Thor was, in fact, a bit of a family man and had two sons, Modi and Magni, who embodied much of their father's physical and personal qualities.

Thor the family Man

Surely, one of the most popular Norse gods, even today in the 21st century, is Thor

The Norse God of Thunder, Lightning, Fertility, and War has remained a popular figure in literary works and popular culture long after the often-bloody Christianization of Scandinavia led to the decline and death of the Old Norse religion

There has been a wealth of archaeological discoveries revealing that people in Viking societies worshipped Thor. From an amulet depicting his mighty hammer, Mjöllnir (believed to offer the wearer protection), to a temple in Norway from the 9th century dedicated to his worship.

If we glance through the Norse sagas, that rich literary tapestry of Viking legend and lore, Thor looms large. 

His epic quests and adventures, coupled with his battles that highlight his very human traits - from rage and wrath to perseverance and courage - are a significant reason Thor has captivated the popular imagination for centuries.

Aside from the bloody battles, however, there is a different side to this Viking alpha male persona. 

The sagas regale how the Norse God of Thunder was, in fact, a family man with two sons, Magni (Old Norse for "strength") and Modi (sometimes translated as "courage" or "fury").

In Norse lore, Magni's name translates to '"strength," a fitting descriptor for his remarkable physical prowess, often depicted as unparalleled. Illustration: The Viking Herald

Magni: Superhuman strength

The elder of Thor's two sons is Magni. Given that modern historians and linguists have translated his name to mean either "strength" or "might," it should be no surprise that this son of Thor possessed the same raw strength and power that this father was famous for. 

Magni was the son of Thor and the giantess Jarnsaxa (Iron Dagger). In the sagas, Jarnsaxa is often depicted as Thor's lover, seemingly unwilling or unable to be tied down as his wife.

Magni is most commonly portrayed as a three-year-old, but one of his most remarkable stories arises from when he was a mere newborn. 

Like Hercules in Greek mythology, Magni was imbued with superhuman strength the moment he was born. 

A popular saga relates how Thor went on a fishing trip with his fellow Norse god, Tyr, and both decided to bring young Magni along. However, lurking deep beneath the waters was the world serpent, Jörmungandr, who surfaced to try and eat the unlucky fishers. 

Unfazed, Thor and Magni then managed to lift this giant serpent (who encircled the earth) lest it wriggle and cause a massive tidal wave.

Despite his youthful portrayal in the sagas, Magni embodies all the raw physical strength and power that helped his father avoid many a sticky end from an unfriendly foe.

Modi's legacy showcases the importance of inner strength and fortitude, reminding us that bravery comes in various forms, even among the gods of Norse mythology. Illustration: The Viking Herald

Modi: Courageous and iron-willed

For every yin in Norse mythology, there appears to be a yang. 

If Magni was all about superhuman strength, then his brother Modi could not have been more different. 

If we scan the sagas, we can see that Modi did not possess the raw superhuman strength that his father and brother shared, but that is not to say he did not have unique qualities of his own.

Whilst Modi may not be the strongest kid on the block, he was said to possess an iron will, a fierce and indomitable spirit with more than a heavy dose of valor and pluck. 

This potent blend of courage and an iron will was needed during the events of Ragnarök, the apocalyptic end of the Norse universe.

What Modi lacked in muscle, he made up for in courage, as he helped his father, during these events, fight off the giant wolf, Fenrir. Together, they eventually overcame this formidable predator.

What is interesting is how the sagas relate to the events post-Ragnarök. 

Whilst many of the Norse gods, including Thor, are said to perish, Modi and Magni survive and inherit their father's magical hammer, Mjöllnir. 

The sagas relate how their survival meant that the bloodline of Thor would continue after these bloody and chaotic events.

A recent surge in popularity

The two sons of Thor, Magni, and Modi, represent the different sides of their famous father's nature and character. 

Whilst Magni has his father's brute strength and boundless force, Modi has the indomitable will and courage that has served his father so well throughout his many adventures and epics in the sagas.

Hollywood – not known for historical or literary accuracy – has decided to brush off, or ignore, the fact that Thor was more than just the Norse God of Thunder; he was a father, too. 

However, his sons are well represented in a horde of Marvel comic books and video games, including the popular God of War series. 

Perhaps Hollywood should take note and add these mighty sons of Thor into the next movie based on Norse mythology.

BBC History Extra has compiled a list of the most famous Norse deities, available here.

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