Harbarth spake:Really Odin? Really, you just said you could have used Thor's help to hold the woman down? My friend, do you not remember Superpower numbers 16 and 17?! You can win the affection of any woman with runic magic! You don't need force! The fact that Thor is ALL OVER THAT makes me laugh, too. This is an exchange where you really feel like these are just two guys
30. "Eastward I was, | and spake with a certain one,
I played with the linen-white maid, | and met her by stealth;
I gladdened the gold-decked one, | and she granted me joy."
31. "Full fair was thy woman-finding."
32. "Thy help did I need then, Thor, | to hold the white maid fast."
33. "Gladly, had I been there, | my help to thee had been given."
Odin: Yeah, I went out to Easttown and hooked up with this chick -- she was really wild in bed, man. It was crazy.
Thor: You let me know next time you hook up, I'll totally pick up the slack if she's too much for you to handle. Har Har.But of course the camaraderie can't last. This is a flyting poem! And now things start getting downright mean:
Harbarth spake:If Odin is testing Thor's character (he's already accused him of taking bribes to look the other way against the Aesir, told him his mother is dead, accused him of cowardice in the face of his enemies, and now this suggestion of his wife's infidelity**), he's hitting all the major notes. And in Thor's response we can see his loyalty to those he loves. But he does sound kind of distressed, if you ask me:
48. "Sif has a lover at home, | and him shouldst thou meet;
More fitting it were | on him to put forth thy strength."
49. "Thy tongue still makes thee say | what seems most ill to me,In the end, Odin refuses Thor passage across the water and Thor has to find the long way home with only Odin's insults and accusations for company. I have to wonder though -- if Thor had held his temper and given back as good as he got, would Odin have revealed himself and given Thor a lift?
Thou witless man! Thou liest, I ween."
More than ever, I think this was a test. And more than ever, I think Thor failed. Not only that, but this whole poem only reinforces my thoughts about Loki and Thor's relationship. I wonder how much Thor lived in Baldur's shadow -- sure he was powerful, and sure the PEOPLE loved him, but I'm not sure we see that love and support for Thor inside the Aesir family dynamic.
Related: Thor vs. Odin (I)
*If you're wondering, I am in fact reading this poem for the first time, and these blogposts are essentially my "real time" responses to the text. Most entertaining Norse Myth ever, you guys.
**Loki, in the Lokasenna, claims that Sif took him to bed as her lover, also. Someday I'm going to have to revisit the character of Sif blogpost I wrote a while back to take this additional source into account. There are also two mentions of Thjalfi in this poem, where he's running around with Thor on various adventures for future blogpost fun!