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Thor

Thor

Thor was the god of thunder and of the sky in Norse* and early Germanic mythology. Though Odin* held a higher rank, Thor seems to have been the best loved and most worshiped of the Norse deities. He belonged to the common people, while Odin appealed to the learned and noble classes. A patron of farmers, Thor was associated with weather and crops. Although he could be fearsome, many myths portray him in a comic and affectionate way.


Origins and Qualities. Thor appears throughout Norse mythology as a huge, strongly built, red-bearded fellow with a huge appetite. He grew out of Donar or Thunor, an ancient god of sky and thunder. Some myths say that Thor was the son of Odin and Fjorgyn, the earth goddess. His wife was the beautiful goddess Sif, who seldom appears in myths and remains a somewhat mysterious figure.

Generally good-natured, Thor had a hot temper, and his anger was dreadful to behold. He was a fierce enemy of the frost giants, the foes of the Norse gods. When people heard thunder and saw lightning in the sky, they knew that Thor was fighting these evil giants.

The thunder god's chief weapon was his mighty hammer Mjollnir, or Crusher, which the dwarfs had forged for him. When he threw Mjollnir, it returned magically to his hand like a boomerang. Among Mjollnir's other powers was the gift of restoring life to the dead. The connection of Thor's hammer with life and fertility gave rise to the old Norse customs of placing a hammer in a bride's lap at her wedding and of raising it over a newborn child.

deity god or goddess

patron special guardian, protector, or supporter

Thor's treasures also included a magical belt that doubled his strength whenever he wore it and a pair of goats, Tanngniost and Tanngrisni (both "Toothgnashers"), that pulled his chariot across the sky. Whenever he was overcome with hunger, Thor would devour his goats, only to return them to life with Mjollnir.

Myths About Thor. According to one well-known myth about Thor, Thrym, king of the giants, came into possession of Mjollnir and declared that he would give it back to Thor only if the beautiful goddess Freyja agreed to marry him. She angrily refused, and the trickster god Loki came up with a clever plan to recover Mjollnir. Using women's clothing and a bridal veil to disguise Thor as Freyja, Loki escorted "Freyja" to Jotunheim, the home of the giants. Thrym greeted his bride, though he was surprised at her appetite at the wedding feast. "Freyja" consumed an entire ox, three barrels of wine, and much more. Loki explained that she had been unable to eat for a week because of her excitement at marrying Thrym. The giant accepted this explanation, and the wedding proceeded. When the time came for a hammer to be placed in the bride's lap according to custom, Thor grabbed Mjollnir and threw off his disguise. Then he used the hammer to smash the giants and their hall.

During another visit to Jotunheim, Thor and Loki met Skrymir, an especially large giant. He was so big that when they wandered into one of his gloves, they thought they were in a mansion and slept in one of the fingers. In the morning they found Skrymir sleeping, and Thor tried to crush the giant's head with Mjollnir. Skrymir simply brushed away the blow as though it were no more than a falling leaf.

The gods traveled on to Utgard, a city of giants, where the giants challenged Thor to drain their drinking cup and lift their cat from the floor. He could not do eitherthe cup was connected to the sea, and the cat was really Jormungand, the serpent that encircles the world. Although Thor failed the tests, he came close to draining the ocean and removing the world serpent.

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples

Several early Norse sources recount the myth of Thor's encounter with the giant Hymir. Thor disguised himself as a young man and went fishing with Hymir, first killing the giant's largest ox to use for bait. Thor then rowed their boat far out of sight of land and cast his hook. Something bit at the ox, and Thor drew up his line to discover that he had hooked Jormungand, the giant serpent. Placing his feet on the ocean floor, Thor pulled and pulled on the line, while the serpent spit out poison. Just as Thor was about to strike Jormungand with his hammer, Hymir cut the line and the serpent sank back down to the depths. Many myths say, however, that Thor and Jormungand remained bitter enemies, fated to fight again on the day called Ragnarok, the end of the world, when they will kill one another.

See also Loki; Norse Mythology; Odin.

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Thor

Thor (thôr), Germanic Donar (dō´när), Norse god of thunder. An ancient and highly revered divinity, Thor was the patron and protector of peasants and warriors. As a god of might and war he was represented as extremely powerful and fearless, occasionally slow-witted, armed with a magical hammer (which returned to him when he threw it), iron gloves, and a belt of strength. Being a god of the people he was also associated with marriage, with the hearth, and with agriculture. According to one legend he was the son of Woden. Thor was identified with the Roman god Jupiter, and among Germanic peoples Jove's day became Thor's day (Thursday).

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Thor

Thor In Teutonic mythology, god of thunder and lightning, corresponding to Jupiter. The eldest and strongest of Odin's sons, he was represented as a handsome, red-bearded warrior, benevolent towards humans but a mighty foe of evil.

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Thor

Thor in Scandinavian mythology, the god of thunder, the weather, agriculture, and the home, the son of Odin and Freya (Frigga). He is represented as armed with a hammer. Thursday is named after him.

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Thor

Thorabhor, adore, afore, anymore, ashore, awe, bandore, Bangalore, before, boar, Boer, bore, caw, chore, claw, cocksure, comprador, cor, core, corps, craw, Delors, deplore, door, draw, drawer, evermore, explore, flaw, floor, for, forbore, fore, foresaw, forevermore, forswore, four, fourscore, furthermore, Gábor, galore, gnaw, gore, grantor, guarantor, guffaw, hard-core, Haugh, haw, hoar, ignore, implore, Indore, interwar, jaw, Johor, Lahore, law, lessor, lor, lore, macaw, man-o'-war, maw, mirador, mor, more, mortgagor, Mysore, nevermore, nor, oar, obligor, offshore, onshore, or, ore, outdoor, outwore, paw, poor, pore, pour, rapport, raw, roar, saw, scaur, score, senhor, señor, shaw, ship-to-shore, shop-floor, shore, signor, Singapore, snore, soar, softcore, sore, spore, squaw, store, straw, swore, Tagore, tau, taw, thaw, Thor, threescore, tor, tore, torr, trapdoor, tug-of-war, two-by-four, underfloor, underscore, war, warrantor, Waugh, whore, withdraw, wore, yaw, yore, your

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Thor

THOR

THOR (ON, Þórr) was presumably the most popular god of the ancient Scandinavian peoples, who conferred upon him such epithets as ástvinr ("dear friend") and fulltrúi ("trusted friend"). The distribution of his cult is abundantly documented by onomastic evidence; his name is found all over present-day Scandinavia in place-names designating either cult sites or places dedicated to himwoods, fields, hills, brooks, and lakes (de Vries, 1957, pp. 116120).

Equally abundant are the personal names with Thor- as first component. About one-fourth of the immigrants to Iceland had such names, according to the Landnámabók. Viking traders and raiders venerated him as their most powerful god and honored him in their new settlements. Local sources report the worship of Þórr by the Norse invaders of Ireland; Þórr's hammer, Mjǫllnir, appeared on the coinage of the Scandinavian rulers of York in the tenth century; there was apparently a temple dedicated to Þórr by Varangian Northmen in Kiev in 1046; the Danes settling in Normandy are said to have invoked "Tur." Even the Lapps, who were strongly influenced by their Germanic neighbors, took Þórr Karl ("old man") into their pantheon as the hammer god Horagalles. Furthermore, artifacts such as Þórr's-hammer amulets bear witness to the strength and survival of his worship even some time after the conversion to Christianity (eleventh century). In this context the Cross of Gosforth in Cumbria, England, is particularly striking, for this essentially Christian symbol bears a graphic representation of one of Þórr's major myths, namely his fishing expedition with the giant Hymir at the rim of the world ocean to catch the cosmic serpent Miðgarðsormr: the scene represents the god "digging his heels so hard into the bottom of the boat" to draw the serpent on board "that both his legs went through it" (Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning 48).

Adam of Bremen, writing about 1080 and relying on the report of a Christian who had traveled to Sweden, described the temple of Uppsala as having a triad of divine statues: Óðinn, Þórr, and Freyr were worshiped there, but Þórr occupied the central position "because he was the most powerful of them all." This statement, which contradicts Snorri's ranking of Þórr in the second place, after Óðinn, presumably points to the fact that his closeness both to warriors and to peasants gave him more prominence in popular circles than the more "aristocratic" Óðinn. A satirical allusion to the social distribution of the cults of the two gods is recognizable in an exchange between plain, honest Þórr and Óðinn disguised as a ferryman in the Eddic poem Hárbarzljóð : "Óðinn gets all the jarls slain by edge of swords, but Þórr gets the breed of thralls." The tradition represented by Adam, however, may also be found in the Old English homily De falsis diis (Concerning false gods), commonly ascribed to Ælfric, where Þórr is identified with Jupiter and is "arwurðost ealra ðæra goda" ("the most venerable of all gods"). Several minor sources suggest that Þórr was also able to raise and use winds. For Snorri Sturluson (Gylfaginning 21), Þórr s the strongest of the Æsir and the most important among them (after Óðinn); his domain is Þrúðvangar ("fields of force"), and his home, Bilskirnir (presumably "shining in flashes," a reference to his connection with lightning). He has two goats, Tanngnjóstr ("tooth gnasher") and Tanngrisnir ("grinner"), which pull his chariot; therefore, Þórr is called Ǫkuϸórr ("Þórr the charioteer"). He also has three precious objects: his hammer Mjǫllnir, which all giants fear; his "power belt," which doubles his strength; and his iron gauntlets, which he needs to manipulate his hammer. His adventures are so numerous that no one is able to tell them all.

This describes rather well the personality and function of Þórr: he is a characteristic second-function god in the Dumézilian tripartite system, the typical representative of the warrior class, the champion of the gods, the bulwark of the Æsir against the onslaughts of the giants. His whole career illustrates this functional role. Perhaps one of the best examples is the story of his combat with Hrungnir (Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál 3). The sequence of events can be summarized as follows. Having followed Óðinn in a wild gallop into Àsgarðr, the giant Hrungnir is invited by the Æsir to drink with them. His obstreperous behavior soon compels the Æsir to call upon Þórr to put an end to his drunken boasts and threats, but the laws of hospitality prevent the champion of the gods from sealing the giant's fate then and there. As a result, Þórr is challenged to a single combat with Hrungnir at the boundary between the realm of the Æsir and Jǫtunheimr (the land of the giants). To back up Hrungnir in his fight, the giants build the monstrous Mǫkkurkálfi, a huge clay warrior equipped with a mare's heart. Þjálfi, Þórr's astute attendant, persuades Hrungnir that he will be attacked from below, and makes him stand on his shield, exposing him to a fulgurant assault from the sky. Þórr's hammer clashes in midair with the hurled hone of the giant; Mjǫllnir smashes Hrungnir's skull while fragments of whetstone are scattered all around. One lodges in Þórr's head as Hrungnir drops dead over him and has to be removed by Þórr's fantastically strong three-year-old son, Magni. Meanwhile, Mökkurkálfi has ingloriously collapsed under Þjálfi's strokes. A last episode shows how the witch Gróa attempts to remove the piece of Hrungnir's whetstone from Þórr's head but forgets her spells and incantations in the joy of learning that her husband, Aurvandill, has been safely brought home out of the icy North by Þórr.

Snorri's narrative illustrates important features of the ethics and usages of the warrior class: respect for the laws of hospitality (e.g., in spite of Hrungnir's outrageous behavior, Þórr cannot touch him as long as he is a guest in Àsgarðr); taboo on striking down an unarmed adversary (killing him would be an act of cowardice); moral obligation to accept a challenge to a duel; single combat, to be waged in the no-man's-land between two enemy territories. The significance of the dummy (Mǫkkurkálfi) that the giants erect at the location of the duel has been ingeniously explained by Georges Dumézil: Þórr faces and defeats the "stone-hearted" monster, and his "second," Þjálfi, duplicates his exploit by destroying Mǫkkurkálfi. Dumézil sees a warrior initiation pattern in this two-level account, in which Þjálfi reproduces in a realistic terrestrial way the almost cosmic martial exploit of Þórr (Dumézil, 1970, pp 158159).

His interpretation is supported by a comic episode in Hrólfs saga kraka (chapter 23), in which the hero Bǫðvarr Bjarki initiates the coward Hǫttr, making a proper warrior of him. On the eve of the midwinter festival (Yule), King Hrólfr forbids his men to leave his stronghold because an enormous winged troll will appear and kill any champion who challenges him. Bǫðvarr, however, goes out secretly to face the troll, dragging the fearful Hǫttr along. The monster arrives, and while Hǫttr shrinks in the mud in terror, Bǫðvarr dispatches the beast with one thrust of his sword. Picking up Hǫttr, he forces him to drink two gulps of the troll's blood and eat a piece of his heart, after which he engages in a wrestling match with the young man. Hǫttr comes out of this test a truly strong and courageous fighter. They then stand the monster on its feet, as if it were still alive, and return to the king's castle. The following morning, much to the king's surprise, Hǫttr volunteers to go out and "kill" the monster. Ultimately, Hrólfr is not fooled, but he accepts Hǫttr's overnight transformation into a real champion and renames him Hjalti, after the king's sword Gullinhjalti ("golden hilt").

Another well-known adventure of Þórr is narrated in the Eddic Þrymskviða. One day Þórr wakes up and realizes to his dismay that Mjǫllnir has been stolen. He dispatches Loki, equipped with Freyja's falcon coat, to Jǫtunheimr to look for it. Loki soon finds out that the giant Þrymr has gotten hold of Þórr's mighty weapon and refuses to return it unless he gets Freyja as a bride in exchange. Freyja does not want to hear anything about marrying the uncouth giant, and the gods assemble in council to look for a solution to Þórr's dilemma. On Heimdallr's advice, they decide that Þórr himself must go to Þrymr, disguised as a bride and escorted by Loki. After their arrival in Þrymr's hall, a lavish meal is served to the travelers from Ásgarðr, but Þórr almost betrays himself by his gluttony. Loki, however, saves the day by stating that "Freyja yearned so much for Jǫtunheimr that she fasted for eight full nights." The situation threatens to deteriorate again when Þrymr attempts to kiss his "bride" and discovers the murderous flames in "her" eyes. Again, Loki finds the proper excuse: "So much did Freyja long to be in Jǫtunheimr that she did not sleep for eight full nights." Then, Þrymr's sister comes to claim her bridal gift, and Þrymr has the hammer Mjǫllnir brought in and placed on his alleged bride's knees, whereupon Þórr grabs his weapon and ruthlessly crushes the skulls of all the giants around him.

No other source duplicates the contents of this remarkable Eddic lay, which achieves its effect with an admirable economy of means and a robust sense of humor, paired with a well-structured scenario and marvelous characterization of the actors in this little drama. Although the poet undoubtedly took his material from older mythological sources, the ballad style of the text and the jocular presentation of the argument clearly indicate that the Þrymskviða is one of the more recent poems of the Edda. The ludicrous disguise of the champion of the gods is unthinkable in the older tradition, where it would have been completely excluded by the explicit abhorrence of the Æsir for transvestism and other forms of ergi ("unmanly behavior"), as illustrated by the Lokasenna (2324), for example.

The text, however, indicates the importance of Þórr's hammer, Mjǫllnir, which is not only associated with the thunderbolt, as its name perhaps indicates (it has been etymologically connected with Russian molniia and with Welsh mellt, "lightning," but it can also be cognate with Old Norse mala, "grind," mølva, "crush") and appears to be used to hallow the bride (Þrymskviða 30: "brúði at vígja"). This latter function has sometimes been associated with fertility, as the hammer can be considered a phallic symbol, but there is obviously more to the consecration with Þórr's hammer, as the description of Baldr's funeral indicates (Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning 49): "Þórr vígði bálit með Mjǫllni" ("Þórr hallowed the pyre with Mjǫllnir"). This would be done either to restore the god to life or to protect him from danger on his journey to the world of the dead. Since Baldr does not come back until after Ragnarǫk, the second hypothesis presumably prevails. It is furthermore confirmed by the repeated mention of Þórr as protector of the dead in memorial inscriptions on rune stones, especially in Denmark and southern Sweden, the earliest being found in Rök, East Götland, in the mid-ninth century. Thus, the inscription of Glavendrup (which is found on the Danish island of Fyn and dates to about 900925) reads: "Þur uiki pas runar" ("May Þórr hallow these runes").

The control of Þórr's hammer over life and death is also illustrated by the following tale about Þórr's goats (Gylfaginning 44): One day, while on a journey with Loki, Þórr decided to ask a farmer for hospitality for the night. For the evening meal, Þórr slaughtered his own goats, and after skinning them, cooked them in a cauldron. When the stew was ready, he invited the farmer and his family to share it with him and his travel companion. The next morning, Þórr rose at daybreak and went to the goatskins with the leftover bones. Raising his hammer, Mjǫllnir, he consecrated them, and the goats stood up as if nothing had happened to them. However, one of them was found to be lame in a hind leg. When he noticed it, Þórr realized that a thigh-bone had been split for marrow, and he was angry with the farmer and his household for doing such a stupid thing. The farmer was terrified, and Þórr's angry reproach sounded like a death knell to him. As his frightened family screamed, he begged his dangerous guest for mercy and offered him all he had in compensation. Þórr relented and specified that he would take along the farmer's two childrenhis son, Þjalfi, and his daughter, Rǫskvaas bond servants.

The association of Þórr with goats is abundantly documented. They pull his chariot; the Húsdrapá (st. 3) calls him hafra njótr ("user of goats"), and the Hymiskviða (st. 31) describes him as hafra dróttinn ("lord of goats"). The picture of Þórr riding a vehicle drawn by goats appears repeatedly in the literature (e.g., in Hauslǫng 15), and according to a story, perhaps from the late twelfth or early fourteenth century but preserved in Flateyjarbók (13871390), when king Óláfr Tryggvason entered the pagan temple at Mærin in the Trondheim district, he found a statue of Þórr, adorned with gold and silver, seated on a splendid carriage drawn by finely carved wooden goats (Turville-Petre, 1964, p. 82).

Bibliography

de Vries, Jan. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, vol. 2. 2d rev. ed. Berlin, 1957.

de Vries, Jan. Altnordische Literaturgeschichte, vol. 2: Die Literatur von etwa 11501300; Die Spätzeit nach 1300. 2d ed. Berlin, 1967.

Dumézil, Georges. The Destiny of the Warrior. Translated by Alf Hiltebeitel. Chicago, 1970.

Lindow, John. "Thor's Duel with Hrungnir." Alvíssmál 6 (1996): 320.

Lindow, John. "Thor's Visit to Útgarðaloki." Oral Tradition 15 (2000): 170186.

Ljungberg, Helge. Tor. Undersökningar i indoeuropeisk och nordisk religionshistoria. vol. 1. Uppsala universitets årsskrift 1947: 9. Uppsala and Leipzig, 1947.

Perkins, Richard. Thor the Wind-Raiser and the Eyrarland Image. London, 2001.

Ross, Margaret Clunies. "Þórr's Honour." In Studien zum Altgermanischen. Festschrift für Heinrich Beck, edited by Heiko Uecker, pp. 4876. Berlin and New York, 1994.

Turville-Petre, E. O. G. Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia. New York, 1964.

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Joseph Harris (2005)

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Thor

Thor

Nationality/Culture

Norse/German

Pronunciation

THOR

Alternate Names

Donner (German)

Appears In

The Eddas, Germanic myths

Lineage

Son of Odin and Jord

Character Overview

Thor was the god of thunder and of the sky in Norse and early Germanic mythology. Though Odin (pronounced OH-din) held a higher rank, Thor seems to have been the best loved and most worshipped of the Norse deities (gods). He belonged to the common people, while Odin appealed to the educated and noble classes. A protector of farmers, Thor was associated with weather and crops. Although he could be fearsome, many myths portray him in a comic and affectionate way.

Thor appears throughout Norse mythology as a huge, strongly built, red-bearded fellow with a huge appetite. Some myths say that Thor was the son of Odin and Jord (pronounced YORD), the earth goddess. His wife was the beautiful goddess Sif, who seldom appears in myths and remains a somewhat mysterious figure.

Generally good-natured, Thor had a hot temper and his anger was dreadful to behold. He was a fierce enemy of the frost giants , the foes of the Norse gods. When people heard thunder and saw lightning in the sky, they knew that Thor was fighting these evil giants.

The thunder god's chief weapon was his mighty hammer Mjolnir (pronounced MYAWL-nir), or Crusher, which the dwarves had forged for him. When he threw Mjolnir, it returned magically to his hand like a boomerang. Among Mjolnir's other powers was the gift of restoring life to the dead. The connection of Thor's hammer with life and fertility gave rise to the old Norse customs of placing a hammer in a bride's lap at her wedding and of raising it over a newborn child.

Thor's treasures included a magical belt that doubled his strength whenever he wore it. He also had a pair of goats, Tanngniost and Tanngrisni, that pulled his chariot across the sky. Whenever he was overcome with hunger, Thor would devour his goats, only to return them to life with Mjolnir.

Major Myths

According to one well-known myth about Thor, Thrym, king of the giants, came into possession of Mjolnir and declared that he would give it back to Thor only if the beautiful goddess Freyja (pronounced FRAY-uh) agreed to marry him. She angrily refused, and the trickster god Loki (pronounced LOH-kee) came up with a clever plan to recover Mjolnir. Using women's clothing and a bridal veil to disguise Thor as Freyja, Loki escorted “Freyja” to Jotunheim (pronounced YAW-toon-heym), the home of the giants. Thrym greeted his bride, though he was surprised at her appetite at the wedding feast. “Freyja” consumed an entire ox, three barrels of wine, and much more. Loki explained that she had been unable to eat for a week because of her excitement at marrying Thrym. The giant accepted this explanation, and the wedding proceeded. When the time came for a hammer to be placed in the bride's lap according to custom, Thor grabbed Mjolnir and threw off his disguise. Then he used the hammer to smash the giants and their hall.

During another visit to Jotunheim, Thor and Loki met Skrymir (pronounced SKREE-mir), an especially large giant. He was so big that when they wandered into one of his gloves, they thought they were in a mansion and slept in one of the fingers. In the morning they found Skrymir sleeping, and Thor tried to crush the giant's head with Mjolnir. Skrymir simply brushed away the blow as though it were no more than a falling leaf.

The gods traveled on to Utgard (pronounced OOT-gard), a city of giants, where the giants challenged Thor to drain their drinking cup and lift their cat from the floor. He could not do either—the cup was connected to the sea, and the cat was really Jormungand (pronounced YAWR-moon-gahnd), the serpent that encircles the world. Although Thor failed the tests, he came close to draining the ocean and removing the world serpent.

Several early Norse sources recount the myth of Thor's encounter with the giant Hymir. Thor disguised himself as a young man and went fishing with Hymir, first killing the giant's largest ox to use for bait. Thor then rowed their boat far out of sight of land and cast his hook. Something bit at the ox, and Thor drew up his line to discover that he had hooked Jormungand, the giant serpent. Placing his feet on the ocean floor, Thor pulled and pulled on the line, while the serpent spit out poison. Just as Thor was about to strike Jormungand with his hammer, Hymir cut the line and the serpent sank back down to the depths. Many myths say, however, that Thor and Jormungand remained bitter enemies, fated to fight again on the day called Ragnarok (pronounced RAHG-nuh-rok), the end of the world, when they will kill one another.

Thor in Context

For the Germanic and Norse people, Thor represented much more than just the god of thunder. In the final years of Germanic dominance, Thor became a symbol of pre-Christian beliefs, embraced by many who held onto their traditional roots and condemned by those attempting to expand Christianity throughout northern Europe. A tree known as Thor's Oak was considered sacred by the Germanic tribe called the Chatti.

When a Christian missionary—later known by the name St. Boniface—arrived in the area in an attempt to convert the locals, he noted the importance of the tree in their beliefs. He had the tree cut down to prove the superiority of Christianity; when Thor did not strike the missionary dead with lightning for this act, many of the Chatti agreed to convert to Christianity. Afterward, Christian missionaries often singled out Thor as an example of a false god who had to be renounced in order to prove one's faith in God. Legends and beliefs about Thor continued, however, as part of a German folk tradition that could not be erased by the spread of Christianity.

Key Themes and Symbols

To the Norse and Germanic people, Thor represented the devastating power of storms. The pounding of his hammer symbolized the crackle of thunder; storms were thought to represent Thor's battles against the giants. One of the main themes in the tales of Thor is the ongoing battle between the giants and the Norse gods. Most of his tales center on exacting revenge against the giants, or battling with them in a prelude to the final war against the giants at Ragnarok.

Thor in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life

In Norse art, Thor is depicted as having red hair and a red beard, holding his trusted hammer Mjolnir and often being pulled in his chariot by his trusted goats. In modern times, Thor is perhaps the best-known god in Norse mythology. This is primarily due to the popularity of the Marvel Comics superhero Thor, based on the mythical god. Thor has appeared in this form in countless comic books and in several animated television series and video games. Thor also appears under his German name, Donner, as a character in Richard Wagner's series of operas known as Der Ring des Nibelungen {The Ring of the Nibelung).

Read, Write, Think, Discuss

Though most of Scandinavia was converted to Christianity by about the twelfth century, the Sami people of northern regions of Finland, Norway, and Russia remained particularly devoted to Thor until they were forcibly converted in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Today, the Sami maintain a distinctive culture in which many ancient cultural influences are detectable. Using your library and the Internet, find out more about Sami culture. Write a paper summarizing your findings.

SEE ALSO Loki; Norse Mythology; Odin

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