All Beliefs are Welcome Here!
I remember back when the Harry Potter books and movies first became insanely popular a lot of people said they sparked public interest in modern magic/witchcraft. Some conservative Christians complained about Harry Potter leading impressionable children away from God, yadda yadda, while the pagans complained about the influx of naive insta-witches in the community. While I can't say that I personally know anyone who discovered paganism or witchcraft because of Harry Potter, I do know some who did because of fantasy novels, myself included.
About a year ago I saw the movie Thor because I am a fan of Norse mythology and read runes. I was pleasantly surprised by the film, and though Marvel canon differs in several major ways from the original myths I felt they got more right then they did wrong. While waiting for The Avengers to come out (so I could squee in fangirl joy over Thor and Loki some more) I caught up on the other Marvel movies and read some of the comics, so by the time it was out I was frothing at the mouth with the other nerds.
Obviously The Avengers have been a huge international hit, though it isn't quite the phenomenon Harry Potter was at it's height. Still, I can't help but wonder. I fell in love with The Avengers because of my interest in mythology as a pagan, but has anyone discovered Heathenism because of The Avengers?
I am a comic book fan and I have read the Thor comics. When the Thor movie came out I was in awe at the what I consider beauty of Asgard that they created. Now with that said there is a separation of the comics and the pantheon of the Norse Myths. When I was a kid I used to watch Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules. It was an introduction to Greek and Roman mythology beyond my extensive reading. Though they fictionalize and are absolutely off base I do think its a great new medium to expose the mythology at a point.
They did a great job bringing Asgard to life. Like you said, Thor is a good introduction the gods. There are differences in the details, but Odin is still the All-Father, Thor likes to smash giants with Mjolnir, and Loki causes trouble. Yup, that sounds like them!
Anything is possible.
I could see heathenism catching on via the comic book route.
In fact that would make a lot of sense to me.
Generally, when I see a film, tv, show, or comic that I like that is based on source material, I have to read it. After Van Helsing and League of Extrodinary Gentlemen came out, I went on a massive binge of the classics of Gothic Horror. In doing so, I discovered my favorite author and hero, Mary Shelly, who wrote Frankenstein at just 16.
Likewise, Thor has launched me on a Norse binge. Although before I saw the movie I had also been reading some blogs by Heathens and Northern Tradition practitioners and had been planning on reading this stuff for a while, Thor and Avengers definitely gave me the kick in the pants I needed.
Though I feel like I can learn a lot from these traditions, I don't think I'll be converting. But I feel like Marvel has certainly given me the push i need to at least be more educated about them.
I wish more people were like you and would read because of movies. The pagan community tends to be a bunch of bookworms. :) We fear what we don't understand and education is the solution. The general public doesn't know anything about the reality of paganism/heathenism, but I bet some will stumble across it through Marvel.
I must admit that I was a bit reluctant about watching the movie, afraid that Marvel would butcher the whole thing. But I agree with you, there definitely will be an up-rise in the popularity of the Norse Beliefs. There are plenty of people like Garlic Clove, that after seeing the movie will look for the actual source. I doubt that we'll ever get any noticeable flux of incoming Asatruar or Heathens, because that requires dedication and the desire to break free of possible familial traditions. But hey, as long as our Gods are the "good guys" I don't mind.
I agree. I don't think the Wiccan population rose that much because of Harry Potter, like you said that takes dedication, but a lot of people ended up learning about a subject they otherwise wouldn't have been aware of. "Let me google magic...wait, what are all these 'wicca' websites?" Now think of all the people who are looking up/blogging about Thor and Loki. I've noticed in the fanfiction that a LOT of people how done their research and reference the real mythology (Loki's children, Ragnarok, Baldur, etc.), creating an interesting mix of traditional and Marvel mythos.
Lately I've been looking more into the Norse gods//goddesses and the paganism routes as well, but the Thor comics//Thor movie//Avengers didn't lead me here - lots of coincidences did.
Love Avengers - amazing movie! I could go on about it for ages. XD I'm big into comic books too.
That's pretty cool that your love for comic books and paganism collided on the big screen in such a great way.
I was drawn to Heathenism through the Avengers. I've never been into comics or super heroes and wan't planning on seeing the Avengers until my little sister drug me to it. Now I love it and have seen Thor. I was already interested in Northern European paganism in general, but after watching Thor I downloaded a couple books via my kindle and some podcasts for my ipod and so far I'm loving everything.
Awesome! What books have you been reading?
For the moment everything the kindle store has for free :)