Thor’s goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, provide ample comedy throughout Thor: Love & Thunder, but their backstory is quite disturbing.
Thor finally gets his famous goats in Thor: Love & Thunder, but the jokey creature companions hide a disturbing truth. Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr are an established part 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 both instances, they are Thor’s loyal companions, pulling his chariot as he embarks on his Viking adventures, as seen in Thor: Love & Thunder.
After heroically assisting in saving a group at the start of Thor: Love & ThunderThor received a “gift” from the citizens that came with a strict no-take-backsies ruling. Thor is ecstatic at this and awaits his gift in a childlike sense of anticipation and wonder. The gift is Thor’s two goatswho are led to their new owner literally kicking and screaming.
Whilst Thor is full of positivity regarding his new, very loud, gift, the Guardians aren’t so sure. Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder are led onboard the Milano, and immediately cause chaos and havoc. Their constant screaming isn’t appreciated by the Guardians, and they try to persuade Thor to get rid of them. Thor, as an aside, says that they could always use them for meat. The goats catch his eye and Thor turns the word ”meat”into”meeting people,” saying the goats would make a wonderful conversation starter. This joke about using the goats for food, however, has dark roots in Norse mythology.
Why Thor: Love & Thunder’s Goat Gag Is So Dark
In Norse mythology, Thor and his company have been known to kill, cook, and eat his goats. Even worse, after finishing the goat meat taken from his loyal companions, he keeps their bones and uses Mjolnir to grow the goats back again the next day. Thus, he repeats the process of killing the goats, eating them, and reanimating them whenever he feels particularly hungry. In one tale, Thor stays the night at a farm belonging to some peasants; a family consisting of a mother, father, son and daughter. Thor kills the goats and serves them to the family, telling them they can eat any part of the goats, but mustn’t touch the bones. The peasant son disregards Thor’s warning, and breaks one of the goat’s leg bones to suck the marrow from it. The next morning, Thor uses Mjolnir to bring the goats back to life, only to discover that one now has a limp. The goat was then lame for the rest of its life.
Therefore, Thor’s joke in Love & Thunder is actually quite a dark reference to a frequent practice of the Thunder god’s in his mythological tales. It is already established that MCU Thor is quite different to his source material, and a lot tamer. Yet, Taika Waititi, the film’s director, is known to play up to some darker events in history or legend, even playing Adolf Hitler in Jojo Rabbit. Thus, this throwaway joke in Thor: Love & Thunder is a very Taika way of bringing some more brutal aspects of Norse myth to the forefront, while also playing it up for humor.
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