Reasons Why Asgard (Marvel Earth-199999) Probably Really Sucks

Table of Contents

Odin exhibits tyrannical and even psychopathic behavior.

We know from Thor that Odin has legal power to do pretty much whatever he wants to his own kids for whatever reason: after Thor wreaks trouble on Jotunheim, he isn’t given any kind of hearing or trial before his punishment is meted out: Odin just banishes him to Earth in a fit of pique. In other words, Odin is judge, jury, and executioner, and a dictator who can and does make weighty political decisions based on knee-jerk emotional responses.

The beginning of Thor: The Dark World shows us Loki sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes in The Avengers. (Curiously enough, the incident at Puente Antiguo and his attempted destruction of Jotunheim are never brought up. Maybe kings have the legal right to attack whoever they want, whenever they want?)

Odin makes it clear that the only reason Loki is sentenced to life in prison rather than death is because of Frigga. Odin himself shows no remorse or regret or any kind. It’s almost as if he just played the role of the loving father as long as Loki was useful to him, or at the very least wasn’t causing him problems. As soon as Loki demonstrated that he no longer respected him and was more than capable of causing him trouble, Odin simply tried to give him the axe.

Curiously enough, the one guy who could have pointed out that maybe Loki wasn’t playing with a full deck during the events of The Avengers wasn’t even there - Thor was off quelling raids and rebellions that had sprung up while the Bifrost was down. Is it possible that Odin strategically shuffled him off as soon as he got back so he couldn’t say anything on Loki’s behalf?

And one final thing: Odin states that Asgard is "a beacon of hope" and refers to himself as the "protector of the Nine Realms." He seems to think that everyone should look up to him and Asgard. However, he never hesitates to make it clear that he doesn't think very highly of humanity, even likening Jane Foster to a goat and showing no sympathy when Thor brings her to Asgard for medical treatment. Yeah, that sounds pretty admirable...

Odin may be responsible for the collapse of an entire civilization.

As we know from the prologue of Thor, when the frost giants attacked Earth Odin kicked their butts and took their superweapon, the Casket of Ancient Winters.

But was the Casket merely just a superweapon, or did it have another use? The prologue refers to the Casket as “the source of their power.” So maybe, just maybe the Casket was also used to power their whole civilization, and was an integral part of its infrastructure that was nigh impossible to replace? It’d make sense, given that when we see them a thousand years later, they’re living in ruins.

Now consider this: most of the time, people don't just go invading other countries just for kicks and giggles. Usually, that's the kind of thing that happens when things at home start getting dire and desperate - eg, the amount of resources available can no longer sustain the population, and so they must look elsewhere for them. And if the jotnar were willing to risk the keystone of their civilization's infrastructure, they were probably really desperate.

Asgard cannot possibly sustain its own population.

Asgard is tiny. It’s just big enough to hold the shiny gold city on it while having a little countryside and ocean to provide a nice view to the people who live there. It’s not big enough to sustain any kind of industry whatsoever, let alone grow enough food to sustain its own people. This means that Asgard must be importing pretty much everything while having next to nothing to export… except ass-kickings.

Now, there are two routes we could take with this - Route 1 is the nice route, where Asgard has peacefully agreed to protect realms such as Vanaheim and Nidavellir from its enemies and give military assistance as necessary in exchange for material goods.

Route 2 is the not-so-nice route, where Asgard essentially used military force to make realms like Vanaheim and Nidavellir into vassal or tributary states where if they don’t export goods to Asgard, Asgard will export the ass-kickings to them.

In either case, if Asgard was somehow prevented from importing goods they’d be up a creek without a paddle. The time between Thor and whenever they got the Bifrost up and working again probably wasn’t very fun. If the Bifrost is their only means of importing goods, then they’d have really been in a tight spot. Of course, it’s possible that traders brought them goods via space freighters or some other means, but even that would have very likely been interrupted or at least slowed down by the conflict that broke out in the other realms.

Asgardian culture is absurdly patriarchal.

It’s made clear in Thor that Sif being a woman made others see her as an unlikely candidate to be a competent warrior. She eventually disproved this, but even so - the prejudice was still there in the first place. Furthermore, Sif is the only female warrior ever we see in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, which tells us that she is very much an outlier and exception in Asgardian society.

Further sealing the deal is the issue of who gets to look after the throne when Odin falls into the Odinsleep. Even though Frigga is shown to be level-headed and intelligent, and even though she probably knows Odin’s policies like the back of her hand, the throne still defaults to Loki when Odin conks out.

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