Although Thor journey to Utgard-Loki was among the most famous Norse tales, it confused the readers in some aspects. It told the journey of Thor Norse god of thunder and storm to the land of Jotunheim. No specific reasons why he travelled there were mentioned which made us wonder a lot because Thor hated Jotun (the giant) the most. During Thor journey to Utgard-Loki, we learn some new lessons for example, the woman that could defeat Thor was an old woman.
Thor Journey to Utgard-Loki with Loki
First thing, the “Utgard-Loki” was the Loki of Utgard that had nothing to do with Loki the Mischievous.
On one day, Thor and Loki embarked on their journey to the land of Jotunheim. They rode the goat-pulled chariot of Thor and when they crossed Midgard, they stayed in a house of Midgardman for one night. There, Thor killed his goats for meal and he told the Midgardmen not to do anything with the bones of the goats. Because he would resurrect his goats back to life the day after to carry on his journey.
But the children of the Midgardmen broke one bone apart and finished all the marrow inside.
The day after, Thor woke up to resurrect his goats back to life. And yes, they did spring back to life with the magic from Mjolnir hammer. But one of them couldn’t walk properly because of a lame leg. Thor shivered with anger and nearly smashed the Midgard family members if the father hadn’t offered Thor his children as Thor’s servants. Norse god of thunder and storm accepted his apology and took two children with his journey.
Thor meeting Skrymir whom Mjolnir hammer couldn’t kill
Two children of the Midgardman were Thjalfi and Roskva. Thjalfi was a fast runner so he decided that he would go ahead to find lodgings. But they could find no lodge ahead. And when the night was falling, they came into a hall from which all of them smelt a rat. Yet, they got no choice and stayed there for one night. But an earthquake woke them up in the middle of the night. Thor who was angry came outside to guard.
In the morning, Thor grabbed his Mjolnir hammer to find out what caused the constant earthquake and terrible sounds. Inside the hall, he found a giant who was snoring as if that was the last chance he could snore. When Thor was about to wield Mjolnir hammer, the giant woke up. Four eyes met and the giant quickly introduced himself Skrymir. Somehow the five figures started travelling together. They ate separate breakfasts. After that, Skrymir offered to share the provisions and he would carry it inside his bag so that the gods didn’t have to bring it.
Mjolnir hammer failed to kill Skrymir
They went on until the dusk broke on the sky. Skrymir found an oak tree and fell asleep right away but he gave the gods the pack of food to get over hunger. However, none of them could untie the straps in the pack. Thor’s anger reached the max level when he realized that Skrymir didn’t want them to take the food. Thor took the Mjolnir hammer and struck it right in the head of Skrymir. The giant woke up and asked the gods if a leaf just fell on his head.
Thor could no longer spare any thought on the food because his head was filled with anxiety and doubts. That was the first time that his Mjolnir hammer failed.
Thor attempted to kill the giant two more times. The second time was in the middle of the night, Thor wielded his hammer and hit the head of the giant only to wake him up asking “Did an acorn just fall on my head?”. The last time was “Did a bird drop something on my head?”. That was when the dawn broke on the sky, so the team had to wake up to continue their journey.
Skrymir told them that the Kingdom of Utgard-Loki was near, to the east of them. And Skrymir had to go north so the team had to part now. Unlike the previous Skrymir, this morning Skrymir turned out to be a rude guy when telling Thor to turn back home or to keep their mouths shut when meeting Utgard-Loki. Thor seething with anger because of the insult couldn’t do nothing to sooth his feeling.
Meeting Utgard-Loki in Jotunheim
Quickly the group of Thor came to the stronghold of Utgard-Loki. The gates were so high and enormous that the gods almost broke their neck to see what was inside. Although the gates were locked, the gods managed to get through. After all, Loki was there, what trick on Earth that he couldn’t think of to help them get in?
Four of them walked toward the King, Utgard-Loki while the giants sitting along looked at them in a curious way. Utgard-Loki greeted them and said that he knew that the man standing in the middle of the Hall was Thor the Charioteer. He wondered what was the skills of these guests because his kingdom wouldn’t allow anyone without skills to stay in.
Loki stepped forward and proudly declared “No one could eat faster than me”. Then the King called Logi the Giant to step out and take the eating competition with Loki. There was a table full of meat with Loki at one end and Logi at the other. The contest began and the two energetically attempted to empty the table. Loki was fast, no doubt. But Logi was much faster. When Loki had finished the meat, Logi finished the meat, bones, and the trencher as well. Undoubtedly, Logi was the winner.
Utgard-Loki turned to Thjalfi and asked what was his skill. The Midgard son said that he could run very fast. And Utgard-Loki ordered Hugi the giant to take the running contest with Thjalfi. They took up four laps and Hugi beat Thjalfi in all laps. Of course, Hugi declared himself as the winner.
Thor and the challenges
The greatest part of the story was about Thor and his challenges. Utgard-Loki turned to Thor and asked him what skills he could demonstrate and that he had been hearing about Thor’s exploits which made him want to observe Thor’s skills.
Ignoring the insult, Thor claimed he was the strongest man when it came to drinking. Immediately, a drinking horn was placed in the hand of Thor and Utgard-Loki demanded him to finish the horn. Utgard-Loki said that a good drinker would finish it with one drink, some might take two, but the worst would take three. Unexpectedly, Thor couldn’t finish it with one shot. He tried again but failed and again but failed. Three times and the horn just dropped a little bit.
Thor gave up and gave the drinking horn to Utgard-Loki that made him lose this fight. The second challenge for Thor was to lift the cat in the middle of the hall. Thor who was famous for his physical strength was pretty confident with this. He stepped toward the cat and lifted her up with both hand. But Thor only managed to lift the belly of the cat up when its four feet stayed on the floor. Thor failed again. Utgard-Loki laughed so hard saying that Thor had been surrounded by the boasts only.
Thor was frustrated this time but he quickly calmed himself. He asked Utgard-Loki to send someone out to do a wrestling battle with him. “Ok, that sounds great” must be the reply of Utgard-Loki then he ordered a woman named Elli to do the wrestling contest with Thor. Was this a way that Utgard-Loki tried to insult Thor?
This time, Thor lost to the hand of the old woman Elli. “Enough” shouted Utgard-Loki. The contest was done and Thor and his companions lost all of the challenges. Although Thor’s team failed to prove themselves, Utgard-Loki allowed them to stay in the hall for one night. The king treated them well with good accommodation and great food.
Farewell and Nice to have met you!
Thor journey to Utgard-Loki land finally came to and end when the dawn broke on the sky. They were the first to wake up and about to leave when Utgard-Loki finally turned up showing them his courtesy and guided them to the gates. When the game was over and they were about to say “see you around”, Utgard-Loki told them the truth.
The giant Skrymir inside the forest was actually Utgard-Loki. He used the wires to fasten the food package. Three times that Thor hit the giant in the head was three times he hit the mountains. Loki ate very fast but Logi was faster as Logi (“Logi” meant “fire”) was the embodiment of wild fire. During the contest, Logi burned the meal, not eating. When Thjalfi ran against Hugi he ran against thought. Because “Hugi” meant “thought” and who could outpace the speed of thought?
Then regarding the drinking horn of Thor, the horn was connected with the ocean. Three times Thor tried to empty the horn, he finished half of the ocean water. The giants had worried that Thor would finish the whole ocean water. The cat that he tried to lift up was actually Jormungand his sworn enemy in the prophecy. And Utgard-Loki admitted that he was astonished because Thor could withstand Elli so long. Elli was actually the embodiment of old age as her name meant. And no one could win old age in the end.
There, Thor shivered with anger and he was about to wield his hammer against Utgard-Loki. But the King quickly vanished into thin air and nowhere to be found. There Thor Journey to Utgard-Loki land came to an end.