Remember that scene from Thor when Odin just fell asleep and everyone panicked a bit? Well, that phenomenon is known as “Odinsleep” and is a completely normal occurrence in Asgard; the one in Thor was a shock because it was unexpected and no one really knew how long it would last. In today’s article, we are going to write about Odinsleep, the phenomenon that caused so much panic in the movie but is something completely normal and expected, which is why we felt the need to clarify things for you.
Odinsleep is a state of sleep which Odin has to go through to regenerate his energy, i.e., the Odin Force. In the comics, it is a mandatory annual ritual, while in the MCU it is more like an epileptic fit where Odin goes to sleep involuntarily. The state is the same, but the procedure is a bit different.
In today’s article, we are going to explore Odinsleep. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about the phenomenon itself, as well as the differences between its versions from the comic books and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Also, we are going to give you some information on how long Odinsleep lasts. It’s going to be an information-filled article, so prepare yourselves and enjoy!
Who is Odin and what are his powers?
According to Norse mythology, Odin is the son of Bor (father, one of the first Asgardians) and Bestla (mother, a frost giantess), and the full brother of Vili and Ve.
With the aid of his brothers, a young Odin defeats the fire demon Surtur; later, Odin reveals that his brothers were killed by Surtur, but gave their power to Odin. Later he imprisoned Surtur inside the Earth.
Odin thereafter became ruler of Asgard, where he received the epithet of All-Father, and eventually fell in love with the elder goddess, Gaea, by whom he is the father of Thor. After Thor’s birth, Odin returns to Asgard, where his wife, Frigga, acts as Thor’s mother.
Odin is also the adoptive father of Loki, a child of Giant ancestry whose father King Laufey is killed by Odin in battle: adopted in a deal with Bor’s spirit, unaware of Bor’s intention that the child would bring about Odin’s downfall.
Despite Odin’s intentions, Thor and Loki become bitter enemies. Odin also was the father of Balder from Frigga.
Powers and abilities
As King of the Norse Gods, Odin possesses vast strength, stamina and durability far greater than that of a normal Asgardian, along with resistance to all Earthly diseases and toxins, incredible resistance to magic and, as a courtesy of the Golden Apples of Idunn, a greatly extended lifespan.
Odin has all the abilities of his son Thor but to a much greater degree. Odin is capable of manipulating the Odin Force – a powerful source of energy – for a number of purposes, including energy projection; creation of illusions and force fields; levitation; molecular manipulation, communicating telepathically with other Asgardians even if they are on Earth and he is in Asgard, hypnotizing humans; channeling lightning to Earth from Asgard, controlling the life forces of all Asgardians, and teleportation.
The character has also used the Odinpower for greater feats such as transporting the entire human race to an alternate dimension; stopping time; pulling the remains of distant planets down from outer space to crush his foes, compressing the population of an entire planet into a single being, the Mangog and then recreating the race and taking a soul away from the arch-demon Mephisto.
The Odin Force makes Odin capable of destroying entire galaxies, allowing him to engage entities such as Galactus on their own terms. In some stories, Odin has been portrayed at a universal or even greater scale of power.
In battles against opponents of similar power, Odin carries the magical spear Gungnir (“The Spear of Heaven”), an artifact made of the metal uru, that can be used to channel the Odin Force. Even without the Odin Force it can still match Thor’s hammer in battle. Once a year, during the Asgardian winter, Odin must undertake the Odinsleep for 24 hours to regenerate (and is closely guarded as he is vulnerable during this period), although he can be wakened by potent spells, such as those of Karnilla the Norn Queen.
Odin is also a master tactician and schemer, and has prevented Ragnarok, and planned for centuries for the coming of the Celestial Fourth Host. The character also on occasion uses the eight-legged steed Sleipnir and the enchanted ship Skipbladnir, which can navigate the “sea of space” and be shrunk to the size of a toy.
What is Odinsleep? Does it exist in Norse mythology?
The Odinsleep, also known as the Forever Sleep, is a state of sleep during which Odin recharges his Odin Force; in later stories, it is revealed that Thor can, likewise, enter the same state to recharge his energy. The Odinsleep is generally done in a special chamber within the royal palace in Asgard, where Odin is kept under close watch as he becomes as vulnerable as a mortal during the Odinsleep. Generally, he cannot be awakened from this state by any external influence, although there are some strong spells that can do it, as shown in Journey Into Mystery #118 (1965).
Despite being a stand-alone comic book character, Marvel’s Odin is modeled after the mythological Odin from Norse mythology and these two characters have a lot in common. Does that mean that the Odinsleep is also a mythological phenomenon that was adapted into the comics? Well, no.
The primary sources for Norse mythology, the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, don’t actually speak of Odinsleep or any other similar state, which is why we assume that Marvel’s writers came up with this state on their own and that this is one of the elements that makes their version of Odin so specific. The closest thing we found to Odinsleep was a story from the Prose Edda where Odin hung himself from Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights in order to undergo a spiritual journey. The Odinsleep isn’t really a spiritual journey per se, but this is really the closest thing to Odinsleep we found in Norse mythology.
Now that we’ve seen what Odinsleep is, we can see the differences between this phenomenon in the comics and the MCU.
Odinsleep in the comics
The Odinsleep we saw in the comic books is somewhat different than the version we’ve seen in the MCU. Certainly, it is the exact same phenomenon, but its manifestation is somewhat different.
In the comic books, Odin goes through the Odinsleep ritual once a year in order to recharge his energy, the Odin Force. During this period, he practically becomes a mortal and has to be heavily guarder as he is very, very vulnerable. The Odinsleep is such a sound and firm state that practically nothing can wake Odin up, except some strong spells like the ones used by Karnilla the Norn Queen.
While in Odinsleep, Odin is usually located in a special chamber with a bed. The chamber is, as we’ve said, heavily guarded and generally – only a few people are allowed to enter it. This is to ensure the maximal protection of the All-Father during this vulnerable period.
In the comics, Odinsleep is a phenomenon not exclusively related to Odin himself, but the Odin Force as the main source of Odin’s energy. This is why Thor was also able to enter Odinsleep and the comics showed that the sleeping god went into a sort of trance that resembles a spiritual journey of sorts. These are all the details we know about the comic book version of Odinsleep.
Odinsleep in the MCU
The MCU iteration of Odinsleep never revealed as much information about the phenomenon as the comic themselves did. Namely, we’ve only seen Odinsleep once in the MCU, and that was in Thor, the first movie in the series.
In the MCU, we never actually see Odin go into Odinsleep on his own free will. He just fell into that state after his adoptive son Loki betrayed him; he was then taken to the Odinsleep chamber. It was more of a fit than the state described in the comics, but it is the MCU’s version of Odinsleep. Interestingly enough, Odin was aware of everything that was happening around him, as proven by the tear that slid down his face as he found out about Thor’s problems on Earth.
Odin woke up after a while and tried to save Thor and Loki while they were fighting and with that, MCU’s Odinsleep became history. Sadly, this is everything we managed to find out about this iteration.
As you can see, the difference between these two Odinsleeps isn’t that grand, but it exists. In the comics, it is more of a ritual, while in the MCU, Odinsleep was portrayed as a mere accident, an epileptic fit of sorts, but it was suggested that there is a more “real” version of the phenomenon but sadly, we have not been able to see it and we think that we won’t be able to, either.
How long does Odin sleep for while in Odinsleep?
As far as the duration of Odinsleep is concerned, it varies. The regular comic book Odinsleep usually happens once a year and lasts for 24 hours, but there have been instances where it lasted longer, sometimes even for days or weeks. As for the MCU, we don’t have any exact duration, as the Odinsleep incident was a random one so no one knew how long it would last.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!