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Comic Book / Valhalla

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Thunder... thunder... Thunder god, ho!

Valhalla is a Danish comic series by Henning Kure (script) and Peter Madsen (script and artwork) that chronicles the stories of the Norse gods in a mostly lighthearted and humorous way. It started out as a newspaper comic, the first story, Cry Wolf, being printed as a serial strip in the Danish newspaper Politiken in 1978 and then the following year being collected and reprinted in album format.

From 1979 to 2009, fifteen albums (and one animated feature by A. Film, released in 1986) were produced, during which all the major and most of the minor known myths are covered in one way or the other.

The albums are, as follow:

  1. Ulven er Løs ("Cry Wolf")
  2. Thors Brudefærd ("Thor's Wedding")
  3. Odins Væddemål ("Odin's Wager")
  4. Historien om Quark ("The Story of Quark")
  5. Rejsen Til Udgårdsloke ("The Journey to Utgards-Loki")
  6. De Gyldne Æbler ("The Golden Apples")
  7. Ormen i Dybet ("The Serpent in the Abyss")
  8. Frejas Smykke ("Freya's Necklace")
  9. Den Store Udfordring ("The Big Challenge")
  10. Gudernes Gaver ("The Gifts for the Gods")
  11. Mysteriet om Digtermjøden ("The Magic Mead")
  12. Gennem Ild og Vand ("Through Fire and Water")
  13. Balladen om Balder ("The Ballad of Balder")
  14. Muren ("The Wall")
  15. Vølvens syner ("The Vala's Visions")

Provides Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parent: Tyr's father, Hymer, used to regularly beat him with his beer mug.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The comic makes Loki an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist rather than actually evil.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: While not in any way sympathetic or heroic, Surt in the comic is simply another Jotun warlord (although an extremely vicious one) who is capable of being Faux Affably Evil to Loki and Roskva and has a somewhat humbler goal of using Laevantein to make a tropical retreat for the Jotuns while the rest of the world freezes, and not the Destroyer Deity he's presented as in Norse mythology. Though to be fair, Surt has very little personality at all in the original myths, with all that's said of him involving his role in Ragnarok.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Vili and Ve, Odin's two brothers, are an antagonistic element in "The Big Challenge" when they attempt to usurp Asgard in Odin's absence and make a complete hash of things. (The actual myths give them little to no characterisation at all.) Unlike in the original story they also don't give away their power willingly, and have to be forced by Odin upon his return.
    • Hoenir in the eleventh album is behind Mimir and Gilling's murders; he has been given a complete personality reversal from the myths, going from a quiet Extreme Doormat to a Jerkass Control Freak.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Lots of extra plot threads and characterizations are added to the original myths.
    • The Movie was adapted into the fourth and fifth album, which greatly expands on its story, adding many new scenes and more properly explains things that might seem a little nonsensical in the movie itself.
    • "Through Fire and Water" was made by amalgamating two distinct tales, both of whom involved a villain with the same name, Geirrod (one a Jotun king and the other an evil human king). In this case both villains are the same person, with one tale (of the human king capturing Odin) leading into the other (Thor goes to hunt him down and is opposed by the villain's twin jotunn daughters).
    • "The Wall" is similarly an amalgation of two stories, one being the tale of Skirner (here revealed to be Tjalfe under a pseudonym) courting Gerd on Frey's behalf, and the story of how the wall around Asgard and how Sleipnir came to be. Gerd's father and the wall-builder is revealed to be the same Jotun, who originally tried to build the wall in order to trap the Aesir inside of it and leave the Jotuns free to run the rest of the world.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Due to Loki being portrayed as asexual, his wife Sigyn and sons Nari and Vali don't exist in this version — though they do appear in a somewhat surreal nightmare sequence where Loki sees his fate from the original myths. In the dream, Sigyn looks exactly like a female Loki and the boys look like child versions of him, and Loki is seriously confused at their existence.
    • Ullr, Sif's son from a previous marriage and Thor's step-son, is nowhere to be seen. Sif is mentioned to be a young widow when she first meets Thor, but there's no mention of any other children before Modi and Thrud, who are born in the second album.
    • Odin's youngest son Vali doesn't appear either. Unlike the previous examples, he's never even alluded to, not even as a subtle hint or throwaway dream sequence.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Several of the jotunns have traces of this, but Utgards-Loki, one of the few jotunn characters who's actually portrayed as intelligent, is the clearest example.
    • Averted with Loki; this adaptation of the myths depicts him as an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist than an actual villain.
  • All-Loving Hero:
    • Baldur, who is a Nice Guy through and through; always fair-minded, kind and polite to everyone — even the worst of jotunns.
    • Deconstructed with Freya; because she is the Goddess of Love, she has to love everyone as part of her position, which stresses out those interested in her.
  • All Trolls Are Different: jotunn seem to be treated as a subspecies of trolls; they tend to look mostly humanoid, but ugly and grotesque with many varying characteristics such as tails or multiple heads. They all have pointy ears in common, though.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: invoked Of the Gods in original stories of the Norse mythology. Mostly of the humorous kind, as several of the gods are (mostly sympathetic) caricatures.
  • Amicable Exes: Skadi and Njord end up separating, but not because they didn't get along or love each other — it was simply because they couldn't find anywhere to live where they could both be happy. Njord, being a sea god, couldn't handle living in the mountains, and Skadi, being a mountain jotunn, couldn't stand living by the sea. Wherever they lived, at least one of them was miserable. Though if the last two albums are anything to go by, they're still fond of each other even if living together didn't work out.
  • Anachronism Stew: Odin and Mimir are often seen playing chess. Other modern-time references usually fall under Rule of Funny.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Røskva to Tjalfe. This is especially clear in the first album, though both children go through a lot of Character Development over the series, and Røskva proves to be the more levelheaded of the two.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Freya is captured by Surtr, who has witches extracting her summer powers to fuel the Flaming Sword Laevantein, which he uses to awaken the Midgard Serpent and destroy the world, and then feeds her to Fenrir. However, Odin sacrifices himself to awaken Freya and she turns the sword's power against the Jotunns and saves the world from total annihilation.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Loki is the god of lies, deceit and politicians.
  • Art Evolution: Naturally, given that the last album was published thirty years after the first one. Even so, the style stays remarkably consistent from the fourth album and onward.
  • Art Shift: In the last album, Roskva's visions are all presented in a painted style with no outlines.
  • Ascended Extra: Thor's servants, Tjalfe and Røskva, are very minor characters in the original myths (Tjalfe only appears in a couple of stories, Røskva only in one), but have been given major roles in this series, serving as viewpoint characters for several stories.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender:
    • Averted with Thor, who does not make for an attractive woman.
    • When Loki dresses up as Freya's handmaiden, he thinks he's incredibly sexy but is the only one who thinks so. However, when he's disguised as a mare in order to distract the jotunn horse Svadilfare, the horse finds him irresistible.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The Jotuns generally look craggy, trollish and ugly, while the Aesir and Vanir look human. Most of the Jotunn who become Aesir, such as Loki, Skadi, Magni, Gerd or Tyr tend to be much easier on the eyes than the other true Jotunns. Of the dwarfs that appear in the comic, Brokk and Sindri (who are blacksmiths) look relatively normal while Fjalar and Gjalar (who are cheats and murderers) have extremely exaggerated features and Slasher Smiles (and also no beards).
  • Balloon Belly: Loki gets one after his eating contest in the movie. In the comic his belly is much smaller, but he gets just as sick.
  • Batman Gambit: Odin is pretty good at these. In fact, he ends Ragnarok with a spectacular one: After learning that Freya was eaten by Fenris, he willingly lets the wolf swallow him too so that he can revive her, and she can turn the jotunns' power against them and save the world from annihilation.
  • Berserk Button: Most of the major gods have one:
    • Odin despises being disrespected, and by extension when non-Aesir disparage the Aesir. And losing at chess, which he does constantly.
    • To Freya, it's being forcibly wed or trapped in a loveless marriage (which almost happens to her twice). She also reacts very poorly to the other gods not respecting her autonomy.
    • Thrym's wedding becomes one to Thor. The rest of the series makes it a Running Gag that he's unable to live down having dressed as a woman and flies off the handle whenever anyone mentions it.
    • Tyr's appearance beneath his bowlcut, which reveal his Jotun heritage and his unhappy family life.
    • Heimdall hates being disrespected as well, but it's mostly Played for Laughs because he's so ineffective. His real one gets pressed when Loki disrespects Freya.
    • Hoedir hates being pitied, or unfavourable comparisons to his brother.
  • Big Bad: Several of the stories feature a clear villain who causes the events of the story, usually a jotun. Thrym is the villain of "Thor's Wedding", Utgards-Loki of "The Journey to Utgards-Loki", Tiassi of "The Golden Apples", Hrugnir of "The Big Challenge", Geirrud of "Through Fire and Water", and Surt of "The Vala's Visions". Hoenir is revealed to be the villain of "The Magic Mead", though he only appears at the end, and Gymer is the antagonist of both stories that make up "The Wall".
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Gerd, Frey's Love Interest, is obese but good-looking, and Frey is completely smitten with her.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Thor comes to the last-minute rescue of Tjalfe and Røskva no less than twice in the last album.
    • In Through Fire and Water, Thor and Loki are overpowered by trolls, partly because they're outnumbered and partly because Thor didn't bring Mjollnir because he wants to prove to everyone he's just as much a god without it. Luckily Vidar, who shows up in the nick of time to help them, and whose strength is comparable to Thor's own, did bring a weapon.
  • Bittersweet Ending: How the series ends in "The Vala's Visions", the last story. Most of the gods die in Ragnarok (Loki being the only survivor) and the truth of their adventures will eventually fade into legends most people won’t believe. The gods went out swinging though and were able to prevent the end of the world whilst slaying Surt and his minions, it is also revealed the gods are still around in some small ways and they will continue to look after humanity.
  • Blatant Lies: Loki (naturally) is prone to this. He denies being the mother of Sleipner, but all evidence points to him having given birth to the horse. In an earlier comic he tries to explain Fenrir's appearance the same way thus implying that he is the father of the wolf as well. He also denies being Hel's father to her face, but as far as we know this is a lie as well. The only times he expresses any interest in sex it is, indeed, blatant lies as he is merely trying to get the women in question to cooperate in their own kidnapping or into giving him a lock of hair for his bet.
  • Bookends: The Serpent in the Abyss starts and ends with new arrivals coming to Valhalla, and gods in disguise mingling to hear which god the warriors think is mightiest. The first time around Thor blows his top when he hears the new arrivals praise Tyr, but at the end Thor and Tyr hear the new bloods praise Heimdall and simply break down laughing.
  • Brainless Beauty: Freya is very good at playing the part when it suits her, but it is always very clear that it is an act. Freya is usually portrayed as a chessmaster who can give Odin a run for his money on a good day, and far more socially astute than her nominal superiors.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Loki. When Tjalfe tells Røskva that Odin doesn't do any work because he's a king, Røskva asks if Loki's a king, too. Right before Loki, true to form, gets the kids to do his work for him.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Quark, the ill-tempered Jotunn kid, does not appear in any of the original myths but was invented for the series. He appears in The Movie and the two albums based on it, as well as some background appearances in other albums. For a while was considered the Breakout Character, starring his own animated TV series and newspaper comic, but he avoids becoming The Scrappy largely because his actual appearances in Valhalla are so sparse. He mostly shows up for small cameos in the background, and the one story where he actually plays a major role (the one of the film and album 4 and 5), he's mainly there to create more drama in a myth which did not have that much to begin with.
    • A running gag from the second album on is one-off jotunn characters named after dairy products, such as Hquark. This started after Madsen realised that Hymir/Hymer's name sounded similar to the dairy product Ymer with an H in front.
    • Rolf Herringskin, Tyr's sergeant, is a recurring minor character original to the comic. He seldom has any real role in the plot, but is occasionally used for exposition or comedy relief.
  • Character Development: Heimdall undergoes this in Freya's Necklace. Previous volumes cast him as a pompous, cowardly fool, but Freya's charms cause a more sensitive, chivalrous, and even thoughtful side of his character to come to the surface. Not to mention the fact that when he realizes the extent of Loki's mischief he goes on a rampage, finally proving that the titles he keeps harping on about (The All-Seeing Aesir, The All-Hearing Aesir) aren't just for show.
    • Tyr goes through in The Serpent in the Abyss, becoming a lot less self-righteous after a Heroic BSoD makes him realize the damage his unhappy upbringing has caused him mentally and how he tried running away from facing it again.
    • Tjalfe and Røskva also go through noticeable development over the course of the series; Tjalfe gradually becomes less foolish and insensitive, and more inclined to think before he acts, while Røskva goes from a naive little child to a far more insightful and intelligent young lady.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset:
    • One of the albums ends this way. Earlier in the story, Loki lures a giant's horse away to make sure the giant can't complete a bet. He does this by disguising himself as a mare — and months later, comes back with a gift for Odin, the eight-legged steed Sleipnir. Loki runs into the male horse again at the end of the story and promptly flees for his life with the horse in pursuit.
    • It happens again with Loki in the very last album. He escapes his fate at Ragnarokk and believes himself to be the last god alive. After lamenting the loss of his friends, he can't resist spouting some post-mortem insults about Thor and Heimdall... only to discover that they are Not Quite Dead after all. The last we see of Loki in the series is him once again running for his life as Thor chases him with his cart.
  • Chaste Hero: Balder; a lot of women are interested in him, but he's saving himself for the right one. This leads to the comic's most unexpected pairing for those familiar with the original myths, namely Balder/Hel.
  • The Chessmaster: Odin, in addition to have a fondness for the actual game, is portrayed as such in several of the stories (though not in the ones where he's the main character).
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Of a slightly darker variety. Tyr's mother, in 'The Serpent in the Abyss', comments on how "nice" their family life used to be before Tyr ran away from home. Said family life having included regular verbal abuse from Tyr's cranky, many-headed grandmother, as well as physical abuse from his father Hymir.
  • Cock-a-Doodle Dawn: A Running Gag is Thor throwing Mjölnir at a crowing rooster to shut it up. This only inconveniences roosters when he's staying somewhere on an adventure, though; while all roosters know they have to duck, the Valhalla rooster is the only one to know it has to dodge Mjollnir twice. When Mjölnir goes missing, the rooster ducks, waits a few seconds, and jumps, dodging the hammer he expects to be there. He's then puzzled that there was no hammer.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Thor, in Through Fire and Water, is so set on proving that he's got more wits than people give him credit for that he repeatedly ends up focusing on the wrong things. Especially notable is this conversation, when Thor and Loki are walking through Jotunnheim:
    Thor: Aren't you a little lightly dressed? We're going pretty far North...
    Loki: How could you let the kids borrow the goat cart, just when we needed it?
    Thor: The goat cart? That wouldn't help against the cold!
    Loki: Ooohh, how stupid can you get?!
    Thor: Yes, you should have thought to bring warm clothes, like I did.
  • Companion Cube: Thor has a tendency to treat Mjollnir as a pet in addition to a weapon — most notably in the second album, where it's stolen by Thrym and Thor panics because the hammer "isn't used to being alone." On the other hand, Mjölnir is a magical hammer which has shown some semblance of sentience during brief gags.
  • Composite Character:
    • In The Wall, Frey's messenger and servant Skirnir is in fact Tjalfe, operating under an assumed name.
    • Freyja and Sol are combined into a single goddess, as are Frigg and Jord. (This reflects some actual theories about these goddesses.)
    • Røskva is revealed to be the same as the titular völva of Völuspa.
    • A flashback in Freya's Necklace reveals Freya's husband Odd was Odin in disguise, who left her after the wedding night. It's implied Freya is by this point well aware of his identity and uses their courtship as a warning tale to Odin about the nature of love.
  • Continuity Nod: At the beginning of Odin's Wager, the valkyries bring the recently dead to Valhalla, and one already permanent resident comments that his younger brother is not among them. In The Serpent In The Abyss, said brother finally arrives.
  • Cool Big Sib: Both Röskva and Tjalfe act as this to Tor and Sif's children, despite not being actually related, helping raise them and are frequently seen playing with them.
  • Courtly Love: Heimdall spends most of "Freya's Necklace" having a 'romantic ideal' type of crush on Freya and is actually offended when she propositions him sexually. Subverted in the ending.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Heimdall is for the most part portrayed as a self-important, blustering fool with a huge cowardly streak... but as Loki finds out, if you actually get him riled enough, he becomes dangerous. Not only is he a capable fighter, he can "see to the ends of the earth" and "hear the grass grow", making him a Scarily Competent Tracker par excellencé.
    • Hoedir might also count; he's not the parodic figure that Heimdall is, but for the majority of the series he's more or less the harmless blind background character that hardly anyone notices. When he gets his Day in the Limelight, though, he thoroughly demonstrates why underestimating the blind guy is not a good idea.
  • Cute Kitten: Tjalfe gets one in the last album, as his "fylgja" (a spirit companion in the form of an animal). Initially disappointed because his fylgja isn't a cooler animal, like a big strong bear, he nevertheless falls for the kitten almost immediately.
  • Day in the Limelight: Many, including Tyr's in 'The Serpent in the Abyss', Heimdall's in 'Freya's Necklace' and Hoedir's in The Ballad of Balder.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several of the gods have their moments, but Loki (not surprisingly) has the most.
  • Dirty Coward: Loki may talk big, but ask him to actually face real danger and he'll grab any excuse to not have to.
  • Dirty Old Man: Odin has definite shades of this.
  • Disneyfication: Mostly subverted. While the comic is definitely Lighter and Softer than the original myths, and the cartoony drawings and slapstick sequences can make it seem like it's aimed at a younger audience, there are a lot of mature themes in the stories, and quite a bit of blood, nudity and sexual references.
  • The Ditz: Idunn. Balder, on occasion.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: At the end of Freya's Necklace Loki leaves for Utgard to be free of everyone's obnoxiously amorous spring mood, claiming that trolls and giants have no such feelings. He promptly gets clubbed over the head by a giant woman who drags him into her cave where a bed is waiting. It's played for laughs.
    • It should probably also be noted that Loki is forced to seduce a stallion by the other gods, and he wants no part in it. That is to say, until the horse's owner insults his mare shape, at which point it becomes a matter of pride. Any interest in being part of the whole affair evaporates the moment the stallion is free however, and again his misfortunes are played for laughs.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Tyr can definitely come across as one, though it's generally downplayed.
  • Dumb Blonde: Played fairly straight with Idunn, but completely averted with Freya, who may occasionally be giggly and flirty but is consistently portrayed as one of the smartest and most skillful of all the gods.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Thor is definitely viewed as this by several of the other gods (especially Loki), though in reality he's generally thoughtless rather than stupid. When he actually bothers to use his brain, he can be quite cunning.
    • Hymer is considered one of the strongest amongst the Jotunns. He is also incredibly naïve, dimwitted, and frequently Late to the Punchline, and the Jotunns sees him as easily being the stupidest of their kind.
    • Hrugnir is also a powerful Jotun warlord, and also incredibly crude, brutish and dim-witted.
  • Ethical Slut: Freya swings between being this and an Innocent Fanservice Girl, often within the same story. She is quite open about her sexuality and often hits on the male gods, but in the end she is more concerned about love than sex. The prospect of being forced into a loveless marriage disgusts her, and it's also notable that she never hits on any of the married men.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In "Odin's Wager" Odin (looking for strong warriors to recruit) comes across a Conan the Barbarian expy One-Man Army who butchers an entire army on his own, but when his king orders him to kill the surrendering survivors he kicks him off a cliff. Odin decides Valhall has enough stubborn hotheads as-is and moves on.
  • Exact Words:
    • Like in the original myth, when Brokk wants Loki to bet his head, he means betting his head. The comic shows Loki's thought process in thinking he's being metaphoricalnote  and, of course, his dismay at learning he's not. Like in the original myth, Loki gets out of it by pointing out that the bet never was about his neck.
    • In the same story, Loki gets a dumb Troll to dig up a hole trap for him, in exchange of "this bag" (his money purse) and all the dirt he can dig out: when the Troll finishes the job, Loki empties the bag and hands it to him.
    • Played for Laughs in "The Wall" when a builder wants (amongst other things) the "Sun and the Moon" as his price for building the wall. After said builder is exposed as a Jotun trying to trick the gods, Thor catches up to him and says the rest of his contract is forfeit but he will be getting the sun and the moon... As well as a few stars.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Hoedir, to illustrate his blindness. He opens his eyes exactly once during the series, towards the end of The Ballad of Balder, when he in a shared dream gets to experience sight for the first time. (His reaction: "I did think something seemed different...")
  • A Family Affair: During the takeover by Vile and Ve, Frigga is seen leaving their bedroom…
  • Family of Choice:
    • Tjalfe and Röskva are officially Tor's servant, but act more as part of his family at times, having a good relationship with Tor's entire family and only seem to be doing their domestic duties intermitently. In the final issue, Röskva remarks that she barely remembers their actual parents, so Tor and Sif are more like parents to her.
    • Like in the original myths, Loki is a Jotun but was adopted into the Aesir after becoming Odin's blood brother. Tyr is also revealed to be the son of a Jotun, but chose to be an Aesir. Zig-zagged with Skadi, who marries Njord but separates from him because their needs and lifestyles turn out to be incompatible. At first it seems like she went back to live as a jotunn, but later albums show that she's still welcome among the Aesir, and when they gather in Valhalla Skadi is there too.
  • Fat Bastard: Most of the villainous Jotunns and King Geirrod are rather portly and have prominent paunches. In the latter's case, shows how decadent and mismanaged his kingdom is.
  • Fiery Redhead: Thor, as in the original myths, has red hair and a huge temper. Skadi is also red-haired in this incarnation and extremely passionate.
  • Funbag Airbag: Exaggerated in Through Fire and Water: when found by Geirrod's men, Odin loses his balance from the beam he was balancing on and falls down face first right between the breasts of one of Geirrod's daughters, getting stuck there for a while in a perfectly vertical position before the Jotunness pulls him out.
  • The Gadfly:
    • Loki. While his primary motivation is usually greed, he also gets into all sorts of trouble just because he thinks it's funny to annoy and mess with people.
    • Odin has a definite touch of this as well. At one point he delivers a morality tale by bringing up one of Loki's previous follies, causing Loki to remark that he could very well have done this without making him look bad. Odin replies that he thinks the story is funny.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Again, many of the gods have definite touches of this, displaying some extremely morally questionable behavior, though in most cases it's used for comic effect. Odin is probably the clearest example of the trope; he usually doesn't bother to get involved in anything unless there's something in it for him personally — and when there is, he'll lie, cheat, steal and sleep around to get what he wants — but he does have his own moral code that he follows very strictly, and when it comes down to it he does ultimately have everyone's best interests at heart.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Odin tricks an entire pub of scythe-wielding Jotuns into beheading each other, we only see his face and the sound effect.
  • Groin Attack: In Through Fire and Water, one of Geirrod's Jotunn daughters, as per myth, makes a river swell and flood by holding her skirt up. When Thor throws a stone at her, the sound effect and Thor's comment imply this.
  • Guile Hero: Tjalfe and Loki solve most of their problems by thinking on their feet and using their wits, though the former mostly avoids the latter's tendency of using his wits to get himself into trouble in the first place.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Averted, Geirrod (a human),had two daughters with a Jotunn woman, but they look even more beast-like than regular Jotunns.
  • Handicapped Badass: Tyr, the god of war and commander of the Einherjar, who's missing an arm following that incident with Fenrir. The comic's version of Vidar is also disabled, having a birth defect that makes one of his legs shorter than the other and requiring him to use a walking stick that he kicks all sorts of ass with. He later makes a workable aid to his disability by taking Tor's thick leather cap and sewing it to the bottom of his shoe, evening out the difference.
  • Happily Married:
    • Thor and Sif, though their relationship does have a few rocky points (especially during Thor's Wedding). Both have been in relationships before (Sif came to Valhall a widow and Thor has Magni), but are faithful and happy together during the course of the story.
    • Bragi and Idunn also seem like this, although being secondary characters their marriage is less explored.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Freya sleeps through the entire winter in order to gather enough power to rekindle the sun and start spring. During her hibernation she sleeps so soundly that it's impossible to wake her up. She even sleeps through being kidnapped by Surtr, being drained by her magic and being swallowed alive by the Fenris wolf, and it's only Odin's last-minute Batman Gambit that revives her.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Thor seems to undergo a subtle one at the end of Thor's Wedding, when complaining about how the jotunns treat their women, and Sif points out that the gods aren't much better. Tyr completely rejects the idea, getting into a shouting match with Sif on what a burden it is to be a man, but Thor does seem to take her words to heart.
    • Both Odin and Heimdall go through this in Freya's Necklace as they both realize they do not understand that to love someone involves giving yourself to them in both body and soul — Odin had only been interested in the bodily matters while Heimdall had naive and harmful expectations about sex (or the lack thereof) in a courtship.
    • Balder more openly undergoes one at the end of The Ballad of Balder, when he realizes how Innocently Insensitive he's been towards his blind brother Hoedir.
  • Heroic Bastard:
    • Magni, who is the son of one of Thor's earlier dalliances before he married Sif. While initially serving as The Rival to Tjalfe and believing himself to be a lot more important than he is, he's not a bad person and is driven by much the same impulses as Tjalfe. Later volumes show him part of Thor's household and accepted by everyone there.
    • Vidarr, a demi-god and one of Odin's bastards, shows up to help Thor and Loki in "Through Fire and Water", saving both their lives and gifting Thor his quarterstaff (which turns out to be vital later).
  • Heroic BSoD: Tyr undergoes one when he's forced to confront his parentage in The Serpent in the Abyss.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Odin pulls one in the last issue to reverse Ragnarök, but if Röskva's vision is anything to go by he will rise again.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Thor and Loki are a Vitriolic Best Buds version. Though Loki is actually Odin's blood-brother, he's far more likely to hang out with Thor — and even though they get on each other's nerves occasionally (Loki loves to insult and humiliate Thor, while Thor never hesitates to threaten Loki with savage beatings) they remain the best of friends and often go journeying together.
  • Honorary Uncle: Loki (somewhat unwillingly) to Thor's children — when they are old enough to talk, they even call him "Uncle Loki."
  • Hot-Blooded: In Odin's Wager, Odin, on a quest to find the three greatest warriors in Midgard, passes up one promising warrior for being this after seeing him turn against his commander when the latter orders him to slaughter unarmed and surrendering enemies.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The comic never shied away from sexual references and nudity, but the eighth album, "Freya's Necklace" — hoo boy.
  • I Have Many Names: When Geirrod tries to extort the true name of Odin, he stalls for time by bringing out, one by one, all his many aliases and fake identities.
  • I Have This Friend: Freya tells Odin a story at the end of "Freya's necklace" about a young goddess who was courted and seduced by another god who left her after her wedding night because all he wanted was to have sex with her; the panels make it very obvious she's referring to herself and her mythological husband Odd, whom she is clearly separated from and still feels hurt by him leaving. The same panels also make it very obvious "Odd" was actually Odin in disguise, and the story seems to leave Odin feeling deeply guilty — at least until Frigg is able to cheer him up.
  • Informed Flaw: In "Thor's Wedding" and "Through Fire and Water", it's implied that Thor is pretty much a helpless weakling without his hammer. In contrast, most of the other stories portray him as the strongest and most invincible being in existence, with or without his hammer.
    • "Through Fire and Water" spends pretty much the entire story subverting this notion. After being insulted by Frey as Dumb Muscle who can't do anything without his hammer, Thor decides he's going to help Loki free Odin using nothing but his wits... And succeeds. Also subverted in that he went along fully armoured and gauntleted under his winter clothes, allowing him to do a Bullet Catch in the climax. "Without his hammer" does not mean "unarmed".
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Balder, Nice Guy that he is, can occasionally be this. It's most prominent in his relationship with Hoedir, whom he genuinely loves and just wants to look after, but unwittingly treats in a rather patronizing manner. He has a bit of a Heel Realization about this at the end of The Ballad of Balder.
    • Thor has moments of this as well. While more a Jerk with a Heart of Gold than the sweet-natured Balder, quite a few of his Jerkass moments are just a result of him simply not realizing that he's behaving badly. Occasionally he seriously insults or upsets people when he thinks he's being helpful and encouraging.
  • Insistent Terminology: Mimir would like to kindly (and loudly) remind you that nobody cut off his head, they cut off his body.
  • It's All About Me: Loki in a nutshell. He's not actually malicious, but he is completely self-centered, and as long as he himself doesn't suffer, then the rest of the world — even his best friend Thor — can go hang for all he cares.
  • Jerkass:
    • Loki, though he's usually not a malicious one... just extremely greedy, self-centered and with a strong Gadfly streak.
    • Vili and Ve have almost no redeeming qualities, quickly becoming tyrants when left in charge of Asgard. Unlike Loki, who at least occasionally uses his wits to be helpful, they are pretty much useless in every way.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thor is temperamental, thoughtless, insensitive and with a big selfish streak, but he's also genuinely kind and honorable.
    • Especially evident in 'The Serpent in the Abyss'. Thor is probably the Aesir who most hates Jotunns, and certainly the one who enjoys beating them up the most; however, when he discovers the truth about Tyr's father, he defends him against Heimdall's accusations and states, in his own way, that he respects Tyr as a warrior and commander, in spite of the intense rivalry between them, and that he considers Tyr's parentage inconsequential.
  • Kid Sidekick: Tjalfe, to Thor.
  • Kissing Cousins: Possibly an oversight on the author's part, but since Loki is the blood-brother of Odin and explicitly calls himself "uncle Loki" around Odin's sons, Baldur and Hel's relationship becomes this. Of course, Loki passionately denies being Hel's father, being rather indignant at the suggestion, claiming that he's the victim of slander. Since this particular version of Loki is pretty much asexual, and the same album also shows that thanks to his self-serving and untrustworthy nature, he does tend to get the blame for things that really weren't his fault, the comic never truly answers whether he actually is Hel's father or not.
  • Lighter and Softer: A lot of the darker aspects of the myths have been toned down here. While they haven't been done away with altogether, the tone is overall more positive and friendly, and there is nary a Downer Ending to be seen over the course of fifteen albums, even the ones adapting some of the bleaker myths.
  • Loophole Abuse: Loki, true to form, does this a few times to weasel out of deals and promises by using Exact Words. In the album The Ballad of Balder the Loophole Abuse ends up working against him when he unwittingly invokes one that leads to Balder's death — though in this case he's desperately trying to avoid getting Balder hurt because he knows he'll get the blame. Knowing that Balder is invincible because Frigg had made everything on the Earth swear not to harm him, he still decides to play it ultra-safe by giving the enraged Hoedir a mistletoe twig, which he deems to be the most harmless thing around. We all know how the myth goes from there, and Frigg later explains the loophole that had been invoked.
    "I made everything on the Earth swear. Even the birds come down to the Earth to get food. But the mistletoe grows in the crowns of other trees and never reaches the ground. It didn't know that it wasn't allowed to harm Balder."
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Hrugnir owns a stone shield that can protect him even from Mjollnir... until Tjalfe doesn't trick him into put the shield under his feet so that Thor won't be able to sneak attack him from below.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Suttung's daughter pushes Odin's face against her breasts while she's seducing him, and it does persuade him to bed her. More hellish in a later volume where Odin's head-first fall is broken by the cleavage of one of Geirrod's far less humanoid daughters, which he apparently didn't enjoy as much, judging from his face.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Thor tricks Thiassi in believing that Loki wanted Skadi's hand in marriage (no dowry), she was elated, but became furious when he saw him sneaking in Idunn's room, thinking he was cheating on her.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: Jotunns and Trolls aren't usually much bigger than Gods or mortals, but are definitively more ugly and grotesque, especially the males. Female Jotunns tend to be of the Cute Monster Girl variety, with an extreme stretch for Geirrod's daughters.
  • Never Say "Die": Hilariously played with in the thirteenth album, when Loki upon finding himself in the underworld tries to ask Hel if he's really dead or not. He uses every possible euphemism for "death," only to have her completely misunderstand them all, until he breaks down and screams the real word. Translated and paraphrased:
    Loki: What brings me here... to the kingdom of the dead... Ulp! Does this mean I have... passed away?
    Hel: Away? You're right here.
    Loki: I mean... Have I found my peace?
    Hel: You don't look very peaceful.
    Loki: Forgot to breathe?
    Hel: Doesn't sound like it.
    Loki: Kicked the bucket?
    Hel: You have a bucket?
    Loki: Danced the last dance... perished... pushing up the daisies... snuffed out... croaked... Am I DEAD, damn it?!
    • He isn't, he's just dreaming. Which leads to more misunderstanding from Loki:
      Hel: You're just sleeping.
      Loki: Ulp! The big sleep? Eternal rest?
      Hel: (rolls eyes) Calm down, you're dreaming.
  • Nice Guy: Balder, which should come as no surprise to anyone — though he can on occasion get a little Innocently Insensitive.
  • Noir Episode: "The Magic Mead", which has Odin acting as the Hardboiled Detective protagonist constantly sprouting Private Eye Monologues to boot.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The huge wolf Fenris (who was the most dangerous monster in Norse mythology) turns out to only be an oversized dog, who was controlled and abused by the evil giant Surtr.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Surtr, who steals the sun and freezes the entire world just to make the Jotuns the only people who have any livable land. He's also considerably more petty than in the original myth, and only invades Valhall when Loki convinces him Odin is about to find a way to return summer using his own magic, as Surtr can't stand the thought of the gods not being cold and miserable any more.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Loki gets a few in the first volume, Cry Wolf. He pleads with the Aesir to allow the Fenris wolf to roam free (note however that in that volume Fenris has the temperament of a loveable pooch who just happens to be oversized, even if being chained up is his Berserk Button.) Also near the end of the volume when he tells Røskva she can take Fenris out for walks as long as she isn't seen. Makes sense if you know that Fenris is Loki's son.
    • Vili and Ve are tremendous Jerkasses to everyone, not to mention horribly incompetent, but they do have a small moment of kindness towards Heimdall after they've essentially sacked him by moving the Gjallarhorn to Valhalla, effectively rendering both it and him useless. Seeing how upset he is at losing his job, they tell him to that he now has the new job of maintaining and guarding the horn in Valhalla.
  • Playing Both Sides: While he's Odin's blood brother, Loki is shown to still have a lot of friends in Jotunheim and frequently spends his time there drinking and partying with the jotuns. To his credit, he is shown at least once to be using it to gather information on the jotuns, though to his detriment it's implied he also has a tendency to get drunk and spill information on the gods to the jotuns.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Huginn and Muninn, Odin's ravens, are full-fledged Talking Animals who spend their appearances in roughly equal parts giving cryptic advice and making bad jokes. In The Movie, the "Cryptic advice" part is emphasized to the point where the other characters seldom understand what in the world the two ravens are even talking about.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Since there are so many versions of the legends, this becomes a necessity... but it's pulled off well, often paying homage to even the versions that turn out incompatible with the comic's continuity. Most importantly, the Jerkass tendencies of the gods are toned down (though by no means done away with altogether) in order to keep them from becoming too unsympathetic.
  • Produce Pelting: While the other gods are having fun throwing stones, spears and axes at the apparently invulnerable Balder, Frey throws an egg which does exactly what you'd expect.
    Balder: (wiping the egg yolk off his face, laughing) Heh... okay, I suppose you could say that eggs don't harm anyone, buuuut... I'd still appreciate if you wouldn't throw your produce at me, Frey.
    Frey: (sheepish) Errr... I've lent away my sword, and I just got carried away.
  • The Quiet One: Vidarr, one of Odin's bastard sons, makes a short appearance in Through Fire and Water. He only speaks the absolute minimum necessary to communicate (Loki claims it's because he's simple), but still manages to build up a rather friendly rapport with his half-brother Thor.
  • Really Gets Around: Freya certainly has this reputation, though it's probably exaggerated. Odin, on the other hand...
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sif delivers an epic one to the other gods about their treatment of women at the end of Thor's Wedding. Sadly, the only one who actually seems to listen to any degree at all is Thor, who after his stunt disguised as Freyja has just experienced first-hand how the jotunns treated their women.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: A side-effect of drinking the magic mead, though it goes away after a while.
  • The Rival: Thor's son Magni is introduced as one to Tjalfe in The Big Challenge. At the end of the album, they decide they make better friends than rivals.
  • Running Gag: One that runs through several albums is that of a crowing rooster getting hit by Thor's thrown hammer. See Cock-a-Doodle Dawn above.
  • Sadist: Surt. Not only he mistreats Fenrir, but he also casually mentions gratuitously brutal and savage pastimes, such as squashing children flat or feed his own servants to Fenrir.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • When Thrym decides to give 'Freya' Mjöllnir as a wedding gift during the ceremony, his sister and Hymir (who both know perfectly well who 'Freya' is and have been mistreated by Thrym into not wanting to tell him) quickly leave the room 'to get drinks for the party'. Both survive the ensuing melee.
    • When the Jotun hosts of Geirrod learns that Thor's there, they immediately leave at once, alongside Geirrod's own daughters (who were badly beaten by Thor himself).
  • Secret Test of Character: All of The Wall turns out to be this for Odin towards Tjalfe.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Both Thor, Sif and Loki display this in the Whole Episode Flashback album 10, Gifts for the Gods. All three of them are telling the children a story from their youth, and all three of them remember events slightly differently. Notably, Thor and Sif spend most of their story inverting this trope, showing their Love at First Sight (which was mutual) through portraying themselves as young and awkward and bumbling while the other is portrayed as a divine figure of perfection. Loki, on the other hand, plays the trope completely straight; in his version of the story he's always cool, witty and in perfect control of the situation — but Thor and Sif portray him as far more cowardly and bumbling.
  • Single-Minded Twins:
    • It's never said whether they actually are twins or not, but Odin's brothers, Vili and Ve, play this trope completely straight.
    • Same with the two dwarf brothers, Fjalar and Gjalar. Two other dwarf brothers, Eitri and Brokk, act like this in their first appearance in Cry Wolf, but not in their second appearance in Gifts for the Gods, where Brokk gets far more screen-time and attention.
  • Shout-Out: Several, often to myths that for reasons of characterization and continuity are not part of the comic.
    • Not sure if it was an intentional Shout-Out or not, but you can definitely see some traces of Marvel's Thor in Tjalfe's dream sequence in the ninth album, where Thor passes Mjölnir on to him and tells him that from now on he is to be the "new Thor." In this sequence, Tjalfe is wearing a winged helmet and a red cape (and of course he's already blonde and beardless), making the parallels noticeable.
    • In the second album, the band that plays at Thrym's wedding looks suspiciously like The Electric Mayhem.
    • When asked to come up with a way to capture Fenris in the first album, Loki exclaims "I've got a plan!", to which Heimdall timidly asks "Is it dangerous?" - similar to an oft repeated exchange between criminal mastermind Egon Olsen and his cowardly henchman Kjeld in the long-running Danish crime-comedy film series Olsen-banden.
    • In the fourteenth album, The Wall, Tjalfe while out on his "secret mission" meets up with an old shepherd (really Odin in disguise) who keeps referring to action movies into his dialogue:
      "Tell me, do you want to Die Hard? Or do you think you live twice?"
      "I see you're equipped with a Lethal Weapon... and a Licence to Kill."
      "Heh heh. "Mission: Impossible," it seems."
    • The album that has by far the most Shout-Out moments, though, is the third one, Odin's Wager:
    • Thor's Wedding shows the Jotunn Thrym enjoys swimming in his enormous pile of gold treasure, and has set aside his "number one coin".
  • Smart People Play Chess: Odin and Mimir play chess all the time. Mimir always wins.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Several characters who die in the original myths live in the comic.
    • Loki deserves special mention. In the original myths, after killing Balder and taunting the gods, he is bound and imprisoned in an underground cave with a snake dripping poison in his face, and does not get free until Ragnarok, when he leads the attack on Asgard and is killed by Heimdall. In the comic, where Loki is far less malicious, these things are all alluded to and given Shout Outs, but do not actually happen.
    • In the myths, Hoedir is killed by Vali after he kills Balder, but Vali has been Adapted Out, and whereas in the myth Balder's death had to be avenged even though it was clearly an accident, in the comic the gods don't even seem to think to blame Hoedir. Frigg even comforts him and assures him that it wasn't his fault.
    • Geirrod's two Jotunn daughters survive their encounter with Thor, ending up with just a creaky back and unable to walk unaided.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: Subverted in "Odin's Wager", when Thor tries to describe his encounter with a mysterious stranger. Loki asks "How many eyes did he have?", and it occurs to Thor that the stranger was, in fact, one-eyed, which means it was probably Odin (who has been missing for a while).
  • Symbol Swearing: Hrugnir, from the album The Big Challenge, can't string two sentences together without Symbol Swearing up a storm. Tjalfe, when drunk on the mead Hrugnir has forced him to consume, gets in on the act too.
  • Tagalong Kid: Røskva starts off as a pure example of this. Tjalfe, to a lesser degree. They both come into their own over the course of the stories.
  • Tempting Fate: In the last volume, Loki claims that as the Sole Survivor of Ragnarok he can call himself the only One God unopposed... then Christian friars appear and mention that they're moving in.
  • That Man Is Dead: Tyr is none too happy when he runs into his Jotun mother, who calls him by his old pet name "Snuske" (Cutie), to which he furiously, but ultimately futilely keeps insisting that he is definitely not that boy she is rambling about and that his name is and always has been Tyr.
  • Torso with a View: Thor inflicts this on a troll with Mjollnir in The Vala's Visions. The troll in question only notices, and falls over dead, after his brother points it out.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn: Thor's children, Thrud and Modi. When he first meets them at the end of the second album, they can't be more than a day old or so, but they look and act like they're several months old, being able to hold their heads up and pay attention to everything that's going on, even giggling when something's funny. Might be justified by the fact that they are gods — compared to what Hermes got up to when he was a newborn, this is nothing.
  • Transhuman Treachery: King Geirrod was a human, but years of debauchery and consorting with Jotuns, to the point that he had two Jotun daughters, caused him to become a Troll, as he turns to stone when he dies.
  • Traumatic Haircut: On two separate occasions, both of which bring notable plot developments. The straightest example (and the only one that's actually mentioned in the original myths) is Sif's haircut by Loki, but on a separate occasion Tyr also gets one after an argument with his hairdresser — it's played more humorously, but when his new short hair reveals that he has the ears of a jotunn and a scar on his forehead because he was the son of a jotunn who abused him as a child, it's suddenly not as funny anymore.
    • Subverted at one point with Tjalfe, who acts as if he's getting a Traumatic Haircut, but the only result is a slightly different hairstyle.
  • Truer to the Text: The comic, despite being a goofy portrayal of the Norse myths, actually stays faithful to them than what is seen in popular media depictions. The traditional good guys (Odin, Thor, Heimdall) are not too noble and have their foibles and flaws, while the traditional bad guys (Loki, Hela) are less evil more neutral. This is a Danish comic, so they understand their own folklore pretty well.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Part of the plot of Odin's Wager involves Odin's two decidedly less talented brothers taking over leadership of Asgard in his absence. A case of Adaptational Villainy, as in the story this idea came from Vili and Ve immediately handed Asgard back to Odin when he returned.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Skadi and Gerd, though Skadi's father Tiassi is extremely old and decrepit (he might have been much more handsome in his younger days) and Gerd's father Gymer is mostly seen in disguise or when dressed up for war and is not that bad-looking compared to most Jotuns.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Trolls and Jotunns have very poor hygiene and tend to be violent, misogynistic brutes. They even complain about Aesir's bathing customs, saying that they stink of soap. There are a few jotunns who like to stay clean, but this is treated as a serious flaw with them (and is often treated as a hint that they fit better in with the Aesir) — one of Tiassi's main complaints about his daughter Skadi is her "nasty habit" of bathing regularly. Gerd too likes being clean; at least she is introduced taking a bath and clearly enjoying it, though in her case her father is a lot more doting and seems willing to overlook this un-jotunnlike habit. It's revealed that Tyr as a kid was a Neat Freak who not only bathed but cleaned the house regularly. His jotunn parents were not pleased.
  • Undying Loyalty: Tjalfe whole-heartedly believes in Thor. His faith is strong enough to resurrect Thor from death at the hands of the Anthropomorphic Personification of old age.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Loki. Odin in Odin's Wager.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Loki, it being a Running Gag how often his big mouth (and tendency to go drinking in Jotunheim) gets the gods in trouble. The Story of Quark, The Golden Apples and The Ballad of Balder are all on Loki managing to escalate an already bad situation or bringing home trouble, and in The Vala's Visions he and Roskva manage to kick-start Ragnarok by making Surt invade Asgard, though Because Destiny Says So was probably going to make that inevitable anyway.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Thiassi forces the Aesir to share the ox they were cooking and devours all of it, Loki protests angrily, but Thiassi replies that after all, they're his oxen they were talking about.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tjalfe and Magni are both this towards Thor, despite only the latter being his actual son.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Both the tenth and eleventh album count as this, the former being Thor, Sif and Loki telling the kids about how Sif got her golden hair and Thor his hammer (this is also an example of Self-Serving Memory, as all three gods remember the events slightly differently), and the latter being Odin narrating a story from his younger days, in an over-the-top Film Noir detective parody.
    • There are many shorter flashback sequences in the comic as well, especially in the later albums.
  • Women Are Wiser: Frigg and Sif are definitively more grounded than their husbands. In Frigg's case this was pretty much her role in the original myths as well, and is carried over. Freya, though she may seem giggly and ditzy at times, repeatedly shows herself to be both wiser and more cunning than most other gods.