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I am the God Thor, I am the War God, I am the Thunderer! Here in my Northland, my fastness and fortress, reign I forever! Here amid icebergs rule I the nations; This is my hammer, Miölner the mighty; Giants and sorcerers cannot withstand it!
~ Thor

Thor is the red-haired son of Odin and a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing and fertility. His belt Megingjörð doubles his strength and lightning flashes every time he throws his trusty hammer, Mjölnir.

Overview

Thor is one of the most powerful Norse gods and uses his superior power to protect Asgard and Midgard. Due to his lust for battle and incredible prowess, Thor is also portrayed as a war god and also an agricultural god due to his status as a weather deity that aids in the growth of crops. Thor's exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent, Jormungandr, and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology.

Thor was very talented at slaying the Jotuns; many of his stories revolve around violent episodes between him and his enemies. In order to perform his duties, Thor uses his hammer, which was built by the dwarves, to slay his enemies swiftly and with precise ruthlessness. He also had iron gloves and a belt named Megingjard that doubled Thor’s strength once buckled on. There were also some other less destructive aspects of Thor.

Thor had a chariot to travel across the sky, which was drawn by two giant goats: Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. These powerful animals had a very convenient magical property: they could be killed and eaten at any time, and as long as their bones were undamaged and returned into their skins, they would regenerate overnight and the following day would be alive, just like new.

History

An Odd Flyte

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.

Search for the Cauldron

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.

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.

Thor's Threats to Loki

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.

Mjölnir is Missing

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.

The Raging Bride

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 behavior 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" behavior 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.

The Thunder God and the Dwarf

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".

Personality

Thor could be described as bold, brash, hot-headed, impatient, immature and stubborn. He was utterly ruthless in battle, showing no mercy to his opponents with many noting that Thor had a "one-track" way of thinking where words are not well suited for battle but only physical confrontation is the resolution to all things. He had proven to be bloodthirsty and enjoyed the challenge of battle and combat, with Ares himself being impressed by the Nordic god's lust for combat.

Thor is very impatient and quick to anger and could act rashly to a situation such as when he discovered his hammer was missing and immediately blamed Loki, despite the tricker god's professing of his innocence, and threatened to break every bone in his body if he did not find Mjölnir. Another instance was when he was insulted by Theseus in the Elysium fields, Thor reacts by promptly smacking the fallen Greek hero with Mjølnir and started a fight with the other undead beasts alongside Zagreus. Thor would also ignore the fact that he and his cohorts would be sorely outnumbered which seems to stem from arrogance. Thor's intelligence could also be called into question as his wrath would cloud his judgement. He would often make a fool of himself and does not predict the outcome of events due to his hasty and irresponsible ways.

Despite his violent temper and arrogant nature, Thor had a boisterous and outgoing personality to him. This surprisingly charming trait of his character was due to his upbringing on Asgard and he was unaware of the customs and norms on Earth and even in other foreign pantheons such as when he devoured half of the food that was set over the banquet table in Hades's dining room. Thor also had a childlike disposition to him, often getting excited over simple things which has led to people, notably Artemis and Loki, to call him a buffoon or a man-child. This side of him is not unknown to the younger generation, and the best example of this is his relationship with Jöris, the prince of Annwn. Given that Jöris himself was only "ten" years old, for a mortal at least as he was actually one hundred years old chronologically, the young prince's bubbly and energetic nature balances itself quite well with Thor's extroverted and outgoing demeanor, leading to the two to have a brotherly bond. Thor also at times forgets the concept of personal space as he would more often than not would greet his allies with bone-crushing hugs; despite Artemis telling him numerous times that she is not fond of being touched by a man he would still greet her with an embrace which makes him somewhat dim-witted or dense.

Thor is known to be incredibly brave, always rushing into battle that no mortal and other lesser gods could ever hope to win. He would leap towards the Titan king Cronus despite the latter being more powerful than he is and would continuously attack him each time Cronus would counter with powerful attacks that would normally incapacitate other gods. This also relates to Thor's unwavering determination and tenacity to never surrender and always keep on fighting no matter the odds that are stacked against him. He is resolute and unmovable during battle and has no intention of stopping until his opponent is defeated even when he is at death's door during his final battle against Jörmungandr. This show of willpower has gone to inspire the likes of Jöris and even Artemis herself despite her distaste for individuals like Thor.

Thor also has a sense of honor as he outright refuses to fight an opponent that is disabled, injured from some other fight, or are ill. Befitting his desire for battle, Thor will fight someone when they are at their best. Thor is also very protective of his friends and family, and is capable of terrifying displays of rage and becomes very threatening when provoked such as when he struck Zeus for attempting to seduce Sif, threatened the Furies if they laid their hands on Zagreus, and struck Arawn when he insulted Artemis. He also, despite their differences and conflicts, cares for Loki his blood-uncle. While Thor does not entirely trust Loki as a character he does trust in his intellect as Thor acknowledges that whenever a situation that requires cunning presents itself it is Loki that Thor turns to for guidance. Thor has managed to form a close companionship with the trickster god. This is evident in where Loki accompanies Thor on his adventures, sharing meals, and even aiding each other through situations that one of them can solve whilst the other cannot. Although they constantly frustrate one another, they enjoy each other's company.

Powers and Abilities

Being both half-giant and Odin's firstborn son, Thor is undoubtedly the second most powerful of the Aesir (and maybe physically the strongest Aesir), surpassed only by his father. His power is great enough for having slaughtered some of the fiercest jötunns, whilst being recognized and feared by most alongside his brutality. In addition to his trusty hammer and his belt which doubles his strength, Thor is an extremely deadly and powerful opponent, being more than a challenge to even beings like Cronus and the World Serpent. Like most gods, Thor is said to have power that could shake the foundations of the world

Thor is perhaps best known for his strength as he is physically the strongest of all the Nordic gods. Thor's strength is so vast that he was able to create entire valleys with strikes from Mjölnir, could lift Jormungandr from the ground which threatened to destroy the world (once when the serpent was disguised as a cat and only lifted a paw, and another was when he fished the serpent from the waters), could match Ares in brute strength and combat with the war god finding himself buckling from Thor's hits, and has stopped an oncoming punch from the Titan king Cronus, the shockwave of which was said to have been felt halfway across the world. Thor's strength is acknowledged by other deities as well, with the Furies themselves backing down from fighting the thunder god as they knew that he outclasses them in the physical department with even Zeus feeling pain from being struck by Thor's hammer.

Thor's physical attacks are so powerful that shockwaves are generated from his strikes alone and could be felt reverberating across the land; a hammer strike that made physical contact with Jormungandr created large condensation clouds and during their fight within the roots of Yggdrasil, an attack from an unrestrained Thor not only sent shockwaves through the roots but actually distorted space-time itself due to Yggdrasil being part of reality as a whole and threatened to make some of the Nine Realms connected to the World Tree collapse if Thor continued with his assault.

As the god of storms, Thor has the ability to summon harsh lightning storms at whim and could guide them with Mjölnir. Moreover, the weather patterns are even dependent on his mood such as when he quickly rising to anger, storm clouds encompassed what was once a casual sunny day followed by booming thunder. As the God of Thunder, Thor has absolute control over electricity and lightning, with it being an innate power inherited by his children, although Thor's electrokinetic powers must clearly far surpass theirs. His lightning is divine in nature, as it was capable of harming other celestial beings. Thor also has some form of control over the Earth which ties into his role as an agricultural god such as when he created a chasm that swallowed a horde of Draugr and closed it on them.

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