What The Heck Was That In ‘Thor: The Dark World’?

“I’m-a just stand here all sexy for the ladies in the audience and beat the crap out of giants, ‘kay?”
Source: Paste Magazine

So, over the weekend, me and a dear friend saw Thor: The Dark World and it’s every bit as good as the previous installment (meaning as good as the original Thor; there’s no way it could compare to The Avengers).

However, there were several nods to various things that my friend needed explained. Then I realized that others may need a primer as well. As such, here is my SPOILER FILLED explanation of some of the events in Thor: The Dark World.

Why Aren’t The Dark Elves Dark Skinned?

“We were going to be the Immortals in ‘300’, but Frank Miller was being a dork.”
Source: Marvel Movies Wiki

This is a sad result of us – the audience – suffering from cultural colonization and misinterpretation of lore.

When most of those of a geeky persuasion hear the term ‘dark elf,’ we tend to think of the drow; a race of dark-skinned, subterranean elves made popular by Dungeons & Dragons. However, these dark elves have no connection to Norse mythology or even elves in general.

The drow we know, originally called trow, are actually hideous and mischievous fairy folk from Celtic folklore that have no connection to Norse mythology other than that they bear a strong resemblance to the trolls of Scandinavian legend.

Nordic dark elves, more accurately known as Dökkálfar, are the diametric opposites of the light elves or Ljósálfar. Because Celtic and Old Nordic cultures drew from one another, it’s likely the two stories were combined over generations.

Granted many Norse legends describe the Dökkálfar as “blacker than pitch,” but here, I feel they went with a more traditional elf appearance to draw greater attention to the primordial darkness that was their world before the universe as we know it manifested rather than a physically dark appearance.

Also, our big bad of the film Malekith does begin to look more like a traditional Dökkálfar later in the film as he draws closer to his evil goal (I won’t say how; have to keep the spoilers to a minimum) and making them pale white sets up our next topic.

What’s The Significance Of Thor Scorching Melekith’s Face?

“I’m gonna Harvey Dent the hell out of this film!”
Source: NerdyButFlirty.com

In a display of the utter badassery that he’s known for, one scene has Thor blasting a fleeing Melekith in the face with the lightning of Mjölnir permanently burning half of his face. Why is this a big deal?

Well, it draws a parallel with Hel, the Goddess of Death. In the original myth, Hel was the child of Loki who presided over Niflheim, the World of Darkness. Did you see what they did there?

There are many depictions of Hel’s appearance including half-human/half-blank or half-alive/half-dead, but most art depicts her as half-pale white/half-pitch black. So going with the most recognizable depiction makes the most sense from a storytelling standpoint.

Who Was That Weirdo In The Ending Stinger and What Is An ‘Infinity Stone’?

Surprisingly, this is NOT the illegitimate child of David Bowie.
Source: 10 Minutes from Hell

I’ll be honest; the man who inspired me to do this blog, MovieBob, did a whole episode of The Big Picture all about this particular weirdness and I encourage you all to watch it on the grounds that he explains it better than I ever could hope to. That said, I can help to try and fill in a few of the smaller gaps.

So, as he was introduced, the very eccentric acting fellow in the obligatory Marvel end credit stinger is Taneleer Tivan, The Collector. He is a member of a pantheon of characters known as the Elders of the Universe who comprise the oldest sentient beings in the universe and are essentially the Marvel Universe equivalent of gods. In Collector’s case, his life goal is to preserve the universe by collecting specimens of it.

So, what about these Infinity Stones that they mentioned? It’s almost certain that they meant the Infinity Gems, six powerful stones that grant different powers on their own, but when combined into the settings of the Infinity Gauntlet can make their wielder nigh unstoppable.

Only one villain in the Marvel Universe has completed the Infinity Gauntlet: Thanos, The Mad Titan. Who is he? Well, you met him in the stinger from The Avengers. He’s the big, purple guy with the evil smile. He wants to destroy most of the known universe as a tribute to the love of his life, the physical embodiment of Death. This makes that whole, “To challenge them is to court Death” line both amusing and terrifying.

So, judging from the events of the films and comics, it seems the Tesseract will serve as the blue Mind Gem granting access to the minds of others and enhancing mental powers and our new maguffin, the Aether, will stand in for the red Power Gem accessing all energy that has, does, and will ever exist. What’s more, The Collector seems to be helping Thanos gather the stones on the grounds that, with most of the universe gone, his specimens will become that much more valuable.

So, What About The Movie?

It’s great. I won’t say it was better than the first Thor like most critics, but it was certainly on par and made me care to see what else Marvel has in store for its cinematic universe. And don’t worry; even with the spoilers I mentioned, there are plenty of twists to shock you. Go see it now.

3 thoughts on “What The Heck Was That In ‘Thor: The Dark World’?

  1. I completely get how you would see how Malekith looks like Hel… But have you thought that they were referring to his appearance in the Marvel Comics? They mention in the comics how he is on the bridge of death, and it’s no hidden feature. He was nearly killed by something in the comics, but certainly not anything that Hel did. However, he was imprisoned in Niffleheim (I probably spelled it wrong) and rescued by other Dark Elves. Yes, most Dark Elves in the MCU are dark-skinned. But wouldn’t that cause such an economic drop? There would literally be riots outside of the premiere for having the entire race of enemies being black. They had to do something.

    • Obviously, they had to stay true to the comics, but the thing that I was trying to focus on was where those original design choices came from and how Marvel put their spin on Norse Mythology. I’m not saying that Malekith IS Hel, just that they look very similar and that’s most likely where his appearance got its inspiration from.

      Also, as much as I’d like to think we humans are smart enough to separate the color black (ie. obsidian) from the real live race of black people, you’re probably right about that and several someones would have taken offence. It’s kind of sad really.

      Thanks for your well informed reply!

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