Let’s keep speaking about the characters shown by the first trailer of Thor: The Dark World, second solo adventure of the God of Thunder. This time, under the spotlight there’s the Allfather himself, Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins. Odin is the rightful king of Asgard, father of the Aesir (the Norse gods), a powerful warrior and a wise ruler. In Thor, he’s been portrayed as an old and tired king looking for a heir in his two sons, the hot-headed Thor and the cunning Loki, only to understand that Asgard needs him a little longer, at least as long as his son is mature enough to take the throne’s responsibility upon himself. In the second movie, we’ll see an even older and weaker Odin facing Asgard’s most dangerous threat since the ancient times. But let’s see together who the mighty Odin is in the comics.
Odin Borson‘s true origins are shrouded in mystery, history fused with myth and legends. It appears that Odin was born the second son of Bor, one of the first Asgardians ever and ruler of Asgard itself, and Bestla, a mountain giantess. While his older brother, Cul, also known as the Serpent, was kept a secret in Odin’s tales, his younger ones, Vili and Ve, were remembered as the closest friends of his youth. Bor saw little Odin as the best heir to his throne, and taught him how to fight, how to rule, and how to defend his dreams. Odin was forbid, anyway, to have his own dreams: he had just to defend Bor’s dreams on him. When Odin tried to pursue his own vision of the future and created mankind, Bor went mad over his son, and, unable to undo what had been done, he created any kind of sickness, fears and sufferings for mankind. From that very moment, Odin’s relationship with his father became extremely cold and full of unspoken rage. When Odin accompanied Bor on the battlefield in a war against the Frost Giants, the two of them faught valiantly, and defeated their enemies; not satisfied with victory, Bor chased the enemies’ leader, who was actually present-day Loki in disguise; with a spell, Loki turned Bor into snow, and Odin, arrived just in time to see his father melt, refused to help him and to search a sorcerer to heal him from his condition, leaving what remained of Bor be scattered by the wind. Odin became the new king of Asgard, promising to himself he would have been much a wiser king than Bor was. Along with Vili and Ve, young Odin traveled to Muspelheim, the kingdom of Fire Demons, and battled the lord of that wasteland, the powerful Surtur, the first real enemy that was threatening Asgard after his coronation. During the battle, Vili and Ve were overwhelmed by the power of the Fire Demon, and were killed; upon their deaths, Odin inherited their powers and, having become an incredibly powerful Aesir, he defeated Surtur single-handedly. As the ruler of Asgard and the most powerful Aesir ever lived, Odin forged an alliance with Trolls, and entrusted the defeated Surtur to their prisons at the center of the Earth. Finally, Asgard didn’t have any powerful enemy in sight: with the Giants defeated and the other races turned allies, Odin could become the king he wanted to be.
Odin married the goddess Frigga and made her his queen, but his heart desired something else, a son that could have been a powerful king in both Asgard and Midgard (Earth), the world he created, someone who could unite in himself both worlds. For that aim, Odin conceived a son with Jord, the goddess known as Gaea, the very embodiment of Earth. She gave birth to Odin’s son in a cave the Allfather had created for the occasion, in Norway, and named him Thor. From that moment, Odin brought Thor to Asgard, where Frigga raised him as he was her own. Meanwhile, Odin was haunted by the spirit of his deceased father, Bor. Desperately willing to get rid of the ghost, Odin concluded an agreement: Bor would have rested in peace and left his son be, if Odin adopted the son of a defeated king and raised him as his own. In that very time, Asgard was attacked by the forces of Jotunheim, where the Frost Giants had allied with the Storm Giants and had come back to their ancient strength under the rule of Laufey. Odin led his people to war and personally won the decisive battle, slaying Laufey. In his enemy’s palace, he found Loki, the infant son of Laufey, and adopted him as his own. Bor’s spirit disappeared… but he wasn’t Bor at all: it was an illusion cast by adult Loki, who had come back in time to cause his adoption at the hands of Odin, thus causing his future downfall. Back on Asgard, Odin had a son from Frigga, Balder, another pretender to his throne, this time a full Asgardian. Many other battles Odin won as the king of Asgard: he fought the powerful Mangog, embodiment of the hatred of the victims of Asgard, Rimthursar the Cruel-Striker, the king of Trolls Kryllik and the mystical destroyer Millennius, and many other powerful foes. The hardest quest of all, anyway, would have been the rising of his rebel son Thor, whose earthly origins influenced his personality much more than Odin himself had foreseen.
Odin Borson is a fierce warrior and a wise ruler, capable of doing anything to defend Asgard and its inhabitants and ready to any sacrifice or task to fulfill his dreams of greatness for his people. As an Asgardian, he possesses superhuman physical attributes such as strength, speed, durability, stamina, reflexes and senses, but to much a greater extent of his kin. He’s a master combatant, expert of every form of combat both armed and unarmed, a master tactician and a powerful sorcerer. He can use the Odinforce, a mystical energy he bends to his will, and he can live for millennia cyclically falling into Odinsleep, a regenerative slumber that allows him to refuel his energies. His only eye can see everything everywhere, mostly through his pet crows’ eyes, and nothing in the Nine Realms escapes Odin’s surveillance. Implacable with enemies and severe with allies, Odin is one of the universe’s powers, a steadfast pillar for the balance of existence itself.