The Thor movies and the Avengers franchise have given us some of the most delicious ideas about the Thor character. Chris Hemsworth has managed to turn the Marvel comic character into a seriously sexy and heavyweight romantic hero.
But the “real” Thor wasn’t nearly that charming.
Thor, Odin and Asgard, along with Loki and the dark elves they battle, were all originally part of the Norse pantheon of gods and their subjects.
Marvel Comics’ Avengers series, which began in September 1963, took the mythological figures and gave them an interesting twist or two, and developed a well-received storyline about a group of superheros. Interestingly, Thor was the only hero in the group who was an actual god, from a completely separate mythology.
The Marvel Comics version of Thor was an extraction of the character from Norse mythology, so Chris Hemsworth’s version that reached film in 2011 was even more distant from the original, dressed-up as he was for modern audiences.
The truth is that Thor, and his father, Odin, and the slew of gods that populate Norse mythology were as badly behaved as the Greek and Roman gods, if not worse. Just like Zeus and Mars, Odin’s family tree was complex and in-bred. Look at this:
Odin fathered children with at least three gods, and the mythology talks about him fathering children with human women as frequently as he ate.
Wars were waged between the gods usually for insults to honour. Honour was taken very seriously by the Norse, and defending one’s honour was a big deal.
Thor was right in there with the best of the family members, battling away and fathering children with at least two women. There are stories about him cross-dressing to get back his hammer, spitting blood upon Midgard (Earth), and more. The cross-dressing is particularly interesting and I explored that more closely in The Branded Rose Prophecy, along with how the Norse pantheon seemed to like behaving badly on a regular basis.
It makes for great fiction, but I’d never want one of them pissed at me….