When looking for Thor in Norway, it’s important to remember that the legends of Norse Gods were shared orally for many years before being transcribed. It was the Vikings who carved these stories into wood and stone and forged talismans of Thor’s hammer into metal. And while time has taken the Viking people from us, their footprint is still very much here. In the light of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok film, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the places where you can take your fandom to the next level.
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Follow my adventure next week as I hit the red carpet for the Thor: Ragnarok LA Premiere! #ThorRagnarokEvent
I’ve always been captivated by Viking Age people, mostly due to their primitive worship of ancient deities. Namely, Norse Gods. Much like the other ancient myths of the world, the pagan belief system of Nordic Gods, along with its legends, were converted by Christians into Norse Mythology. Centuries later, these stories and characters are just as fantastic. So fantastic that tales of Thor, Odin, and the Valkyries continue to thrive in pop culture today as we’ve seen with MARVEL Comics’ telling of The Mighty Thor and its film franchise within the MARVEL Cinematic Universe, Thor. And as Thor debuts its latest of three films, Thor: Ragnarok, I can’t help but revisit my travels to the spectacular places where these legends remain.
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3
Exploring Norway in the Footsteps of Vikings Where Legends of Thor and the Ancient Gods Were Told
A Little History Nibble About Vikings and Norse Mythology
- The Iron Age in Norway 500 BC – 800 AD – ish Viking Age 793-1066 AD
- Vikings were farmers, artists, craftsmen and amazing storytellers
- They whittled wood into wondrous creations often depicting the Gods
- They built incredibly fast ships
- Both men and women trained intensely for battle (women were called Shield Maidens)
- We know little about the actual ‘Pagan Religion’ which Vikings followed as it was handed down by ancestors of the Iron Age
- We know far more about the ‘myths’ -stories that survived the transition to Christianity as they were made into tales and myths much like those in Ireland hence, Norse Mythology
- Their storytelling of these myths were so profound they made it into Old Norse Prose called Eddas (wonderful literary works which represent the old pagan beliefs as folk tales) in Iceland some 200 years after their conversion to Christianity
- These legends are still so mystical and intriguing, they have stood to influence some of the greatest stories of all time
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, H.C. Andersen and Marvel Comics all use references of Norse Mythology
For more information on Viking and Norse Mythology go here
First I want to bring to your attention the legacy of Thor’s Hammer, Mjölnir. It’s depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons in existence, capable of leveling mountains. Today, it can be found in ancient carvings known as runestones found in Sweden and Denmark.
But, beyond the runestones in Sweden and Denmark, Norway is home to sacred and archaeological locations where the Viking people are remembered. The same Vikings who worshipped Thor and lived by the legends of the Gods. I was fortunate enough to explore Norway and it’s incredible Viking sites.
Here are Some Places in Norway Where You Can Find the Memory of Thor Today
Avaldsnes – Home of the Viking Kings and Legends of Odin and Thor
Avaldsnes, the oldest Viking throne of Norway and home to Viking King Harald Fairhair. This was home to not only Vikings but many of their Iron Age ancestors. It’s here where legends of Gods and heroes come together, and you can feel every bit of that magic as soon as you arrive at this special place. While here my son and I opted to explore the Norwegian History Center. Inside there are loads of Viking artifacts. You can also learn how to write in Rune and learn all about Thor, Odin, Frigg and the Valkyries.
Oslo – Home of the Viking Ship Museum
Oslo is perhaps one of the most important locations for those looking to trace the legends of Thor as it’s home to the largest Viking burial excavation ever. There are few things in this world that trump an adorable, frizzy-haired troll. One of them is a 1,000-year-old Viking ship. The Viking Ship Museum is home to three ships; The Oseberg, the Gokstad, and Tune ships.
The Oseberg Viking Ship, discovered in 1903, was found in the world’s largest Viking grave on the Oseberg Farm just a short distance south of Oslo. The Oseberg Ship was the burial ship for two important women. Along with the Oseberg Viking Ship, an extensive collection of burial gifts and ship equipment was discovered. The ship’s findings are in the Viking Ship Museum. And where there are Vikings, there are carvings. Carvings which depict the many legends of Norse Gods, including those of Thor and his hammer.
the Gokstad and Tune ships were used as burial ships for powerful men. They could have been brave and loyal warriors or maybe the sons of kings. All we know is they were a big deal.
The Oslo City Hall – Carvings of Norse Myths
A special find while in Oslo is the Oslo City Hall carvings of Norse Mythology. A quick walk around the building will tell the story of important Norse Gods.
There are many places in Norway I have yet to explore but it’s on my list. It’s important to keep in mind that the legends of Norse Gods are all around us. They have inspired great stories, characters, and films. And they will continue to do so as they are among the greatest stories ever told by man. And, let’s be honest, it’s really hard to ignore a rainbow bridge.
Special thanks to Visit Norway USA for helping me explore these places. For more information on planning your trip to explore Thor in Norway go to visitnorwayusa.com.