Cons: mentions religious reconstruction using archaeology but doesn’t give much information about what’s been discovered, drawings of some Viking artefacts rather than photographs
This is a great introduction to Norse mythology on the whole and an excellent one if you’re interested in Thor in particular. There’s a one page rundown of important characters and another with places. The source materials of the myths are briefly discussed, specifically the Poetic and Prose Edda, and during the retellings the author often pauses to explain cultural and situational material necessary for understanding what’s going on.
The stories themselves are quite entertaining, though while Thor’s exploits against the giants are referred to, there’s little description of those battles.
There are a good number of newly commissioned and older artworks illustrating the stories. I would have liked to see some photographs of archaeological finds rather than drawings though.
The author mentions that the sources are light when it comes to how the Norse gods were worshiped but that archaeology has started shedding light on this issue, but doesn’t mention any of the finds or what we’ve learned about their religious practices from them. The author does, however, mention information about religious practices that have survived in written form (eg. Tacitus).
The final chapter deals with how myths of Thor have been used in modern times, like how they were co-opted by the Nazi party when trying to create a sense of nationalism for Germany after World War I. It also goes into Thor’s portrayal in comics and movies.
If you don’t know much about Norse mythology or Thor, this is an excellent book to get you up to speed.