The People’s God
It’s a stormy day, thunder crashes, lightning crackles. You think it’s caused by lightning, air currents, and sound waves. It’s actually caused by the Norse god Thor (one of the mightiest of gods) fighting giants.
Thor is the god of storms and protects both the gods and men. Unlike Odin, Thor was well loved by the common person, as evidenced by the sheer number of people who were, and are, named after him. Thora, Thorvald, Thorstein, Thorsen, Thorlief, and so on, are all names derived from Thor. Cities and towns have been named after the god too, like Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, Thorsted and Thorso in Denmark, and Thoresway in England.
Archaeologists also find Thor hammers all over the place and in the graves of all types of people. Thor controls the weather and storms, he was responsible (along with Frey) for plentiful harvests, so the common person respected him and asked for his protection.
Thor carries the great hammer, Mjolnir, which can hit any target and always returns to him. It can shrink so it’s as small as a pendant. Mjolnir was a weapon of destruction when Thor fought with giants, and yet it was also a symbol of fertility. When a man and woman were married, the groom would put a Thor hammer on his bride’s lap to ensure they would be blessed with children.
Wielding Mjolnir, Thor is so strong he can flatten mountains! Like most of the Norse gods’ weapons, Mjolnir was made by the dwarves. When Thor wields Mjolnir, he wears gloves of iron.
Mjolnir was not the only weapon Thor owned.
He also wore Megingjard, a belt of strength. By wearing this belt, Thor doubled his already formidable strength.
He travels in a chariot pulled by two goats: Tanngrisnir (teeth-barer) and Tanngnjostr (teeth-grinder). These goats are magical–Thor cooks them and eats them for his sustenance and then resurrects them with Mjolnir. The only caveat is they cannot have any bones broken. In one story, Thor visits a peasant family and the boy-child breaks one of the goat’s bones. When Thor resurrects the goat, he is lame.
Thor was a half-giant, red-haired and ruddy-faced (and, no, he did not look like the Marvel Comics Thor…at all). He drank a lot. In fact, in one story Thor was so upset that the god who brewed the god’s mead had run out of the drink, he sought out a magical cauldron that was a MILE DEEP. Of course, a giant owned it, and Thor went to great lengths to obtain that magical cauldron.
And that will be a story for another Thorsday!