There is also the additional concern, as Eric Scott pointed out, that the film makers felt that they didn’t really have to worry about what people would think, unlike one of the mainstream religions such as Christianity.
Eric Scott wrote a post at Killing the Buddha that set off a big debate on “What happens when Hollywood gets a hold of your gods.”
The truth is, I looked at the toys in my hands and I saw the result of millions of dollars of development and thousands of hours of manpower, put into something bearing the name of a god, my god, and it had nothing to do with me. Their Thor was a god forgotten by all except the few quiet geeks who read his adventures in Journey into Mystery and The Mighty Thor for forty years. It wasn’t that they meant to upset or unsettle me; they simply realized that people like me were too few to matter. It’s impossible to think of a story about Jesus like this, not written to pander to or irritate Christians, but simply not considering them at all.
Eric Scott goes on to make the point that representations of mythic figures change frequently, and depict different things depending on the context:
Of course the Thor of the movie, and the comics that I grew up reading, is not the same Thor whom Snorri Sturluson wrote of in the Prose Edda, who perhaps is not the same Thor the Norsemen worshipped in the time before Christianity came to Northern Europe. The character Chris Hemsworth plays is not the deity I worship, the god whose symbol hangs around my neck. Anthony Hopkins, in his Hollywood regalia and metallic eyepatch, is not the Gallows-God I pray to. And even if the film is terrible, perhaps someone will watch it and then pick up Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Norse Myths at the bookstore, and that will make it worthwhile.
On the plus side, many Pagans have actually been pleased with the film, saying that Thor is actually represented in a positive light, a great improvement on the demonification of Paganism that is common in everything from depictions of hag like scary witches at halloween to those who present pagans as devil worshipping. And as Eric Scott says, if this film switches people on to the actual mythology behind Thor, this could be a good thing.
I haven’t seen the film yet but will definitely be checking it out. What do you think? Have you seen the film? Do you think that filmmakers should be dealing with this issue in the same way as they would have had to with other deities?
(via USA Today)
2 thoughts on “Pagans protest at treatment of the Norse God Thor”
Stop referring to these Pan-Germanic gods by only the later Norse names only. Most ancient, medieval and modern Germanic-speaking nations, Germany, the Netherlands, anglophones called and still call these gods by their more ancient forms, the forms phonologically closer to proto-Germanic, “Thunor”, “Donner”, “Donder”, “Donar” (thunder), from the PGmc *thunoraz, *thunraz, later thru Norse-specific sound-processes, e.g. *thunoraz>*thõraz> *thoraz >*thoraR then to later recorded Old West Norse Þórr. This form came NOT into existence until quite later, around 750 AD, as the god Thunor had been worshipped for at least 2 millenia by the pre-germanic IE tribes, by the early and Proto-Germans (who were ALL from a southern Scandinavian urheimat) up unto the 12 century in Sweden. Same basic deal with Woden, from PGmc *W?ðanaz, the w-less form not utter till norse had lost the initial w-sound before rounded vowels around 800AD. In other words, Odin and Thor are very late pronunciations used by but a small minority of the germanic tribes who had remained in the Scandinavian urheimat. We should start ALSO calling them by their other, more original forms of their names.
Thanks for your educational comment!