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Thor (Old Norse, Þórr)(Old English Þunor), (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ) (all of which translate as the word "strength")
Thor (D'aulaires' artwork)

Thor (D'aulaires' Artwork)

was one of the principal deities among the Norse pantheon, member of the Aesir family of gods and revered as one of the three leading gods, alongside his father, Odin, King of Asgard, and Freyr, King of the Elves and a principal Vanir god. Thor played several important roles in the old Scandinavian religion. First of all, he was a god of weather, and as such lighting and thunder storms were believed to have been caused whenever he was fighting giants (Old Norse jǫtunn). Secondly, and as a direct corollary, Thor was a god of physical body strength, courage and protection. And thirdly, he was a god that could sanctify places and objects.

But, Thor was also a leading heroic figure in many Viking sagas and classical myths, described as being a fiery tempered giant-slayer who embodiment the ideal warrior in Viking philosophy. And although somewhat barbaric by today's standards he is considered one of Asgard's most powerful heroes in times of need. As a matter of fact, all stories relating to him focus on his fights against the forces of chaos, that were usually embodied by giants and other chimera like monsters. His Mortal enemy at the end of the world is Jormundgandr, The World Serpent, which whom Thor is destined fight and ultimately kill as well as being killed in the process.

Appearance and Character Traits

Thor is described as being a fairly tall, muscular man with a thick red beard and flowing hair. Around his waist, Thor wears the belt megingjörð ("belt of power" in Old Norse), an enchanted belt that amplified his strength considerably. His weapon of choice is Mjolnir, a magical hammer, or perhaps a double-bladed axe, which which he conjured up lightning bolts. With this weapon, Thor could to slay any giant that dared cross path with of the thunder-god. One interpretation of the Mjolnir myths states that the weapon was constantly emanating intense heat and because of this could burn of the wielders hands. But in other interpretation, the handle was unevenly shaped, making it difficult to maneuver. Fortunately, he also wore the iron gauntlets called Járngreipr (as in "the iron grippers" in Old Norse) which either shielded him from Mjolnir's fire, or adjusted its handle to the palm of the god's hand.

Thor's personality was a mercurial one, since he acted primarily jovial and satisfied when around his kinsman, but also had an intense dislike towards any sort of wrong-doer, which whom he acted violent and unrelenting.

Appearance in Popular Media

Do to his influential nature in folklore, legends and human psychology, Thor evolved into one of the most widely used Norse gods in adapted fiction. He has appeared in various assorted books (novels and short stories), comic books, television programs, animated series, video games, toys (relating to several franchises) and trinkets popularized in modern Norway and Sweden.

  • One of the most widely known adaptations of the character is the Marvel Comics character Thor Odinson, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in August of 1962, first appearance being in the anthology book Journey Into Mystery number 83. This interpretation has mostly been beardless, and instead of a red-head was made blond. Mjolnir had likewise become a staple of his eponymous comic series, at first resembling its mythical counterpart, but in time it became closer in shape with a sledgehammer.
  • Because of the similarity with the Greek Hero Herakles (Latin "Hercules"), media adaptations of Thor have him on occasion meeting with the the Hercules, usually to do battle, but later to befriend him:
    • Marvel Comics' Thor had had several crossovers with the same company's own iteration of Hercules, in time the two becoming allies but with a friendly rivalry.
    • Disney's Hercules animated series also had an episode "Twilight of the Gods", wherein the titular demigod met up with the Norse pantheon and fought Thor, for a time, then later saved the world from Loki.
    • Thor also appeared in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, episodes "Norse by Norsevest" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge" where he battled that show's version of Hercules, then later teamed up to stop Loki from bringing about the Ragnarok.
  • Thor appears as a character in the 2015 Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book "The Sword of Summer" where he has a demigod daughter named Gunilla, who is one of the thanes at Hotel Valhalla.

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