Miscellaneous Myths: Utgard-Loki


Man, Thor is so cool. But isn’t he kind of overpowered? I mean, it seems like he’s never met a problem he couldn’t hammer until it went away. Hasn’t he ever… struggled? Well, my sweet little sailor on the seas of myth-o history, The answer is: No, not really. But this one time, kind of, a little bit from a certain point of view. Our story begins with Thor and Loki travelling to visit the confusingly named Jotun king Útgarða-Loki (no relation to regular Loki) for unspecified reasons. But not before a quick side trip where they grab dinner with a local peasant family. Unsuprisingly, the family’s not super well equipped to feed Thor but luckily Thor always keeps an emergency snack on his person for just such an occasion. By which I mean he slaughters one of his chariot pulling goats for the peasants, but tells him to save the bones and wrap them in the skin overnight. Since it’ll let him bring the goat back to life in the morning. Which kind of implies he does this a lot (that’s got to be rough on the goat). They share a hearty meal, but the peasants’ son Þjálfi cracks open one of the goat bones for that tasty marrow. You know, I never saw the appeal. It’s just like goop. Blood-producing goop. That feels like the ickiest part of the animal – Okay, never mind. Point is the bone is broken, so the next day when Thor resurrects the goat, it’s acquired a suddenly limp. Thor is pretty cranky, but as payment for the goat, the peasant offers him his children Þjálfi and Röskva as his servants. And Thor seems to consider this a decent trade so he mellows out and they move on. So Thor and Loki (plus these two random kids) continue on their way Resting for the night in a weird cave-like building they find in the middle of the woods. But when the Sun rises and they head outside, they find the biggest giant they’ve ever seen sleeping nearby This giant is named Skrymer, (which they learn when he wakes up) greets them and asked them what they were doing inside his empty glove. That’s a big dude So they have breakfast together and Skrymer offers to carry their food for them and when they rest for the night, he tells Thor he can take whatever food he wants from his bag. This is pretty nice of him But somehow the bag is tied way too tightly to the point that not even Thor can open it. Thor is already pretty hangry so he doesn’t take this very well and wallops the sleeping Skrymer in the head. Instead of the anticipated outcome (aka Skrymer dying), he wakes up asks if a leaf landed on his head and goes back to sleep. That’s already a pretty sizable blow to the ego, but to make things worse, Skrymer snores like a continental subduction and Thor tries hitting him two more times throughout the night with just as little effect. One very sleepless night later, Skrymer tells the gang they should probably turn back and abandon their journey to see Útgarða-Loki, but if they’re determined to visit him, they definitely shouldn’t brag about their abilities. Because not only is Útgarða-Loki even bigger and stronger than Skrymer, so are all of his thanes and they definitely won’t be impressed. With that Skrymer leaves and the gang continues to Útgarða-Loki because Odin didn’t raise no quitter, but he definitely raised a fool or two. So the gang arrives at the fortress of Útgarða-Loki which is unsurprisingly really, really big to accommodate the really big Giants that live there. Continuing the humiliation conga line, Thor finds the massive gate is too heavy for him to open, but on the plus side they are comparatively small enough to fit between the bars So they get in and approach the truly enormous Útgarða-Loki, Útgarða-Loki is unimpressed (as Skrymer suggested he would be), and tells the gang that he doesn’t let just anyone stay at his fortress, all his visitors need to be very exceptional in at least one way. So if they want to stay, they’re gonna need to prove themselves. So Loki steps up all like Loki (obnoxious, posh accent): You want exception? Well, no one can eat faster than me! Red: And Útgarða-Loki is like Útgarða-Loki: Unorthodox display of hubris, but very well. Red: and brings out the also confusingly named, Logi (not to be confused with either of the Loki’s in this story), and sets up a big trough full of meat for the two of them to go at. Loki and Logi demolished the trough with terrifying efficiency and meet in the middle, but where Loki effectively ate all the meat off the bones on his side, Logi ate the meat, the bones, AND THE TROUGH Logi – 1, Loki – 0. So next up Þjálfi says he’s the fastest runner he knows and Útgarða-Loki is like Útgarða-Loki: Challenge accepted. Red: And calls up this guy Hugi. Hugi and Þjálfi race, but Hugi keeps beating him by ridiculously wide margins. Though Útgarða-Loki does admit Þjálfi’s the best runner they’ve had in a while. Hugi – 1, Þjálfi – 0 Röskva I guess doesn’t want to participate in this hamar-skapt measuring contest. So next up is Thor who says he’d like to participate in a contest of drinking. On brand, I like it So Útgarða-Loki pulls out a big drinking horn and tells Thor that most of his thanes can finish it in one drink, the rest take two, and nobody’s pathetic enough to need three. So Thor takes the biggest swig he can manage and barely makes a dent Two hardy swigs later the levels visibly lowered, but he’s nowhere near finished Thor – 0, Drinking Horn – 1. And Útgarða-Loki asks if he wants to try something else instead, so Útgarða-Loki’s like Útgarða-Loki: Well I never would have suggested this to the Mighty Thor if he hadn’t just proved himself to be a COLOSSAL WUSS. But how would you like to try picking up my cat? Red: So Thor tries to pick up the cute kitty, but it does that cat thing where it goes all liquid, it just stretches and stretches. So by the time Thor’s got it all the way over his head, only one of its paws is off the ground. Thor – 0, Cat – 1. So by now Thor has had a really trying day He’s hungry. He’s cranky. He’s embarrassed, and he really wants to fight something. So for his final challenge He asks to wrestle someone, and the bad day gets worse when Útgarða-Loki brings out a diminutive old lady as a sparring partner and takes a dive into terrible territory when she kicks his ass. Thor – 0, Grandma – 1. So Útgarða-Loki stops the match and offers the gang hospitality, even though they lost every challenge I guess their sheer protagonist-y gumption impressed him, or maybe it’s just regular pity They eat, drink, party, and sleep and the next day Útgarða-Loki escorts them outside the fortress to see them off and privately says Útgarða-Loki: Look guys, I’m gonna level with you You’re never coming back here because I seriously underestimated you and you nearly ruined everything. Red: So basically Útgarða-Loki is a huge prankster and powerful illusionist who just kind of wanted to just screw with them by giving them impossible tasks they were guaranteed to fail at. Which is a pretty classic fairy tale format. But Thor is so freaking powerful that he kept nearly killing him or destroying very important parts of the planet in his efforts to succeed. The trouble started when Scrymer found them in the woods. Perhaps unsurprisingly Skrymer was Útgarða-Loki in disguise and he casts some illusions on Thor so when he tried to hit him in the head, he was hitting nearby mountains instead. Incidentally leaving huge squared off valleys wherever he swung. Already pretty unsettling for the trickster. The ravenous Logi that managed to outeat Loki was actually a raging wildfire And the speedster that beat Þjálfi at a footrace was the personification of thought Both obviously unbeatable in their respective fields. The drinking horn Thor failed to empty was actually connected to the ocean which is clearly undrinkable but through his valiant efforts to get drunk he managed to lower the world’s water level several feet. This is the first time Útgarða-Loki was like Útgarða-Loki: Oh balls, I might be in over my head Red: That cat he couldn’t pick up was his legendary enemy, Jörmungandr the Midgard serpent. And the fact that he managed to dislodge even one paw was very, VERY dangerous for the integrity of the world overall. And the old woman who beat his ass was old age. And the fact he managed to fight her even a little was pants-browningly freaky for Útgarða-Loki. So with that cat out of the bag, Útgarða-Loki tells them to never come back because Thor is just way too OP. And if they try he’ll protect his castle with more illusions and make it totally unfindable. Thor reacts by pulling out Mjölnir to beat some catharsis out of him, at which point Útgarða-Loki and the castle both vanish. And that’s the story of how Thor had a very embarrassing long weekend full of failure and disappointment, but somehow came out of it cooler and more validated in the eyes of both himself and the world. (Singing) ‘Cuz he had a bad day You taking one down You sing a sad song just to turn it around You say you don’t know You tell me don’t lie You work at a smile and you go for a ride. You had a bad day the camera don’t lie You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind You had a bad day~ You had a bad day~

100 thoughts on “Miscellaneous Myths: Utgard-Loki

  1. I hear that music at 1:08 all the time, but please some one tell me WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT TUNE?!?! One must know!!!!

  2. The kid ate the bone marrow because Loki, being the trickster he his, told him it’d give him incredible power

  3. 4:55 Okay, that kinda reminds me of the Talosians from the Original Star Trek TOS pilot.

  4. I saw this exact story on Ted-ed. I have. No idea why this story is so entertaining. Maybe cause a pissed off Norse god played by and Australian trying to drink the ocean, trying to wrestle an old lady and trying to lift a massive cat is hilarious

  5. This episode is amazing on its own, but the comments make it two times better

  6. "So got thor in his valient efforts to get drunk lowered the water level by several feet"

    Me: Can we get another one of those?

  7. Dude! Bone marrow is HELLA nutritious! If you are a hungry peasant child, you want that shit! My grandpa always tells stories about how he and his many poor siblings would literally fight over bone marrow!

  8. Me and my friend say "An Unorthoradox Display of Hubris, But Very Well!" whenever we can!

  9. So… We need Thor to fix the rising water level? Dam, they already solved global warming.

  10. Well this story can be put in the world record book of worst weekends ever sorry Thor if your up there also her clap back ( Odin didn’t raise a quitter but he certainly raised a fool or two) 🤣🤣🤣

  11. Where can I find your covers of songs at the ends of your videos? They sound so catchy!

  12. Nice Video, one of my favourite Nordic tales since i saw Valhalla in the early 90s (totally recomend it but not sure if it's available in english https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valhalla_(1986_film) )

  13. I lived in the USA for a while when I was small and told this story to my 2nd grade (possibly 1st or 3rd) class for heritage day (or some such). I remember being vaguely surprised by how riveted everyone (including the teacher) was. It was probably a good thing I didn't accidentally opt for one of the more NSFW stories. I probably lucked out on picking one of the few in which no one actually dies.

  14. i love the myths, comics and movies where thor and loki are bros (as in good friends who get into trouble together). Its kind of understandable that Lee and Kirby reimagined them as literal brothers, they play off each other so well. One of my favorite scenes in Thor Ragnarok was when they did "get help".

  15. Jormangandr: "Thor, what the hell are you doing? Thor? Thor, stop. Thor, stop trying to lift me, it's not even Ragnarok time yet."

  16. My real name is Thor and this is just me in games. Melee bearded babass that is real strong.

  17. I love this myth, it is easily my absolute favorite and I was chuckling the whole time I read it….and then I watched this video and about died! I was laughing so hard that I had to rewatch it like twice cuz my own laughter at it all made me miss things. I FREAKING LOVE THIS ONE VIDEO IN PARTICULAR!

  18. What happened to the kids? Did Thor and Loki take them back to their parents or are they just slaves now in Asgard?

  19. "Snores like a continental subduction" is now my FAVORITE PHRASE. Worth it just for that!

  20. Skrymer: * name is pronounced Screamer*
    Red: Instead of the antcipated outcome…
    Me: *seal clap *
    Red: …which is Skrymer dying
    Me: angry dravicorn noises

    Edit: OvU

  21. "Thor suggests a contest of DRINKING (on BRAND, I like it),"
    Wow that pun was subtle.

  22. If you are interested logi just means fire and hugi means mind/ thought in ancient Norse/ Iceladic.

    And the eating bone marrow was a result of Loki telling the kid that it would make him really healthy, that's why he broke the bone and ate the bone marrow.

  23. Doctors hate him!!! 😱😱😱 learn the weird secret of this Norse god who fights old age !!! 🔨🔨🔨

  24. Röskva is the real winner in this dick messuring contest: sure, she doesn't have one, but she knows that the only way to win is not to play.

  25. Omg, did anyone else notice that Loki is holding a cute little dagger at here?! 2:07 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  26. wait… noone can beat old age… ARE YOU TELLING ME AN IMMORTAL BEING CANT BEAT OLD AGE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WHAT?!?!?!?!

  27. I've heard basically this story before, but I thought it was Beowulf. Google does not support my memory.

  28. I will never get over the fact that you drew Mjolnir with a long handle and assymetrical.

  29. Yellow bone marrow contained in the shaft actually has more nutrition than the meat because it is essentially an energy storage for the animal.

  30. Petition to have red just get out her guitar and sing parodies of songs because holy frick her voice is awesome.

  31. Didn't Thor also end up having a child with one of the Valkyries or a goddess that had the COMBINED strength of their parents by age 2?

  32. UNORTHODOX DISPLAY OF HUBRIS BUT VERY WELL!!!

    is basically the mythical:

    Weird flex but okay.
    or
    Odd claim but go off i guess

  33. The Greek gods should cower in fear of the Norce gods.😈 Thor will beat them all to a bloody pulp

  34. This is beyond awesome levels of stories, animation AND mythology! I LOVE IT! 😍😍😍😂😂😂

  35. The name of Utgard-Loki its because the giant is also called Loki, the Utgard means that it is from above or something like that. I was a name to difference it from normal Loki.

  36. Honestly, you have a beautiful singing voice! Is there any way we could get a full album of your song covers?

  37. Loki actually tricked the peasant boy into cracking the bone. Just because he thought it was funny. It kinda is.

  38. Will you do more of Loki? Like when he was chained up with his son's own intestines and forced to have a snake drip venom on him? Also might wanna include Sigyn, his wife.

  39. Some versions of the story have Loki tricking the boy into eating the marrow. But eh. That’s how mythology be.

  40. I can just imagine the aftermath of all this:

    Odin: So, Loki, how was your and Thor's weekend.
    Loki: Weelllll….
    (A loud enraged scream could be heard in the distance followed by a bolt of lightning.)
    Loki: It could've gone better.

  41. Utgard-Loki reminds me of a DM trying to throw challenges at his party but they succeed so much he has to fake it all just to beat them.

  42. Bone marrow isn't icky. Bubblegum and marshmallows as well as other delicious sweets are made of the stuff.

  43. Do you think Utgard-Loki was named as such as a hint to audience that they were gonna be a trickster type?

  44. “Unorthodox display of hubris but very well.”
    I had to watch this too many times before I realized it meant “weird flex but okay” I’m so dumb lol

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