Thor’s goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, make for plenty of comedy in Thor: Love & Thunder, but their backstory is quite disturbing.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Thor: Love & Thunder.
Thor finally gets his famous goats in Thor: Love & Thunder, but the funny creature companions hide a disturbing truth. Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr are a staple of Thor lore in Norse mythology, and were introduced in the comics in the 1970s with the loosely translated English names Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. In either case, they are Thor’s faithful companions, pulling his chariot as he embarks on his Viking adventures, as seen in Thor: Love & Thunder.
After heroically helping to save a group in the beginning Thor: Love & ThunderThor received one “Gift” by the citizens who came with a strict no-take-backsie policy. Thor is delighted and awaits his gift with childish anticipation and wonder. The gift is Thor’s two goats, which are literally kicking and screaming as they are led to their new owner.
While Thor is full of positivity about his new, very loud gift, the Guardians aren’t so sure. Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder are brought aboard the Milano, wreaking instant havoc and havoc. Her constant screaming is not appreciated by the Guardians and they try to persuade Thor to get rid of her. Thor casually says they could always use them for meat. The goats catch his eye and Thor spins the word ”meat”into”Meet people‘, ‘Saying the goats would be a wonderful conversation starter. However, this joke about using the goats as food has dark roots in Norse mythology.
Why Thor: Love & Thunder’s goat gag is so dark
In Norse mythology, Thor and his companions are known to kill, cook and eat his goats. Worse, after eating the goat meat taken from his faithful companions, he keeps their bones and uses Mjolnir to breed the goats again the next day. Therefore, he repeats the process of killing the goats, eating them, and reviving them when he is particularly hungry. In one story, Thor stays overnight on a farm owned by some farmers; a family consisting of a mother, father, son and daughter. Thor kills the goats and serves them to the family. He tells them that they can eat any part of the goats but not touch the bones. The farmer’s son ignores Thor’s warning and breaks one of the goat’s leg bones in order to suck the marrow out of it. The next morning, Thor uses Mjolnir to bring the goats back to life, only to find that one is now limping. The goat was then lame for the rest of its life.
Hence Thor’s joke purely Love & Thunder is actually a rather obscure reference to a common practice of the thunder god in his mythological tales. It’s already established that MCU Thor is very different from its source material and much more tame. Still, Taika Waititi, the film’s director, is known for playing some darker events in the story or legend and even playing Adolf Hitler Jojo rabbit. Hence this throwaway joke Thor: Love & Thunder is a very taika-esque way of bringing to the fore some more brutal aspects of Norse myth while playing up the humor at the same time.
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