THOR: god…” (Arnold, 2011) using a powerful hammer,


Thor is considered as one of
the most significant and popular gods in Norse mythology. He is known as the
son of Odin and Fjörgyn (Jörd). He “has variously been depicted as a sky god, a
thunder god…” (Arnold, 2011) using a powerful hammer, Mjölnir which is “a
deadly weapon also associated with lightning and thunder built by the dwarves”
(Violatti, 2014). According to Norse mythology, Thor has an enormous body with
ginger beard and red eyes. Thor is also “very talented at slaying giants; many
of his stories revolve around violent episodes between him and his enemies”
(Violatti, 2014), which is quite similar in Marvel’s comics and Thor films. However,
a large number of people do not know that the Thor movies and Stan Lee’s comics
are originated from Norse mythology. What’s more, it is clear that the comics
and film versions of the myth do not adhere to their origin. In this paper, I
have investigated various differences of specific characters from the Thor
movies and Norse mythology.   



How has Marvel changed the gods of Norse myth?


Odin, the wise father of Thor
and his adopted son Loki, is the just ruler of Asgard in the comics. Unlike the
Norse mythology, he is depicted as a merciful and peaceful character in the
films. The original Odin is much darker. He is the god of warrior who is fond
of causing battles in the Norse myths. In the film, in contrast, Odin punishes
Thor for provoking a war. According to the myths, he has more rudimental
behaviours compared to his actions in the films. For instance; when Loki told
him that his wife had slept with four dwarfs for some reason, “Odin was
possessed with such jealousy that he found it impossible not to listen”
(Crossley-Holland, 2011) and shouted ‘Enough!’. As a result, Odin is
represented more simplified than the myths in order to avoid complication of
the character in very limited amount of time in the films.



Thor is the god of thunder and
undoubtedly a strong character in the films. There are still differences
between the myths and the films. While he has red hair with a beard in the
Norse mythology, the film portrayal of Thor

(Chris Hemsworth) is blond,
blue eyed and clean shaved. Besides, the original Thor uses special gloves and
a belt to control his hammer, Mjölnir in more powerful way. These important
objects are not mentioned in Thor movies. Furthermore, Thor is married to Sif,
the goddess of fertility in the Norse mythology while he has a relationship with
a human named Jane Foster in the movie. Jane is an intelligent character who
also helps Thor to find out the value of humanity. Unlike the myths, Thor is represented
more pensive, intellectual and articulate in the comics and the films. The Norse
Thor, on the other hand, keens on violence. He constantly threatens Loki with
such words, “I’ll smash every bone in your body” (Crossley-Holland, 2011). Marvel
has transformed the character of Thor into more compassionate and affectionate


Loki is another important
character represented as Odin’s adopted son in the Marvel universe. “In the tales, Loki is portrayed as a scheming coward
who cares only for shallow pleasures and self-preservation. He’s by turns
playful, malicious, and helpful, but he’s always irreverent and nihilistic”
(McCoy, 2016) which is also similarly depicted in the Thor comics and films. In
the myths, Loki is an adopted character, yet he is Odin’s step brother (not his
adopted son) instead of Thor’s. Marvel may have altered this fact from the
myths, for a specific purpose. The films demonstrate that Loki, as an adopted
child and Thor’s brother, causes brotherhood rivalry with the reference of
difficulties of being adopted children. The Thor comics and films focus on
bad-tempered Loki’s jealousy of his brother and feel of rejection. In the Norse
mythology, on the contrary, Loki is mostly bullied by other gods evident with
such an example: “Odin squeezed Loki’s flesh and sinews until… dropped to one
knee” (Crossley-Holland, 2011). However, Loki has evil acts in both the myths
and the films.



As mentioned
above in Thor’s chapter, Sif is the goddess of fertility and married to Thor in
the Norse mythology. Their situation is quite different in the films. According
to the myths, she is a mild and silent goddess. Due to her passive and
traditional nature, Sif is not a major character in the Norse myths. However,
Marvel has modified her into more attractive character. In the comics and the
films, Sif is depicted as a strong and gifted warrior.



In this paper, I have aimed to
demonstrate some differences between the Thor comics/films and their origin
regarding the mythological heroes portrayed. In spite of the divergences in the
adaptations, they commit related stories with lots of common points. To
conclude, it is not true to say that one is better than the other. No matter
what piece of art is (myths, comics or films), each can be interesting and
enjoyable. Finally, the Norse mythology includes huge amount of source material
for further researches.




Arnold, Martin. Thor: Myth to Marvel.
Continuum, 2011.

Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Penguin
book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings. Penguin Books, 2011.

McCoy, Daniel. “Loki”. Norse
Mythology for Smart People, 2016,

Violatti, Cristian. “Thor”. online Ancient
History Encyclopedia, 2014,