I’m a huge mythology nerd that geeked out when author Neil Gaiman incorporated the Norse Gods into his novel American Gods and even wrote an entire book that was a re-telling of the old tales. Even though the MCU characters like Thor, Loki, and Odin only bear a passing resemblance to their mythological counterparts, I fell in love with them and the Thor films are hands down my favorite Marvel movies.
One of my favorite parts about watching Thor: Ragnarok was spotting all the nice easter eggs from the original Marvel comics AND the original Norse myths. I have to give Taika Waititi credit for weaving in the story of Loki’s binding, and how his children take part in the end of the world for the Asgardians into an MCU film; it made the plot that much richer and more enjoyable for me.
For my fellow Marvel nerds and mythology geeks, dive into the following roundup of 15 Thor: Ragnarok easter eggs and cool ye olde ancient Norse tidbits.
15. Odin Peaces Out During Ragnarok
Spoiler alert: Odin does a Yoda and peaces out so his spirit can head to Valhalla in Thor Ragnarok. I was preparing myself for an epic death scene that would break everyone’s heart and leave them reaching for the tissues, but even though it was a touching scene that proved that the All-Father still cared about Loki (and considered him a son), it was also a bit underwhelming, too. I sat in the theatre going “That’s it? Did he take cues from Yoda or something? Even Gandalf did this better.”
That being said, while the death scene was a bit anti-climactic for me, it also has its roots in Norse Mythology. In the myths, Odin dies fighting against Loki, Hel(a), and their forces during Ragnarok. Thankfully, Odin goes out fighting instead of turning into gold dust and going to Valhalla.
14. Hela’s Got A Complicated Parentage
Thanks to Odin’s A+ parenting (note the sarcasm), Thor and Loki had NO IDEA that they had a big sister named Hela, who turned out to be the Goddess of Death. Even though both brothers discover that they have a secret sister in the comics, it’s not Hela. The character of Hela is based on Hel, the Norse Goddess of Death, who is the daughter of Loki and the Jotun (giantess) Angrboda. One side of Hel’s body looks like a beautiful young woman, while the other side looks downright skeletal. She’s also the ruler of the Underworld, which is called Niflheim. Much like her Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart, Hel has a loyal doggo companion named Garmr. Although, some scholars have speculated that her canine pal Garmr is just another name for her brother Fenris.
13. World-Breaker Mode: Activated
In Thor: Ragnarok, it’s implied that Loki was indirectly the cause of Ragnarok after he bound his dad Odin, so he couldn’t use his magic, and tossed him into a retirement home in New York City. Then he brought Surtur back to life so that he could destroy Asgard while simultaneously breaking the source of Hela’s power. This is actually one of the few parts of the MCU that is somewhat consistent with the original Norse myths.
Loki starts Ragnarok after he breaks free of his chains and leads an army against the Aesir. The God of Mischief had been chained using his son Narvi’s entrails for enticing the blind god, Hod, into killing Odin and Frigga’s son Baldur. Not that I blame him, of course. After what Loki endured and what happened to his family, he had every right to f**k s**t up in revenge.
12. Odin Literally Sacrificed An Eye To Get Smart
I started grinning when poor Thor lost his eye thanks to his big sister Hela’s handiwork, because it was a subtle nod to the fact that the Allfather sacrifices an eye for wisdom.
In the myths Odin (AKA the All-Father) is like “I want more knowledge, so I’m going to head to Mimir’s Well and take a drink.” He was able to take a drink to up his knowledge, but only if he sacrificed his eye. Odin did so because he’s a BAMF. The scene when Thor loses his eye is a nice parallel; he was “blind” to the fact that he COULD use his powers without Mjolnir, and only after he lost his eye did he receive a vision of his dad telling him “Suck it up buttercup, you’re not the God of Hammers, you’re the GOD OF THUNDER, DUH.”
11. Surtur Is Responsible For BBQ-Ing The Nine Realms
I’m sure most people wrote Surtur off as a Balrog wannabe so that Thor: Ragnarok could include a cool shot of the Hulk itching to fight the giant fire creature. But I was GEEKING THE F***K OUT because I knew that the character was based off of the fire giant who marches out of Muspelheim to fight with Loki’s troops during the end of the world.
The mythical Surtur doesn’t have a ginormous crown, but he DOES have a bada** flaming sword that he got from the god Freyr. He then uses said bada** sword to kill Freyr and winds up getting killed by him right before the god departs from this life. Sadly, no big green rage machine gets to challenge him on the field of battle in the myths — sorry Hulk fans!
10. Hide Your Son, Hide Your Mistletoe…
The scene when Thor, Bruce Banner, and Valkyrie find Loki tied up in chains and the God of Mischief says “Surprise” in a dry voice made me laugh for 10 minutes straight in the theatre, but also made me want to hug him because everyone’s favorite trickster was bound in the myths.
See, Loki tricked the blind god Hod into killing Odin’s favorite son, Baldur, and prevented his daughter Hel from releasing Baldur’s soul. So Odin and the other gods turned Loki’s son Vali into a mad wolf and had him kill his own brother Narfi. They used poor Narfi’s entrails to bind Loki to a rock and placed a serpent on top of him. Loki’s second wife Sigyn holds a bowl to catch the venom but when she goes to empty the bowl, he thrashes from the pain of the venom. Odin and the others were NOT playing around, and it’s interesting that the film managed to redeem the God of Mischief while incorporating aspects from the myths.
9. Loki’s Son Is A Giant Doggo And Yes, He Is A Good Boy
In the MCU, Fenris is Hela’s loyal wolf companion accompanied her into battle. No explanation was given for his backstory, so unless Hela went to the Game of Thrones dimension and picked up a direwolf as a kid, his parentage in the films will likely never be known.
I got a big kick out of the inclusion of Fenris and not just because he’s a giant, adorable war doggo — it is due to the fact that he’s actually Loki’s son. Loki’s first wife was a giantess named Angrboda, and together they had three kids: Fenris, Hel, and Jormungandr (AKA the Midgard Serpent). Odin gave the Underworld to Hel and tossed Jormy into the ocean, but he was scared of Fenris because he kept having premonitions that the giant wolf was going to kill him.
When Fenris was full-grown, Odin tricked the wolf into being chained up. Needless to say, chaining up a canine and leaving him in isolation is a REALLY good way to ensure that when the wolf breaks free, he’s going to hunt down the Allfather during Ragnarok.
8. One Of Odin’s Sons Goes Full Aragorn And Rebuilds Asgard
I thought the twist of Asgard burning (in order to stop Hela and Odin’s two sons being the ones to rebuild it on Earth) was neat because it does mirror the original tales. After Ragnarok came and went, most of the gods died. Baldur comes back to life and reunites with Thor’s two sons, amongst others, and they set about to rebuild the world since in the Norse worldview, their apocalypse was about rebirth, not destruction.
Baldur doesn’t exist in the MCU (well, that we know of) but the theme of Odin’s son(s) being the catalyst for the destruction of Asgard — and being tasked with rebuilding it, is taken straight from the myths. And I am OVERJOYED that it was included for the film because it does make sense thematically.
7. Thor Versus Jormungandr, Round One
I think I scared the people sitting next to me when Thor killed that snake-like dragon creature, because I was squealing and whispering to my boyfriend “THAT IS A SHOUT-OUT TO JORMUNGANDR, BLESS YOU FOR READING NORSE MYTHS TAIKA WAITITI.”
For my fellow Thor fans who might not have read any Norse myths, Jormungandr is known as the Midgard Serpent. He’s Loki’s son and does NOT like Thor. Not that I can blame him — one tale says Thor tried to reel him in when he was fishing. I’d be mad if someone plucked ME out of the water when I was swimming and minding my own business.
During Ragnarok, Thor and Jormungandr go toe-to-toe. Everyone’s favorite God of Thunder slays the Midgard Serpent, but he dies after Jormungandr spits venom out at him with his last breath. In the film, Thor’s victorious in his fight but it’s a nice nod to his rivalry with Loki’s giant snake son.
6. Odin’s A+ Parenting Strikes Again, Y’All
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Comic Hela’s parentage follows the original Norse tales, so she’s Loki’s daughter, but Thor really DOES have a secret sister. In the comics, Thor’s sister is named Angela/Aldrif Odinsdottir and she was Odin’s firstborn. Asgard went to war with the realm of Heaven and the Queen of the Angels kidnapped Angela. The queen also faked Angela’s death and Odin was so angry that he banished the realm from the World Tree for generations. The shenanigans in Age of Ultron caused a rift in spacetime and Angela was pulled out of Heaven. She later meets her brothers Thor and Loki when the two restore Heaven to the World Tree. Since she was trained by literal angels, Angela is a skilled fighter who can give Thor a run for his money and she also is powerful enough to steal the throne of Hel away from her niece.
5. When On Sakaar, Fight As A Gladiator
After the two Avengers films where the Hulk is treated like a giant green rage monster who is so dumb that he can’t talk much because of a lack of vocabulary, it was nice seeing a different side of Bruce Banner’s angrier alter ego in Thor: Ragnarok. It was also pretty neat to see a nod to the Planet Hulk comics, where he fought for his life as a gladiator just to amuse the Red King (AKA: the Emperor of Sakaar). Since the Hulk was the strongest warrior there, he managed to lead a revolution and was crowned the new Monarch of Sakaar. The Hulk’s happiness was short-lived as a monarch and he eventually returned to Earth. In the film, the Grandmaster isn’t as bloodthirsty as the Red King, and they gave Hulk’s rebellion to Korg, but the bones of the original story are still there.
4. Let’s Play ‘Spot The Cybernetic Hero On The Tower’
‘The Hulk versus Thor’ gladiator fight garnered plenty of laughs from moviegoers when I went with my boyfriend to see Thor: Ragnarok on opening day. Aside from being a HYSTERICAL scene, sharp-eyed fans noticed that the comic book character, Beta Ray Bill, appeared on the sculptures of the tower that the Incredible Hulk lives in on Sakaar.
In the animated movie of Planet Hulk, the Silver Surfer is swapped out for Thor’s ally Beta Ray Bill in the arena. For fans who have never heard of Beta Ray Bill, he is the champion of the Korbinites that they picked to lead them to a new home after Surtur destroyed their planet. He underwent cybernetic surgery and during his adventures, he was deemed worthy of wielding Mjolnir. Odin created a hammer for Beta Ray Bill called Stormbreaker and the warrior became a loyal ally of Asgard.
3. Asgard Planet Power, Make-Up
I loved the Dr. Don Blake shout out when Thor and Loki visited Norway in their search for Odin. The scene when Thor stomps his “umbrella” (it’s really Mjolnir in disguise) and transforms into his Asgardian warrior gear, in order to confront his big sister Hela, is straight out of the old Marvel comics.
Back in the day, there was a storyline where Odin created a mortal form for Thor to inhabit on Earth. One day, “Dr. Donald Blake” got stuck in a cave and discovered Mjolnir, which was enchanted to look like a cane. Don Blake hit the boulder out of anger and was shocked when he returned to his godly form. Eventually he regained his memories of being the God of Thunder, but Thor kept his identity as Dr. Blake and split his time between Earth and Asgard.
2. Tony Loves Pop Culture
I won’t lie, I cracked up when Thor: Ragnarok made a reference to Tony Stark calling Thor “point break” in the Avengers, although I have a feeling that the joke went over the heads of the younger moviegoers who probably have no knowledge of early ‘90s films. So, for all the youngins out there, the nickname “Point Break” comes from a 1991 Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves film of the same name. Reeves played a young FBI agent named Johnny Utah that is investigating a series of bank robberies that may or may not be planned by a group of surfers. Utah went undercover and wound up befriending Swayze’s character, Bodhi, who was the leader of a surfer gang and had long blonde hair just like Thor. Well, Thor before the Grandmaster got a hold of him.
1. I’d Kiss This Frog If It Meant He’d Turn Into Chris Hemsworth
The line in Thor: Ragnarok that revealed Loki once turned his big brother Thor into a frog is a sly nudge-nudge, wink-wink to the comic storyline created by Walter Simpson where the God of Mischief transformed his sibling into an ACTUAL frog. Poor, poor Thor. It was humiliating for him, but Simpson’s run with the Frog God of Thunder was so popular that 23 years later, Marvel Comics created the four issue Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers.
One of the characters was a frog named Throg, who had befriended Thor when he was stuck in animal form and used a sliver to Mjolnir, to become a godlike creature. I wish I was making this up, but it’s all true. Where Simpson got this idea, I’ll never know, but it made for one heck of a hilarious scene in the third Thor movie!
Sources: Den of Geek, Inverse, Norse-Mythology.org, Comic Book, IGN, Marvel Wikia, Hollywood Reporter, Instagram, IMDb, Tumblr, Rebloggy, Pinterest
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