Thor and how it came to represent some kind of ridiculous extreme of the genre with their Dark Gnome.
For this analysis we are going to take a look at a video with a reputation. Not a good one either. This is a video that has received a fair bit of stick over the years, many would say with good reason. In an age when Heavy Metal was drenched in ludicrous costumes and chest-beating machismo, Thor came to represent some kind of ridiculous extreme of the genre. Their stage show at the time included such antics as bending steel bars, blowing up hot water bottles until they burst and various other MANLY activities. Thor himself actually looked more like cartoon character He-Man than his Norse god namesake (although in fairness no actual pictures of the original Thor exist so he may well be his double for all I know) and, as I think this video shows, he maybe feels he is wasted as the lead singer of a band and wishes he actually was He-Man!
Ok, for me the key to the video all revolves around the character who first appears at 0.06. He looks like an overgrown garden gnome (check the very gnome-y beard) and is fondling what might be some kind of crystal ball but is in all probability some kind of art-deco lamp. I think we are supposed to believe he is some kind of powerful dark overlord. I shall call him the Dark Gnome. We have little clue as to who or what he actually is or does…
Soon he’s gone and we find ourselves in a dark castle room where a busty maiden is having her legs fondled by two maiden friends, whilst two more stand by with baseball bats. This in itself is rather strange, and seems to suggest either some kind of Sapphic fantasy, or maybe more mundanely that there was little else to do whilst waiting around for your man to get home from a hard day’s pillaging.
At 0.26 this cosy scene is disturbed by a man who I shall call The Hooded Wench Thief. Now maybe ‘wench’ seems a bit much, but bear in mind this is Thor. He doesn’t have anything as mundane as a girlfriend. No, ordinary non-sword carrying guys have girlfriends. Thor has wenches like all good historically inaccurate cliché-ridden warriors should have. So yes, forgive me ladies, but Hooded Wench Thief it is. And of course, he soon lives up to his name stealing away Thor’s wench (although she doesn’t exactly put up a fight). And where is the man himself whilst all this is happening? Out slaying his mortal foes? No, he’s is in another part of the castle just kind of hanging around with some really rather pointless chains in his hands. Is he supposed to be imprisoned? Is he actually in to some slightly kinky S&M?? Baffling.
Moving things along, at 2.33 we see The Hooded Wench Thief stood outside a locked dungeon. This is followed by Thor’s appearance a few seconds later. He is in full battle mode. However, what follows can only be described as the sword-fighting equivalent of two wimpy kids in the playground. This is the lamest sword fight ever!! In fact, to use the word ‘fight’ is to over-egg the pudding. It’s an epic sword-fail.
None of which stops Thor from emerging triumphant of course and having slayed his not-so-tough-after-all opponent he is free to rescue his maiden. She is clearly not all that impressed as evidenced by the telling off she seems to be giving him (at 3.25) as he carries her to safety. Maybe this is a regular thing for her? Maybe she spends half her life being kidnapped and rescued by Thor? What else is there to do in this medieval fantasy land? Indeed, what’s the point of having a muscular warrior boyfriend if he’s not going to heroically rescue you from time to time…
All of which brings us back to the start. Remember the gnome with the ridiculous lamp/crystal ball thing? Thor clearly does and sword-in-hand he’s off (at 3.32) to take care of unfinished business. The video ends at 3.45 with our hero presumably about to slay the gnome and his dome. However, the Dark Gnome’s role is never made clear and many questions remain unanswered. Was he the Hooded Wench Thief’s lord and master? Was he going to have his wicked way with Thor’s maiden? Is this some kind pervert voyeur gnome who uses his powers to spy on the local neighbourhood’s busty maidens? Exactly where do you get massive crystal ball lamps from in medieval times anyway? Is there a shop selling these things? It looks electrically powered to me…
One last question: If Anger is his middle name and Thor is his first then what is he called? Thor Anger Smith, maybe? That doesn’t sound all that heroic to me.
Once again, any answers or further questions you may have regarding these pressing issues are very welcome.