ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Movies & Movie Reviews»
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Films

The Legacy of Odin Borson: How Thor: Ragnarok Help Put the the Franchise Into Perspective

Updated on December 12, 2017
jes732 profile image

Jamal is a graduate from Northeastern Seminary and writes on a broad range of topics. His writings are based on other points of view.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.  Odin Borson, SOn of Bor, Father of Hela, Thor, and Loki (adopted),All-Father, King of Asgard.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Odin Borson, SOn of Bor, Father of Hela, Thor, and Loki (adopted),All-Father, King of Asgard.

Last night I was rewatching the first Thor movie from 2011. I had always liked the movie for its Shakespearean take on the family dynamics of Odin’s family, with the powerful but weakened father, the glorified and favorite son, and the jealous and under-appreciated son trying anything to gain his father’s love. Thor takes this to extremes of course because it was a superhero movie. However I had seen the third installment, Thor: Ragnarok when it came out a couple of months ago and it not only expounded the family of Odin in unexpected ways, but totally changed how I saw the original film.

While the 2011 film gave a more or less straight forward approach to the family dynamic with Odin presented as the leader of Asgard, protecting the nine realms of the cosmos. Thor is about to take his place as king until a surprise attack from by frost giants reveals Asgard’s vulnerability and Thor’s war-like nature. After almost starting a war by going to the frost giants’ realm to demand answers, Thor is banished by his father to Earth and without his powers to learn humility.

Ragnarok put a twist on this however. Not only was it revealed that Thor was not the first born child, but that nine realms had been put under Asgard’s umbrella through violent conquest and that Hela, Thor’s unknown sister had been the second-in-command during those campaigns and was next in line.

So this article is about what the movies as a whole reveal about the House of Odin.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Odin inherited a legacy of war from his father, both in conquest and in defense of other realms.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Odin inherited a legacy of war from his father, both in conquest and in defense of other realms.

The All-Father: A history of Blood and Mistakes

Odin in his younger days was not the Odin from the first two movies. According to Hela, the All Father was originally extremely violent, brash and desired conquest above all else, until Thor’s birth. He then has a change of heart and repents of conquest. The only glimpses we get of Odin’s original disposition was his stubbornness towards advice from others. For example, when a war-mongering Thor points out that any breach in Asgard’s security needs to be investigated. It is only when Hela’s later revelation that truly expose the extent of Odin’s original past.

We can assume then that given his children’s’ natural bloodlust, that violence is a natural trait for the family. What’s more, Ragnarok establishes that after his change of heart, Hela not only disagreed with her father, but went on a rampage killing her own people and annihilating the elite force of Valkyries sent to contain her. As a result, Odin directly intervenes, overpowering his powerful daughter and banishing her to another dimension. Sounds familiar? It’s even possible that Odin had similar arguments with his own father, Bor. According to the second movie, Dark World, Bor seems to have been more benevolent.

Never one to openly show his emotions, Odin instead tries to bury the truth, erasing all traces of how he gained his power and telling no one about his first child (didn’t his wife have something to say about that?). Yet his past comes back to haunt him when Thor starts exhibiting the same family traits. Seeing the past repeat itself despite his efforts, Odin is devastated: a sin perhaps that he can never out run or hide away from. And he initially responds in his despair, reacts the same way to Thor that he did to Hela: removes his power that is his pride and sends him away to another realm. Here now is where he tries to remedy his mistake and make a change.

He sends the hammer, Mjolnir, after him with the premise that when Thor has learned his lesson that he may regain his power.

An important aspect about Odin is that he does not confront his faults or his past unless he has no choice. First by hiding the blood on his own hands from wars he started. Then he sends his daughter away without any chance at redemption, followed by nearly repeating the same trend with his son. Then he hides the truth about his adopted son, Loki, from him and finally in never revealing the truth about Hela to his sons until his death: Truly Shakespearean.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.  Hela, first born of Odin, former general of his armies, and next in line to the throne.  Second only to her father in power, she learned none of his latter restraint
Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Hela, first born of Odin, former general of his armies, and next in line to the throne. Second only to her father in power, she learned none of his latter restraint
Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Thor, second born of Odin and former leader of the armies of Asgard and current king.  Despite a rocky relationship, he managed to learn the restraint Odin passed on to him.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios. Thor, second born of Odin and former leader of the armies of Asgard and current king. Despite a rocky relationship, he managed to learn the restraint Odin passed on to him.

Sins of the Father

This leads to the parallel lives of the children themselves. Both siblings have the same tendencies for battle. Both of them define themselves through their power and their inherited rights and titles. Both reject their father’s wishes for peaceful co-existence, preferring instead to go on rampages, which they subsequently do. And both are banished for their actions.

Then their paths diverge: why? Thor, despite still preferring a fight, no longer has the insatiable blood lust after the first film, where as Hela still did. I think the reason why was because of their experiences in exile. In Thor, we see the hero behaving very much like Hela in the latter film. Then he had everything that defined him stripped away and forced to live among weaker people, where as Hela apparently still retained a measure of her power. Not only that, but she appears to have had no contact with anything else or lesser peoples during her time away.

Therefore she never grasped the lesson that her brother had. She had no reason to, she still had her power. Moreover Odin probably had no intention of releasing Hela either. He did after all spend thousands of years trying to erase the past and Odin is not one to confront his mistakes until forced to. I think he only sent Mjolnir after Thor because at the last second he started realizing the mistake he was making again and tried to change it. A chance that he never gave Hela. It’s a common trait in how parents relate to their first child and their other children afterwards.

Modern Interpretation of a Family Feud

One of the reasons why I love Ragnarok was how it puts all the actions of the Thor franchise into perspective and deepens the lore. Even throughout the third movie, all the allies Thor tries to gather to join him initially refuse because they call it a family squabble, and they’re absolutely right. It is appropriate as well given that the original Norse tale of Ragnarok was not an apocalypse as much as a series of long standing family conflicts coming to a cataclysmic end and taking the world with it.

The Thor franchise is ultimately about an extremely dysfunctional family put onto display of the larger, marvel cinematic universe. And for me, its one I one now appreciate the more, even if it may have been by accident.

© 2017 Jamal Smith

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • thedevilinme profile image

      Phillip 6 months ago from Northampton, United Kingdom

      Looking forward to seeing this on DVD

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)