God of War Ragnarok: discovering Thor, god of thunder (and fertility)

God of War Ragnarok: discovering Thor, god of thunder (and fertility)

God of War Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarok, the second chapter of the Norse saga starring Kratos and his son Atreus, is still quite far from the world shelves. However, several additional information has already been provided, capable of sparking discussions and diatribes. The most striking was perhaps the one concerning the appearance of Thor, disputed by many for his not exactly statuesque physical form. Exactly from the god of thunder we would like to offer you some insights into Norse mythology and the way in which Santa Monica Studio has adapted these stories to make them not only compelling and coherent within its narrative cycle, but also easily assimilable for a Western audience. mass, who want to be teased and intrigued by a videogame work, rather than educated.

Let's go, then, to discover Thor, the new nemesis in God of War Ragnarok.

The historical origins

God of War Ragnarok: Thor, the beloved and feared god of thunder Like most of the divinities, Thor also seems to have evemeristic origins (a current of philosophical thought that takes its name from Evemero da Messina, for the which the genesis of the gods would derive from influential individuals whose life and collective memory has led to a process of divinization, giving rise to myths and legends, as well as religious traditions and cults even very widespread). A source of this process is found in Snorri Sturluson's Edda (the main source of knowledge of Norse mythology that has survived, divided into two texts, the poetic Edda and the prose Edda, written during the 13th century in Iceland, but perhaps not by the same author), in which the scholar traces the story of Thor back to the reign of Priam of Troy, of which the Norse god (originally Trór) would be one of the innumerable sons. After the fall of the legendary city, he would thus migrate to the Scandinavian lands.

God of War Ragnarok: the fall of Troy according to Daniel Van Heil (1604-1664) As proof of this origin, Snorri highlights how the term Æsir (Norse expression to indicate the gods) means Ásiámenn , or "men from Asia". Not only. The historian also takes up an idea widespread among the Frankish communities that tended to match the origin of many barbarian populations precisely from that migratory process that took place with the disintegration of Troy, as Carla Del Zotto underlines in the article "The myth of Troy and the migration of Odin to Scandinavia ".

Expanding this theory into a purely romantic trajectory, therefore, not only great peoples, but also personalities revered and gradually transformed into divinities would have originated from the boundless lineage of royalty and Trojan heroes, fleeing from ruin and looking for a new ground in which to plant their roots.

While not wanting to follow this line of thought, there is no doubt that the figure of the Norse god of thunder, which shares so much with as many divinities scattered in territories that are also very different from each other, has Indo-European origins. A single, superficial juxtaposition with one of the most famous divinities ever venerated, Zeus, is enough to already begin to glimpse a certain similarity in both physical and behavioral characteristics.

Mythological origins

God of War Ragnarok: Thor confronts Jörmungandr in an oil on canvas by Henry Fuseli, dated 1790 In Norse tradition, Thor is the son of Odin and the giantess Jǫrð (literally "Earth"). As Tamra Andrews reports in "Dictionary of Nature Myths: Legends of the Earth, Sea, and Sky", from birth his temper and relentlessness were evident, so much so as to force Odin and his wife Frigg to entrust him to Vingnir and Hlore (who could be identified as the personification of lightning).

On his return to Ásgarðr (anglicized in Asgard), Thor is ceded the kingdom of Þrúðvangar (Thrúdvangar), where he builds the largest palace (or hall) in the realm of the gods: Bilskirnir. Here he lives with his wife Sif and her children, Þrúðr and Móði. As for extramarital affairs, Thor had a son with one of his mistresses, the giantess Járnsaxa, whom he named Magni.

God of War Ragnarok: Thor enveloped in the toxic fumes of Jörmungandr in the illustration by Emil Doepler, 1905 Upon the arrival of Ragnarok, Thor is destined to clash with Jörmungandr, "the serpent that encircles the world", whom he manages to defeat, but of which he will also be a victim. In fact, despite being able to overwhelm the mammoth creature, the miasma of the latter will suffocate it in such a way as not to allow it to take more than nine steps before falling to the ground, lifeless.


God of War Ragnarok: Thor was not allowed to cross the Bifrost, the celestial bridge, because the other gods were afraid he might accidentally destroy it Despite the recent "blonde" variants, Thor was depicted with red hair and a thick beard that, when he lost his temper, released incandescent sparks (the other gods were afraid that it could destroy the legendary Bifrost, so they did not allow him to cross the celestial bridge, which forced him to wade rivers to reach his mansion). For the rest, the god was often identified as a tall and mighty individual, endowed with superhuman strength and often embroiled in epic fights stemming from his impulsive character.

The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Furthermore, Thor is undoubtedly his formidable hammer, the Mjöllnir. The latter is able to hurl himself to unimaginable distances and return to the hands of the god regardless of the obstacles he encounters in his path.

God of War Ragnarok: Thor travels aboard a chariot pulled by two very goats. details However, it is not the only element that distinguishes the god of thunder. In fact, he also has a belt with him that makes him even stronger than he already is, the Megingjörð, as well as a pair of iron gloves, the Járngreipr, which allow him to wield the legendary hammer. Another element that is not mentioned very often is Thor's means of locomotion, that is a chariot pulled by two sensational goats, Tanngniostr and Tanngrisnr, of which the god can also eat, since every day they are able to regenerate themselves from the remains of the bones. and skin (as long as the latter remain intact).

Who was Thor to the people?

God of War Ragnarok: the god Thor was very popular due to his dual nature, capable of both creating and destroying Thanks to his physical and behavioral characteristics, Thor was one of the most loved and revered gods by the Scandinavian and Germanic populations. His association with lightning and storms made him a fearsome god, but also capable of bringing fertility and sustenance to "mere mortals".

God of War Ragnarok: Thor illustrated by Jakob Sigurðsson within a manuscript dated 1765-1766 It was often taken into consideration during rites to wish a smooth sailing or to bring the "right" rain in order to have a luxuriant harvest. It was thought that with his hammer he broke the skulls of ice giants (personification of glaciers) and rock giants (mountains covered with snow, from which avalanches fell capable of fertilizing the earth downstream).

Precisely this dichotomous nature between creation and destruction is probably the cause of his "success" as a divinity, which made him a simulacral source capable of surviving over time and through very different eras (so much so that in the English language it appears almost "weekly", since the term for Thursday, Thursday, actually derives from "Thor's day").

Thor in God of War Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarok: Kratos will face Thor's fury in the new chapter We still don't know much about how the character will be handled within the second "Norse" chapter of the successful Santa Monica Studio saga. However, we can try to imagine it already from the little information made available to us.

The God of War of 2018 presented a "secret" ending that revealed the future implication of Thor within the events that see protagonists Kratos and Atreus. Not much was shown, only a short sequence that proposed the imminent arrival of a storm and the detail of the hand of the god of thunder ready to wield the Mjöllnir, all tied perfectly in the structure in sequence shot of the title and with an almost like atmosphere. western duel (perhaps also to underline the westernization of these proto-European religious beliefs, now subjected to a new mythology and symbolism, more easily understood by the Anglocentric mass audience). This scene represents the glue that is destined to bind the two narratives, namely the fury of Thor, eager for revenge for the death of his two sons, Magni and Móði, as well as of his brother Baldr, at the hands of Kratos.

God of War: Thor's character design has caused a lot of discussion Another aspect we can rely on is the character design of the god. If the color of beard and hair are faithful to tradition, robustness and physical strength have been interpreted, in this case, not in the conventional and sculptural way so dear to various figurative representations of the god (especially in the neoclassical and romantic age, which is they would find more at ease with a physicality similar to that of Kratos), as in a more unusual guise, but perhaps akin to an antagonistic recurrence of immemorial duration that tends to de-emphasize the harmony of bodily forms to enhance traits of pure and simple power, crude and, therefore, highly dangerous.

Another element that could emerge from this analysis of the little we have seen is the possible presence of Thor's legendary chariot, pulled by the goats Tanngniostr and Tanngrisnr. It is no more than mere speculation, but considering the presence of sleds, in addition to the evergreen epic nature of the clashes (so dear to the series), a highly adrenaline-fueled chase could actually take place that implies this characteristic element of the divinity that has not found too much space. in common thinking.

For now, there's not much more to add, except that behind the mighty mass of the thunder god lies the almost chameleon-like Ryan Hurst, beloved by Sons of Anarchy fans and hated by those of The Walking Dead; he too has joined the "pantheon" of actors and actresses who have landed in the current videogame panorama, which he looks at the cinema with great respect, but also with extreme (and often too selfish) interest.

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