Between Norse mythology, Marvel comics, the Avengers movies, and modern-day practitioners of Norse paganism, Thor seems to be everywhere. He is relatively unchanging, and he has captured imaginations for over a thousand years. But can he die? Is Thor immortal?
In Norse Mythology, Thor is not immortal. He does not age, thanks to the goddess Idunn and her magical apples, but he can and will die when Ragnarok comes. With the exception of a very few, all the Norse gods will die at Ragnarok.
Thor may seem immortal from a human perspective, thanks to his longevity, strength, and unchanging appearance, but his end will come at Ragnarok, the end times predicted in Norse mythology. He and his archenemy, Jormungandr, will kill each other before the world ends. Keep reading for more information about Thor and the other Norse gods.
What Is Thor Like in Norse Mythology?
Thor is the Norse god of thunder who wields the hammer Mjollnir. He is best known for his adventures of killing giants, who represented chaos to the ancient Norse. In stories, Thor protects gods and humans alike from the giants, and he blesses humans who call upon him for help.
In Norse mythology, Thor is strong, courageous, loyal, and occasionally temperamental. He has all the attributes of a great warrior, but he is also prone to violent bursts of anger. Thor cared about humanity and brought rain for their crops, blessed their marriages, and guided them at sea.
People from all social classes and backgrounds could count on Thor for aid, from a farmer praying for rainfall to a warrior about to enter battle. While Odin was the god of the nobles and scholars, Thor was the god of the people.
In many stories, Thor gets deceived by others. He is not known for his cunning but his strength and tenacity.
Thor’s gullibility and perseverance are most apparent when Utgarda-Loki (not to be confused with Loki) tricks Thor repeatedly by presenting him with impossible tasks, such as:
- He tries to drink from a bottomless horn and creates the tides.
- He fights mountains and levels their summits.
- He wrestles with the personification of old age and almost wins.
Thor is fearless, stubborn, mighty, honorable, and committed.
How Can Thor Die?
Thor is predicted to die at Ragnarok, a name which means “Fate of the Gods,” along with Odin, Loki, and many others. He will die when Jormungandr covers him with venom, but not before Thor delivers a fatal blow with his hammer. The two enemies will die together on the battlefield.
The Norse believed that the world as they knew it would end, and their gods would die, too. In some accounts, Ragnarok is a rebirth for the universe. In others, it is the end of everything.
Thor’s greatest enemy in Norse mythology is Jormungandr, Loki’s son and the giant serpent who surrounds the earth. Jormungandr usually encircles the planet with his own tail in his mouth, but during Ragnarok, he will let his tail go.
Most of the Norse gods are prophesied to die at Ragnarok. But in some versions, their children live on and rebuild. Even though Thor is not immortal, his legacy can continue through his sons, Magni and Modi.
How Old Is Thor in Marvel Movies and Norse Mythology?
The Marvel comics and movies helped Thor maintain a space in the public consciousness and pop culture. But the Thor seen in Marvel properties is often different from his mythological counterpart, including in age.
In Marvel movies, Thor is 1,500 years old, though he appears to be in his prime by human standards. In mythology, his age is unknown, but it’s understood that he is very old. However, since there are no written records of his age, no one really knows how old he is.
Thor’s Age in Marvel
The Marvel movies depict Asgardians as living for thousands of years. Thor tells Rocket Racoon in Avengers: Infinity War that he is 1,500 years old, and he does not appear to have even reached middle age.
In Thor: The Dark World, Loki, and Odin discuss the Asgardian lifespan. Odin claims that Asgardians are not, in fact, gods and that they age and die. Loki estimates that their lifespan is about 5,000 years. According to this math, Marvel’s Thor is only about one-third through his life expectancy.
Thor’s Age in Myth
Thor’s age in mythology is a complicated subject. No written evidence suggests the ancient Norse assigned an age to their gods.
Thor is young enough to have living parents (Odin and Jord), and his hair is red rather than gray. However, he is old enough to have fathered multiple children, and myths about Thor speak of him as an adult.
Thor and the other gods appear to stop aging once they reach adulthood.
The Norse gods eat fruits grown by the goddess Idunn, which grant immortal life. This explains the gods’ longevity and unchanging appearance.
But there is a hint in another myth that Thor could be subject to old age someday.
In one myth, Thor wrestles an old woman, whom Utgarda-Loki reveals to be old age personified. She wins the match, but Thor holds his ground for an impressively long time. This feat suggests that Thor might eventually succumb to old age, just like everyone else, at least if Ragnarok were not prophesied.
Can Thor Die in Marvel Movies?
The Asgardians of Marvel movies live by different rules than their counterparts of myth. Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) is Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) adopted brother rather than his uncle. Thor is not married to Sif (Jaimie Alexander), and the people of Asgards are aliens, not gods.
Thor can die in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other Asgardians have died of old age and mortal wounds, so it follows that Thor is no different. Ragnarok has come and gone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so whatever eventually kills Thor will be different from his end in mythology.
Thor has survived many battles that might give viewers reasons to wonder if Thor can die, especially in Avengers: Infinity War, where he is virtually invincible. However, Odin tells Loki that Asgardians are not immortal, and both of Thor’s parents have died on screen.
Nobody knows if the Norse imagined their gods the way modern moviegoers view superheroes, but Thor can and will someday die in movies and myth.