With God of War Ragnarok on the way, it’s enraptured gamers and got us all talking about what will happen in Kratos’ next outing. But one of the more contentious issues (that says more about the people of the internet than the game, really) is the topic of Thor – specifically, the size of his gut.
Yep, it seems the one thing the world is focusing on is the fact that Thor is thicker than a Snickers. Well, it’s time to deep-dive and see just how accurate this version of Thor is to the legends he is based on and why having an opinion on the matter is okay, even if some people disagree with it.
The Marvel Influence
It is easy to say that the small number of people who immediately freaked out seeing Thor rocking a Dad bod were people who were weaned on Marvel’s Thor. In popular culture, our image of Thor is merged with the image of handsome Chris Hemsworth – all rakish and stentorian and sculpted like a Greek statue. Interestingly, there is a moment in Avengers: Endgame where we see a dishevelled and overweight take on Thor as he overeats and overdrinks to offset his guilt over failing to stop Thanos, but overall the representation of Thor through Marvel is – let’s be honest – a super-sexified one.
Marvel will not sell action figures if the guy doesn’t look like an Abercrombie model. Their Thor is a product of modern society, and that is okay. But let’s not forget that this is a very specific, comic-book take on him, and we should really separate ourselves from that if we want to embrace alternative creative depictions of the character.
Learning from the Legends
Given how old the Norse myths are, there are no drawings, sculptures or illustrations of Thor from the time in which these myths were conceived (through the period 500AD to 1000AD).
What we do have, however, are the Edda poems, which were written sometime in the 13th century but refer back to much earlier days of Norse mythology. Throughout these poems, and later ‘modernized’ retellings of the myths (such as Neil Gaiman’s ‘Norse Mythology,’), the Gods are depicted as heavy beer drinks and feasters who pretty much spend their time outside of fighting reveling in the good things in life.
And none are more fond of food and booze than Thor. Going by Gaiman’s interpretation, when challenged by the giant Utgardaloki about ‘what he can do,’ the first thing that Thor says is ‘For a start, I can drink!’ Little did he know that the horn was connected to the ocean, and he drank so much that he actually shifted the oceanic tides of the world.
At one point, Thor conceals himself in a bridal dress to try and trick a giant into believing he’s the goddess Freya. At the wedding, we get some idea of his appetite:
Thor ate a whole ox, all by himself. He ate seven entire salmon, leaving nothing but the bones. Each time a tray of pastries was brought to him, he devoured all the fancies and pastries on it, leaving all the other women hungry. Sometimes Loki would kick him under the table, but Thor ignored every kick and just kept eating. Thrym tapped Loki on the shoulder.“Excuse me,” he said. “But the lovely Freya has just polished off her third cask of mead.”
So it seems like Thor had an infamously insatiable appetite. And while little is said of his physical appearance, we could comfortably deduce that he would be on the ‘big’ side. Granted, all this is according to Gaiman’s interpretation of the Norse myths, but it’s certainly closer to the source than Marvel’s version.
God of War Thor vs. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Thor
Let’s take a quick look back at his most recent gaming appearance in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and compare it to his look in God of War.
As seen in the sick rap battle above, AC Thor seems to fall more into a safe, middle ground (though that wide leather belt would do a fine job containing any beer gut). The first thing you will note by comparison is God of War Thor looks like he would mess sh*t up way quicker than AC Thor would. We need to understand that size does equate to power. A man who is stocky tends to have the power of an ox behind him, and that weight puts a heavier Thor at a huge advantage, pun intended.
Just look at the goliaths competing in strongman contests, such as world-beating deadlifter Eddie Hall (a shoe-in to play Thor in a God of War movie?)…
But all that aside, note that the Assassin’s Creed version of Thor is not shirtless and ripped with six-pack abs. He is more a representation of a somewhat stocky guy with a solid build. Also, note how he is not blonde and beautiful (that is the “Marvel influence” again) but almost has Dad vibes. But it could also be said that AC Thor doesn’t look “fat”, which is fair.
But in Norse mythology, some of the most telling facts about Thor are his love for drink and his love for food. In one myth, Thor drinks half the ocean, which implies a man of larger size.
But none of us can say outright that we are “correct”. The truth is, until an actual photo of Thor, a mythological God, appears, all we can do is what we have done up to now, which is speculate. All the nopes on this one.
And if the video above is how you imagine Thor, don’t let anyone take that from you because that is kinda magical in its own way.
One thing we have seen in the last week due to Thor’s dad bod is people coming out on social media and similar platforms saying they won’t buy the game because Thor be ‘Dummy Thick’. Let’s humor this side for a moment, because regardless of how you feel about it, everyone has a right to their own opinion, and again, all of this is conjecture.
Why Is Thor Fat In God Of War?
To answer why Thor is fat in God of War, we need to consider a different question: Is the Thor of God of War fat? Or is he just a typical Viking warrior?
We’re talking about a character from a very different time. A time when people were judged on their skills, ability and – in the case of warriors – prowess, both on the battlefield and at the feasting table. To be in a position to eat and drink to your heart’s content was considered a mark of wealth and prosperity. In some cultures, it was even considered indicative of higher magical power or greater strength.
Size has always mattered, but it hasn’t always meant the same thing.
So while the modern audience looks at the way Thor is depicted in God of War and immediately asks, “Why is he so fat?” we must wonder what a contemporary Viking audience would have thought when watching the Marvel movies.
“How is that puny fellow going to defeat anyone?” might well be their first thought.
The Argument for a Ripped Thor
Some people game to live vicariously through other characters. For some people, it can be about stepping outside of their reality to embrace the insane and over-the-top. While weight-shaming a video game character might seem a bit harsh, some people want their escapism to be just that: Ripped or chonky, no one can deny that Marvel did a great job of adapting Norse mythology.
And seeing one of the golden gods from mythology have a body that may look imperfect in some ways can make that escapism more challenging. Some people want their icons and heroes (and in this case, villains) to look – in a word – ‘Super’, and that is okay, too. Even in Norse mythology, the previously mentioned example of Thor being called “a barrel-chested ugly man” could imply his being ripped with massive pecs. But again, all conjecture.
The argument of wanting Thor to be represented as ripped comes down to how we see ‘Gods’. We are trained subconsciously to imagine a “God” (especially in mythology) as large, ripped, heaving warriors carved from stone.
Even our own religious iconography reflects that same ideal. You never see Jesus with a gut, but what do we know? So, seeing a larger man as still powerful can be foreign to some people, and that can be understandable. Ultimately, people who want a ripped Thor have the right to want that. And maybe Fat Thor will win them over in due time. Only time will tell at this point.
The reality of this debate comes down to one thing and one thing only, though…
Wait to Judge the Game On Its Actual Merits
Fat Thor or not, this game is going to redefine epic.
Whether we see Fat Thor as a good thing or a bad thing, people need to reserve judgement until they have played the game and seen the actual character and his arc, myself very much included. Because as of right now, we are a world divided.
No matter what you think about how Thor looks in Ragnarok, this will be one of the generation’s biggest games and will most likely silence any doubt with its grandeur, turning “Chonky Thor” into just another weird online outrage that gets washed away and forgotten about.
I guess we will see when God of War Ragnarok drops in 2022…