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In the Thor (2011), Odin said that whoever could lift Mjölnir can gain the power of Thor, by which I assume that he means the power over thunder. Yet in Thor: Ragnarok he goes on about how the hammer does not give him power but instead channels it. So, which of these four options are true:

  • Odin gave Thor his power and the hammer only channels it. And in the first movie he enchanted it to allow the wielder to take on Thor's power.

  • Odin said gain the power of Thor to look cool and actually doesn't mean it.

  • The hammer gives Thor additional power to his own. The additional power was what Odin referred to in Thor 1 when he said gain the power of Thor (I'll stop now).

  • None of the above explanations, in fact it's (specify).

  • 1
    Can’t it be both. – Paul D. Waite Jun 18 '18 at 17:38
  • Maybe it can, maybe it can't, you tell me. – yolo Jun 18 '18 at 18:09
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The two are not contradictory, but more of a contextual plot point for their individual movies.

Let's first ignore the specifics of "What is the power of Thor". We may assume it comes with increased strength/durability, power over lightning etc., but the details don't really matter in this context.

Thor (2011)

In this movie, Thor does something un-worthy. Odin is banishing Thor to Midgard, after first stripping away his powers. This is meant as a lesson, and the hammer is sort of a conduit for that lesson. Odin literally removes Thor's armour, his powers, and then casts him out.

He then whispers into the hammer

Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.

The inscription appears on the hammer at this time.

In the context of this movie, Thor initially had the power of Thor. The power of Thor was removed from him. Thor on Earth doesn't have some of the basic benefits we tend to see with Thor in general, he's more easily restrained by normal humans, more susceptible to normal injury, etc.

A spell was cast on the hammer, to make it so that the person who wields the hammer, if they are worthy, will gain the power of Thor. In the context of the person Thor, this is more accurately re-gaining the amount of power that was stripped from him earlier. Given the preachy nature of Odin in general, it seems somewhat clear that the only person expected to pick up Mjolnir is Thor himself.

It's more of a one-time transaction where the hammer fuels the enchantment, but is more of a temporary storage of power rather than a constant source of power. Once the power is given back to Thor, by virtue of worthiness, the wielder of the power of Thor is the person Thor, not the hammer Mjolnir. The effect of that enchantment ends here.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor loses his hammer. He had a special and intimate relationship with that hammer. He feels powerless without it. He needs to learn that he is the God of Thunder, not the God of Hammers. His power isn't limited to what he can pull off with the hammer.

This is an independent lesson, not particularly connected to the lesson in Thor (2011). Although one could argue that the lesson in Thor (2011) could easily have given both Thor, and the viewer, the impression that the hammer was the source of the power.


I'll come back to this answer with video clips etc. as supporting evidence - am at work now on a break so not an option.

  • 1
    Dont all asyardians have increased strength – yolo Jun 19 '18 at 6:20
  • @yolo Yes, compared to humans. Recall how many doctors it took to hold Thor down before he was tranquilized in the hospital in Thor (2011), and how many SHIELD agents he fought off when trying to reclaim Mjolnir. In both of these examples he did not possess his God of Thunder powers at the time. – DaniellYancey Jun 19 '18 at 20:03
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Admittedly, it is fairly ambiguous what the benefits of "being worthy" are. In Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Thor says that if any of them (the other Avengers in the room) could lift Mjolnir, they would become the ruler of Asgard. And in the original Thor movie, as soon as Thor becomes worthy (after preparing to sacrifice himself to save his friends on Earth), the hammer flies to him and all of his powers are restored. This implies that there was nobody else on Earth worthy enough to wield the power of Thor at the time of Thor's exile. However, we see the Vision wield Thor's hammer (we're assuming he's worthy, and that he's not able to do this because of any other reasons), yet he does not instantly gain the power of thunder and a cool suit of armor like Thor did in the original Thor movie, nor does he become ruler of Asgard, like Thor implied any wielder of the hammer would.

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that Mjolnir is Thor, the God of Thunder's, hammer. At least 3 (Odin, Vision, Hela)(possibly 4: Cap) characters other than Thor have the ability to lift the hammer, but none of them have gained Thor's powers from it. Even though we see in Thor: Ragnarok that Hela wielded it before Thor, Odin gave the hammer to Thor after Hela's fall. Thus, we can assume that the hammer's enchantment is largely focused on channeling the powers that the wielder already has, and the hammer itself carries no powers other than those granted by being forged for a king in the heart of a dying star, yada yada yada... Perhaps, since the hammer was made for Asgardians, it can only be used in combination with powers from Asgard. For example, Thor, the God of Thunder, can focus his thunder powers through it, and Hela probably focused whatever death powers she already possessed through it. But both Thor and Hela can use their powers without the hammer. It doesn't provide any of its own. Thor can't shoot swords from his hands, and Hela can't summon lightning from the sky.

This argument is supported by the entirety of Thor: Ragnarok, where the hammer is destroyed fairly early in the movie, yet Thor still is able to use his powers. Odin explains that Thor could possibly (incorrectly) have been using the hammer as if it was carrying the power, but in reality, it was meant to be a means for Thor to channel the power he already possessed.

That hammer was to help you control your power, to focus it. It was never your source of strength.

In short, Thor is the only God of Thunder. The fact that other's have lifted the hammer, but been unable to use it as more than just a hammer, shows that the true power (thunder and such) comes only from Thor, or possibly whatever Asgardian is currently meant to wield it.

  • So are you saying it is option then. And... there was nothing to say that they couldn't control thunder, only that they didn't. And at each time, Thor was already worthy... – yolo Jun 18 '18 at 18:12
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    You make one assumption that is demonstrably not correct: the hammer was not made specifically for Thor. As we see in Ragnarok, Hela wielded it long before Thor did. The enchantment was an addition made by Odin in the first movie. – Irishpanda Jun 18 '18 at 18:17
  • @yolo Yes, I think option one is the most likely. And I think the fact that Thor could use his powers even without the hammer is evidence enough that nobody else could use those powers, even with the hammer. Ultimately, there is only one Thor: god of thunder. – jared.nesbit Jun 18 '18 at 18:18
  • @Irishpanda Good observation. I had not remembered that mural, but you are correct. I don't see any evidence that Hela was using any powers of Thor while wielding it, though. Perhaps Odin re-assigned it to be specifically for Thor after Hela's fall? – jared.nesbit Jun 18 '18 at 18:21
  • Some quotes to support your statements would be nice... – Rebel-Scum Jun 18 '18 at 18:22
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Neither. It restrains Thor's innate abilities. Odin told Thor the Thor was more powerful than Odin himself. This occurred in film just before Thor faces down his insane sister. The fact that Odin was 'dead' when this converse happened doesn't seem to matter.

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