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Thor is the red-haired and bearded god of thunder in Norse Mythology, the son of Odin and Frigg or Jord. Whilst Odin is the god of the powerful and aristocratic, Thor is much more the god of the common man, often siding with mortals against other gods. Thor was an outright hero for mankind, powerfully defeating his enemies, though he lost a wrestling match to an old woman named Elli (old age). During Ragnarok, Thor will kill and be killed by Jormungand. He lived in a hall (Bilskirnir) in Thrudheim[?].

Thor features strongly in the Eddas of Snorri Sturluson, where Thor's many conflicts with the race of giants are a main source of plots.

His wife was called Sif, and little is known of her except that she had golden hair, which was made for her by the dwarfs after the evil god Loki had pulled out her own hair. With Jarnsaxa, Thor was the father of Magni, Thrud and Modi. Thor travelled in a chariot drawn by goats (Tanngnjóstr[?] and Tanngrisnir[?]) and with his servant and messenger Thjálfi[?] or Thjelvar. He owned a short-handled hammer, Mjollnir, which, when thrown at a target, returned magically to the owner. To wield this formidable weapon, even a deity like Thor needed special iron gloves and a belt that doubled the wearer's strength. The strike of the hammer caused thunderclaps, and indeed, the name of this deity has produced the word for thunder in most Germanic languages. With the hammer, Thor indulged in his favourite sport of killing giants. Most of the surviving myths centre on Thor's exploits, and from this and inscriptions on monuments we know that Thor was very much the favourite deity of ancient Scandinavians.

Loki was flying as a hawk one day and was captured by Geirrod. Geirrod, who hated Thor, demanded that Loki bring his enemy (without his magic belt and hammer) to Geirrod's castle. Loki agreed to lead Thor to the trap. Grid, a giantess at whose home they stopped on the way to Geirrod's. She waited until Loki left the room then told Thor what was happening and gave him her iron gloves and magical belt and staff. Thor killed Geirrod, and all other frost giants he could find (including his daughters, Gjalp and Greip).

Thor's daughter, Thrud, was promised to Alvis, a dwarf, in exchange for which Alvis made weapons for the gods. Thor devised a plan to stop Alvis from marrying his daughter. He told Alvis that, because of his small height, he had to prove his wisdom. Alvis agreed and Thor made the tests last until after the sun had risen--all dwarves turned to stone when exposed to sunlight, so Alvis was petrified and Thrud remained unmarried.

The weekday Thursday is named in honor of Thor.

Other spellings

  • Common Swedish and Danish form: Tor
  • Old Icelandic: Thórr

Thor is a comic book superhero from Marvel Comics (loosely) based on the thunder-god figure from Norse Mythology.

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