Our favorite Marvel hero, Thor, is a character derived from Norse mythology’s god of lightning and thunder. He was the son of Jörõ and Odin. However, Norse mythology is quite a complex and intertwined belief system, and Marvel didn’t keep the character of Thor just like it was described in the mythology. The adaptation is a gist of Norse mythology in all the Thor movies.
Even when there are differences between the Norse mythology’s Thor and the Thor from Marvel movies, we cannot say that there is nothing similar between the two. It is a normal practice for the writers to alter a few characteristics of mythological characters to shape them in the modern world of superheroes.
Here are some significant differences that one can spot between the Norse mythology’s Thor and the Thor of movies.
If someone asks you about Thor, the image that will come to your mind will be of Chris Hemsworth with blue eyes, blonde hair, and beard (mostly clean shaved). However, according to Norse mythology, Thor looked nothing like this.
Thor from Norse mythology is said to have red hair and a red beard. A red-haired Thor was indeed considered in the beginning; however, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee decided to keep their own design as it was something that Chris Hemsworth could bring to life. Maybe a blond Thor isn’t bad at all, either.
Thor’s Hammer is called the Mjolnir, and it is pretty famous among Marvel fans. In all the Thor movies, we have watched him fly from one place to another like a rocket with his Hammer; he swings it and flies. However, you would be disappointed to know that the Mjolnir didn’t allow Thor to fly in the original Norse mythology. Instead, the Mjolnir was a chariot that two goats drew, called the “Toothgnasher” and the “Toothgrinder.” This chariot allowed mythological Thor to soar through skies in the form of lightning.
Moreover, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder used to become original Thor’s supper every day, as he slaughtered them and ate them.
Loki and Thor
In Thor: Ragnarok, we watched Loki redeem himself and embraces the good in him by helping Thor in the last battle. However, in original mythology, Loki’s Angels lose to his devil, and he allies with the rival Gods. Moreover, Loki, in Norse mythology, leads a whole army and attacks Asgard. We can say that the role of Loki in the movies was completely opposite to what is told in the mythology. He doesn’t help Thor; instead, he becomes an enemy and an outright villain for him.
There is more to the relationship between Thor and Loki – Loki in the movie has a strained relationship with Thor. It was all because of Loki and Thor’s complicated relationship as brothers that caused all the fuss. But, in mythology Loki and Thor, Loki wasn’t Thor’s brother; instead, he was a stepbrother of Odin.
Unfortunately, there were no astrophysicist women in Norse Mythology, nor were there any American women named Jane Foster in those times. This is why we wouldn’t even imagine Jane Foster being the wife or lover of the original Thor.
According to Norse mythology, Thor married a Goddess named Sif, the goddess of the harvest. She was known for her beautiful, golden hair in mythology. The original wife of Thor was more like the Thor we watch in movies than Thor itself was. She loved her hair so much that when Loki chopped her hair off as a prank, she fell into extreme depression, just like how Marvel’s Thor hates the idea of haircuts. However, later, the original Thor makes Loki bring new hair for his wife, Sif.
Have you ever heard of Jarngreipr? Most probably not, because they were never mentioned or needed by the Thor in movies. Jarngreipr was a set of iron gloves Thor from the Norse Mythology required to get work done with the Mjolnir. These gloves were too crucial to the original Thor as his Hammer was nothing without them.
Sadly, we never got to see these gloves in Thor movies as Thor himself was enough to swing and fly with Hammer and didn’t need anybody to help him. It must have been hard to use iron gloves anyways.
Surtur Kills Thor
Marvel didn’t stick to the real myth in the movie Thor: Ragnarok, in which Thor and Loki survive and win the battle. However, in Norse mythology, things got pretty bad. In Norse Ragnarok, Fenrir (the giant wolf) swallows the moon, the giant serpent thrashes and causes the waves of oceans to go crazy, while Surtur wakes up from the land of fire and wreaks havoc on everything that comes in his way. In all this chaos, Thor, Odin, and Loki get killed. Sadly, there wasn’t a good ending to the original mythology.
In the movie, however, we get to see Thor and Loki beat Surtur and survive. Hollywood indeed knows how to keep the fans happy.
The Nine Realms
In movies, we see a Thor who loves violence; but a soft side of him keeps growing along with his violent side as he spends time with Jane Foster. However, this personality trait is entirely false when it comes to the Norse Thor. According to myths, Thor never became thoughtful, and the first reaction he had towards anything was violence.
Undoubtedly, Marvel changed the character to make it look more sympathetic and reasonable as a superhero. No one likes a superhero who acts violently in all situations.
In the movies, Frigg, the goddess of marriage and motherhood, is shown as Thor’s mother and Odin’s wife. Even in mythology, Frigg was the wife of Odin; however, she wasn’t the mother of the original Thor. Instead, Jörõ, an Earth giantess, gave birth to Thor in Norse mythology. There is one more conception about Thor’s mother; in the mythology, it is also said that Thor was the son of Laufey, who is shown as Jotun king in the movie.
The Thor we know from the movies is quite different from the Norse Thor, and the reasons are understandable. As a superhero, it was a need for the character to be represented as strong and thoughtful. Moreover, it has been seen for different Marvel characters that many things about them, from their looks to their personality, were altered to fit them in a superhero role. The same thing applies to Thor as well. He is presented as a hero who can use the Mjolnir just because of his worthiness and tries to be thoughtful, however in myths, none of these things were true.
Just like that, Thor’s family members also differ in the films and myths. The alteration of characters has always been a thing in Hollywood, especially when the characters are based upon mythologies or legends. This is because it is hard to show them as modern world superheroes without making some changes. No matter how many differences there are between our modern Thor and the Norse Thor, we can never stop loving Marvel’s Thor.