a big, fat crush on the guy. Yep, she’s five and wants him all to herself. Move out of the way, ladies, Monkey (my daughter) is coming through to claim her territory! Say his name and she is ALL smiles and sweet giggles.
Aside from him being the well-built, hammer-wielding God of Thunder, what else can you tell me about him? Some of you may say he’s the son of Odin and you’d be right. But for that to hold any meaning you need to know who Odin is. Quick answer – Odin is the major Norse god. The Big Cheese. The Big Kahuna. Ruler of Asgard – one of the nine worlds and the one in which Odin resides.
As the principle player among the gods, it would appear he made the rounds sharing his love amongst the goddesses and may have had a tad more children than are recorded as actually being his. But the most famous of them all is Thor.
Yield Thor’s hammer and the wind, rain, thunder and lightning are at your command. The mighty Mjölnir is one amazing hammer. It is said to be unbreakable, will always return to Thor’s hand, never misses its target and can shrink in size to fit into Thor’s shirt. That’s pretty handy. I can think of a few things I’d like to add that function to.
Completing his ensemble, you can find the husky Thor sporting a lovely set of thick iron gloves for handling the hammer, a chic belt named Megingjörð to make the other gods jealous (and who wouldn’t be jealous of a belt known to double your strength?), and some accounts have him wielding the Gríðarvölr staff from time to time. For an old school kind of guy, he sure did like his accessories.
Thor’s popularity with the people grew as he succeeded his father, and unlike Odin did not require human sacrifices for favors. He surpassed his father in fame and devotion. He was the god of the working man –farmers, villagers, laborers and artisans, whereas Odin’s better known cult was generally made up of professional Viking raiders. Thor became a champion of the people, doing for the sheer purpose of doing. He was a good ol’ boy. Yee haw!
Known for his thundering storms, would it surprise you to find out that he is also linked to other things such as hallowing (to make this holy), healing and fertility? Yeah, I know. Not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hunky Thor. But it comes down from an ancient belief that summer lightning ripens crops with a strong link of weather and the quality of the harvest. End result – Thor with all his weatherly abilities is viewed as a fertility god as well.
And hallowing? Well, we can thank his mom for that. His mother Jörd represented earth and thereby left Thor in the unique position to hallow the rune stones of the dead. That’s right. He was the defender of both the dead and the living. A real champion.
He was most popular in Norway and Iceland (mainly Celtic areas). So revered was he that temples were erected in his honor, the most popular at Uppsala. This at a time when most Norse or Celtic gods were worshiped in natural surroundings with modest markers in the ground. So having a temple built in your honor was a really big deal. They also named locations after him. Even today some of those places still bare his name. But it might surprise you to know that Thursday was named for him. Pretty cool don’t you think?
Thor’s temple remained standing until 1080 when it was replaced by a Christian church. Some believe this Christianity movement may have worked to alter the final known stories of Odin and Thor. And before I continue… please don’t take anything as a knock on Christianity because it isn’t. I’m simply stating what some believe took place a very long time ago.
It’s been told that in the final epic battle during the events of Ragnarök, Thor had to step aside and battle a giant sea serpent. It was for this reason he couldn’t help his father, Odin. Although Thor ultimately defeated the sea serpent, he fell over dead from the poison it spit at him. And Odin ends up swallowed by a big bad wolf. This was the end of the gods.
But there are conflicting stories about the sea serpent. In another version, Thor defeats the serpent prior to the final battle of Ragnarök and survives. Interesting that the story changed over time. Was it a Christian movement trying to give the gods a fitting fair well? A good ending for the warriors? Did they alter the story of Ragnarök so people would put their old gods to rest and follow the new Christian ways? It’s really quite amazing how different cultures and civilizations evolved throughout history.
But let’s bring things back to the topic at hand. No matter which stories you believe, Thor is a badass! No wonder Marvel Comics picked him up and started a comic book series about him. After all, he’s a big strong guy fighting for and protecting the little guys. Plus, he’s a bit of wanderer so his adventures take readers all over the place. Stories could be endless.
But Thor was also a family man. He married Sif, a beautiful golden haired goddess from Iceland, and together they had a daughter, Brúðr (meaning strength), herself a female goddess. Thor also fathered two sons. One with his lover, the giantess Járnsaxa, and the other with an unknown woman. They are Magni and Móði, meaning strong and angry, respectively.
So it would seem he took after his father, only to a lesser degree. He liked the pretty ladies and he couldn’t keep the package tucked away. What was up with all the bed hopping back then? Oh well. A different time, I guess.
The recent Thor movie decided to leave out the family aspect, depicting a Thor in the pre-marriage years. Of course! That makes perfect marketing sense. What woman wants to go to the theater to rest their eyes on Chris Hemsworth only to find him married to some Iceland chick named Sif? I know my Monkey wouldn’t like it. Neither would most of us. They created an interesting interpretation of the nine worlds and the bridge between them. Were they setting up a story for Thor to become the wanderer? Or simply launching him into their next big blockbuster? I think we know the answer…
Yep – he’s coming back in May of 2012. The big guy will return to the big screen as part of The Avengers to save the world from Loki’s evil plans. I’m sure Monkey will be dragging me there. Will you be there, too?
In closing I have thrown up some wallpaper for your personal enjoyment. 🙂
Now that was a whole lot of Chris/Thor! I noticed that Thor is sporting a slightly longer hair style in the Avengers than he did in his solo gig. What do you think, thumbs up or down?
Did you find this week’s Immortal Monday fun and informative? Did you learn new and useless information that made you want to slam the hammer to the pavement? *wink*
Reminder: If you are an author with an immortal in one of your series and would like to share on an Immortal Monday in the future, feel free to contact me regarding a future guest post.
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- The Immortals are Coming!