Myth versus Marvel

Thor is best known today as one of the Avengers, and his brother Loki is the villain we most love to hate. But they’ve been around for much longer than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thousands of years longer, in fact.

Thor and Loki 680

For those of us who grew up on mythology, it can be amusing to watch Tumblr discover its existence. While both the original and the Marvel versions of Asgard have much in common there are a few notable, and exceedingly strange, differences. Mythology traditionally features the bizarre and inexplicable; details that are often left out of modern, western interpretations. Here are some interesting trivia facts that didn’t quite make it into Marvel’s version of Asgard.

Laufey was Loki’s Mother

tumblr_mzopfho4OT1t30wr9o2_500No, he didn’t change gender during the last thousand years. Loki took his surname from his mother, for reasons nobody has been able to deduce, rather than from his father, Forseti. Loki Laufeyson is well known, however, and the creators probably thought it would be easier to change his parents’ names instead.

Loki was a giant’s son, but so was Thor.

In fact, a lot of the gods were descended from giants, married to giants, or otherwise dallying around with giants. Giants were the first race created in the Norse cosmology, and since the gods of Asgard followed only two or three generations later, there’s a lot of giant blood going around.

Mjiolner Couldn’t Fly

4774109-9865081385-thor.Thor’s hammer was just that—a hammer. He used it to hit people with. It would always return to his hand, but as far as we know, he never used it to leave the ground. Of the Aesir Loki is the one known to fly the most, usually in disguise as a falcon.

You didn’t have to be worthy to lift the hammer

The hammer belonged to Thor. He did whatever he wanted with it. If it was stolen from it then his enemies could use it. He frequently threatened to beat Loki to a pulp with it. It was forged by dwarves as part of a wager Loki made regarding who were the greatest craftsmen.

Loki is Odin’s brother, not Thor’s.

Due to circumstances now shrouded in obscurity, Loki and Odin swore an oath of blood brotherhood, making Loki one of the Aesir. This oath is the only thing that protects him from the wrath of the other gods, as none of the Aesir may spill another’s blood.

from norse-mythology.org

The Bifrost was an actual rainbow

They didn’t call it “The Rainbow Bridge” just because it looked pretty. The ancient Norse believed that the rainbows they saw in the sky were bridges used by the gods to visit other realms.

The Bifrost wasn’t the only way to reach Midgard.

In fact, Thor never used the Bifrost at all because it was feared his great weight would break it. It does break eventually, when the armies charge over it at Ragnarok.


Katie Lynn Daniels is the author of Supervillain of the Day, and the mastermind behind Vaguely Circular. She blogs about science and things that are peripherally related to science. You can read all her posts here.


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