Thor: the Hammer Wielder
Thor, god of thunder and lightning, is one of the most famous gods in Norse mythology. He was so famous because he was a fierce warrior and because he yielded the hammer, Mjölnir. Thor had the power to command the weather and draw from their power, and he was also sort of a ladies’ man. Read to discover how many stories in Norse mythology he was involved in.
Who Is Thor in Norse mythology?
Thor is the powerful hammer-wielding god in Norse mythology. He was one of the earliest Norse deities, and he has a close connection to the Roman god of thunder, Jupiter. He was a fierce warrior, and Thor’s personality was one that was always eager to fight. That’s why the gods always looked to him to help them out of a jam.
Not only was he powerful and fierce, but he was also righteous and believed that he was doing good with his powers. Thor was the son of the lord of the gods, Odin, and instead of using tricks to get what he wanted, like his father, he used his strength. Thor’s name means “thunder,” and he was also the inspiration for the word “Thursday” or “Thor’s Day.” Thor was basically the hero archetype moving from adventure to adventure and defeating the evil that lay in his path.
As a son of Odin, he was part of the Aesir tribe of gods, and he lived in Asgard in his own hall. He was quite the ladies’ man. Because of Thor’s abilities in both bedding and impregnating women, he is considered a god of fertility. It’s believed that he had red hair and a beard.
– Thor’s Other Epithets
Because of his fame and power, Thor went by many names. These included:
- Björn, which means “the bear”
- Harðhugaðr, which means “brave heart/fierce soul”
- Einriði, which means “the one who rides alone”
- Atli, which means “the terrible”
- Vingthor, which means “the thunder hurler”
– Origin: How Was Thor Born?
Thor was the son of Odin, the “All-Father,” but his mother was not Odin’s wife, Frigg. His mother’s identity was a little confusing and was known as these three names: Jord, Hlödyn, or Fjörgyn. However, it’s established that she was a giantess. So Thor was half-god and half-creature, which perhaps even added to his power.
Because of his father’s sexual prowess, Thor had many half-brothers including famous ones such as Baldur, Heimdall, and Hodr. Thor’s sister was named Hela in the movie, but according to the myths, he didn’t have a sister. Despite his roving eye, Thor did get married to a goddess named Sif. Together they had a daughter who later became a valkyrie, and her name was Thudr.
He had many lovers, but there are few that are mentioned in the stories by name. He had a regular lover, and her name was Járnsaxa, and she was also of the creature world. They had a son named Magni. Another of Thor’s sons was named Módi, but it’s not clear who his mother was.
He had many other lovers and many other children, but they are not all named in the various myths that involve him. He lived in Asgard in his own hall called Bilskirnir.
Thor’s Tools and Weapons
Like many other Norse gods, Thor had weapons that he carried around with him and used in battle. These tools and weapons helped to increase Thor’s powers, and they included:
- Megingjörd: Thor’s magic belt would double his strength whenever he wore it
- Mjölnir: this was Thor’s hammer, which could crush any foe, and it was built by dwarves. It also had the power to resurrect the dead
- Járngreipr: these were iron gloves which Thor would wear when he wielded the hammer
- Grídarvölr: this was also his staff, but he didn’t use it that often
Besides the tools and weapons, Thor would travel around with two servants named Thjálfi and Röskva. He would travel on his adventures in a chariot pulled by two goats named Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. While he journeyed, Thor would often kill these goats, eat them, and his hammer would later resurrect them!
Story of Thor, the Hammer-Wielder
Thor was so famous for his exploits that he had many recorded stories. These can all be found in the anthology of myths written by a 13th-century Icelandic scholar named Snorri Sturluson.
– Thor, Loki, and the Hammer
Thor didn’t always have his hammer, and strangely, it was because of Loki, the trickster god, that he got it. Thor’s wife Sif had beautiful, long golden hair. One day, Loki decided to do something stupid, and he cut off all of Sif’s lovely hair. When Thor found out, he was furious, and he took Loki in hand, threatening to break every one of his bones.
Loki promised that he would make everything better, and he offered to travel to the realm of dwarves to get Sif some new hair. The realm of dwarves was called Svartalfheim, and it was the place where many of the gods would go to find special weapons or tools. It was there Loki went in order to find Sif a new head of hair, and Thor agreed, letting Loki go so that he could travel there.
He went, and he received the hair for Sif, and he also received a special spear as well as a special ship that could never be smashed. These works were created by the dwarf sons of Ivaldi. Loki was happy with these treasures, but then he got a wicked plan. He could never help himself when there was a chance for a trick, and he took it.
– Loki’s Plan
He took the gifts from the sons of Ivaldi, and he went to another pair of dwarves, brothers named Brokkr and Sindri. They were also master craftsmen, and Loki showed them what he had already received from the other dwarves. The brothers were filled with jealousy, and Loki taunted them, saying that they could never create something as perfect as the sons of Ivaldi did. They took up the challenge, and they went off to make treasures of their own.
They ended up with three things: a boar, a golden ring, and a hammer. The boar was named Gullinbursti; the golden ring was named Draupnir, and the hammer was Mjölnir. The boar had a glow-in-the-dark mane who could run through anything as fast as possible. The Draupnir could create other rings every nine days.
And the hammer was the most powerful weapon. Loki returned to Thor and gave him the new hair, as well as the other gifts. He also gave Draupnir to Odin and Gullinbursti to Freyr, the god of peace and prosperity. Loki had to give the hammer up to Thor because only the most powerful god could lift it and control it.
– Thor Dressed as a Woman
Thor had many interesting adventures, and one of the most interesting was when he had to dress up as a woman. One day, Thor woke up, and he realized that his powerful hammer was missing, and he didn’t understand why. He hurried off to meet with the gods, and he asked for their help to find it. Loki, dressed in Frigg’s special falcon feathers, which made him invisible, flew off in search of the hammer.
Loki eventually found it, and it resided in the hall of the monster realm, Jötunheimr. It was being held “hostage” by the king of that realm, who was named Thrym. Loki revealed himself and asked for the hammer back, but Thrym said that he would only return the hammer if he received Freya’s hand in marriage. Loki left and returned to the gods, his mind whirring with ideas.
The gods were furious, and Thor was the angriest of all, but his half-brother Heimdall made a suggestion. He said that Thor should dress as Freya, the goddess of love and sex, and Loki could go along as his servant. They could trick Thrym into thinking that he’d received his bride, and they could then find a way to take back the hammer. Thor, being the manliest of the gods didn’t agree at first, but Loki eventually convinced him, and they set to make their plans.
– Thor and Loki in Thrym’s Hall
The gods dressed Thor up in Freya’s beautiful garments, including gemstones and a necklace. They covered his face with a special bridal veil. Loki dressed as a woman as well, and they traveled to Thrym’s hall. Thrym welcomed them heartily, happy the gods agreed to his proposal, and he greeted his bride. He called for a feast to be brought.
At the feast, Thor consumed massive quantities of food, including a whole ox and more. His “fiance” grew suspicious and wondered at the surprising behavior of a beautiful woman. But he had drunk so much mead at that point that he didn’t care too much, and he wanted to touch and kiss his new bride. He lifted the veil, but before he could take a look at his bride’s manly face, Loki jumped in to help.
He told Thrym that “Freya” hadn’t slept in a long while because she was so eager to get to Thrym’s hall and begin the marriage ceremony. Thrym’s sister decided that it was a good a time as any to begin the ceremony, and so it began. Before it started, Thrym rushed off to find Mjölnir, and he put it on “Freya’s” lap to seal their marriage. Thor, seizing his moment, threw off the veil, picked up his hammer, and slew everyone at the wedding as vengeance for taking the hammer.
– Thor, the Giant Hater
Despite his parentage and his father’s sexual predilection, Thor hated the jötnar, which were creatures in Norse mythology. He often spent his time killing trolls, which he considered a hobby. The jötnar is not only made up of trolls but also giants and other creatures like sea monsters. Thor hated giants most of all, and he wanted them dead.
One day, while in the land of the jötnar, killing trolls, he came upon a giant named Hrungnir. He decided to challenge this giant to a race on horseback. Hrungnir agreed, and their race took them all the way to Asgard, where the gods invited Hrungnir in for a drink. But while he was there, Hrungnir got drunk and started boasting that he would ruin Valhalla, take Asgard to the ground, and marry Freya.
But the gods got annoyed with him and his taunting, and so Thor decided to take it upon himself to get rid of the giant. He raised up his hammer and threatened to crush him, but Hrungnir told him that he was evil for trying to kill a man without a weapon. Oddly, Thor had mercy and let Hrungnir return to his realm, but Thor followed him and saw that Hrungnir had gone to get a weapon.
– The Battle and the Aftermath
The weapon was a whetstone, and when Hrungnir met Thor again, he threw it at him. Thor, furious, threw the hammer at the same time, and the weapons met in mid-air. But Mjölnir was too strong and crushed the whetstone into pieces, all the while still hurtling towards the giant. It hit Hrungnir in the head and killed him, but Thor also had a piece of whetstone that flew into his skull.
A healer was called, and she was the wife of a well-known warrior who had died. She was able to pull out some of the whetstones from Thor’s skull. While she was working on it, Thor decided to tell her about her warrior husband, which only saddened her. It made her so sad that she couldn’t finish working on Thor’s skull, and so it remained in his head.
It became known as Hrungnir’s stone. It stayed in Thor’s head until the Norse end of days, also called Ragnarök.
– Thor and the Birth of Sleipnir, the Eight-Legged Horse
Another story of Thor’s involves the birth of Odin’s beloved horse, Sleipnir. Odin used his horse to travel about the realm, and the interesting thing about it was that it had eight legs. But first, Thor showed just how much he hated giants once again. A giant came up to Thor while he was out fighting jötnar, and he offered to build the gods a beautiful palace that could withstand any attack.
The gods agreed, but the giant had some conditions. He wanted the sun, the moon, and Freya’s hand in marriage for his work. The gods created a condition of their own, saying that they would give the giant what he wanted if he would finish his building by the first day of summer. The giant set to work, and he was getting close to finishing, but then Loki transformed himself into a horse and seduced the giant’s horse.
The giant needed his horse to keep building, so it prevented him from hitting his deadline. He was furious, and so he tried to attack the gods, so the god asked Thor for help and protection. Thor raced after the giant, and he killed him, never wanting to turn down an opportunity to kill one. The horse later had Sleipnir.
– Thor and a Sea Serpent
Thor hated many creatures, and he enjoyed it because it fueled his rage and his desire for violence. But there was one creature that he hated above all other ones, and it was a sea serpent named Jörmungandr. It resided in Midgard, which was part of the Nine Norse Realms, but it was the world of humans. Strangely, Jörmungandr was one of Loki, the trickster god’s children.
He had three creature children with a giantess named Angrboda. Odin knew about these births, and while he didn’t do anything about the other two offspring, he did throw the snake into the sea. It grew and grew until it got so long that it could completely encircle Midgard, so much so that he eventually could hold his tail in his mouth. Thor and the snake fought many times, and one of the most famous times was when Thor went in search of a cauldron that could brew enough beer for the gods.
He went in search of this cauldron which was in the home of Hymir, the giant. To sweeten him, Thor went fishing with the giant, and while Hymir caught whales, Thor luckily caught the sea serpent. Happy with his catch, he pulled the snake up on board and smashed it with his hammer. While some state the snake was able to wriggle free into the sea, and others state Hymir set the snake free, and so the snake would live on to fight Thor later.
How Does Thor Die in Norse Mythology?
Jörmungandr seemed to have nine lives, and at the end of days, it was with him that Thor was destined to fight. The end of days would go something like this: Jörmungandr would finally let his tail go from his mouth, and he would make his way onto land. He would connect again with one of his siblings, the wolf named Fenrir. Fenrir’s job was setting the world on fire, and Jörmungandr’s job was to fill the air with poison.
As the battle raged, Thor and Jörmungandr would meet, and they would fight with each other. It was a long battle, and eventually, Jörmungandr was killed, but Thor, sadly, was given many injuries. Even though Thor was finally victorious over his ultimate foe, he died from poisoning after walking only nine steps.
Thor and Other Gods
In written record, there was mention of Thor all the way back to the first century CE, but he had his heyday during 800-1100 CE. In Roman records, there is some mention of him as Jupiter, god of thunder and lightning. It makes a lot of sense as both gods were powerful, good-looking, vengeful and violent, and able to wield lightning and thunder.
What is Thor’s Symbol?
Thor’s main symbol is the famed hammer. His other symbols could be thunder, lightning, storms, the day Thursday, and whetstones.
Thor in Pop Culture
Thor gained a lot of popularity in recent years because of the Marvel comics films. But they changed a few things such as hair color and familial relations
Even after the Viking era, he gained popularity in 18th-century tales. He was seen as a symbol of power, courage, and victory
Thor is one of the most popular and revered gods in Norse mythology. Check out the main points covered in this article.
- Thor is the god of thunder and lightning
- He is likely the most powerful gods in Norse mythology, and he was also likely the most violent
- He was a fierce warrior, and he wielded the famous hammer, named Mjölnir
- Because of his skill in fighting and his violent nature, the gods always looked to him to help get themselves out of difficult problems
- Even though he had a bad temper, he also considered himself to be righteous and just, and he believed his fights to be noble and honorable
- His name means ‘thunder’ and was the inspiration for the day of the week ‘Thursday’ or ‘Thor’s Day’
- He had other titles such as ‘the terrible,’ ‘the one who rides alone,’ and ‘the bear’
- He was the son of Odin and a giantess who had many names in the myths, so we’re not sure which was hers
- His father was the chief of the gods and all-powerful. He was a skilled warrior as well, but he more often used his cunning to get what he wanted
- On the other hand, Thor loved to use violence to get what he wanted
- He is also sometimes known as a god of fertility because he had many lovers, and he impregnated many women despite being married
- He was thought to have red hair and a beard, even though in the movie he has blond hair and a beard
- He had many half-siblings, such as Baldur, Hodr, and Tyr
- He was married to a goddess named Sif, and they had a daughter named Thudr
- He lived in Asgard in an estate called Bilskirnir
- Thor had many weapons that added to his strength. He had, of course, the famous hammer, but he also had a magic belt that doubled his strength
- He also had iron gloves which he used to handle the hammer, and he also sometimes carried a special staff
- He also traveled on his adventures with two servants Thjálfi and Röskva, and he rode a chariot with two goats
- Sometimes, when they got hungry, they would kill one of the goats, eat it, and then bring it back to life using the power of the hammer
- Sif, Thor’s wife, had beautiful, golden hair, and one day, Loki decided to cut it off
- Thor was furious, and he wanted to fight Loki, but Loki said he would make it up
- He traveled to the realm of dwarves and asked for special weapons to be made as well as a new set of hair for Sif
- That was where he got the special hammer for Thor
- In another story, a giant stole Thor’s hammer, and Thor had to dress as Freya because the giant wanted her in exchange for the hammer
- While pretending to be the giant’s bride, he stole the hammer back
- Thor had a battle with a cocky giant named Hrungnir, and he eventually killed him, but he got a piece of whetstone lodged in his skull
- Another giant wanted to help build Asgard, but he wanted too much, and the gods got angry. Loki turned into a horse, seduced the giant’s horse, so the giant couldn’t finish his work
- The horse had Sleipnir, who became Odin’s eight-legged horse
- Thor had an ultimate enemy, and it was a sea serpent named Jörmungandr. While he was fishing, he caught the snake, and when he pulled it into a boat, he tried to kill it
- Jörmungandr survived, and eventually grew so large that he could encircle Midgard, the realm of humans
- At the end of days, Jörmungandr and Thor were fated to fight again. It was to be their final battle
- But before then, Jörmungandr and his wolf brother Fenrir came to set the world afire and fill the air with poison
- They would fight for a long time, but eventually, Thor would beat the serpent, but Thor would also succumb to the poison and die
- Thor was compared to Jupiter, the Roman god of thunder. They have many similarities
- Thor is most popularly seen in the latest Marvel comics movies
It’s no surprise that Thor was a popular character and that he was reprised in today’s pop culture. He’s powerful, entertaining, with a charm that enticed all the ladies. He is the typical epic hero which has a focus on good looks and the ability to fight and defeat enemies. However, one can see that he didn’t use wisdom to guide his actions and that perhaps doesn’t make him a very good role model to follow, even today.