Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Strongman Thor: Character Art for God of War Ragnarok

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

There's a lively discussion going on across social media about the design of the new Thor character in the game God of War Ragnarok. Heathens and polytheists are making generally approving posts since the art follows descriptions in the Lore pretty closely. There are also a lot of negative comments from those who apparently expected a depiction close to the Marvel Chris Hemsworth Thor.

The Lore is what Asatruers and other Heathens call the body of literature we've collectively decided constitutes our religious cannon. Much of it is Norse Mythology and Icelandic Sagas and Eddas because that is what was written down, even though many American heathens are actually more Germanic than Scandinavian. In the Lore, Thor is described as having a red beard and carrying a war hammer with a short haft. One of his adventures in the Lore was a drinking contest in which he drank down the ocean so much he created the tides. This character looks like he could perform that notable feat.

Thor is a protector and warrior seen more as a champion than a general, so he's not actually considered a god of war in heathenry. The gods of war are Tyr, Odin, and Freya. Thor is who you call upon if you need a frost giant slain, rather than if you want to defeat other humans in a war. He is seen as the most personally badass fighter who will kill a monster rather than the one who will grant you victory over other humans like a god of war would do. He is strong like the giants he fights. Therefore his depiction in this art is very much in line with how he is described in the Lore.

This art is very clearly based on the type of physical body that wins Strongman competitions. This is the body of a lifter rather than a bodybuilder like the Marvel Thor. It's maximized for actual strength and ability rather than pure beauty.

Of course, the real god Thor doesn't have a human body because he is not a human. However, our mythology describes the gods as if they had human bodies because it would be hard to tell a relatable story about them otherwise. The real god Thor made an appearance in the sky shortly after I first saw this art yesterday, in the form of a monsoon thunderstorm that dropped a massive amount of rain without being destructive. So all in all I think Thor approves.


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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 12 September 2021

    I went over to that place to take a look at the art. The character reminds me of Volstagg from the comic books and the first Thor movie. I grew up reading D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths before I read the Marvel comics so Volstagg always seemed more like Thor to me than the title guy.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Wednesday, 22 September 2021

    Nods. Mythology Thor is 3/4 giant, physically big and strong, and married to the grain goddess Sif aka goddess of bread (and beer, probably.) He wouldn't be a skinny little guy. I think the Marvel movie Thor is closer to the description of Baldur, especially in his first movie where his story is decidedly Christ-like (that is, sent to Earth by his father essentially as a human, and only becomes fully god again when he becomes willing to sacrifice his life for everyone else.)

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