- “Who are you? Thor, god of Hammers?”
- ―Odin to Thor
Odin Borson is the father of Thor, Loki, and Hela, and is the warrior-king of Asgard in Marvel Comics. He is based on the chief God in Norse mythology of the same name. A powerful but peaceful leader, Odin is the Allfather of all Asgard who is dedicated to preserving peace between the Nine Realms of Yggdrasil.
This version of the mythological Odin was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Odin is a member of the Asgardian race, once looked upon by people of Northern Europe as Gods, and is the ruler of Asgard. At one time he led a force of Asgardians against the jotuns in defense of people on Earth. The Asgardians beat the jotuns back to their home realm of Jotunheim where Odin granted them mercy and offered them a truce. In the process, he also confiscated the Casket of Ancient Winters that gave them much of their power and rescued a baby jotun who had been abandoned in the conflict. The infant Loki grew up as a brother to Odin's real son Thor, and Odin kept the boy's heritage a secret in the hope that he would one day come to end the enmity between the two races.
Odin is the all-powerful ruler of Asgard. As such, he is wise, honorable, and dedicated to keeping the peace between the Nine Realms. He believes in responsibility (in terms of being careful and responsible for your actions), duty (in terms of the protection and keeping of peace between the Nine Realms) and honor (always being a man of your word). However, when angered and/or upset, he can be very stern and/or borderline ruthless, such as when he stripped Thor of his powers and exiled him to Earth. However, Odin had only done this because it was necessary for Thor to learn how to be a good ruler. As Frigga stated, "everything he does, he does with a purpose." After Thor recalimed his powers and returned to Asgard, Odin expressed pride in his son and his belief that he will be a wise king.
However, Odin still has a sense of pride that borders along arrogance, as he refers to Midgardians (humans) as "mortals" as though he and his Asgardian subjects actually were gods when they are not. His pride was such that he nearly had Jane Foster removed from Asgard when Thor brought her to undergo a medical examination and compared her presence and treatment to that of a goat (the only reason he changed his mind was after the Aether manifested itself when they tried to forcibly remove her). He is a hypocrite, in that he rescued Loki as a child in the hopes of brokering a peace with the Frost Giants, but soon decided that this plan was meaningless. His hypocrisy is the fact that he led Loki, throughout the latter's life, to believe that Frost Giants were ruthless and brutal monsters - he was secretly scorning Loki's true heritage.
As is the case with all Asgardians, he possesses superhuman physical attributes, such as strength, speed, stamina, reflexes and extreme skill with a weapon. His weapon of choice is the equally powerful Gungnir, which allows its wielder to emit powerful energy blasts and blinding light. It also enables the wielder to have full control over the Destroyer.
Powers and abilities
As King of Asgard, Odin is extremely powerful, having the ability to take away Thor's power and to put a spell on Mjolnir to enable the one who is worthy of it to wield it and possess the power of Thor. Odin is by far the most powerful being yet revealed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seemingly far more powerful than either Thor, Loki, or any other superhero or supervillain. Odin possesses all the conventional attributes of an Asgardian. However, as the King of the Asgardians, many of these attributes are significantly superior to those possessed by the majority of his race (with the exceptions of Thor, Heimdall and Loki).
- Superhuman Strength: In spite of his advanced age, Odin possesses superhuman strength surpassing that of most Asgardians. Odin is capable of lifting over 100 tons. He was able to lift a Frost Giant over his head with his spear and throw him a good distance. He was able to catch Thor by his leg while Thor was using the spear to hold on to Loki, essentially hold them both.
- Superhuman Agility: Odin's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are far superior to the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Odin's reflexes are superior to the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete, to a much greater extent than one would think.
- Superhuman Stamina: Odin's musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a human, and most other Asgardians. As a result, he possesses superhuman stamina in all physical activities. He can exert himself at peak capacity for years before fatigue would begin to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability: Odin's body is considerably more resistant to physical injury than the body of a human being or even most other Asgardians for that matter (with the exceptions of Thor, Loki and Heimdall). Odin's body is capable of withstanding great impact forces, exposure to temperature and pressure extremes, falls from great heights, and powerful energy blasts from cosmic level beings without sustaining injury; however, to what extent is unknown.
- Extended Longevity: Odin, like all Asgardians, is extremely long-lived, maybe even immortal as some other god pantheons. Nonetheless, Odin still ages at a pace much slower than human beings. He is also immune to all known Earthly diseases and infections. From his looks from the beginning of the movie, he may very be anywhere from 1,500 to almost 3,000 years old or quite possibly older.
- Odinforce: Odin is capable of manipulating vast amounts of magical energy, referred to as the Odin Power, or the Odin Force, for a number of purposes. With this power, Odin is capable of feats such as reading minds from across even dimensions (as he was about to crown Thor king before he notices that Frost Giants were in his trophy room), projecting force blasts (mainly through either Gungnir or Mjolnir; it is unknown if he is physically capable of doing so without any of these items and even so, with his spear, he was able to destroy hordes of Frost Giants), and more. Odin is highly skilled in the use of his powers during combat situations, and was able to casually take down and kill Frost Giants with ease during the war. Odin's full power is thus considered at the least equal to that most every other "deity of Earth" (if they exist, which could be more than likely). Odin is also capable of placing multiple permanent enchantments on items, as he did for Mjolnir when he exiled Thor to Earth. He had to tapped into some form of dark energy to send Thor to Earth to stop Loki, although, it seems to frowned upon to used.
- Master Combatant: Odin is a master hand-to-hand combatant and close quarters fighter. In battles against opponents of similar power, Odin carries the magical spear Gungnir ("The Spear of Heaven"), an artifact made of the metal uru, that can be used to channel the Odin Force. Even without the Odinforce it can still match Thor's hammer in battle.
- Master Tactician: His thousands of years of experience resulted in him becoming a master tactician. He has led the Armies of Asgard into battle for countless years in wars over all the Nine Realms.
While possessing the Odinforce that is inherently opposed to the need for outward sustenance, Odin must, once a year, during the Asgardian winter, undertake the Odinsleep for 24 hours to regenerate. During this time Odin is guarded closely as he is vulnerable. Despite his limitations and weaknesses, such as the need for the Odinsleep annually, Odin is nonetheless the most powerful being in the Nine Realms.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Centuries after the Asgardian/Jotunheim war, Odin held a ceremony to name Thor as his heir but the event was interrupted by several jotuns breaking into Odin's vault. He activated The Destroyer in defense of the vault, thus ending the threat of the jotuns reclaiming their artifact but opted not to press the matter any further. Thor insisted that he launch an attack on Jotunheim but Odin rejected the idea, preferring instead to preserve the shaky truce. Thor then defied his father's will and launched a small-scale attack of his own. Upon learning of Thor's defiance, Odin went to Jotunheim himself and drew his sons and their friends back to Asgard. Thor had foolishly reignited the war with the jotuns and, for his transgression, Odin banished him to Earth.
Loki had discovered the truth of his long-concealed ancestry during the fight on Jotunheim and confronted Odin with the discovery. Odin could only relate a historical account of how he had found and rescued Loki before lapsing into his restorative "Odinsleep." With Odin incapacitated and Thor exiled, Loki seized the throne of Asgard for himself. He manipulated the others around him as Odin slept, even going so far as to arrange Odin's assassination at the hands of the jotuns, but when Laufey, King of the Frost Giants was about to kill Odin, Loki revealed his true plan of double-crossing and killed Laufey to make his father proud of him.
Odin finally awoke after Thor had secured a return to Asgard with an act of self-sacrifice and had defeated Loki. He raced to witness Thor grabbing hold of Loki's spear as Loki fell into an endless void and in turn grabbed Thor to prevent both of his sons from falling. Loki, dangling from the spear, looked up and appealed to Odin that he did what he did to make Odin proud of him, as he felt unloved. Odin quietly rejected this with a sad smile, and then watched with sadness when Loki released the spear and fell in to a vortex of time and space.
Some time later, Odin was approached by a sullen Thor. They both had suffered losses, and Thor had come to make an admission that he had been wrong and hoped that one day he would make his father proud. Odin, understanding the personal sacrifices that Thor had made for the good of three races, told Thor that he had made him proud.
Thor: The Dark World
- “Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing, they're wrong, there was darkness and it has survived!”
Odin is King of Asgard, Protector of the Nine Realms, and father to Thor and Loki. Odin’s long reign is coming to an end, however, and while disappointed with Thor’s arrogance at first, he now sees that Thor is ready for the throne. But when an ancient enemy returns, Odin questions Thor’s allegiances…for if Thor is to be king, he must choose duty over his heart’s desires.
Odin sends the guards to bring Loki to see if he sorry for what he did for everything that caused on Earth, Loki is not repented and returned to his prison. Later, Thor returns from Vanaheim, Odin has a talk with his son about the future of the kingdom. During the attack of the dark elves to Asgard, the Queen of Asgard dies, then Odin plans his revenge which would cause the end of Asgard.
Heimdall calls to inform a treason, his treason (Thor's plan) which helps Thor and Loki go to Svartalfheim. Loki disguised as Einherjar returns from Svartalfheim to inform his death. Afterwards, Loki kidnaps Odin and sends him to Earth, allowing him to assume Odin's appearance and rule Asgard under the guise of the All-Father.
A flashback revealed that Odin had sealed away Hela when she became dangerous. Back in the present, Thor and Loki find Odin in Norway where he reveals that he is dying and that his death will free Hela. Odin then passes, which enables Hela to free herself and invade Asgard. His spirit appears later in Thor's visions. In these instances he gives advice to Thor to help him unlock his true abilities, and also informs Thor that Asgard is not a location but lives through its people. His father's guidance helps Thor understand Ragnarok as the way to defeat Hela and save Asgard's people.
- In the comics, Odin has several more sons, such as classic Thor supporting characters Tyr and Balder.
- Balder was originally in several drafts for Thor but was cut for time.
- Tyr appears in Thor: The Dark World portrayed by Clive Russell, but is in no relation to the Royal family.
- In the comics, Odin is the son of Bor and the grandson of Buri, the first Asgardian. Thor: The Dark World Prelude confirms that this is still the case in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Odin's portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is far wiser, nicer and reasonable than his aggressive, abrasive, and arrogant depiction in the comics.