The new movie “Thor: The Dark World” continues where “The Avengers” left off: the Norse god of thunder is reunited with girlfriend Jane Foster and must once again save Earth from total destruction with the help of his magical hammer. The cliffhanger ending is a clear sign that a third “Thor” in the works.
We asked John Lindow, a Scandinavian medieval studies and folklore professor at the University of California, Berkeley, to offer up some ideas about what the hero might do next.
1. Get married.
Thor has a girlfriend. But according to Norse mythology, he also has a wife: fellow Asgardian goddess Sif. Though not much is known about Sif, Lindow gives a pretty clear depiction of their marriage: “Thor’s romantic life isn’t so great. He’s got a pretty busy professional life because he’s on the road a lot killing giants. It certainly is not a fiery romance.” In the movie, there is in fact a female character named Lady Sif in Thor’s loyal band of warriors and Odin, Allfather of Asgard, wants Thor to wed her–which wouldn’t exactly thrill Jane Foster.
2. It’s Hammer time!
In the movie, Thor’s trusty magic hammer, Miollnir, enables him to fly and blast his enemies. Turns out that is not exactly the hammer’s role in mythology. There is no flying. “Mostly [Thor] walks,” says Lindow. But the hammer does have cool magical properties yet to be explored in the films. For example: “Thor used it to revive his goats, who had been slaughtered and eaten.”
3. Play drinking games.
An enemy giant challenged Thor to down all the liquid inside a drinking horn. But Thor did not know that the horn was connected to the sea. So nobody could drink it all! But Thor’s mighty efforts did cause sea levels to drop–an explanation for the creation of tides. [Editor’s note: Has Thor read our cover story on rising seas?]
4. Find a new assistant.
Thor had a human assistant named Thialfi who helped Thor win one of his most challenging battles. Thialfi tricked Thor’s opponent, a clay giant, into standing on his shield, giving Thor a clear shot to attack. Sounds like a role for Aziz Ansari.
5. Reveal a darker side.
The rugged good looks and romantic nature of the Hollywood Thor might cause swooning, but the real Thor “is not a Mister Charming in any way,” says Lindow. “He does have a quick temper and ‘friendly’ is not the word that leaps to mind to describe him. ‘Scary’ leaps to mind, but definitely not ‘friendly.’”
6. Have a wrestling match with… Jesus?
Lindow explained that at the end of the 10th century, pagans viewed Thor as the mighty opponent of Jesus Christ. It is said that Thor challenged Christ to a wrestling match but, out of fear, Christ declined the offer, proving to the pagans that Christ was the lesser deity.
7. Fight a snake.
Lindow notes that Thor’s greatest enemy was the Midguard serpent, a giant sea creature that encircled the Earth and was also the devil incarnate. Depending on which version you read, Thor either survives the brutal battle or dies a violent death. If the latter outcome is featured in the next Thor movie, don’t hold your breath waiting for “Thor Four.”