The Mythological Precedent Of The Woman Thor
This week, Marvel Comics announced that its comic book hero Thor, which is based upon the Norse god Thor, will become a woman.
A representative of Marvel explained, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”
This move has upset some of the fans of the the comic book, who see making Thor a woman as “ruining” the series. One reader wrote, “This is wrong. If you need a new hero make one don’t fuck with a existing hero and with mythology.”
Actually, making Thor a woman doesn’t really fuck with mythology very much, certainly not in comparison with Marvel’s decision to make Thor an alien from another planet who fights alongside The Incredible Hulk on the streets of New York City.
Even the tiny fragments of original Norse mythology that survive show some interesting bending of gender – and these bits were redrafted by Christians to fit with their own religious ideas generations after the Vikings no longer practiced their pre-Christian ways. So, it’s possible that the original stories about the norse deities had many more examples of gender shifting than we know about.
In one story we still have, Loki, the trickster divinity, changed himself into a female horse, became impregnated, and gave birth to a number of strange beings, including the world serpent, an 8-legged horse, Hel (the original embodied Hell), and a giant wolf, Fenris.
In another story, Thor was offered as a bride.
Of course, it’s not essential that Marvel make its comic book conform with the old mythological version of Thor. Just as with Marvel’s Mjolnir, whosoever is worthy may wield the power of mythology, and make it their own.
It’s a story, folks. A story with pictures. Go with it.