Hammer Time: The History And Magic Behind Mjolnir

Thor has earned a reputation for being one of the most powerful superheroes because of his godly might and hammer. Mjolnir is an essential part of the character, increasing Thor’s strength and enabling him to channel his abilities. Even without the hammer, Thor is formidable, yet the history behind Mjolnir is interesting. The Comic Vault is looking into the abilities of the Asgardian weapon.

Mjolnir exists in Norse mythology, but it’s said that Larry Lieber came up with the name of ‘Uru Hammer’ when Thor was introduced into the Marvel Universe. The name was changed to the correct term by writer Roy Thomas at a later date. ‘Uru’ became the name of the fictional metal that the hammer was made from.

In comics, Mjolnir was forged by Dwarven blacksmiths with the inscription ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ The hammer was created when Loki cut off Sif’s hair as a cruel joke. Thor threatened him, so Loki promised to get replacement hair by visiting the dwarfs. Loki challenged a dwarf named Eitri to make a spectacular treasure. In response, Eitri forged a golden ring, boar spear and then set to work on a hammer.

Afraid of losing his wager, Loki turned into a mayfly and stung Eitri’s assistant while he was working in the bellows. This led to the hammer being shorter than intended, meaning it could only be wielded one-handed. Despite the mishap, Loki lost the bet and the hammer was passed into Odin’s care. The All-Father then gave it to his son Thor.

Mjolnir comes with several enchantments, with the main one being that only a worthy being can lift it. The hammer returns to the same spot from where it’s thrown, it allows Thor to summon the elements and manipulate the weather, it can open interdimensional portals and alter the flow of time.

The hammer has the kind of impact that can level mountains and the only two materials that have resisted Mjolnir are adamantium and vibranium. Mjolnir can also emit a range of blasts, from electromagnetism to mystical. Mjolnir also has abilities that are rarely seen. This includes being able to track someone, absorb energy and detect illusions. As a former religious relic, Thor’s hammer is lethal to the undead, causing creatures like vampires to die instantly. The energy draining has proved useful when battling foes like The Juggernaut. Thor drained the mystical forcefield surrounding Marko, enabling him to stop the villain.

Mjolnir also purges the wielder of toxins, though this worked against Jane Foster. As she suffered from cancer, transforming into Thor caused the chemotherapy radiation to leave her body, stopping her from getting better.
The worthiness required to hold the hammer has meant other people have wielded it. Jane Foster, Captain America, Squirrel Girl, Beta Ray Bill, Odin, Bor and Loki have all held the hammer at some point.

Mjolnir might be an important part of Thor, but the God of Thunder isn’t defined by his hammer. With a new Thor series on the horizon and Odinson restored to his former strength, it’ll be fun to see how he wields his legendary weapon.

Mjolnir isn’t the only powerful weapon in comics. Check out these formidable swords that have cut a bloody swathe through everything they’ve come into contact with.

Author: thecomicvault

Short story writer, comic geek and cosplayer hailing from Manchester, England. Find my pop culture ramblings on The Comic Vault.

7 thoughts on “Hammer Time: The History And Magic Behind Mjolnir”

  1. Shortly after my wife and I married, we decided we wanted to buy a house. We both had decent jobs, but not enough savings for a down payment. I sold my Marvel comic books, which enabled us to buy the house. It was time to grow up and establish roots, so I did what I had to do.

    But I kept three of them, which I still have. All are Journey into Mystery from the late ’60s with Thor.

    Liked by 1 person

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