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In Avengers: Endgame in the final battle with Thanos,

Captain America not only was able to wield Mjolnir, but also used its lightning powers.

And I remembered in Thor: Ragnarok when Thor complained to Odin about being powerless without the hammer, to which Odin replied

Are you Thor, the God of hammers? The hammer is only to control your power.

or something like that (don't remember exact words).

This led me to believe that Mjolnir was just a powerful weapon, rather than the source of lightning. Then reading Stack Exchange I was reminded about Odin's enchantment that he placed on Mjolnir in the original Thor:

Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.

And by "power of Thor", I assume he meant the power of lightning? This seems like a contradiction with what he later said. Was Odin just trying to motivate Thor since

Hela was beating him pretty easily. But then again, he was able to "hit her with the biggest lighting in the history of lightnings" without Mjolnir.

So which is it about Mjolnir?

  • 17
    No contradiction, the enchantment just lets other worthy people able to tap into Thor's powers. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 7 at 11:13
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    I'd argue that possess is a lot stronger than tap into. – Renat Aug 7 at 11:20
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    IMO power of Thor means lot more than just lightning. is Thor only possess the power of lightning? – Vishwa Aug 7 at 11:21
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    Thor is god of lightning (not hammers), the hammer channels that power, other people who wield the hammer are able to channel Thor's powers. I don't understand where the contradiction lies? – Bee Aug 7 at 12:00
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    It simply means that Steve Rogers is the God of Hammers. Bruce, meanwhile, is the God of Gammas. Tony's the God of Screwdrivers and/or Cocktail Shakers. – Paul D. Waite Aug 8 at 9:22
53

No, he's not being inconsistent.

Thor's powers are his, they're not granted by Mjolnir. He's capable - even if he doesn't realise/know it - of using them without Mjolnir, including after it's destroyed as he does in Thor: Ragnarok.

In the first Thor movie, Odin takes Thor's powers away from him, and then places the enchantment on Mjolnir. The intention is that, once Thor proves he's actually worthy again, his powers will be returned to him.

As a side effect of the enchantment, anybody else who happens to be worthy will also possess Thor's powers, while they're holding Mjolnir (for some definition of "holding"). This is what allows Captain America to summon lightning; he doesn't use Mjolnir to do it, but he has to be holding Mjolnir to have the ability to do it.

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    Which begs the question, if the hammer grants the "power of Thor", what happens if Thor becomes, I don't know, overweight, lazy, and unclean? Would the wielder suddenly start sitting around and playing Xbox? – MivaScott Aug 7 at 22:05
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    @MivaScott afaik there's no indication that overweight, lazy, and unclean Thor does not posses Thor's powers like lightning.. but that does not answer your question (i don't have an answer, sorry) – hanshenrik Aug 8 at 0:01
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    Maybe wielding the hammer gives you lightning powers, super strength, super healing, and mad Fortnight skillz. – Robyn Aug 8 at 3:36
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    @MivaScott "Control of lightning" is a power. "Being fat" probably isn't – Chronocidal Aug 8 at 9:40
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    @MivaScott he gets the power of still playing Fortnite 5 years from now! – KeineMaster Aug 8 at 12:21
2

Clearly Thor's lightning powers, his ability to fly/hover and his super strength/durability are not derived from Mjolnir, because he demonstrates them in both Infinity War and Endgame while wielding Stormbreaker. Stormbreaker was forged by a dwarf and not enchanted by Odin.

In which case, it seems that Mjolnir must grant some other powers to whomever is worthy of lifting it. In Endgame we see that Captain America is able to produce lightning and throw Mjolnir with improbable force similar to how Thor does, and Thor is able to use the same powers with Stormbreaker at the same time. It's not clear if Captain America is made more durable while holding Mjolnir.

Therefore, Mjolnir must duplicate Thor's innate powers. Thor does not lose them when someone else has it, or it is destroyed. Maybe after some time they "rubbed off" on him and he doesn't need Mjolnir any more.

  • Yeah, I got it now. Although, like you mentioned, it is redundant. It is just the lore of the Marvel universe. Odin could have worded his enchantment differently, then we wouldn't have cool moments of Steve using the hammer and the shield! – Renat Aug 8 at 14:16

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