Thor is the red bearded Norse god of thunder. Wielder of the powerful hammer, Mjölnir, the staff Gríðarvölr and wears the belt Megingjörð, which doubles his strength, and the iron gloves Járngreipr. He is the offspring of Odin and Jörð, the earth personified. He is considered the champion of the Norse gods, and protector of the people of Midgârd.

Mjölnir’s Forging

The hammer that Thor carries into battle is imbued with magical powers. It has the ability to be recalled to Thor’s hand, no matter the distance with which it is thrown, it can summon lightning, smash mountains with its powerful strike, and provides flight for the thunder god.

Mjölnir was created by the dwarven brothers, Sindri and Brokkr, from a wager made by Loki. Loki bet his life that the brothers could not make items that surpassed those crafted by the Sons of Ivaldi.

Accepting the bet, the brothers begin their work at the forge. They decide to forge three items.

Gullinbursti, Freyr’s Boar

First Sindri places a pig skin in the forge, and tells his brother to not stop working the bellows until he comes back to remove the item. Loki attempts to foil the brothers work, and he transforms into a fly and bites Brokkr on the arm, but the dwarf continues to pump the bellows ignoring the pain. Sindri returns and retrieves Gullinbursti from the fires, a powerful boar with bristles.

Draupnir, Odin’s Ring

Sindri then places some gold into the forge. This time Loki, still in the form of a fly, bites Brokkr on the neck. Again Brokkr continues firing the bellows in spite of the pain. Sindri returns and retrieves Draupnir, a ring which drops eight duplicates of itself every ninth night.

Mjölnir, Thor’s Hammer

Finally, Sindri places a lump of iron in the forge. Loki in desperation bites again, but this time on Brokkr’s eyelid and as hard as he can, drawing blood. Brokkr wipes the blood from his eye, removing his hand from the bellows for a moment. Sindri returns, and takes Mjölnir out of the forge. It has a slight flaw, with a short handle that can only be held in one hand.

The hammer is then presented to Thor.

Then he gave the hammer to Thor, and said that Thor might smite as hard as he desired, whatsoever might be before him, and the hammer would not fail; and if he threw it at anything, it would never miss, and never fly so far as not to return to his hand; and if be desired, he might keep it in his sark, it was so small; but indeed it was a flaw in the hammer that the fore-haft was somewhat short.

Companions to the hammer are the iron gloves Járngreipr and the belt Megingjörð. Thor must wear these gloves in order to wield Mjölnir, due to the flaw in the hammers design.

Mjölnir is Stolen

One morning, Thor awakens to discover his hammer missing. Speaking to his brother, Loki, Thor decides to go see the goddess Freyja and see if she may be of some assistance. Freyja loans her feather cloak to Thor and Loki, which enables the wearer to fly. Loki takes the cloak and flies off to Jötunheimr, the feather cloak whistling on his back.

Loki encounters a giant, Þrymr, in Jötunheimr. The giant is sitting on a barrow making golden collars for his dogs and grooming his horses. He sees Loki approaching and asks why he is there. Loki tells Þrymr that something is amiss, Thor’s hammer has been stolen. Þrymr admits that he has stolen the hammer, having plans to trade it for a wife, Freyja. Loki flies off once again, returning to Thor with the news.

Upon telling Thor the news of the giants desire to wed Freyja, Loki and Thor travel to her home again to ask for her help. When she hears the request, she is furious and screams in rage at the thought of wedding a giant. During her outburst all of the halls of the Æsir to tremble, and her necklace, Brísingamen, is lost. She refuses to go.

Hearing the uproar, the Norse gods and goddesses assemble to see what is wrong. They discuss the matter with the companions, and Heimdallr has an alternative suggestion to satisfy everyone. Instead of sending Freyja to wed the giant, he devises that Thor should dress as the bride, with all the garb of a lady. Thor doesn’t like the idea, but Loki convinces him that it’s a necessary plan to retrieve Mjölnir and keep Asgard safe from the giants. Thor, disguised as Freyja, and Loki dressed as his maid, travel to Jötunheimr together on Thor’s goat-driven chariot.

Hearing that Freyja has come to his hall, Þrymr prepares his palace for her arrival. Shortly after, Loki and Thor meet with Þrymr and the other giants at a celebratory feast. Thor eats ravenously, eating large amounts of food and mead. This is not like Þrymr would expect a lady to behave, and Loki interjects that the unusual behavior is because she has not eaten anything for eight days. Settle by that excuse, Þrymr lifts the veil Thor was wearing, wanting to kiss Freyja. Angry red eyes stare back at Þrymr, and Loki again interjects saying that Freyja has not slept for eight nights in anticipation of the meeting.

Beginning the wedding ceremony, Þrymr’s sister comes forward, and asks to exchange bridal gifts. The giants bring forth Mjölnir as their way of sanctifying the wedding, laying it on “her” lap. Thor laughs at his luck retrieving his mighty hammer once again, and takes it up, his disguise being discarded, and immediately defeats Þrymr and all the giants in the hall with Mjölnir.

 

Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, Thor’s Goat Driven Chariot

Tanngrisnir (teeth-barer and snarler) and Tanngnjóstr (teeth grinder) are the goats that pull Thor’s chariot. They have magnificent horns, and are Thor’s companions on a number of journeys. While traveling Thor will actually slay and devour their flesh for sustenance, but is able to resurrect them with Mjölnir the following morning. He must only devour their flesh, and leave the bones intact in order to fully revive them.

During a journey to Jötunheimr (the giant homeland) Thor and Loki stop for the night at a peasant’s home. Thor slays the goats for a stew he shares with the family, and tells the family to place the bones on the goat skin. During the meal one of the boys, Þjálfi, breaks a leg bone open to eat the marrow. The following morning Thor resurrects the goats and notices one of them has a lame leg. Furious, Thor takes the children Þjálfi and Röskva as slaves for payment of the loss, and continues on his journey without the goats.

Thor’s Death in Ragnarök

Jörmungandr, the son of Loki, is a powerful serpent with deadly venom. Cast into the ocean of Midgârd by Odin, Jörmungandr grew to an unsurpassed size, encircling the world and grasping it’s own tail, becoming known as the World Serpent. When the World Serpent releases its tail it marks the beginning of Ragnarök.

With Ragnarök under way, the World Serpent opens it mouth wide and poisons the sky. In response Thor attacks the World Serpent. In an epic battle, both sustaining devastating wounds, Thor finally kills Jörmungandr. He then takes nine steps from the corpse, and falls dead from the serpent’s venomous bite.

Against the serpent goes Othin’s (Odin) son.

In anger smites the warder of earth,

Forth from their homes must all men flee;

Nine paces fares the son of Fjorgyn,

And, slain by the serpent, fearless he sinks.

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