Thor

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Thor's battle against the giants, by Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872

Thor (Old Norse: Þórr) is the god of thunder and lightning in Norse mythology, associated with strength, storms, hallowing and fertility. The son of Odin All-Father and Jörð (the personification of the Earth), Thor is physically the strongest of the Æsir. The brother of Baldr and Höðr, he is the eldest of Odin's sons and husband of the goddess Sif, known for her golden hair. Described as being fierce eyed, with red hair and a full beard, Thor is quick to anger and has an enormous appetite. The champion of Asgard, Thor is said to protect both it and Midgard from the likes of the jǫtnar, a race of beings native to Jötunheimr. He is known in Old English as Þunor (Thunor) and in Old High German as Donar (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ), all stemming from the Proto-Germanic term *Þunraz, meaning "thunder".

Family[change | change source]

Thor is the son of Odin, chief of the Æsir, and Jörð, the living personification of the Earth. He is the eldest of Odin's sons. He is the half-brother of Baldr, Höðr, Víðarr, and Váli.

He is married to the golden-haired goddess Sif. They have a daughter named Þrúðr. With his jötunn lover Járnsaxa, Thor had two sons, Móði and Magni. He has a stepson, Ullr, who is Sif's son by a previous marriage.

Possessions[change | change source]

Thor was said to travel in a chariot drawn by two goats named Tanngrisnir (Old Norse: “teeth-barer; snarler”) and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse: “teeth grinder”), whom he would feast upon to replenish his strength, reviving them the next day.

According to writings known as sagas, Thor wielded a short-handled war hammer, Mjölnir. Forged by the dwarven brothers Eitri and Brokkr, it is said to be the most powerful weapon in the Nine Worlds, capable of crushing even mountains. When the hammer was thrown, it returned magically to the owner. Other attributes of Thor include a pair of [iron] gauntlets known as Járngreipr (Old Norse: “iron grippers”), which he is required to wear in order to wield Mjölnir, the magic belt Megingjörð (Old Norse: “Belt of power” or “strength”), which doubles his strength when he wears it, and the staff Gríðarvölr, which, along with Járngreipr, was gifted to him by the jötunn Gríðr (Old Norse: “greed” or “vehemence; impetuosity”). The English weekday Thursday (Old English: Þūnresdæg - “Thunor’s [Thor’s] day”) bears his name. 

Popular culture[change | change source]

Thor is a character in Marvel Comics, his full name being Thor Odinson; the son of Odin and Gaea (primordial goddess of the Earth), he is the god of thunder and a founding member of the Avengers. His archenemy is Loki, god of trickery and mischief as well as Thor's younger adopted brother. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth plays the role of Thor, first appearing in the character's feature film Thor (2011). He reprised his role in The Avengers (2012), as well as the films' respective sequels - Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). He once again features as Thor in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and is planned to reprise his role in Avengers: Infinity War, scheduled to be released in 2018.