Mårten Eskil Winge - Thor's Fight with the Giants
Thor's Fight with the Giants
by Mårten Eskil Winge (1872).'
General Info
Title(s) *God of Thunder
*Son of Odin
*Mighty Thor
Norse Þórr
Abode Asgard
Consort Sif
Parents Odin and Jörð
Sibling(s) Baldr, Höðr, Víðarr, Váli, Hermóðr, Heimdallr, Bragi, Týr
Children Magni, Móði, Þrúðr

This article is about the Norse deity, for other uses see Thor (disambiguation).

In Norse mythology, Thor (/θɔːr/; from Old Norse Þórr), is the hammer-wielding god of thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, hallowing, fertility and the protection of mankind. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ), stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning "thunder").

Thor is often depicted wielding his powerful hammer, known as Mjölnir, the attribute most commonly associated with him as his weapon. Other times he is depicted wielding the hammer and other two items which are: the iron gloves known as Járngreipr and the magic belt Megingjörð. He is also the idol of craftsman and the fighter of evil. Like Odin, Thor is also a widely revered god and one of the principal Æsir gods of legend.

Several Finno-Ugric peoples have thunder gods with names similar to Thor: Tiermes, Tordöm or Torum ("the golden light", Finno-Ugric). Some, like Estonian Taara even retain the connection with Thursday.


He is the son of Odin and Jörð, and the grandson of Borr, stepson of Frigg, older brother of Baldr, Höðr, Víðarr, Váli, Hermóðr, Heimdallr, Bragi and Týr, husband of the goddess Sif, and stepfather of the hunting-god, Ullr. Thor features strongly in the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, in which Thor's many conflicts with the race of giants are a main source of plots. Thor is one of the most powerful Norse gods. He uses his superior power and sworn duty is to protect both Asgard (home of the gods) and Midgard (home of the humans).

In most myths, Thor is said to be Odin's most favorite son of all, for his heroism and compassion. He is a great warrior represented as a middle-aged man of enormous strength, an implacable foe to the harmful race of giants but benevolent toward mankind. His figure was generally secondary to that of his father, and perhaps among all northern peoples except the royal families, he was apparently worshiped more than any other god.

It is said that the hammer, Mjölnir, is one of the most fearsome weapons in Asgard, created for him by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr. It is what helps Thor boost his powers, and it has many marvelous qualities, including that of returning to the thrower like a boomerang; it is frequently carved on runic stones and funerary stelae. Thor is capable of hurling Mjölnir with great force and, by holding onto the leather thong, is capable of flying through the air at tremendous speeds.

Thor is well known for his fights with the race of giants. Among Thor's chief enemies is the midgard serpent Jörmungandr, the symbol of evil. During Ragnarök, Thor will kill and in turn be killed by Jörmungandr.


Main article: Jörmungandr

Midgard serpent

Thor vs the world serpent

It is said and prophesed, that Thor will confront the world serpent Jörmungandr at Ragnarök, and that he will slay the creature, but not before the creature also causes him to perish.

Records and Accounts

Poetic Edda

In the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from traditional source material reaching from the pagan period to later times, most of his accounts in the Poetic Edda been included in the Codex Regius, Thor appears and is mentioned in the poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Skírnismál, Hárbarðsljóð, Hymiskviða, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Alvíssmál, and Hyndluljóð.

Hárbarðsljóð: In this poem, the ferryman Harbard (Greybeard) competes with Thor, on a verbal contest with one other. The ferryman Hárbarðr (Greybeard) is rude and obnoxious towards Thor who is returning to Asgard after a journey in Jötunheimr. Competition which Thor ends loosing.

Prose Edda



Donner (Thor) calls upon the storm clouds in this illustration by Arthur Rackham to Wagner's Das Rheingold.

Scholars have theorized on Thor's role in Germanic religion, his origins and purpose. Scholar H'ilda Ellis Davidson summarizes that:

The cult of Thor was linked up with men's habitation and possessions, and with well-being of the family and community. This included the fruitfulness of the fields, and Thor, although pictured primarily as a storm god in the myths, was also concerned with the fertility and preservation of the seasonal round. In our own times, little stone axes from the distance past have been used as fertility symbols and placed by the farmer in the holes made by the drill to receive the first seed of spring. Thor's marriage with Sif of the golden hair, about which we hear little in the myths, seems to be a memory of the ancient symbol of divine marriage between sky god and earth goddess, when he comes to earth in the thunderstorm and the storm brings the rain which makes the fields fertile. In this way Thor, as well as Odin, may be seen to continue the cult of the sky god wh'ich was known in the Bronze Age.[1]




The Mjölnir

Thor is usually seen wielding a giant hammer known as Mjölnir that can cast lightning, and only those with the greatest strength could pick it up. It has the ability to level mountains and has been used many times by Thor to kill Jötunn.


The Jarngreipr are depicted as iron gloves or gauntlets used by Thor. 


Megingjord was a magical belt that increased Thor's already godly physical strength.


  • Blunt Weapon Proficiency
    • Empathic Weaponry
  • Deity Lightning Manipulation
    • Electricity Manipulation
      • Lightning Bolt Projection
  • Divine Weather Manipulation
    • Storm Manipulation
  • Flight
  • Guardianship
  • Purification
  • Sky Energy Manipulation
    • Celestial Manipulation
    • Sky Manipulation
  • Soil Manipulation
    • Fertility Inducement
  • Supernatural Strength
  • Terrain Manipulation


Lay of Trym

The Lay of Trym (original name is þrymskviða) from the Poetic Edda features Thor. It reads as follows:

Thor awoke with a start. His hammer, the mighty Mjöllnir, was missing. He shook his shaggy head, and his beard bristled with anger as he groped around him. He shouted to Loki, "My hammer has been stolen! No one in heaven or on earth can know what a loss this is for me!"

Forthwith they rushed to Freyja's shining halls.

"Freyja," said Thor, "will you lend me your feathered coat to help me seek my hammer?"

Freyja said, "I would lend it to you even if it were made of gold or silver."

Then Loki put on the feathered coat and, leaving Asgard, winged his way to Jotunheim, the world of giants.

Thrym, the lord of giants, sat upon a mound, smoothing his horses' manes and twisting golden halters for his hounds. He said, "How are the Æsir? How are the elves? Why have you come to Jotunheim?"

Loki said, "It is ill with the Æsir; it is ill with the elves. Tell me, have you hidden the Thunderer's hammer?"

Thrym said, "Yes, I have hidden Thor's hammer eight leagues deep in the earth. No one can win it back from me, unless he brings to me fair Freyja as a bride."

Loki flew away, the feathered coat rustling. He left behind the world of giants and winged his way back to the world of the gods.

Thor met him there in the middle court. He said, "Were your labors successful? Tell me the tidings before you land. Sitting causes one to forget, and lying causes one to lie."

Loki said, "Yes, my labors met with success. Thrym, the lord of giants, has your hammer; but no one can win Mjöllnir from him, unless he brings to him fair Freyja as a bride."

Forthwith they rushed to find fair Freyja. "Dress yourself in bridal linen," said Thor. "You and I are on our way to the world of giants."

At this Freyja foamed with rage. The halls of Asgard shook with her anger. The necklace of the Brisings broke apart. "You may call me man-crazy, if I go with you to Jotunheim," she said.

Straight away all the gods and goddesses gathered to discuss how they could recover Thor's hammer.

Heimdall, the fairest of the gods, like all the Vanir could see into the future. "Let us dress Thor in bridal linen," he said, "and let him wear the necklace of the Brisings. Tie housewife's keys about his waist, and pin bridal jewels upon his breast. Let him wear women's clothes, with a dainty hood on his head."

The Thunderer, mightiest of gods, replied, "The gods will call me womanish if I put on bridal linen."

Then Loki, son of Laufey, said, "Thor, be still! With such foolish words the giants will soon be living here in Asgard if you do not get your hammer from them."

So they dressed Thor in bridal linen, tied the necklace of Brisings around his neck and housewife's keys about his waist. They pinned bridal jewels upon his breast, and dressed him in women's clothes, with a dainty hood on his head.

Then Loki, son of Laufey, said, "I will accompany you as your maid-servant. Together we shall go to Jotunheim."

Forthwith the goats were driven home to be harnessed. The mountains trembled, and the earth burned with fire as Odin's son rode to Jotunheim.

Thrym, the lord of giants, said to his kin, "Stand up, you Jotuns, and put straw on the benches. They are bringing fair Freyja, daughter of Njord from Noatun, to be my bride. I have golden-horned cattle grazing in my yard. They are pure-black oxen, a joy to giants. I have treasures aplenty and rule over great riches. Freyja is the only thing that I lack."

Day soon became evening, and ale was brought to the giants' table. There Thor ate an ox and eight whole salmons, in addition to all the dainties that were served to the women. Furthermore, he drank three measures of mead.

Thrym, the lord of giants, said, "Have you ever seen a bride eat and drink so heartily?"

The maid-servant wisely answered thus: "Freyja was so eager to come to Jotunheim that she has eaten nothing for eight nights."

Thrym stooped beneath his bride's veil, wanting to kiss her, then jumped back the whole length of the hall. "Why are Freyja's eyes so fearful?" he said. "I think that fire is flaming from her eyes."

The maid-servant wisely answered the giant thus: "Freyja was so eager to come to Jotunheim that she has not slept for eight nights."

Then a poor sister of one of the giants came in and dared to beg a gift from the bride. "If you want my love and friendship then give me the gold rings from your fingers," she said.

Then Thrym, the lord of giants, said, "Bring me the hammer to bless the bride. Lay Mjöllnir on the maiden's lap, let the two of us thus be hallowed in the name of Vor, goddess of vows!"

When Thor saw the hammer his heart laughed within him, and he took courage. He first slew Thrym, the lord of giants, then he crushed all the giant's kin. Finally he slew the old giantess who had begged for a bridal gift. Instead of coins she got the crack of the hammer. Instead of rings she received the mark of Mjöllnir.

Thus Thor won back his hammer.

-From the Poetic Edda


I AM the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!
Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miölner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!
These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever I brace it,
Strength is redoubled!
The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations!
Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!
Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor's-Day!
Thou art a God too,
O Galilean!
And thus singled-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!
-By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


In Comics

In Film

In Television



  • Unsourced accounts state the Mjölnir was only able to be lifted by Thor, strong enough beings or beings who are worthy of the hammer, though it is not specified in what aspects a being needs to be worthy to lift or wield the hammer.


Æsir Genealogy in Norse mythology Names in Bold are Giants/Giantesses Names in Italics are Vanir Rindr was a human princess
With Jörð
With Gríðr
With Unknown mothers
With Rindr
Jötunn Genealogy in Norse mythology Names in Bold are Vanir Names in Italics are Æsir
Eisa and Eimirya
Nine Maidens


  1. Davidson (1975:72).

External Links

Norse mythology articles
Major Deities Odin | Thor | Freyr | Freyja | Frigg | Loki | Baldr | Týr | Njörðr
Races Æsir | Vanir | Jötunn | Elves | Dwarves | Valkyries | Einherjar | Norns
Realms Álfheimr | Asgard | Jötunheimr | Midgard | Muspelheim | Niðavellir | Niflheim | Svartálfaheim | Vanaheimr
Abodes Breidablik | Fólkvangr | Þrúðheimr | Utgard | Valhalla
Topics Æsir-Vanir War | Ginnungagap | Poetic Edda | Prose Edda | Ragnarök | The Sagas | Yggdrasil

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