|Those shorts. Really?! oofda!|
Let's face it, a thunder god being pulled in a goat drawn chariot is a pretty ludicrous idea. It's laughable. There isn't anything godly or noble about it. I wanted Thor to be treated seriously, not comically, and how do you introduce magic goats in a serious manner? Believe me, it's not easy. Especially not when it made me giggle just to think about it.
But the more I wrote, and the more involved in Thor's character I got, the more I realized Thor needed to have his goats. It didn't matter how funny I thought it was, or how ridiculous it seemed, these goats are part of Thor's character.
Tanngrisni and Tanngnost are Thor's companions, pulling his chariot, and perhaps even cooler, providing him with sustenance while he roadtrips. Tanngrisni and Tanngnost can be eaten, and as long as the bones are kept whole, they will respawn alive and well again the next day (with a little hammer waving) to continue the journey.
The goats are one of the things that make Thor unique and understandable as a god. Thor associates, not with some more noble horse, fabulous cat, feral wolf, creepy raven, or golden boar, but with the same animals that the Vikings and Norsemen depended on for a living-- the regular livestock. The ignoble goat. The goats were one more part of what made Thor approachable, one more point to reinforce the fact that he was The Everyman's God.
And why shouldn't Thor associate with the farmer's livestock, and the everyman, when the farmer is so dependent upon Thor, as a weather god, for rain in drought and sun in flood? Sure, Thor was big and tough in a fight, and lightning and thunder are pretty terrifying aspects, but the goats remind us that he is also something else. He is the friend who keeps the crops alive, as reliable as an animal that gave the vikings milk and cheese and meat. Of course, you don't necessarily want to make your goat mad at you, either...
If you're interested, there are quite a few animals mentioned in Norse mythology. Odin has Sleipnir the eight-legged horse (and child of Loki). Freyja has a boar named Hildisvíni, and her chariot is drawn by cats--which still strikes me as more frightening than goats. And Freyr rides another boar named Gullinbursti, with golden bristles, who is a product of dwarven craftsmanship. Oddly, Freyja's cats are not, to my knowledge, named, though most of the other companion/familiars/livestock of the gods tend to be. Odin's ravens are named, Huginn and Muninn, and even Freyja's necklace has a name.
And as for Thor and his goats-- I'll never try to keep them from him again.