29

It's probably never really touched at all, but do we know how the Norse people knew so much about the Asgardians?

They know the names and exploits of dozens of Asgardians, their births, their relationships, their wars and ultimately Ragnarök.

At the very least, it seems like a massive breach in Asgardian security. Even with all this information, the Norse people would not really pose a threat to Asgard due to the vast technological superiority of the Asgardians, but still, any enemy of Asgard could grab a random Norse man or woman and learn pretty much everything there is to know about Odin, Thor and the rest of the lads.

How did they, and in turn we, learn so much detailed information about them?

I'm more than happy to accept an answer from any canon: comic, animated or MCU

  • 4
    Sure- they're ultimately pretty good folks who were delighted to find us at their side in their fight against first the Goa'uld and then later the Replicants. – Broklynite Oct 27 '15 at 10:37
  • 1
    @Broklynite replicators were so cool. I miss Stargate :( – Daft Oct 27 '15 at 10:53
  • Hey, you said any canon so it counts as an answer, right? You didn't say it had to be Marvel canon specifically ;) – Broklynite Oct 28 '15 at 19:37
39

In Thor, we hear an exchange between Thor and Fandral that includes the line;

This isn't like going to Earth, where you summon a little lightning and thunder and the mortals worship you as a god!

This would seem to imply that at some point in Earth's past, Asgardians (and maybe even Thor himself) visited Earth and used their extremely advanced technology to convince humans that they were gods, most likely telling tales of Asgard as well.

Additionally, Asgardian's do not take the duty of "Protector of the Nine Realms" lightly. In one of the early scenes of Thor we see Asgardians attempt to protect Earth from Frost Giants in 965AD, so we know for certain that there has been at least one major battle there.

A quote from the Agents of SHIELD season one episode "The Well" sums things up quite nicely;

Skye: You guys may think it's old news, but it's new... news to everybody else. So, Asgardians are aliens from another planet that visited us thousands years ago?
Phil Coulson: Or more.
Skye: And because we couldn't understand aliens, we thought they were gods?
Phil Coulson: That's where our Norse mythology comes from.

We also learn in that episode that there is at least one example of an Asgardian having been living on Earth as a human for centuries. He also could have been responsible for some of the knowledge that humans have of Asgard and the Asgardians - and we know for a fact that he is the source for at least one Norse legend in-universe.

I'm not sure about in the comics, but I would imagine that the same is true.

  • 1
    Very helpful, I never knew there were Asgardians living among us, that could definitely explain it. – Daft Jul 21 '15 at 13:40
  • @Daft Is there anything you think my answer is missing? If not, I would appreciate it if you would accept it, as you said you would be happy to accept answers from any canon, including the MCU. – Dr R Dizzle Aug 11 '15 at 11:00
  • I'm going to leave this open for a while longer in case anyone else has something to contribute. – Daft Aug 11 '15 at 12:26
10

On my side, I will write with respect to the comics. In particular, I base myself on Journey into Mystery #622 to #645 (the whole Kid Loki arc, from Fear Itself to Everything Burns) and the 2014-2015 Loki: Agent of Asgard (the current series that tell Loki's current adventures).

First, let us get that out of the way: the comic-book Marvel universe is not particularly consistent - I am sure there are authors that treat Asgardians simply as advanced aliens, as the MCU does.

However, there is another interpretation that is pretty prevalent in recent stories, that is summed up by Journey into Mystery as:

Gods do not have history. They have story.

That is, the gods of Asgard, of Otherworld, and of the Olympus are not simply extraterrestrial beings that live in another dimension, they are also made of stories. The examples of that are multiple:

  • In Journey into Mystery (Fear Itself), Loki weakens the Serpent by rewriting his story;
  • In Journey into Mystery #645, it is revealed that

Loki wrote Hela into existence, and made her exist an eternity before he did;

  • In Loki: Agent of Asgard, Loki carries his missions so that his previous crimes can be erased from Asgard's histories - the thinking being, his crimes being forgotten is the same thing as these crimes never having happened in the first place!

So, why is that whole explanation salient to the question? Because if Gods do not have history, but story, then in a real sense, gods exist only because of, or as part of, the stories that are told of them.

In other words, the stories told of the Asgardian gods by Norse people are not a product of the existence of the gods - the existence of the gods, and their stories, are one and the same.

If you argue that it does not make sense logically, I agree. But stories do not have to. (See also: magic)

3

As the Marvel Cinematic Wiki mentions, Asgardians were sent to Earth for "military missions".

The Asgardian that would come to be known as Elliot Randolph was a stone mason for thousands of years before being recruited for a military mission to Earth in the 12th century. Tired of his mundane existence in Asgard and desiring to travel the Realms, Randolph signed on.

"Randolph" came to earth in the 12th century, long after the Norse began worshiping the Asgardians (relative to real-life dates), but it stands to reason that missions like the one that Randolph abandoned were likely the occurrences where humans learned of their "deities".

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