In Germanic mythology, Thor (/θɔːr/; from Old Norse: Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind and also hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ). All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning thunder).
Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir, were worn and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity.
Due to the nature of the Germanic corpus, narratives featuring Thor are only attested in Old Norse, where Thor appears throughout Norse mythology. Norse mythology, largely recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, provides numerous tales featuring the god. In these sources, Thor bears at least fifteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa, and is generally described as fierce eyed, red haired and red bearded. With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess (and possible valkyrie) Þrúðr; with Járnsaxa, he fathered Magni; with a mother whose name is not recorded, he fathered Móði, and he is the stepfather of the god Ullr. By way of Odin, Thor has numerous brothers, including Baldr. Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects), and is ascribed three dwellings (Bilskirnir, Þrúðheimr, and Þrúðvangr). Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjölnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, and owns the staff Gríðarvölr. Thor's exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr—and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök—are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology.
Into the modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout Germanic-speaking Europe. Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday bears his name (modern English Thursday derives from Old English Þūnresdæg, 'Þunor's day'), and names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today, particularly in Scandinavia. Thor has inspired numerous works of art and references to Thor appear in modern popular culture. Like other Germanic deities, veneration of Thor is revived in the modern period in Heathenry.
Old Norse Þórr (ᚦᚢᚱ), Old English ðunor, Old High German Donar, Old Saxon thunar, and Old Frisian thuner are cognates within the Germanic language branch, descending from the Proto-Germanic masculine noun *þunraz 'thunder'.
The name of the god is the origin of the weekday name Thursday. By employing a practice known as interpretatio germanica during the Roman Empire period, the Germanic peoples adopted the Roman weekly calendar, and replaced the names of Roman gods with their own. Latin dies Iovis ('day of Jupiter') was converted into Proto-Germanic *Þonares dagaz ("Thor's day"), from which stems modern English "Thursday" and all other Germanic weekday cognates.
Beginning in the Viking Age, personal names containing the theonym Thórr are recorded with great frequency. Prior to the Viking Age, no examples are recorded. Thórr-based names may have flourished during the Viking Age as a defiant response to attempts at Christianization, similar to the wide scale Viking Age practice of wearing Thor's hammer pendants.
The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, and in these works Thor is frequently referred to—via a process known as interpretatio romana (where characteristics perceived to be similar by Romans result in identification of a non-Roman god as a Roman deity)—as either the Roman god Jupiter (also known as Jove) or the Greco-Roman god Hercules. The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus's late first-century work Germania, where, writing about the religion of the Suebi (a confederation of Germanic peoples), he comments that "among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship. They regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind" and adds that a portion of the Suebi also venerate "Isis". In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as "Mercury", Thor as "Hercules", and the god Týr as "Mars", and the identity of the Isis of the Suebi has been debated. In Thor's case, the identification with the god Hercules is likely at least in part due to similarities between Thor's hammer and Hercules' club. In his Annals, Tacitus again refers to the veneration of "Hercules" by the Germanic peoples; he records a wood beyond the river Weser (in what is now northwestern Germany) as dedicated to him.
In Germanic areas occupied by the Roman Empire, coins and votive objects dating from the 2nd and 3rd century AD have been found with Latin inscriptions referring to "Hercules", and so in reality, with varying levels of likelihood, refer to Thor by way of interpretatio romana.
The first recorded instance of the name of the god appears in the Migration Period, where a piece of jewelry (a fibula), the Nordendorf fibula, dating from the 7th century AD and found in Bavaria, bears an Elder Futhark inscription that contains the name Þonar, i.e. Donar, the southern Germanic form of the god's name.
Around the second half of the 8th century, Old English mentions of a figure named Thunor (Þunor) are recorded, a figure who likely refers to a Saxon version of the god. In relation, Thunor is sometimes used in Old English texts to gloss Jupiter, the god may be referenced in the poem Solomon and Saturn, where the thunder strikes the devil with a "fiery axe", and the Old English expression þunnorad ("thunder ride") may refer to the god's thunderous, goat-led chariot.
A 9th-century AD codex from Mainz, Germany, known as the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow, records the name of three Old Saxon gods, UUôden (Old Saxon "Wodan"), Saxnôte, and Thunaer, by way of their renunciation as demons in a formula to be repeated by Germanic pagans formally converting to Christianity.
The Kentish royal legend, probably 11th-century, contains the story of a villainous reeve of Ecgberht of Kent called Thunor, who is swallowed up by the earth at a place from then on known as þunores hlæwe (Old English 'Thunor's mound'). Gabriel Turville-Petre saw this as an invented origin for the placename demonstrating loss of memory that Thunor had been a god's name.
In the 11th century, chronicler Adam of Bremen records in his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum that a statue of Thor, who Adam describes as "mightiest", sits in the Temple at Uppsala in the center of a triple throne (flanked by Woden and "Fricco") located in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden. Adam details that "Thor, they reckon, rules the sky; he governs thunder and lightning, winds and storms, fine weather and fertility" and that "Thor, with his mace, looks like Jupiter". Adam details that the people of Uppsala had appointed priests to each of the gods, and that the priests were to offer up sacrifices. In Thor's case, he continues, these sacrifices were done when plague or famine threatened. Earlier in the same work, Adam relays that in 1030 an English preacher, Wulfred, was lynched by assembled Germanic pagans for "profaning" a representation of Thor.
Two objects with runic inscriptions invoking Thor date from the 11th century, one from England and one from Sweden. The first, the Canterbury Charm from Canterbury, England, calls upon Thor to heal a wound by banishing a thurs. The second, the Kvinneby amulet, invokes protection by both Thor and his hammer.
In the 12th century, more than a century after Norway was "officially" Christianized, Thor was still being invoked by the population, as evidenced by a stick bearing a runic message found among the Bryggen inscriptions in Bergen, Norway. On the stick, both Thor and Odin are called upon for help; Thor is asked to "receive" the reader, and Odin to "own" them. Also around the 12th century, iconography of the Christianizing 11th-century king Olaf II of Norway (Saint Olaf) absorbed elements of the native Thor; Olaf II had become a familiarly red-bearded, hammer-wielding figure.
In the Poetic Edda, compiled during the 13th century from traditional source material reaching into the pagan period, Thor appears (or is mentioned) in the poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Skírnismál, Hárbarðsljóð, Hymiskviða, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Alvíssmál, and Hyndluljóð.
In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin, including the death of Thor. Thor, she foretells, will do battle with the great serpent during the immense mythic war waged at Ragnarök, and there he will slay the monstrous snake, yet after he will only be able to take nine steps before succumbing to the venom of the beast:
Benjamin Thorpe translation:
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
Afterwards, says the völva, the sky will turn black before fire engulfs the world, the stars will disappear, flames will dance before the sky, steam will rise, the world will be covered in water and then it will be raised again, green and fertile.
In the poem Grímnismál, the god Odin, in disguise as Grímnir, and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Agnar cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Þrúðheimr, and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers Körmt and Örmt, and the two Kerlaugar. There, Grímnir says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Yggdrasil.
In Skírnismál, the god Freyr's messenger, Skírnir, threatens the fair Gerðr, with whom Freyr is smitten, with numerous threats and curses, including that Thor, Freyr, and Odin will be angry with her, and that she risks their "potent wrath".
Thor is the main character of Hárbarðsljóð, where, after traveling "from the east", he comes to an inlet where he encounters a ferryman who gives his name as Hárbarðr (Odin, again in disguise), and attempts to hail a ride from him. The ferryman, shouting from the inlet, is immediately rude and obnoxious to Thor and refuses to ferry him. At first, Thor holds his tongue, but Hárbarðr only becomes more aggressive, and the poem soon becomes a flyting match between Thor and Hárbarðr, all the while revealing lore about the two, including Thor's killing of several jötnar in "the east" and berzerk women on Hlesey (now the Danish island of Læsø). In the end, Thor ends up walking instead.
Thor is again the main character in the poem Hymiskviða, where, after the gods have been hunting and have eaten their prey, they have an urge to drink. They "sh[ake] the twigs" and interpret what they say. The gods decide that they would find suitable cauldrons at Ægir's home. Thor arrives at Ægir's home and finds him to be cheerful, looks into his eyes, and tells him that he must prepare feasts for the gods. Annoyed, Ægir tells Thor that the gods must first bring to him a suitable cauldron to brew ale in. The gods search but find no such cauldron anywhere. However, Týr tells Thor that he may have a solution; east of Élivágar lives Hymir, and he owns such a deep kettle.
So, after Thor secures his goats at Egil's home, Thor and Týr go to Hymir's hall in search of a cauldron large enough to brew ale for them all. They arrive, and Týr sees his nine-hundred-headed grandmother and his gold-clad mother, the latter of which welcomes them with a horn. After Hymir—who is not happy to see Thor—comes in from the cold outdoors, Týr's mother helps them find a properly strong cauldron. Thor eats a big meal of two oxen (all the rest eat but one), and then goes to sleep. In the morning, he awakes and informs Hymir that he wants to go fishing the following evening, and that he will catch plenty of food, but that he needs bait. Hymir tells him to go get some bait from his pasture, which he expects should not be a problem for Thor. Thor goes out, finds Hymir's best ox, and rips its head off.
After a lacuna in the manuscript of the poem, Hymiskviða abruptly picks up again with Thor and Hymir in a boat, out at sea. Hymir catches a few whales at once, and Thor baits his line with the head of the ox. Thor casts his line and the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr bites. Thor pulls the serpent on board, and violently slams him in the head with his hammer. Jörmungandr shrieks, and a noisy commotion is heard from underwater before another lacuna appears in the manuscript.
After the second lacuna, Hymir is sitting in the boat, unhappy and totally silent, as they row back to shore. On shore, Hymir suggests that Thor should help him carry a whale back to his farm. Thor picks both the boat and the whales up, and carries it all back to Hymir's farm. After Thor successfully smashes a crystal goblet by throwing it at Hymir's head on Týr's mother's suggestion, Thor and Týr are given the cauldron. Týr cannot lift it, but Thor manages to roll it, and so with it they leave. Some distance from Hymir's home, an army of many-headed beings led by Hymir attacks the two, but are killed by the hammer of Thor. Although one of his goats is lame in the leg, the two manage to bring the cauldron back, have plenty of ale, and so, from then on, return to Týr's for more every winter.
In the poem Lokasenna, the half-god Loki angrily flites with the gods in the sea entity Ægir's hall. Thor does not attend the event, however, as he is away in the east for unspecified purposes. Towards the end of the poem, the flyting turns to Sif, Thor's wife, whom Loki then claims to have slept with. The god Freyr's servant Beyla interjects, and says that, since all of the mountains are shaking, she thinks that Thor is on his way home. Beyla adds that Thor will bring peace to the quarrel, to which Loki responds with insults.
Thor arrives and tells Loki to be silent, and threatens to rip Loki's head from his body with his hammer. Loki asks Thor why he is so angry, and comments that Thor will not be so daring to fight "the wolf" (Fenrir) when it eats Odin (a reference to the foretold events of Ragnarök). Thor again tells him to be silent, and threatens to throw him into the sky, where he will never be seen again. Loki says that Thor should not brag of his time in the east, as he once crouched in fear in the thumb of a glove (a story involving deception by the magic of Útgarða-Loki, recounted in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning)—which, he comments, "was hardly like Thor". Thor again tells him to be silent, threatening to break every bone in Loki's body. Loki responds that he intends to live a while yet, and again insults Thor with references to his encounter with Útgarða-Loki. Thor responds with a fourth call to be silent, and threatens to send Loki to Hel. At Thor's final threat, Loki gives in, commenting that only for Thor will he leave the hall, for "I know alone that you do strike", and the poem continues.
In the comedic poem Þrymskviða, Thor again plays a central role. In the poem, Thor wakes and finds that his powerful hammer, Mjölnir, is missing. Thor turns to Loki, and tells him that nobody knows that the hammer has been stolen. The two go to the dwelling of the goddess Freyja, and so that he may attempt to find Mjölnir, Thor asks her if he may borrow her feather cloak. Freyja agrees, and says she would lend it to Thor even if it were made of silver or gold, and Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling.
In Jötunheimr, the jötunn Þrymr sits on a barrow, plaiting golden collars for his female dogs, and trimming the manes of his horses. Þrymr sees Loki, and asks what could be amiss among the Æsir and the elves; why is Loki alone in Jötunheimr? Loki responds that he has bad news for both the elves and the Æsir—that Thor's hammer, Mjölnir, is gone. Þrymr says that he has hidden Mjölnir eight leagues beneath the earth, from which it will be retrieved, but only if Freyja is brought to him as his wife. Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling, away from Jötunheimr and back to the court of the gods.
Thor asks Loki if his efforts were successful, and that Loki should tell him while he is still in the air as "tales often escape a sitting man, and the man lying down often barks out lies." Loki states that it was indeed an effort, and also a success, for he has discovered that Þrymr has the hammer, but that it cannot be retrieved unless Freyja is brought to Þrymr as his wife. The two return to Freyja and tell her to put on a bridal head dress, as they will drive her to Jötunheimr. Freyja, indignant and angry, goes into a rage, causing all of the halls of the Æsir to tremble in her anger, and her necklace, the famed Brísingamen, falls from her. Freyja pointedly refuses.
As a result, the gods and goddesses meet and hold a thing to discuss and debate the matter. At the thing, the god Heimdallr puts forth the suggestion that, in place of Freyja, Thor should be dressed as the bride, complete with jewels, women's clothing down to his knees, a bridal head-dress, and the necklace Brísingamen. Thor rejects the idea, yet Loki interjects that this will be the only way to get back Mjölnir. Loki points out that, without Mjölnir, the jötnar will be able to invade and settle in Asgard. The gods dress Thor as a bride, and Loki states that he will go with Thor as his maid, and that the two shall drive to Jötunheimr together.
After riding together in Thor's goat-driven chariot, the two, disguised, arrive in Jötunheimr. Þrymr commands the jötnar in his hall to spread straw on the benches, for Freyja has arrived to be his wife. Þrymr recounts his treasured animals and objects, stating that Freyja was all that he was missing in his wealth.
Early in the evening, the disguised Loki and Thor meet with Þrymr and the assembled jötnar. Thor eats and drinks ferociously, consuming entire animals and three casks of mead. Þrymr finds the behaviour at odds with his impression of Freyja, and Loki, sitting before Þrymr and appearing as a "very shrewd maid", makes the excuse that "Freyja's" behaviour is due to her having not consumed anything for eight entire days before arriving due to her eagerness to arrive. Þrymr then lifts "Freyja's" veil and wants to kiss "her". Terrifying eyes stare back at him, seemingly burning with fire. Loki says that this is because "Freyja" has not slept for eight nights in her eagerness.
The "wretched sister" of the jötnar appears, asks for a bridal gift from "Freyja", and the jötnar bring out Mjölnir to "sanctify the bride", to lay it on her lap, and marry the two by "the hand" of the goddess Vár. Thor laughs internally when he sees the hammer, takes hold of it, strikes Þrymr, beats all of the jötnar, kills their "older sister", and so gets his hammer back.
In the poem Alvíssmál, Thor tricks a dwarf, Alvíss, to his doom upon finding that he seeks to wed his daughter (unnamed, possibly Þrúðr). As the poem starts, Thor meets a dwarf who talks about getting married. Thor finds the dwarf repulsive and, apparently, realizes that the bride is his daughter. Thor comments that the wedding agreement was made among the gods while Thor was gone, and that the dwarf must seek his consent. To do so, Thor says, Alvíss must tell him what he wants to know about all of the worlds that the dwarf has visited. In a long question and answer session, Alvíss does exactly that; he describes natural features as they are known in the languages of various races of beings in the world, and gives an amount of cosmological lore.
However, the question and answer session turns out to be a ploy by Thor, as, although Thor comments that he has truly never seen anyone with more wisdom in their breast, Thor has managed to delay the dwarf enough for the Sun to turn him to stone; "day dawns on you now, dwarf, now sun shines on the hall".
In the prologue to his Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Priam. Thor, also known as Tror, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Sif). Thor is further said here to have been raised in Thrace by a chieftain named Lorikus, whom he later slew to assume the title of "King of Thrace", to have had hair "fairer than gold", and to have been strong enough to lift ten bearskins.
The name of the æsir is explained as "men from Asia", Asgard being the "Asian city" (i.e., Troy). Alternatively, Troy is in Tyrkland (Turkey, i.e., Asia Minor), and Asialand is Scythia, where Thor founded a new city named Asgard. Odin is a remote descendant of Thor, removed by twelve generations, who led an expedition across Germany, Denmark and Sweden to Norway.
In Heimskringla, composed in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, Thor or statues of Thor are mentioned in Ynglinga saga, Hákonar saga góða, Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar, and Óláfs saga helga. In Ynglinga saga chapter 5, a heavily euhemerized account of the gods is provided, where Thor is described as having been a gothi—a pagan priest—who was given by Odin (who himself is explained away as having been an exceedingly powerful magic-wielding chieftain from the east) a dwelling in the mythical location of Þrúðvangr, in what is now Sweden. The saga narrative adds that numerous names—at the time of the narrative, popularly in use—were derived from Thor.
Tales about Thor, or influenced by native traditions regarding Thor, continued into the modern period, particularly in Scandinavia. Writing in the 19th century, scholar Jacob Grimm records various phrases surviving into Germanic languages that refer to the god, such as the Norwegian Thorsvarme ("Thor's warmth") for lightning and the Swedish godgubben åfar ("The good old (fellow) is taking a ride") as well as the word tordön ("Thor's rumble" or "Thor's thunder") when it thunders. Grimm comments that, at times, Scandinavians often "no longer liked to utter the god's real name, or they wished to extol his fatherly goodness".
Thor remained pictured as a red-bearded figure, as evident by the Danish rhyme that yet referred to him as Thor med sit lange skæg ("Thor with the long beard") and the North-Frisian curse diis ruadhiiret donner regiir! ("let red-haired thunder see to that!").
A Scandinavian folk belief that lightning frightens away trolls and jötnar appears in numerous Scandinavian folktales, and may be a late reflection of Thor's role in fighting such beings. In connection, the lack of trolls and ettins in modern Scandinavia is explained as a result of the "accuracy and efficiency of the lightning strokes".
On four (or possibly five) runestones, an invocation to Thor appears that reads "May Thor hallow (these runes/this monument)!" The invocation appears thrice in Denmark (DR 110, DR 209, and DR 220), and a single time in Västergötland (Vg 150), Sweden. A fifth appearance may possibly occur on a runestone found in Södermanland, Sweden (Sö 140), but the reading is contested. Pictorial representations of Thor's hammer also appear on a total of five runestones found in Denmark and in the Swedish counties of Västergötland and Södermanland.
Three stones depict Thor fishing for the serpent Jörmungandr; the Hørdum stone in Thy, Denmark, the Altuna Runestone in Altuna, Sweden, one of the Ardre image stones (stone VII) from Gotland, Sweden, and the Gosforth Cross in Gosforth, England.
Pendants in a distinctive shape representing the hammer of Thor (known in Norse sources as Mjölnir) have frequently been unearthed in Viking Age Scandinavian burials. The hammers may have been worn as a symbol of Norse pagan faith and of opposition to Christianization, a response to crosses worn by Christians. Casting moulds have been found for the production of both Thor's hammers and Christian crucifixes, and at least one example of a combined crucifix and hammer has been discovered. The Eyrarland Statue, a copper alloy figure found near Akureyri, Iceland dating from around the 11th century, may depict Thor seated and gripping his hammer.
The protective sign of the hammer was worn by women, as we know from the fact that it has been found in women's graves. It seems to have been used by the warrior also, in the form of the swastika. ... Primarily it appears to have had connections with light and fire, and to have been linked with the sun-wheel. It may have been on account of Thor's association with lightning that this sign was used as an alternative to the hammer, for it is found on memorial stones in Scandinavia besides inscriptions to Thor. When we find it on the pommel of a warrior's sword and on his sword-belt, the assumption is that the warrior was placing himself under the Thunder God's protection.
Swastikas appear on various Germanic objects stretching from the Migration Period to the Viking Age, such as the 3rd century Værløse Fibula (DR EM85;123) from Zealand, Denmark; the Gothic spearhead from Brest-Litovsk, Belarus; numerous Migration Period bracteates; cremation urns from early Anglo-Saxon England; the 8th century Sæbø sword from Sogn, Norway; and the 9th century Snoldelev Stone (DR 248) from Ramsø, Denmark.
Numerous place names in Scandinavia contain the Old Norse name Þórr. The identification of these place names as pointing to religious significance is complicated by the aforementioned common usage of Þórr as a personal name element. Cultic significance may only be assured in place names containing the elements -vé (signifying the location of a vé, a type of pagan Germanic shrine), –hóf (a structure used for religious purposes, see heathen hofs), and –lundr (a holy grove). The place name Þórslundr is recorded with particular frequency in Denmark (and has direct cognates in Norse settlements in Ireland, such as Coill Tomair), whereas Þórshof appears particularly often in southern Norway. Torsö (Thor's Island) appears on the Swedish west coast. Thor also appears in many placenames in Uppland.
In English placenames, Old English Thunor (in contrast with the Old Norse form of the name, later introduced to the Danelaw) left comparatively few traces. Examples include Thundersley, from *Thunores hlæw and Thurstable (Old English "Thunor's pillar"). F. M. Stenton noted that such placenames were apparently restricted to Saxon and Jutish territory and not found in Anglian areas.
In what is now Germany, locations named after Thor are sparsely recorded, but an amount of locations called Donnersberg (German "Donner's mountain") may derive their name from the deity Donner, the southern Germanic form of the god's name.
In as late as the 19th century in Iceland, a specific breed of fox was known as holtaþórr ("Thor of the holt"), likely due to the red coat of the breed. In Sweden in the 19th century, smooth, wedge-shaped stones found in the earth were called Thorwiggar ("Thor's wedges"), according to a folk belief that they were once hurled at a troll by the god Thor. (Compare Thunderstones.) Similarly, meteorites may be considered memorials to Thor in folk tradition due to their sheer weight. On the Swedish island of Gotland, a species of beetle (Scarabæus stercorarius) was named after the god; the Thorbagge. When the beetle is found turned upside down and one flips it over, Thor's favor may be gained. In other regions of Sweden the name of the beetle appears to have been demonized with Christianization, where the insect came to be known as Thordedjefvul or Thordyfvel (both meaning "Thor-devil").
Thor closely resembles other Indo-European deities associated with the thunder: the Celtic Taranis, the Baltic Perkūnas, the Slavic Perun, and particularly the Hindu Indra, whose red hair and thunderbolt weapon the vajra are obvious parallels. Scholars have compared Indra's slaying of Vritra with Thor's battle with Jörmungandr. Although in the past it was suggested that Thor was an indigenous sky god or a Viking Age import into Scandinavia, these Indo-European parallels make him generally accepted today as ultimately derived from a Proto-Indo-European deity.
In Georges Dumézil's trifunctional hypothesis of Indo-European religion, Thor represents the second function, that of strength. Dumézil notes that as a result of displacements, he does not lead armies; most of the functions of Indra have been in effect taken over by Odin. Many scholars have noted the association of Thor with fertility, particularly in later folklore and in the reflex of him represented by the Sami Hora galles ("Good-man Thor"). For Dumézil, this is the preservation by peasants of only the side-effect of the god's atmospheric battles: the fertilizing rain. Others have emphasized Thor's close connection to humanity, in all its concerns. Scholar Hilda Ellis Davidson summarizes:
The cult of Thor was linked up with men's habitation and possessions, and with well-being of the family and community. This included the fruitfulness of the fields, and Thor, although pictured primarily as a storm god in the myths, was also concerned with the fertility and preservation of the seasonal round. In our own times, little stone axes from the distant past have been used as fertility symbols and placed by the farmer in the holes made by the drill to receive the first seed of spring. Thor's marriage with Sif of the golden hair, about which we hear little in the myths, seems to be a memory of the ancient symbol of divine marriage between sky god and earth goddess, when he comes to earth in the thunderstorm and the storm brings the rain which makes the fields fertile. In this way Thor, as well as Odin, may be seen to continue the cult of the sky god which was known in the Bronze Age.
In modern times, Thor continues to be referred to in art and fiction. Starting with F. J. Klopstock's 1776 ode to Thor, Wir und Sie, Thor has been the subject of poems in several languages, including Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger's 1807 epic poem Thors reise til Jotunheim and, by the same author, three more poems (Hammeren hentes, Thors fiskeri, and Thor besøger Hymir) collected in his 1819 Nordens Guder; Thors Trunk (1859) by Wilhelm Hertz; the 1820 satirical poem Mythologierne eller Gudatvisten by J. M. Stiernstolpe; Nordens Mythologie eller Sinnbilled-Sprog (1832) by N. F. S. Grundtvig; the poem Harmen by Thor Thorild; Der Mythus von Thor (1836) by Ludwig Uhland; Der Hammer Thors (1915) by W. Schulte v. Brühl; Hans Friedrich Blunck's Herr Dunnar und die Bauern (published in Märchen und Sagen, 1937); and Die Heimholung des Hammers (1977) by H. C. Artmann. In English he features for example in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Challenge of Thor" (1863) and in two works by Rudyard Kipling: Letters of Travel: 1892–1913 and "Cold Iron" in Rewards and Fairies. L. Sprague de Camp's Harold Shea met with Thor, as with other Norse gods, in the very first of Shea's many fantasy adventures.
Artists have also depicted Thor in painting and sculpture, including Henry Fuseli's 1780 painting Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent; H. E. Freund's 1821–1822 statue Thor; B. E. Fogelberg's 1844 marble statue Thor; Mårten Eskil Winge's 1872 painting Thor's Fight with the Giants; K. Ehrenberg's 1883 drawing Odin, Thor und Magni; several illustrations by E. Doepler published in Wilhelm Ranisch's 1901 Walhall (Thor; Thor und die Midgardschlange; Thor den Hrungnir bekämpfend; Thor bei dem Riesen Þrym als Braut verkleidet; Thor bei Hymir; Thor bei Skrymir; Thor den Fluß Wimur durchwatend); J. C. Dollman's 1909 drawings Thor and the Mountain and Sif and Thor; G. Poppe's painting Thor; E. Pottner's 1914 drawing Thors Schatten; H. Natter's marble statue Thor; and U. Brember's 1977 illustrations to Die Heimholung des Hammers by H. C. Artmann. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848) discovered a chemical element that he named after Thor – thorium.
In 1962, American comic book writer Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber, together with Jack Kirby, created the Marvel Comics superhero Thor Odinson, which they based on the god of the same name. This version of Thor is portrayed as a long-haired blonde instead of red-haired. In 2014, Marvel Comics character Jane Foster was made the new Thor, a title in the industry; both characters have been portrayed in Marvel Studios films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and American-Israeli actress Natalie Portman respectively, beginning with Thor in 2011. In the Savage Dragon comics Thor is portrayed as a villain.
First described in 2013, Thor's hero shrew (Scutisorex thori) is a species of shrew native to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It and its sister species, the hero shrew (Scutisorex somereni), are the only mammal species known to have interlocking vertebrae. The team named the shrew after Thor due to the god's association with strength.
From 2015 to 2017, a fictionalised version of Thor was a supporting character in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, a trilogy of fantasy novels written by American author Rick Riordan and published by Disney-Hyperion, set in the same fictional universe as the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles, and The Kane Chronicles series by the same author. Neil Gaiman's books American Gods and Norse Mythology also feature Thor.
Thor is frequently mentioned in the 2018 video game, God of War, which is loosely based on Norse mythology. This version of Thor is described as a murderous sociopath with a tendency to kill giants and anyone else in the way of Odin's quest for knowledge. His sons, Móði and Magni (with Móði spelled as Modi in the game), are featured as secondary antagonists in the game, who are both killed by the protagonists, Kratos and his son Atreus. Thor makes an appearance in the game's secret ending where after Kratos and Atreus return home and slumber, Atreus has a vision: a violent lightning storm forms and the two go outside to investigate to discover Thor waiting for them and preparing Mjölnir in retribution for his sons' deaths.
Asgard is a fictional realm and its capital city appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Based on the realm of the same name from Norse mythology, Asgard is home to the Asgardians and other beings adapted from Norse mythology. Asgard first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962) by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, and features prominently in stories that follow the Marvel Comics superhero Thor.
Asgard has appeared in various media adaptations of Thor, including the 2011 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor, its 2013 sequel Thor: The Dark World, the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the 2017 Thor sequel Thor: Ragnarok.Chris Hemsworth
Christopher Hemsworth (born 11 August 1983) is an Australian actor. He rose to prominence playing Kim Hyde in the Australian TV series Home and Away (2004–07). Hemsworth has also appeared in the science fiction action film Star Trek (2009), the thriller adventure A Perfect Getaway (2009), the horror comedy The Cabin in the Woods (2012), the dark-fantasy action film Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), the war film Red Dawn (2012), and the biographical sports drama film Rush (2013).
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe he portrays the role of Thor, beginning in Thor (2011), and also appearing in The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Doctor Strange (2016), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He will reprise his role in Avengers: Endgame, which is scheduled for release in April 2019.
In 2015, he starred in the action thriller film Blackhat, had a comedic role in the fifth installment of National Lampoon's Vacation series, Vacation, and headlined the biographical thriller film In the Heart of the Sea. The following year, Hemsworth had a supporting role in Sony's reboot of Ghostbusters. In 2019, he will star in the spin-off of the Men in Black film series, Men in Black: International.Fandral
Fandral the Dashing is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a charter member of the Warriors Three, a trio of Asgardian adventurers consisting of Fandral, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the Valiant. They are members of the supporting cast in Marvel's Thor comics and usually provide comic relief and side-adventures.
Fandral was portrayed by Josh Dallas in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor and by Zachary Levi in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok.Heimdall (comics)
Heimdall () is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the Norse deity Heimdallr. Heimdall is described as all-seeing and all-hearing and is the sole protector of the Bifröst in Asgard (comics).
Heimdall made his film debut in 2011 and is played by Idris Elba in the live-action films Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War, all set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Hela (comics)
Hela () is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Asgardian goddess of death is based on the Norse goddess, Hel. The ruler of Hel and Niflheim, the character has been a frequent foe of Thor. Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, Hela first appeared in Journey into Mystery #102 and was adapted from Norse mythology by editor/writer Stan Lee and artist/writer Jack Kirby.
Hela is portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Jane Foster (comics)
Jane Foster is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, most commonly depicted as a supporting character of the superhero Thor Odinson. Created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #84 (Sept. 1962). For many years, Foster was a nurse employed by Dr. Donald Blake, Thor's first mortal host, before becoming a doctor herself. In a 2014 storyline, Foster is revealed to be deemed worthy to wield Thor's hammer Mjolnir when the former is no longer able. During this temporary period, she adopts the name Thor, the Goddess of Thunder, and joins the Avengers. This storyline ends with the character sacrificing her life to defeat a dangerous adversary, and the reverting of the mantle Thor to its original bearer.
Jane Foster has also appeared in various media adaptations of Thor, including the 2011 feature film Thor and the 2013 sequel Thor: The Dark World, in which she is portrayed by Natalie Portman. She is also referenced with photos or in dialogue in The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and episodes of the television series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..Jörmungandr
In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr (Old Norse: Jǫrmungandr, pronounced [ˈjɔrmunˌɡandr̥], meaning "huge monster"), also known as the Midgard (World) Serpent (Old Norse: Miðgarðsormr), is a sea serpent, the middle child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki. According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki's three children by Angrboða—the wolf Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr—and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. As a result, it received the name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin. Jörmungandr's arch-enemy is the thunder-god, Thor. It is an example of an ouroboros.List of Marvel Cinematic Universe films
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films are an American series of superhero films based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. The MCU is the shared universe in which all of the films are set. The films have been in production since 2007, and in that time Marvel Studios has produced and released 21 films, with 10 more in various stages of production. It is the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having grossed over $18.6 billion at the global box office.
Kevin Feige has produced every film in the series, alongside Avi Arad for the first two releases, Gale Anne Hurd for The Incredible Hulk, Amy Pascal for the Spider-Man films, and Stephen Broussard for Ant-Man and the Wasp. The films are written and directed by a variety of individuals and feature large, often ensemble, casts. Many of the actors, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson signed contracts to star in numerous films.
The first film in the series is Iron Man (2008), which was distributed by Paramount Pictures. Paramount also distributed Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), while Universal Pictures distributed The Incredible Hulk (2008). Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures began distributing the films with the 2012 crossover film The Avengers, which concluded Phase One of the franchise. Phase Two includes Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Ant-Man (2015).
Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the first film in the franchise's Phase Three, and is followed by Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), and Captain Marvel (2019), with Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) still scheduled for the phase. The first three phases have collectively been called "The Infinity Saga". Two untitled films are scheduled for 2020, three for 2021, and three for 2022. Sony Pictures distributes the Spider-Man films, which they continue to own, finance, and have final creative control over.Loki (comics)
Loki is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber and penciller Jack Kirby, a version of the character first appeared in Venus #6 (August 1949). The modern day incarnation of Loki first appeared in Journey into Mystery #85 (October 1962). The character, which is based on the Norse deity of the same name, is the Asgardian god of mischief. He is the adopted brother and the often the enemy of the superhero Thor, however over the years the character has been depicted as an antihero.
Loki has appeared in several ongoing series, limited series and alternate reality series, including his own 4-issue series Loki (2004). He was the main character of Journey into Mystery from issues 622 to 645, and appeared in the new issues of Young Avengers in 2013. He began appearing in his solo series Loki: Agent of Asgard in 2013 and again in 2016 with Vote Loki. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, movies, video games, clothing and toys.
In 2009, Loki was ranked as IGN's 8th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time and in 2014 was ranked again by IGN, this time as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. Tom Hiddleston portrays Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first appearing in the 2011 live action film Thor, and then again in The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013) Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He is also slated to reprise his role in Avengers: Endgame (2019).Marvel Animated Features
Marvel Animated Features (MAF) is a series of eight direct-to-video animated films made by MLG Productions, a joint venture between Marvel Studios (later Marvel Animation) and Lions Gate Entertainment.Mjolnir (comics)
Mjolnir () is a fictional mythical weapon appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is depicted as the principal weapon of the superheroes Thor and Jane Foster. Mjolnir, which first appears in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962), was created by writer Stan Lee and designed by artists Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
Mjolnir was typically depicted as a large, square-headed gray sledgehammer. It has a short, round handle wrapped in brown leather, culminating in a looped lanyard. The object is based on Mjölnir, the weapon of the mythological Thor.Mjölnir
In Norse mythology, Mjölnir (; Old Norse: Mjǫllnir, IPA: [ˈmjɔlːnir]) is the hammer of Thor, the Norse god associated with thunder. Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons in existence, capable of leveling mountains. In its account of Norse mythology, the Prose Edda relates how the hammer's characteristically short handle was due to a mistake during its manufacture. Similar hammers (Ukonvasara) were a common symbol of the god of thunder in other North European mythologies.Odin (comics)
Odin is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is first mentioned in Journey into Mystery #85 (Oct. 1962), then first appears in Journey into Mystery #86 (Nov. 1962), and was adapted from the Odin of Norse mythology by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He is the father of Thor and former king of Asgard.
Sir Anthony Hopkins portrayed Odin in the 2011 superhero feature film, Thor, and reprised his role in the 2013 and 2017 sequels, Thor: The Dark World, and Thor: Ragnarok, respectively.Sif (comics)
Sif is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted commonly in association with the superhero Thor. Based on the Norse goddess Sif, she was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #102 (March 1964). As an Asgardian warrior and lover of Thor, Sif often accompanies Thor into battle. She has also battled alongside Balder, who has developed an unrequited attraction to her, as she never shows affection for anyone but Thor and certain individuals who have proved worthy to wield his hammer, Mjolnir, such as the noble alien warrior Beta Ray Bill and the mortal Eric Masterson.
Sif has appeared in various media adaptations of Thor, including the 2011 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor, its 2013 sequel Thor: The Dark World, and the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which she is portrayed by Jaimie Alexander.Thor (Marvel Comics)
Thor is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, which is based on the Norse deity of the same name, is the Asgardian god of thunder who possesses the enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, which grants him the ability to fly and manipulate weather amongst his other superhuman attributes.
Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller-plotter Jack Kirby. He has starred in several ongoing series and limited series, and is a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each volume of that series. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, movies, video games, clothing, toys and trading cards.
The character was first portrayed in live action by Eric Allan Kramer in the 1988 television movie The Incredible Hulk Returns. Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor Odinson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War, and will reprise his role in Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Additionally, archival footage of Hemsworth as Thor was used in the episodes "Pilot" and "The Well" of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Thor placed 14th on IGN's list of "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time" in 2011, and first in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012.Thor (film)
Thor is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, written by the writing team of Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz along with Don Payne, and stars Chris Hemsworth as the title character, alongside Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, and Anthony Hopkins. The film sees Thor banished to Earth from Asgard, stripped of his powers and his hammer Mjölnir, after reigniting a dormant war. As his brother Loki plots to take the Asgardian throne, Thor must prove himself worthy.
Sam Raimi first developed the concept of a film adaptation of Thor in 1991, but soon abandoned the project, leaving it in "development hell" for several years. During this time, the rights were picked up by various film studios until Marvel signed Mark Protosevich to develop the project in 2006, and planned to finance it and release it through Paramount. Matthew Vaughn was originally assigned to direct the film for a tentative 2010 release. However, after Vaughn was released from his holding deal in 2008, Branagh was approached and the film's release was rescheduled to 2011. The main characters were cast in 2009, and principal photography took place in California and New Mexico from January to May 2010. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
Thor premiered on April 17, 2011, in Sydney, Australia and was released on May 6, 2011, in the United States. The film was a financial success and many in the cast received praise, including Chris Hemsworth, although the Earth-based elements of the film received some criticism. A sequel, Thor: The Dark World, was released on November 8, 2013, while a third film, Thor: Ragnarok, was released on November 3, 2017.Tom Hiddleston
Thomas William Hiddleston (born 9 February 1981) is an English actor, film producer and musician. At the beginning of his career, he appeared in West End theatre productions of Cymbeline (2007) and Ivanov (2008). He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Newcomer in a Play for his role in Cymbeline and was also nominated for the same award for his role as Cassio in Othello.
He came to wider public attention when cast as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). In 2011, he won the Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer and was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award. Hiddleston has also appeared in Steven Spielberg's War Horse (2011), The Deep Blue Sea (2011), Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris (2011), the 2012 BBC series Henry IV and Henry V, and the romantic vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).
In late 2013 and early 2014, Hiddleston starred as the title character in the Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus, winning the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor. In 2015, he starred in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, Ben Wheatley's High Rise, and played the troubled country music singer Hank Williams in the biopic I Saw The Light.
In 2016, he starred in and was an executive producer of the AMC / BBC limited series The Night Manager, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie and Outstanding Limited Series, and won his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.
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