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Comic Book / Thorgal

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Thorgal is a Franco-Belgian comic series written by Van Hamme and illustrated by Rosinski, started in 1977 and was originally published in serial form by the magazine Tintin and from 1980 on in hardcover volumes by Le Lombard.

The series, which combines the classic Heroic Fantasy with elements of Science Fiction follows the adventures of the eponymous hero Thorgal, "The Child of the Stars," an orphan discovered by Vikings in a space capsule during a tempest and raised among them.

In the first album of the series (The Betrayed Sorceress), Thorgal is banished and sentenced to death by Gandalf-the-Mad (no, not that Gandalf ), king of the Vikings of the North, who despises him as a "bastard", and opposes the love between his daughter Aaricia and Thorgal. Rescued by a mysterious woman called Slive, he must accept to serve her for one year. It is later revealed (in The Island Of the Frozen Seas) that she is a survivor of a race of Ancient Astronauts (actually Atlanteans who fled from Earth by the times of the cataclysm) whose ship crashed in the North Pole several years ago. Thorgal is revealed to be the last descendant of the "People of the Stars".

Although Thorgal's only wish is to settle and live peacefully with his wife, Aaricia, he is constantly faced with natural or supernatural foes from ruthless adventurers to monsters of Norse Mythology who threaten his family and friends.

  1. The Betrayed Sorceress (incl. another story: "Almost Paradise...")
  2. The Island of the Frozen Seas
  3. The Three Elders of Aran
  4. The Black Galley (start of the Brek Zarith story arc)
  5. Beyond the Shadows
  6. The Fall of Brek Zarith (end of the Brek Zarith story arc)
  7. Child of the Stars (3 short stories from Thorgal's youth)
  8. Alinoë
  9. The Archers (start of the Qa story arc)
  10. The Land of Qa
  11. The Eyes of Tanatloc
  12. City of the Lost God
  13. Between Earth and Sun (end of the Qa story arc)
  14. Aaricia (4 short stories from Aaricia's youth)
  15. The Master of the Mountains
  16. Wolf Cub
  17. The Guardian of the Keys
  18. The Sun-sword
  19. The Invisible Fortress (start of the Shaigan story arc)
  20. The Brand of the Exiles
  21. Ogotai's Crown
  22. Giants
  23. The Cage (end of the Shaigan story arc)
  24. Arachnea
  25. The Blue Plague
  26. The Kingdom Beneath the Sand
  27. The Barbarian
  28. Kriss of Valnor
  29. Sacrifice
  30. I, Jolan
  31. Thor's Shield
  32. The Battle of Asgard
  33. The Blade Ship
  34. Kah-Aniel
  35. The Scarlet Fire
  36. Aniel
  37. The Hermit of Skellingard

There are now a few spin-offs under the name of "The World of Thorgal"

  • The World of Thorgal - Kriss of Valnor
    1. I Won't Forget Anything
    2. The Punishment of the Valkyries
    3. Fit for a Queen
    4. Alliances
    5. Red Like Raheborg
    6. Island of the Lost Children
    7. The Time Mountain
    8. The Master of Justice

  • The World of Thorgal - Louve
    1. Raïssa
    2. The Severed Hand of the God Tyr
    3. The Kingdom of Chaos
    4. Crow
    5. Skald
    6. The Queen of the Black Alfes
    7. Nidhogg

  • The World of Thorgal - Thorlgal's Youth
    1. The Three Minkelsönn Sisters
    2. The Eye of Odin
    3. Runa
    4. Berserkers
    5. Slive
    6. The Ice Drakkar
    7. The Blue Tooth
    8. The Two Bastards

A Point-and-Click Game developed by Cryo Interactive, Curse Of Atlantis Thorgals Quest or Thorgal: Curse of Atlantis, known in Europe as Thorgal: Odin's Curse (Thorgal: La Malédiction d'Odin) was published by Le Lombard in 2002.

The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Aaricia sleeps with her suitor (and maybe starts a relationship with) after the latter tricked her to believe that Thorgal died.
  • Adrenaline Make Over : Aaricia's transformation at the beginning of the Ogotaï Arc has to be seen to be believed.
  • All Women Hate Each Other: In one story, Thorgal finds himself traveling with a Hot Witch named Salouma, a young girl named Lehla, and a Rus bodyguard named Petrov. Lehla asks Petrov what he thinks of Salouma (who's been making advances towards Thorgal), and he replies "If there's one thing I've learned, it's to never tell a woman what you think of another woman".
  • An Aesop: The second book focusing on Kriss has three lessons: rape is bad, and so are pedophilia and incest.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: When he is shot in the back by Kriss and dying, Ogotay (by now thoroughly Axe-Crazy) regains a shred of sanity and recognizes Thorgal, whom he was about to kill, as his son, lost and presumed dead several decades ago. From his expression, he briefly regrets a great many things before he passes on.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The setting is supposedly Europe circa 1000 CE. Yet it features armor and weapons from the 13th or even 15th century, like crossbows. Also, spaceships.
    • And Mayan zeppelins.
    • The Byzantine Empire is shown to exist in Thorgal's setting. However, it has more of a resemblance to the empire in the 5th and 6th centuries (or even earlier) rather than the medieval empire during the Viking Age. Also, an alternate version of Christianity apparently exists in the form of Yahvus, the Emperor Magnus' god.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Three times.
    • In Child of the Stars, a 12-year-old Thorgal met an elder god who told him about how the Atlantes came to Earth. The "god" is revealed to be Xargos, Thorgal's grandfather.
    • In The Invisible Fortress, an elder woman Alayin tells the story about the invisible fortress that Odin built and kept guarded by the walkyrie Taymir. In the end, Alayin is revealed to be Taymir herself.
    • In Arachnea, in the underworld, Louve is rescued by an old lady who later tells her the story of the princess Serenia who was turned into Arachnea, a giant spider, by the gods for her father's crimes. Louve correctly guess that the old woman is Arachnea in human form.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. Arrows are dangerous for the characters and downright deadly for mooks. Arghun shows a full assortment of different arrows, including armor-piercing and whistilng arrows to scare enemies.
  • Ancient Astronauts
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The initial king of Brek Zarith, among others. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the aristocrats in the story are corrupt.
    • The prince of Brek Zarith Thorgal helps to reclaim the throne is an exception, being shown as well-intentioned but powerless to end the corruption in his own court.
  • Artifact of Doom: Jolan's bracelet in Alinoë. Once Thorgal removes it
  • Atomic Superpower: Jolan (and other Atlanteans) have this power, as Jolan's mentor Tanatloc demonstrates by transforming a rose from thin air by rearranging individual atoms with his mind. Jolan, lacking training with it, mostly uses it to disintegrate incoming weapons.
  • Back from the Dead: Thorgal, though it was for a short time. As of the latest album, it seems even Kriss gets a chance to return to the land of the living. (or maybe "forced" is just as appropriate)
  • Badass Normal: Xargos inhibited Thorgal's Psychic Power in the hope that he could have a normal life. Therefore, Thorgal is the only descendant of the People of the Stars to not have any special powers, contrary to his children Jolan and She-Wolf.
  • Balancing Death S Books: In Beyond the Shadows.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Thorgal's. Gandalf-The-Mad, King of the Vikings of the North and his future father-in-law, tried to have him killed several times during his childhood and youth because he feared and hated Thorgal. Gandalf's son and Aaricia's elder brother Bjorn likewise hated Thorgal because the latter was too close to his sister. And yet their villainy paled in comparison to that of Varth, Thorgal's own father.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Jolan's signature method of dealing with armed enemies is using his psychic powers to disintegrate or melt their weapons. The targets are shown in pain as if they burned their hands, but are otherwise unharmed.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: All Vikings, though Jorund stands out.
  • Bows Versus Crossbows: In an early story, Thorgal (who uses a drawn bow, and is very good with it) is in a standoff with a crossbowman, and actually notes that the advantage is to the crossbow. Fortunately a distraction comes along to help him win.
  • Bury Your Gays: Brunhild's entourage doesn't tolerate her attraction to women. She dies later in Kriss' arms.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Played straight with Jolan and Louve who both call their parents by their name. Louve occasionally calls Aaricia "mama" in her earlier appeances.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: In Children of the Stars, Thorgal is helped by two talking winged cats. One of them dies in a pursuit. Thorgal says to the surviving one that he is sorry for its death, but the other cat shows up fine, asking him "Don't you know cats have nine lives?".
  • Characterization Marches On: In The Betrayed Sorceress, Thorgal is a hot-tempered vengeful warrior and is a quiet misogynist (he hesitated becoming the slave of a woman which may hurt his pride) and swears. It's far from the wise Badass Pacifist he appears as later. This can also be seen as Character Development because at the end of the first album, he claims to be sick of violence and spares Gandalf's life (though since later stories taking place before The Betrayed Sorceress also portray him as a pacifist, it's most likely indeed an example of the writers refining the character over time).
    • One also has to consider that time passes in the Thorgal books - unlike most other comic books. In The Betrayed Sorceress both Thorgal and Aaricia are in their late teens, while in the later albums they're the parents of a teenaged son and two younger children. It's clear that Thorgal has gotten Older and Wiser over the years. And even then, he still makes mistakes, with some of them having dreadful consequences (Such as the events leading up to the Shaigan story arc).
    • Aaricia in early albums was a Satellite Love Interest and a Brainless Beauty. The issues of Three Ancients of the Realm of Aran happened after she took a massive Idiot Ball. She gained depth with The Fall of Brek Zarith.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: What happens when you mix a mysterious artifact, Psychic Powers and Imaginary Friend?
    • It is revealed in the later albums that the Norse Gods are subject to this as well. If the people of Midgard were to stop believing in them (due to, say, the conquests of a Christian emperor who demands all those he conquers to convert to his religion), they'd simply stop existing. This is the reason Manthor sends Jolan and his fellow-initiates out to oppose Emperor Magnus.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Aplenty, especially if the opponent is a Giant Mook.
  • Compressed Hair: The Three Eagle Lord aka Slive's daughter hides voluminous red hair under his helmet.
  • Continuity Porn: The Invisible Fortress is made of this.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: The drink-spill variant gets pulled by some random Viking, to humiliate Thorgal, who is a beggar at that time (due to Angst Coma after he thinks his wife and child have died) and can't defend himself.
  • Covers Always Lie: The series actually averts this trope. All covers feature actual scenes from the story and at least one pannel has the Cover Drop. There's however an exception with "Ogotai's Crow" which shows Jolan using the Traveler (a time traveling device) in front of Thorgal and Kriss. This never happens in the story. Instead, we have an adult Jolan from the future who infiltrates Shaigan's castle and only uses the Traveler to escape with Aaricia and Louve
  • Creepy Child: Alinoë.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: During the Shaigan story arc, albeit a remorseful one.
  • Crippling the Competition: Thorgal and his friends, excellent bowmen taking part in an archery competition, are jumped by a group of thugs led by their competitor, who says that there's no need to kill them... just break their wrists.
  • Cutting the Knot: Aaricia is shown a ring tied to a frame with three cords, and challenged to cut them all with a single arrow. She walks over to the frame and cuts all the ropes with the head of the arrow she's holding in her hand.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Yahvus, the Emperor Magnus' god.
  • Dark Action Girl: Kriss of Valnor.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • While the series was never sunshine and rainbows, The Black Galley takes a darker turn with its Downer Ending that see the destruction of a village and Aaricia presumed dead. Afterward, the series features more tragedies and bittersweet endings.
    • The Kriss of Valnor spinoff features the titular Villain Protagonist who has no qualm about killing her ennemies.
  • Departure Means Death: The three sisters live in a secret valley inside a glacier. The valley is a time anomaly that has allowed them to live for centuries but they cannot leave for fear of time "catching up to them".
  • Despair Event Horizon: Ogotay watched his friends, family and wife die as they struggled to survive on a hostile Earth after their spaceship crashed in the Arctic. Also, their expedition was of vital importance to his civilization, and its failure most likely meant its utter extinction. And since he was the ranking officer among the initial survivors, he held himself responsible for it all. Eventually, it drew him crazy.
    • He was pretty much at fault, since his greed and lust for power led him to overthrow the expedition's original ranking officer in a coup when they were still in space. With said ranking officer being Xargos, his own father-in-law, to boot. After that, it was all downhill...
  • Disney Villain Death: Plenty
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One story has Loki take on Thor's appearance and sleep with his wife, cutting off her hair after wards. When Thor comes home and notices, she claims that he'd been paying less attention to her, so she tried a different look. She asks if he likes it, and cut to Thor's bugeyed expression...
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: A particular egregious example occurs in the third album about Kriss. She had been raped by men at least twice (in The Archers and The punishment of the Valkyries) and it has been implied that she had been sexually abused by her step-father. Each time, she killed them mercilessly as vengeance. In this album, when she find out her female fellower Brunhild drugged her and had sex with her, she was just slightly annoyed. The scene is played for fanservice. Apart from this, Brunhild is portrayed as a nice girl...
  • Dragon Their Feet: Arkadès, The Dragon of the Villain of the Week in The Mark of Exiles, survives the climactic battle at the castle and comes back for a brief Post-Climax Confrontation.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Kriss. It even gets her into Valhalla.
    • Note that getting into Valhalla isn't exactly difficult (at least not in the way say, getting into the Christian Heaven or escaping Samsara is said to be). If you die in battle, you have a strict 50/50 chance of ending up there, no matter how much of a cunt you have been in life. The other possible result is to land in Freya's realm, which isn't so bad either. To the Norse, the big sin was to die of natural causes (or, according to some traditions, without a sword in your hand - hence dying men requesting their weapons). Vikings were pretty metal, if you weren't aware of that :) It may not stick though.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The two first albums have a narrator providing exposition. Presumably, it's because Thorgal was initially serialized in Tintin magazine and the narration served as cliffhangers or short recaps. It's a bit awkward in albums where all the parts are compiled. From Three Elders of the Land of Aran onward, the narration vanishes with the exception of a few token "Some days later...". However, a few stories in Child of the Stars and Aaricia bring the narration back.
    • Nearly all the backstory of the Atlantes introduced in the Island of the Frozen Seas have been retconned. Notably, it was said that the atlant colony was 120 years old while later album retcons it as a single generation. It was also said that the boat where Thorgal's mother gave birth didn't sink while it's later established that the boat did sink and Thorgal's father was the only survivor.
    • The first album features a Thorgal who is much more aggressive and vengeful than he is in later stories. It's not Character Development since later stories that take place in his childhood also depict him as a pacifist who won't fight or kill unless absolutely necessary. We're also told that Thorgal is known as "Son of the storms" because he's infamous for his angry outbursts. Not only is that nickname never brought again but Thorgal is actually more mild-mannered than the hot blooded vikings. Thorgal almost stabbing Gandalf from behind is very uncharacteristic since he usually faces his ennemies in fair battles.
    • In her first appearance in "The Three Elders of the Land of Aran", the Guardian of Key is portrated as the reluctant magical servant of Benevolent Ones and her only job is to host the second trial. This is weird in insight when her latter appearances portrays her as a minor goddess who watches over all dimensions and only obeys to the gods of Asgard. There's no reason why she would serve wicked mages.
  • Fan Disservice: Kriss (still wearing her usual Stripperiffic outfit) aging several dozen years is not a pretty sight.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Volsung, eventually.
  • Faux Action Girl: According to Word of God, Aaricia has fighting abilities...which she never shows apart from stabbing a man in the back once.
    • Actually, she displays it twice, both times on Kriss of Valnor : just after cutting off her hair (flooring Kriss with a slap then putting a dagger on her throat) and much later before Kriss' death (Kriss tries to seduce Aaricia from behind, the latter bodily throws her off and dunks her).
      (Aaricia, holding Kriss under her dagger) : the peasant nappy changer is ALSO a viking princess, Kriss of Valnor! DON'T FORGET THAT!
  • Femme Fatale: Kriss of Valnor.
  • Filler: Both "Alinoë" and "Lord of the Mountains" are standalone stories that don't affect the status quo and are rarely referenced afteward. The former however foreshadows Jolan's powers and the latter introduced time travel that becomes important in "The Crown of Ogotaï".
  • First-Episode Twist: or Second Album spoiler Thorgal is the last descendant of the People of the Stars). It's pretty hard to describe the series without mention it.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Despite Sigwald being Kriss' only friend (and Parental Substitute according to her spin-off), she never mentions him again after his demise in "The Archer". Probably justified in that Kriss isn't the kind of person who displays her weaknesses.
  • From Bad to Worse: In Alinoë it starts with a Not-So-Imaginary Friend, and ends up with Thorgal's house getting burned to the ground, Aaricia attacked by multiple copies of Alinoë and Jolan almost drowning.
  • Future Badass: Jolan in The Crown of Ogotai ends up becoming a huge bearded Viking (except he doesn't- it's complicated).
  • Giant Spider: Shows up in Arachnea.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Kriss of Valnor offers to sleep with Aaricia at one point. She refuses and goes to bed with a knife.
  • A God Am I: Ogotaï combines God Guise with megalomania into this trope.
  • Godiva Hair: The Key Guardian.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Thorgal keeps a scar on his cheek from the very beginning of the series where Gandalf gashed it.
  • Groin Attack: A variant- Jolan sneaking his way into an enemy camp knocks out a guard while he's taking a leak.
    Sorry to interrupt such a pleasant moment, friend.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Thorgal thinks his wife has died.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kriss. Also, Thorgal numerous times, and eventually Jolan.
  • Horny Vikings: In all their glory.
  • Human Aliens: The People of the Stars are originally from Earth.
  • Immortality Field: An early story has Thorgal find a secret valley where three young women live, with the youngest following Thorgal to learn about the outside world her sisters forbade her from experiencing. Unfortunately, it turns out living in the valley had kept the sisters immortal, and Thorgal finds the youngest sister's mummified corpse next to him the morning after leaving.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills
  • Jerkass Gods: Getting angry at Arachnea's father for being an arrogant murderer? This is fine. Taking it out on Arachnea by turning her into a giant spider who receives two men a year to mate with and eat? This is less fine.
  • Killer Rabbit: The guardian of the land of the giants in Giants first appears as a group of cute, fluffy puppy-like creatures. Those are actually merely its heads situated on long stalks and their underbellies are one big mouth filled with rows of sharp teeth.
    • In the second Louve album, Louve's wild half and her companion run into a creature that looks like a cute squirrel. It turns out to have many razor-sharp teeth when it opens its mouth and it comes in LARGE groups.
  • Knights and Knaves: This riddle is used in Sacrifice.
  • Large Ham: Jorund the Bull.
  • Last of His Kind: Averted, turns out that he's not.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In new editions, the back of each albums features Thorgal, Aaricia and their two children.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • "Child of the Stars" and "Aaricia" feature short stories of Thorgal and Aaricia when they were kids and have a "fairy tale" tone overal. They both serve as Breather Episode at the end of a dramatic story arc.
    • The cycle of the Successor, the first one by new writer Yves Sentes, consisting of "I Jolan", "The Shield of Thor" and "The Battle of Asgard" is far more lighthearted than any of the previous books with no one dying except mindless giant mooks and ending with a full happy ending rather than the usual Bittersweet Ending. The subsequent cyle of the Red Mages however is Darker and Edgier.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted, Ogotaï is Thorgal's father but it's Thorgal who finds out first.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Or rather, manipulative bitch is the best way to describe Kriss of Valnor. The only person in the world she was shown truly caring for was her friend (and teacher) Sigwald. Whenever she works alongside other people, she's always using them for her own benefit or plans to betray them later. Despite Kriss having a crush on him, Thorgal is no exception to this rule (and in fact, a reluctant tool on more than one occasion).
  • Mayincatec: The Land of Qâ.
    • Subverted, as all the technology developed in the land of Qâ was actually brought by aliens and most of it starts falling apart when the aliens are gone.
  • Mind over Matter: Arlac, one of Jolan's fellow-initiates seems to have the gift of telekinesis.
  • Mind Screw: Lord of the Mountains. Try to find out what happened, and in which timeline. How did Torric die twice?
  • Minimalist Cast: "Alinoe" only has Thorgal, Aaricia, Jolan, the dog Wulf and the titular Alinoe. Thorgal being absent for most of the story and Alinoe being mute mean that Aaricia and Jolan provide almost all the dialogues.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: Thorgal in the beginning of the story "Almost Paradise".
  • Mook Horror Show: In Louve (She-Wolf)the villain party is chased and offed one after another during a dark and stormy night by Thorgal and the deformed and vengeful son of a farmer thay killed
  • The Multiverse: introduced in The Three Elders of Aran. The Key Guardian is it's watcher.
  • Named After the Injury: The 'Archers'/'Land of Qa' cyclus (Albums 9-13) features an old Viking fletcher called 'Argun treefoot', who got his name because of his wooden leg. On several occasions he refers to himself as a 'disabled war veteran' indicating he might have lost his leg in a fight or battle.
  • Noble Wolf: She-Wolf was born as Aaricia was protected by wolves, and she has a special relation with them.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Several examples.
    • In Almost Paradise, it plays as in the fairytale version.
    • Weaponized by Thorgal in The Three Elders of Aran.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Alinoë, to Jolan.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • There are two men named Votiak of all things: one unfortunate client of the Bad Guy Bar in "Beyond The Shadows" and Wor's Dragon in "Wolf Cub".
    • Vigrid is the male god who befriends Aaricia in her eponymous album but it is also the name of the old woman who asks Aarcia's banishment and brands her face with hot iron in "The Brand of the Exiles". J Ean Van Hamme admitted that it was an oversight on his part. "The Sacrifice" has the return of both Vigrids and the old woman's name is conveniently not mentionned.
    • In "Almost Paradise", Skadia's cat is named Loki. The namesake god appears in "The Battle of Asgard".
  • Only the Chosen May Ride: Thorgal's horse, Fural. In the first volume, after getting rid of Thorgal, Gandalf holds a contest for who can keep himself on the horse's back for at least a few seconds, and of course all challengers end up tossed off immediately. Then Thorgal himself (in disguise) participates in the contest, and Fural becomes calm. Since Thorgal specifically wishes to lose, he stealthily wounds Fural with a sharp flint stone to get the horse agitated.
  • Only You Can Repopulate My Race: Slive's original plan.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted; dwarves are close to the original Norse creatures, but smaller. They look more like gnomes, in fact. Well, it depends in what realm you encounter said dwarf...
    • The very first album had a dwarf more akin to the usual depiction in modern fantasy (3 to 4 feet high, long beard, horned helmet) but he was a sorcerer and brother to a giant (!)
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: In Giants.
  • Ouroboros: In "The Lord of the Mountains", a ring that allows time travel takes the form of an Ouroboros.
  • Passed in Their Sleep: A girl escapes from a hidden valley inside a glacier, where "time was frozen". She goes to sleep and ages to death before she can wake up.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: "Shield of Thor", it turns out Manthor need Jolan and his companions abilities to open the gate of Asgard.
  • Psychic Powers: Thorgal's people were stated to have these, though only Ogotai and Tanatloc are shown actually using them. Jolan inherited them and uses them frequently, though the only power he can actually reliably control is the power to disintegrate objects.
  • Psychopomp Death is a long-haired dessicated humanoid of indiscriminate gender. Its servants meanwhile are angel-like creatures, eyeless and with scythe blades for wings, flying through a void filled with people's life threads.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Menthor is assembling an army against Asgard.
    • Later averted. He hated Asgard because the Gods cast out his mother, but when they welcome her back and restore her immortality, he puts aside his grudge or at least realizes acting on it would be counter-productive since his mother is part of Asgard now.
  • Rape as Backstory: Kriss.
  • Rapid Aging: several nightmare-inducing examples.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy
  • Redemption Equals Death: Shaniah. And Kriss of Valnor, as well as Tjall.
  • Religion of Evil: Ogotay, in his madness, institutes one among his Mayincatec followers, dedicated to himself and his late wife. It includes regular human sacrifice.
  • Retcon:
    • In The Island of the Frozen Seas, the Atlant colony is supposed to be 120 years old. By Child of the Stars it is just one generation. Or perhaps they didn't know any better yet.
    • In The Betrayed Sorceress, Slive says that Aaricia's mother died while giving birth to her. In Aaricia's self-titled album, her mother died when she was a little girl. This is corrected in the english translation of The Betrayed Sorceress where Slive says "Your father has been a widower since you were little".
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In Shield of Thor, the red wizards cut off the tongue of the old woman who delivered Aniel to them. Serves as the current page image.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kriss, against the village where she was raised, along with Kill It with Fire.
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: Thorgal is in a place with bright glowing strings all around him representing human lives. He will only get his wife's life back if he cuts a single one, killing the person. He refuses, but Shaniah cuts it herself. Thorgal returns to the land of the living, but as they leave, she fades away, as it was her own lifeline she'd cut. At least that's what she figures, but they fell through quite a few nets of threads while falling down. Even if there's no reason they would fall anywhere in empty space.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Three Eagle Lord is Slive's daughter in The Island of Frozen Seas.
    • The first Saxegard in the Lord of the Mountains is one
  • Scenery Censor: Thorgal is levitating naked on the cover of "The Sacrifice" but smoke from candles conveniently covers his manhood.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The cover of The Barbarian has Thorgal about to shoot the reader.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In The Invisible Fortress, Thorgal accepts to have all his memories erased in order to have the gods "forget" him, and leave him and his family in peace; Kriss of Valnor uses his amnesia to persuade him to adventure with her as a pirate lord.
  • Shooting Lessons From Your Parents: Thorgal tries to teach his children to fight so they can defend themselves during his frequent absences, though they have yet to reach his level (he once shot down another arrow midflight before it could hit a bird). Fortunately they all have powers to compensate for it.
  • Significant Anagram: Jolan Thorgalson hides himself under the identity of Taljar Sologhonn as a warrior king.
  • Sky Cell: There is "mouth of the Sun", though it is more a death penalty than a prison. The victims are taken (via a net on ropes) to a small cave in the face of the cliff. Not only do they have no way out, short of jumping to their deaths but the whole thing is located in the desert and the cave is facing south and not nearly deep enough to provide shade... even if it wasn't filled with mirror-like crystals.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: She-Wolf can communicate with animals.
  • Spider Swarm: Thorgal once runs into a woman whose true form is a Giant Spider due to a curse, who can control her tens of thousands of children.
  • Spoiler Cover: The cover of City of the Lost God blatanlty pictures Tjall dying in Thorgal's arms.
  • Status Quo Is God: The Red Mages cycles spanning 7 issues from "I, Jolan" to "Aniel" and two spin off (Kriss and Wolfcub) where lot of stuff happen: Among other things Jolan becomes a warlord against Christians, gets a political marriage with Kriss, both Thorgal and Aaricia cheat on each others, Aniel rapidly ages up and becomes possessed by his evil grandfather. Yet everything goes back smoothly by the time Thorgal and Jolan return to the village at the end of "Aniel" almost like nothing happened since Jolan left at the end of "The Sacrifice". The bigger change are Louve keeping her monkey companion Yasmina and Aniel leaving Thorgal's family with a resurected Kriss.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Chrysios in The Kingdom under the Sands. He stops Sargon's ship from flying off by shooting on it then gets caught in the explosion. No one brings the fact that he could have done just that from a longer distance.
  • Time Travel: Three Ancients of the Realm of Aran, The Lord of the Mountains, The Crown of Ogotaï.
  • Took a Level in Badass : Aaricia is a textbook example. Since the series started so long ago she was initially set up as a classic Damsel in Distress, complete with some very stupid decisions when the plot required it. She then had her own album, focusing on her childhood, to give her character development and highlight her very strategical spirit. When the Ogotaï Arc began she upgraded to Action Girl. Also, Jolan starts as a spoiled brattish child before he takes a level in badass. Then eventually he takes another one by bringing his future self in to help him.
  • Tragic Monster: Arachnea is a man-eating giant spider who mates with men to birth even-more ravenous daughters, leading to hundreds of victims over the years. She despises this and is only forced into it because of a curse of the gods. She hates what she is and takes the first chance offered to free herself.
  • Travelling at the Speed of Plot: The ending of The Black Galley has a notorious Plot Hole: Ewing somehow managed to reach the shore by swimming, hire mercenaries and sack Thorgal's village in the same amount of time it took for Thorgal to just walk back home.
  • Trick Arrow: Treefoot made arrows of all kinds, including sickle-heads to cut ropes, blunt ones to knock people out and whistling ones to scare people.
  • Unobtainium: The "metal which doesn't exist". It does exist anyway; it refers to a metal from another world.
  • Villainous Friendship: In The Archers, Kriss and Sigwald really care for each other. Kriss even says that Sigwald was the only real friend she ever had.
  • The Virus: The titular disease in The Blue Plague.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Thorgal seems to spend more time in just a loincloth than in actual clothing.
  • Warrior Poet: Thorgal was a Skald (Scandinavian Bard) in his youth, courtesy of his tribe's king Gandalf-the-Mad as an attempt to keep him isolated from the rest. He'd rather be a warrior though, it's easier to catch food with a bow than with a lyre.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The fact that Thorgal does not belong to this world wreaks havoc on his destiny.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In The Betrayed Sorceress, Slive has a pet wolf named Sharn. In The Island of Frozen Seas, Sharn is mysteriously absent.
    • Aaricia's best friend Solveig last appeared in The Mark of The Branded secretely helping her and the children to escape. She gets a mention in "The Sacrifice" confirming that she still lives in the village yet she never appears afteward in the issues taking place at the village not even in the Wolfcub spinoff where Aaricia might need some emotional support.
    • After Thorgal's return in the village in "Aniel", his companions Petrov, Darek and Lehla vanish without explanation in the next issue.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The powers are spread fairly unevenly among Manthor's pupils. Ingvild's sole "power" is good agility and a superhuman sense of balance and Draye possesses the not extremely impressive power of levitation. On the other end of the spectrum is Arlac, whose telekinesis is strong enough to hurl heavy candelabras across the room or pin a grown man in his chair. But even his power seems weak compared to Jolan, who can melt people's weapons, heal others and desintegrate/reconstruct objects and who, as shown in the Qâ and Shaigan arcs, also seems to have telepathic abilities and the ability to use his powers over a distance - provided he has an amplifier handy, and it's really taxing anyway.
  • Woman Scorned: Galathorn's sister does not take well to Thorgal not sleeping with her.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A very dark example with Ogotay (aka Varth, Thorgal's real father). On the one hand, he's a genocidal Evil Overlord who tries to take over the world. On the other hand, he's the only survivor of his space expedition trapped in a foreign world and he lost all his friends, his wife and his child. He's been driven to utter madness well before Thorgal meets him.
    Ogotay: "And you too, you will adore me, like the others, and you will obey me, like the others!"
    Thorgal: "I see no god. I only see an old man who thinks he's a god. An old man who's been driven mad by grief and loneliness, and who takes his revenge for his exile by spreading death and destruction.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: And they are Mayincatec Zeppelins.