• Explaining the plot, character, setting or symbolism of a myth

  • Historical or societal context of a myth

  • Myth identification

  • Translations of and primary sources for a myth

Well, it sure isn't explaining, contexting, indentifying, or translations/primary sourcing of.

So are they on-topic?


3 Answers 3


The recent Thor question is deemed "too broad" but there was a recent question How do people become immortal as per Taoism? that asked "What are all the ways to become immortal? Also, what is cultivating Tao and yourself?"

That was not deemed too broad, but a very useful question on whether the plot of the Thor movie deviates from the Eddas is deemed unacceptable.

I'm sorry, but all I see here is prejudice b/c the Marvel rendition of mythology is considered low-brow and beneath those with scholarly inclinations.

We're living in an age when the Classics are no longer part of the basic curriculum, and most people have probably heard about Thor through the comic books.

Why not educate these people by actually answering what is a sincere question?

  • We only made light in the comments section. I was waiting to see if solsdottir was going to take the question before I formally answered, but it was closed before I got the chance. In the formal answer, I would have merely pointed out how the movie is not canonical, and suggested they check out the Prose Edda (Crossley-Holland edition which many here seem to favor, including myself.)
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 22, 2016 at 17:12
  • "I'm sorry, but all I see here is prejudice b/c the Marvel rendition of mythology is considered low-brow and beneath those with scholarly inclinations." I personally enjoy Marvel. I just think that it's off-topic.
    – user62
    Nov 22, 2016 at 17:54
  • How is asking about actual Norse mythology (albeit in the context of a modern adaptation) off-topic? So far I've heard three different reasons this is shut down. It's a useful question and might bring some traffic. Not to mention, the answer leads to the actual source material for Norse mythology which the questioner may not know about.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 22, 2016 at 17:58
  • Can I propose a way to move forward on this issue here? Have you thought about, instead of asking about the accuracy of modern portrayals of mythology, asking instead about mythological symbolism in modern literature? Here's a good example of this: hogwartsprofessor.com/…. If the questions about modern adaptions were more along these lines, I would upvote them in a heartbeat, and fully support their existence.
    – user62
    Nov 29, 2016 at 21:27
  • I think asking about mythological symbolism in literature is valuable and is a good way to broaden the scope and traffic. I still feel dispelling "myths" about inaccurate, popular portrayals is likewise valuable.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 29, 2016 at 23:27
  • @DukeZhou "I think asking about mythological symbolism in literature is valuable and is a good way to broaden the scope and traffic." I'll ask some questions along these lines during Christmas when I have time off.
    – user62
    Nov 30, 2016 at 1:28

That is a complex topic.
Modern stuff can be mythological in nature. Examples:

  • King Kong. Both the 1933 version and the Jackson's version are imbued with myths elements.
  • Eastwood movies. You have the hero, coming back from the dead, take a look at that Sudden Impact scene when he comes back from the dead with that VERY big gun.

And they can thus can have a righteous place here. I often by the way do references in my answer to modern stuff. Giving modern references, examples and such is totally normal, welcomed and appreciated. Mythology is not purely about the old text, we are dealing with dead civilizations, dead languages, dead people, dead ideas. It is about history, archeology, knowledge we can have about the people of that time, their beliefs. And comparative mythology is quite an incredibly powerful tool. And I do not see a deep reason to not compare with modern visions of myths.

Now what should be avoided is this place turning in a small room for superheroes, Harry Potter or Lord of the Ring.


I think comparisons to modern work could be very good from a search/traffic standpoint, with the caveat that it could be a slippery slope.

That said, a recent question such as: https://mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/2091/what-are-some-incorrect-movie-thor-plot-bullets-compared-to-the-norse-thor-in-my is actually useful imo, because it can be used to clarify and help educate people confused by modern "bastardizations" of mythology. (For instance, I seem to recall Sif is a brunette in the Thor films! So arbitrary and unnecessary. Did they even read the source material?)

I suppose questions like" what are some modern variants of the [myth]" could also be quite useful...

  • 2
    I agree that comparing to modern representations can be on topic, but 100% disagree that that was a useful question.
    – femtoRgon
    Nov 18, 2016 at 17:56
  • @femtoRgon Not even to the extent that it can clarify that the plot elements of the Marvel re-imagining of the Norse Gods is purely invented? My guess is the general public is not aware of this. The question is on hold b/c "This question does not appear to be about mythology, within the scope defined in the help center." but I just re-read the specifications and am having trouble seeing how this question violates those precepts.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:04
  • 1
    No, not to any extent. It's a poor fit for this site. It's overly broad, attempts to ask multiple questions, and it's unclear what they are trying to drive at. As far as needing this to point out that Marvel is not accurately portraying Norse mythology, that can be done with well-framed, specific questions if you like, but frankly, everybody knows that. It's obvious. Thor also didn't come to the modern-day USA to fight Dr. Doom alongside Captain America, or whatever, in the Eddas. That's like saying we need to get a thorough debunking of "The Wind in the Willows" from a zoologist.
    – femtoRgon
    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:41
  • @femtoRgon Multiple questions but on a single subject. My personal experience with the general public is that they have no idea what is invented and what is canonical. (Possibly I travel in "lower circles";) But I'm not ashamed to say I come from the camp in which there are "no bad questions". Every question is an opportunity to educate imo.
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:46
  • 1
    On the multiple questions thing, again: One post with multiple questions or multiple posts? And, as I said, if you really think there are things that need to be addressed there, go ahead and do so with clear, well-framed questions. If, on the other hand, you want to compose an article listing all the inconsistencies you see in the movie, this is probably not the right place for it. A blog post would probably be better suited. The format here is Q&A.
    – femtoRgon
    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:56
  • On the "no bad questions" point, that's fine. It is, however, demonstrably not to position of the stackexchange network, thus every stackexchange site has the dont-ask help page, and questions can be closed and downvoted. SE's purpose is to promote quality questions and answers.
    – femtoRgon
    Nov 18, 2016 at 20:16
  • And I recognize that I'm new here, but there is still a great deal of subjectivity in what constitutes worthwhile questions and answers, particularly in regards to the Humanities vs. the Sciences. (Note: I also answer on the Film & TV forum where a great deal of terrible questions seem to pass muster ;)
    – DukeZhou
    Nov 18, 2016 at 20:18

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