Is Thor Fat According To Norse Mythology?

Controversy has taken over the internet following the unveiling of Thor in God of War: Ragnarok. Santa Monica Studio’s take on the thunder god of Norse legend looks a bit portly, which has lead to an inevitable slew of fat Thor jokes. But is Thor actually fat according to the Norse myths? Are there any specific examples of his physique according to the legends?

Is Thor Fat In Norse Mythology?

Is Thor Fat In Norse Mythology?
Thor as he appears in God of War: Ragnarok

There’s nothing in the Norse myths to suggest that Thor is fat. Existing descriptions of his physical size imply he’s both big and strong, but nowhere is it said that Thor is fat or out of shape.

The confusion over Thor’s physique stems from a few different factors. Firstly, as a mythological figure, his size and shape are inherently subjective. As such, any artistic depictions of Thor, either through paint, sculpture, or engravings, are merely interpretations of his appearance. Most ancient depictions do not show a fat Thor, but instead just a very strong and broad man.

Secondly, there are conflicting ideas of what constitutes a “strong” figure in modern society. As avid TV, movie, and comic consumers, we’re used to seeing shredded heroes in comics or movies. But those aren’t the kind of bodies ancient cultures would have seen. Strong bodies of the time would have been well-fed and well-trained, more like current World’s Strongest Man competitors. Take a look for yourself. These guys definitely do not have the slim, toned bodies often seen in comics and movies. You could call them fat, but you might immediately regret doing so.

He’s Definitely A Big Guy

Thor's Fight with the Giants, Mårten Eskil Winge (1872)
Thor’s Fight with the Giants, Mårten Eskil Winge (1872)

As it so happens, there is a precedence to suggest that Thor would have been both well-trained and well-fed like the strongmen of today. One famous tale from the Poetic Edda, The Lay of Thrym, tells of Thor’s deception of a giant who stole the hammer Mjolnir in an ill-conceived attempt to claim Freyja as his wife. After disguising himself as Freyja, Thor proceeds to eat entire animals and drink whole barrels of mead before revealing his true identity. He then reclaimed his hammer and basically killed the entire wedding reception.

In another story, The Tale of Utgarda-Loki, Thor engages in a drinking contest. Utgarda-Loki, also known as Skrymir, teased the thunder god by saying that any of his guests could empty his horn in three gulps. However, Thor was unaware that he was being deceived, for the horn was connected to the sea itself. The god drank three mighty gulps before quitting, but in doing so nearly drained the entire sea.

These are classic examples of the sort of insatiable, traditionally masculine appetite that Thor was known for. He was the god of the people, so of course he could fight and feast with the best of them. As such, he was generally considered to be a large, muscular man with boundless hunger and thirst. But again, that’s not to say that he was overweight or unhealthy.

Thor has always been described as a powerful figure, strong in build and in appetite. But nothing in Norse mythology says that Thor is fat. Far from it, in fact — he’s arguably one of the most active and fit gods in the Norse pantheon. Thor from God of War: Ragnarok may seem fat, but technically speaking, it’s a closer approximation of a hugely powerful mythical being than popular media’s portrayal of a gym nut with a single-digit body fat percentage.