Thor was the tall, muscular, red-bearded god of thunder. After Odin, his father, he was considered to be the mightiest of all the gods of Asgard. Even as a child Thor made a great impression upon the gods because of his unusual size and enormous strength. One day Thor's mother, Frigga, found her child playing happily, lifting and tossing into the air ten huge bails of bearskins. At first she was alarmed, thinking that he may come to some harm, but she soon saw that it was just a child's game to him.
He was usually a happy and good-tempered child, but on occasions he would fly into a violent rage. At these times his mother was unable to keep him under control, so after due consideration it was decided to send him away to live with foster parents. For this formidable task Odin and Frigga delivered their troublesome child into the capable hands of Vingnir (the winged) and Hlora (heat), who soon had him under control, to the great relief of his parents. In grateful recognition for the part they played in his upbringing Thor often went by the names of Vingthor and Hlorrdi.
On achieving the age of manhood, Thor returned into Asgard and was accepted by the gods and honoured with one of the twelve places in the judgement hall. For a home he was given the realm of Trudvang where he built his house, Bilskinir (lightning). This house had within its lofty walls 540 halls, and was the biggest building ever seen in all of the nine worlds.Thor was the god of the thralls, the ordinary folk of Midgard. After death their lords and masters would enter Valhalla, but the thralls came to the house of Thor, where they were generously entertained.
While the Aesir were free to ride over Bifrost whenever they wished, Thor would always pass underneath, wading through the rivers Kormt and Ormt and the streams of Kerlaug rather than risk setting the Rainbow Bridge aflame by the tremendous heat of his body.
He had two goats to pull his chariot, their names were Tanngniostir (tooth cracker) and Tanngrisnir (tooth gnasher). Sparks would fly like lightning from their hooves and teeth. As Thor journeyed across the sky the deep rumblings of thunder would be heard from the chariot's rolling iron rimmed wheels. Thus he was also called Akuthor, meaning Thor the charioteer.
Mjolnir (the crusher) was the name of Thor's magical hammer. However hard and often he threw it, it would come back to him, returning again and again to find his waiting hand. As the hammer was red-hot, he grasped it firmly in an iron gauntlet called Iarngreiper. The third and some say the most remarkable of his wondrous possessions was the magical belt Megingiord, which had the power to double the strength of its wearer. With these magical weapons Thor was able to guard the Aesir and Halls of Asgard and keep them safe from the intrusions of their enemies, the envious giants of Jotunheim.
© copyright Clive Barrett 2012