If I’m being honest, Norse mythology is my absolute favorite. I hate that it has yet to be well received like the
other mythologicals. Growing up, I loved the idea of such powerful gods and pranking brothers. On top of that, Marvel turned them into powerful superheroes, using their powers for good or evil.
Ever since reading Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants many years ago, I have loved them and it’s about time we get a middle grade series devoted to these amazing characters in mythos history.
Today, I’m fortunate enough to have K.L. Armstrong, co-author of Loki’s Wolves, on the blog to give a little history into Thor, god of thunder. So, without delaying any more, here goes!
I remember being in New York, in a cab with Melissa and seeing an advertisement for Thor. I said I hoped the movie would be good. Now, of course I hoped it’d be good because I wanted to see it, but my real reason was a little more self-serving. Melissa and I were in New York because we’d just sold Loki’s Wolves…a middle-grade novel based on Norse mythology.
Thor came out and it was a hit, and my youngest said, “Great! Now kids will know who Thor is!” That was the crux of the matter—Norse mythology isn’t taught nearly as much as Greek and Roman. Without that movie (and the subsequent Avengers) Melissa and I would have spent a lot more time explaining what this book is about.
But let’s pretend we didn’t get that marketing godsend and we still need to answer the question: who is Thor? Let me pull on my mythology-geek hat and give you a quick profile of the Norse god of thunder.
Thor is the son of Odin, the all-father, and Jord, the personification of the earth itself. He’s a god of power, controlling thunder and lightning and the mighty hammer Mjölnir. While Odin was the “head” god in the Norse pantheon, he was considered the god of the nobles. Thor was the god of the common folk and his main job was protecting them, which meant a whole lot of fighting.
“The mosaics showed scenes of Thor. Fight scenes mostly—when it came to myths about Thor, that’s what you got. Thor fought this giant, and then this giant, and then this giant. Oh, yeah, and a few dwarves, but they were really mean dwarves.” – Loki’s Wolves, page 54
Yep, lots of fighting, which is what endeared him to the common man. He wasn’t the smartest god or the wittiest or the best looking. He was just a really strong guy who went around killing monsters so regular folks didn’t have to.
That’s what I kept in mind when I created the character of Matt Thorsen for Loki’s Wolves. He’s an average kid with one real talent—fighting. In some books, that might lead him to become a bully, but as strong as the Norse god was, he never used his power that way. His gift was used to help, not harm. Matt might love a fight, but only in the ring, against a willing opponent. Like Thor, he’s not a tough guy or a bad boy. He’s just a regular kid with a special gift…one he hopes he can use to help save the world.