Presentation on theme: "THOR, released 27.04.2011 The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth,"— Presentation transcript:
THOR, released 27.04.2011 The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman.
Harbardzljod and Thor (þórr) Thor was the favorite god of the Vikings, the protector of the ordinary man, and was very widely worshipped. The son of Odin and Iord (earth), the god of thunder and the chief enemy of the giants. He wielded his mighty hammer Mjollnir, often using special gloves and a belt of strength. The hammer would return to his hand after being thrown, a symbol of lightning.
Thor (þórr) Thor rode about on his own wagon, drawn by two goats. His wife was Sif, of the golden hair. He lived in his hall, Bilskinir in Thruthheim (Land of strength). Hammer-shaped amulets (a sign of Thor worship?) have been found throughout Scandinavia. Sometimes they are reversed with the sign of the cross.
Harbardzljod and Thor (þórr) Thor’s name is found in numerous place names in Scandinavia –more common than Odin. Thor was also a common name element – Thorolf, Thorstein, Thorbrand, Thorwald, Thorfin, Thorgeir, etc.. Thursday is named after Thor (equated by the Romans with the lightning bolt-wielder Jupiter). Thor is equivalent to Germanic Donar and Anglo-Saxon Thunor.
Harbardzljod Harbard’s Song Thor and Odin (disguised as the ferryman Harbard –”Graybeard”) engage in a ritualized insult contest (flyting). A humorous example. The poem points out the marked differences between the two gods: Thor is powerful and courageous, but rather straight-forward and slow-witted. Odin is haughty, deceitful, quick-witted, and skilled in “psychological warfare.”
Harbardzljod The poem begins with Thor on the bank of a sound or gulf, calling for the ferryman to take him across. Thor begins the flyting by calling the ferryman a “pipsqueak” in the first line, prompting Harbard (Odin) to return an insult: “Who is that peasant who calls over the gulf?”
Harbardzljod While Thor tries to patch things up and entice the ferryman across, Harbard makes fun of Thor, bringing up new insults before Thor can properly answer the old ones. It doesn’t look as if you own three decent farms; Barelegged you stand, wearing your beggar’s gear, You don’t even have any breeches. (6) Typically, Thor tells Harbard his name and lineage, though Harbard (Odin) says little of himself.
Harbardzljod The poem refers to several different myths concerning the adventures of Thor, usually battling with giants. Thor said: “This is what you’re talking about: That Hrungnir and I fought- The great-spirited giant whose head was made of stone; And yet I killed him and made him fall before me. What were you doing meanwhile, Harbard?” (15)
Harbardzljod To Thor’s boasts of battle exploits, Harbard counters with exploits of his own: Harbard said: Mighty love spells I used on the witches, Those whom I seduced from their men; A bold giant I think Hlebard was, He gave me a magic staff, And I bewitched him out of his wits. (20)
Harbardzljod Thor criticizes Harbard for his treacherous dealings with Hlebard (bewitching a giant who gave him such a good gift). Thor is (usually) honest and trustworthy. Harbard (Odin) simply does not care: One oak-tree thrives when another is stripped, Each is for himself in such matters. (22) This difference also appears in their attitudes toward mankind: Thor protects while Odin incites war and slaughter:
Harbardzljod Thor: I was in the east, and I fought against giants, Malicious women, who roamed in the mountains; Great would be the giant race if they all lived, Mankind would be as nothing on the earth. What were you doing meanwhile, Harbard? Harbard: I was in Valland, and I waged war, I incited the princes never to make peace; Odin has the nobles who fall in battle And Thor has the breed of serfs. (23-24)
Harbardzljod The two exchange more insults, though some of the references are obscure – Thor seems to think some of the insults are perverted or even obscene! Thor finally loses his temper, but since Harbard refuses to row across and face him directly, he is at a great disadvantage. Thor usually solves such problems with Frost Giants with one good swing of Mjollnir. He can’t do that now, and so Odin wins the contest.
Hymir’s Poem / Hymiskvida The poem is fragmentary and badly preserved, but Snorri wrote a good account of this story so it is possible to fill in the gaps. The gods decide to have a feast and want the giant Ægir to host the feast and brew the beer. Ægir is not happy about having to serve the gods: The contentious man annoyed the giant; He began to think how to avenge himself on the gods; He asked the husband of Sif to fetch him a cauldron, ‘In which I can brew the ale for all of you.’ (3)
Hymiskvida The gods can not find a vat large enough, until Tyr remembers that his father has one. Tyr probably not the original character in the story; unusual for him to have a giant as a father. Thor accompanies Tyr to his father Hymir’s house, first leaving his two goats with Egil. Tyr meets his giant-grandmother (a monster with 900 heads), but then his radiant giant-mother appears and hides them.
Hymiskvida Hymir is annoyed at having uninvited guests, but feels compelled to offer hospitality. Thor eats two of his oxen for dinner. The next morning, Hymir tells Thor that they will go fishing. Thor uses the head of an ox for bait. He rows out further than Hymir would like, to the waters of the Midgard Serpent. Battle with the Serpent: see verses 20-27.
Hymiskvida Thor nearly kills Jormungand, but Hymir cuts his line out of fear. In Snorri’s version, Thor tosses Hymir out of the boat and returns alone. Thor hauls the boat and whales back to the house on his own – prompting Hymir to challenge him to a Test of Strength.
Hymiskvida Hymer’s great strength is connected to a magic glass goblet that he owns – he dares Thor to break it, which he cannot. Tyr’s mother then whispers to Thor to smash the goblet against Hymer’s rock-hard head (30). A great treasure I know I’ve lost, When I see the goblet smashed on my knee;” The old man said, moreover: “I cannot say Ever again, “now, ale, you are brewed! (32)
Hymiskvida Now that the goblet is broken, Hymir has lost his strength and is unable to prevent the gods from taking his great cauldron: Now it’s up to you, if you can take The ale-kettle out of our home. (33) Tyr tries twice to move the cauldron, but cannot lift it. For the third try, Thor rolls the cauldron along the floor, lifts it over his head and carries it off.
Hymiskvida Before they can reach Asgard, they see Hymir leading a large giant army toward them. The typical ending of a myth about Thor: He lifted down the cauldron from his shoulders, He swung Mjollnir, eager for slaying, And he killed all the mountain monsters. (36) Verse 37 seems like an insertion from another myth, how Thor acquired his servant Thialfi.
Hymiskvida The poem ends with the long-postponed celebration of the gods: The mighty one came to the assembly of the gods, Bringing the kettle which Hymir had owned; And the gods are going joyfully to drink Ale at Ægir’s every winter. (39) Typical for Norse myths is the acquisition of treasure or magical items from the giants or the dwarfs. The other races try to steal (or steal back) such items, but are never successful.
Alvissmal / All-Wise’s Sayings This poem, like Vafthrudnismal, is a form of wisdom contest, but is unusual in that Thor is the winner. He intercepts a dwarf who apparently has been promised Thor’s daughter in marriage by the other gods. He thinks the dwarf, who calls himself All-Wise, is a poor match for his daughter and challenges him to a contest of wits.
Alvissmal Thor What sort of man is that, why so pale about the nostrils, Did you spend the night with a corpse? The image of an ogre you seem to be to me, You are not meant for a bride. (2) Alvis All-Wise is my name, I live below the earth, My home is under a rock; From the sea of wagons I’ve come on a visit, Let no man break sworn pledges! (3)
Alvissmal Your consent I’d quickly like to get And to have her hand in marriage; I had rather have her than be without The snow-white girl. (7) Thor The love of the girl, wise wanderer, You won’t be deprived of, if you know How to tell me from all the worlds you’ve visited All that I want to know. (8)
Alvissmal Dwarfs often lust for goddesses, though they rarely have success in their erotic ambitions—unless they have precious goods to trade! Freya slept with four dwarfs to get her golden necklace, Brisingamen. Thor’s challenge is accepted by All-Wise, who must list the various names for things in all the nine worlds. He knows a substantial number of terms and kennings. Much of Alvissmal is thus a catalogue poem, a device for recording and transmitting mythological lore.
Alvissmal Tell me this, All-Wise – I foresee, dwarf, That you have wisdom about all beings – What the sky is called, known everywhere, In each of the worlds. (11) Alvis Sky it’s called among men, home of the planets by the gods, Wind-weaver the Vanir call it, The giants call it the world above, the elves the lovely roof, The dwarfs the dripping hall.” (12)
Alvissmal “Tell me this, All-Wise – I foresee, dwarf, That you know all the fates of men – What the sun is called, which the sons of men see, In each of the worlds.” (15) Alvis Sun it’s called by men, and sunshine by the gods, For the dwarfs it’s Dvalin’s deluder, The giants call it everglow, the elves the lovely wheel, The sons of the Æsir all-shining. (16) (Dvalin was a dwarf, turned to stone by sunshine).
Alvissmal “Clouds they’re called by men, and hope-of-showers by the gods The Vanir call them wind-floaters, Hope-of-dew the giants call them, power-of-storms the elves, In hell the concealing helmet.” (18) “Wood it’s called by men, and mane of the valleys by gods, Slope-seaweed by humankind, Fuel by the giants, lovely boughs by the elves, Wand the Vanir call it.” (28)
Alvissmal “Night it’s called among men, and darkness by the gods, The masker by the Mighty Powers, Unlight by the giants, joy-of-sleep by the elves, The dwarfs call it dream-goddess.” (30) “Ale it’s called among men, and beer by the gods, The Vanir call it liquor, Clear-brew the giants, and mead in hell, The sons of Suttung call it feasting.” (34)
Alvissmal Thor’s actual purpose in the interrogation is not to test the dwarf’s knowledge, but to keep him occupied until dawn, when the sunlight will turn him to stone (as it would a troll from folklore). In one breast I’ve never seen more ancient knowledge; With much talking I say I’ve beguiled you; Day dawns on you now, dwarf, Now sun shines into the hall. (35)
Thrym’s Poem / Thrymskvida Like the Harbardzljod, a humorous depiction of the Norse gods. A burlesque appearance of the hyper-masculine Thor in drag. The poem plays with apparent violations of the god’s normal character traits. A popular ballad; many versions of it found in Denmark and Sweden. Poem also contains the gods Loki and Freyja.
Thrymskvida Poem begins when Thor awakens to find his magic hammer Mjollnir missing. This is potentially catastrophic, because the hammer is the main defense of the Æsir against the giants. Thor goes to Loki and then to Freyja to ask for their aid in recovering his hammer. Loki asks Freyja for her feather cloak – many of the gods (especially Loki) were shape-shifters – and Loki flies off to seek the hammer.
Thrymskvida Loki finds Thrym in Jotunheim, the land of the Giants: Thrym sat on a grave-mound, the lord of ogres, Plaiting golden collars for his bitches; He was trimming his horses’ manes. (6) “What’s up with the Æsir, what’s up with the elves? Why have you come alone into the land of the giants?” Loki “Bad news among the Æsir, bad news among the elves; Have you hidden Thor’s hammer?” (7)
Thrymskvida Thrym replies in the affirmative: I have hidden Thor’s hammer Eight leagues under the earth; No man will ever take it back again, Unless I am brought Freyia as my wife. (8) As a fertility goddess, Freyja’s absence would be disturbing or even catastrophic for the Æsir. Giants and dwarfs lust for Freyja, but despite her well-known promiscuity seldom get her.
Thrymskvida Loki returns to Asgard and reports Thrym’s terms: Then they went to see the beautiful Freyja, And these were the first words which he (Loki) spoke: “Dress yourself, Freyja, in a bride’s head-dress! We two shall drive to the land of the giants.” (12) Freyja then was angry and snorted in rage, All the halls of the Æsir trembled at that, The great necklace of the Brisings fell from her: “You’ll know me to be the most sex-crazed of women, If I drive with you to the land of the giants.” (13)
Thrymskvida Necklace of the Brisings (Brisingamen) is a common attribute of Freyja, but little is known of the Brisings. In one version, Freyja sleeps with four dwarfs to get a golden necklace: brisingr = fire. Necklace a common female fertility symbol. Her refusal to redeem the hammer with herself causes a commotion among the Æsir, who meet to discuss the situation. Heimdall sees a solution to their dilemma:
Thrymskvida Then Heimdall said, the whitest of the gods— He can see far ahead as the Vanir also can: “Let’s dress Thor in a bridal head-dress, Let him wear the great necklace of the Brisings. (15) “Let keys jingle about him And let women’s clothing fall down to his knees, And on his breast let’s display jewels, And we’ll arrange a head-dress suitably on his head!” (16)
Thrymskvida Thor is not at all amused by the suggestion: “Then said Thor, the vigorous god: “The Æsir will call me a pervert, If I let you put a bride’s veil on me.” (17) Then said Loki, son of Laufey: “Be quiet, Thor, don’t speak these words! The giants will be settling in Asgard Unless you get your hammer back.” (18) Thor gives in to their pleading, and wears the wedding dress and all the accessories.
Thrymskvida Loki the trickster often gets the gods in trouble, though he is usually clever enough to find a way out of their troubles as well. A very ambiguous god in many myths, he emerges as truly evil only in the Baldr episodes. He stems from giants and mates with a giantess, though he has a wife, Sigyn, from the Æsir. He is blood-brother to Odin—a strategy to control the chaotic forces represented by Loki?
Thrymskvida Loki accompanies Thor on their “adventure”: Then said Loki, son of Laufey: “I’ll go with you to be your maid, We two shall drive to the land of the giants.” (20) Quickly the goats were driven home, They hurried into the harness, they were going to gallop well; The mountains split asunder, the earth flamed with fire, Odin’s son was driving to the land of the giants.” (21)
Thrymskvida Thrym sees “Freyja” coming and announces a wedding celebration: “Be upstanding, giants, and spread straw on the benches! Now they are bringing me Freyia as my wife, The daughter of Njord from Noatun!” (22) Gold-horned cows walk here in the year, Jet-black oxen to the giant’s delight; Many treasures I possess, many necklaces I possess, Freyja was all I seemed to be missing.” (23)
Thrymskvida The veiled bride behaves curiously at the wedding feast: He/She eats one whole ox, eight salmon, all the dainties meant for the ladies, and three casks of mead! Thrym is both impressed and astonished by the appetite of his young bride:
Thrymskvida Then said Thrym, lord of ogres: “Where have you seen a lady eating more ravenously? I have never seen any woman with a bigger bite, Nor any girl drink so much mead.” (25) Clever Loki thinks up a quick answer for the veiled bride: “Freyja ate nothing for eight nights, So madly eager was she to come to Giantland.” (26)
Thrymskvida Thrym wants to kiss his bride, but is startled by what he sees peering from behind the veil: “Why are Freyja’s eyes so terrifying? It seems to me that fire is burning from them.” (27) Loki thinks up a quick answer for the bride: “Freyja did not sleep for eight nights, So madly eager was she to come to Giantland.” (28)
Thrymskvida “The wretched sister of the giants” arrogantly demands the bride’s wedding gift: “Give me the red-gold rings from your hands, If you want to merit my love, My love and all my favor.” (29) Then, to perform the ceremony, Thrym calls for the hammer of Thor to sanctify the bride. In addition to magical power and potency, the hammer represents masculine strength and vitality. Thrym wishes to place it in Freyja’s lap while the two exchange vows in the name of Var, Norse god of pledges and promises.
Thrymskvida When he sees his beloved hammer, Thor discards his disguise and makes quick work of his “bridegroom”: Thor’s heart laughed in his breast, When he, stern in courage, recognized the hammer; First he struck Thrym, lord of ogres, And battered all the race of giants. (31)
Thrymskvida The poem ends with a touch of poetic justice. The “wretched sister of the giants” who dared to ask for the bridal gift is given what she deserves: He killed the old sister of the giants, She who had asked for the bridal gift; Striking she got instead of shillings, And a blow of the hammer instead of many rings. (32)