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What Norse Mythology Tells Us About 'Thor: Ragnarok'

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Marvel Movies | March 14, 2017 |


thor-ragnarok-photo-Chris-Hemsworth.jpg

Last week the new Thor movie got a little bit of attention on the Internet for a sleek new magazine cover that revealed massive and monumental changes afoot in the most mediocre of the Marvel movie universe. This was Batman gaining parents, Superman losing them, and Iron Man not banging all of them.

Thor cut his hair:

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Sweet zombie Samson and Delilah, have we learned nothing from Vacation Bible School? What are they going to do next? Replace Hiddleston with a walking toaster oven? I think Hemsworth’s hair was at least the third most important actor in the franchise.

But, deep breaths all around, the most important part of that cover is being completely and entirely missed by the Internet commentariat, likely because they haven’t read their Norse sagas lately. Because what far more important element is missing?

No, not Jane. No one cares about Jane. I mean Thor’s hammer. Gone, missing, replaced by a dapper looking pair of swords. I assume, since the Thor universe contains dark elves, that he stole those from Drizzt Do’urden. But the missing hammer is itself far more thought provoking, since it is ubiquitous in both the mythological and comic stories of Thor. Hell, in the original run of the comics, Thor was a mild mannered scientist with a bum leg, except that he transformed into Thor whenever he picked up the hammer. So old school comics canon is that Thor literally doesn’t exist without the hammer.

Mythologically, though, it gets more interesting. See, in old school Norse mythology, one of the most weirdly hilarious stories is the Lay of Thrym, in which Thor has his hammer stolen. Loki cuts a deal so that the grotesque giant who stole it will give it back if Freya - gorgeous queen of the Aesir - marries said giant.

And Loki comes up with the plan of dressing Thor up as a woman, pretending to be Freya (yes, with full beard, dude bro muscles, armor, just wearing a wedding dress over the whole thing) and tricking the deeply stupid giant to hand his “bride” the hammer as part of the wedding ceremony. Thor, not being the sharpest deity in the toolshed, is terrible at disguise, and Loki has to make up increasingly absurd excuses for Thor being Thor until the wedding goes off and Thor smash.

It’s retold really well in episode 24 of the Myths and Legends podcast that we’ve linked to before, or there’s a bit drier text summary here.

Let’s face it, Hemsworth in a wedding dress for two hours of comedy would be a vast improvement on the previous two movies in the Thor franchise.

Dr. Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at www.burningviolin.com. You can email him here.



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