“Whoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy…”

Posted: April 24, 2015 in In Actuality
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Image taken from marvel.com

For years, comic book fans have argued and counter-argued about statistics and feats their favorite heroes and villains have been, and are currently, capable of. Case in point, Thor’s mystical hammer Mjolnir. There’s been a number of misconceptions, thanks to movies and misguided attempts at describing the hammer in a real life sense, that have led fans into believing that, among other things, anyone superhumanly strong can lift the hammer and that the hammer is unbelievably heavy (thereby requiring the superhuman strength).

Truth is though, neither of those things are the case. In this first “In Actuality” post, let’s take a look at exactly what it takes to wield the hammer of Thor, the god of thunder.

You Have to be Strong?

No way. Many people of varying strength levels have lifted Thor’s hammer before, and I’m sure even more lower strength level people will lift it in the future.

In actuality, the hammer carries an enchantment on it by Thor’s father Odin, which is stated as:

Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of … Thor.

The misconception stems from the “heavy” myth (discussed below) and scenes like this one from Ultimate Avengers, where Hulk is able to lift the hammer after a slight period of intense struggling. While admittedly a cool scene, it makes no sense, due to Bruce Banner’s alternate form not actually being considered worthy after the beliefs and numerous actions against humanity the Hulk has undergone.

This is partially referenced in the animated film, as seen with Hulk struggling to pick up the weapon. But with the way the scene plays out, it actually looks like the writers of the film thought –

It’s Too Heavy!

Image taken from news.ncsu.edu

Not true. In fact, the hammer actually only weighs 42.5 pounds. No, seriously. Mjolnir’s true weight can actually be seen on the back of a trading card from the 1990s.

This misconception about Thor’s mystical hammer weighing too much comes from modern day sources like Death Battle and Neil deGrasse Tyson, both of which describe Mjolnir as weighing over 1 billion tons.

Even without the proper evidence, we can see that this isn’t true. How could characters like Captain America or Black Widow (both of whom have been shown to pick up the hammer in the comics when necessary) even remotely move Mjolnir if it weighed that much? Should you want a modern visual, feel free to use this clip from the Age of Ultron movie, which is clearly taking reference from the hammer’s proper enchantment background, rather than the incorrect “it’s too heavy” point of view.

Thor v Celestial

Celestial example #1

Funny enough, both of these sources also make the same error in creating their calculations. Thor’s hammer was never forged from a dying star (or neutron star matter), as many misquotes would have you believe. Actually, the hammer was forged in a dying star, killing the dinosaurs on Earth in the process, as seen in issue #80 of Thor vol 2.

The hammer is actually made up of a fictional metal called ‘Uru’, which, despite being lighter than aluminum, can crack open Celestial armor (for your consideration, this is something so tough it withstood all of the forces of Asgard without a scratch).

Speaking of tough, I actually found an interview with Suveen Mathaudhu, a NC State professor and a fellow comic book enthusiast. Along with the above “lighter than aluminum” calculation, he also presented a theory about the Uru metal being something along the lines of “metallic hydrogen”, giving the material both great power and a super light weight. You can read more of Mathaudhu’s thoughts here.

Thor v Celestial 2

Celestial example #2 (same issue as before)

All in all, it takes more than being really strong to lift the hammer of Thor. But what did you think? Was this an eye opener? Or did you know most of this off the top of your head already? Don’t forget to leave a comment below, follow me on Twitter, and also check out the Comic Books vs The World Youtube channel.


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