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Thorgal is a Franco-Belgian comic series written by Van Hamme and illustrated by Rosinski, started in 1977 and was originally published in serial form by the magazine Tintin and from 1980 on in hardcover volumes by Le Lombard .

The series, which combines the classic Heroic Fantasy with elements of Science Fiction follows the adventures of the eponymous hero Thorgal, "The Child of the Stars", an orphan discovered by Vikings in a space capsule during a tempest and raised among them.

In the first album of the series (The Sorceress Betrayed), Thorgal is banished and sentenced to death by Gandalf-the-Mad (no, not that Gandalf ), king of the Vikings of the North, who despises him as a "bastard", and opposes to the love between his daughter Aaricia and Thorgal. Rescued by a mysterious woman called Slive, he must accept to serve her for one year. It is later revealed (in The Island Of Frozen Seas) that she is a survivor of a race of Ancient Astronauts (actually Atlants who fled from Earth by the times of the cataclysm) whose ship crashed in the North Pole several years ago. Thorgal is revealed the be the last descendant of the "People of the Stars".

Although Thorgal's only wish is to settle and live peacefully with his wife, Aaricia, he is constantly faced with natural or supernatural foes from ruthless adventurers to monsters of Norse Mythology who threaten his family and friends.

The albums are as follow:

  • 1. The Betrayed Sorceress (incl. another story: "Almost Paradise")
  • 2. The Island of Frozen Seas
  • 3. Three Ancients of the Realm of Aran
  • 4. The Black Galley (start of the Brek Zarith story arc)
  • 5. Beyond the Shadows
  • 6. The Fall of Brek Zarith (end of the Brek Zarith story arc)
  • 7. Child of the Stars (3 short stories from Thorgal's youth)
  • 8. Alinoë
  • 9. The Archers (start of the Qa story arc)
  • 10. The Land of Qa
  • 11. The Eyes of Tanatloc
  • 12. City of the Lost God
  • 13. Between Earth and Light (end of the Qa story arc)
  • 14. Aaricia (4 short stories from Aaricia's youth)
  • 15. Lord of the Mountains
  • 16. She-Wolf
  • 17. The Guardian of the Keys
  • 18. The Sun-sword
  • 19. The Invisible Fortress (start of the Shaigan story arc)
  • 20. The Mark of Exiles
  • 21. The Crown of Ogotaï
  • 22. Giants
  • 23. The Cage (end of the Shaigan story arc)
  • 24. Arachnea
  • 25. The Blue Plague
  • 26. The Kingdom under the Sands
  • 27. The Barbarian
  • 28. Kriss of Valnor
  • 29. Sacrifice
  • 30. I, Jolan
  • 31. Shield of Thor
  • 32. The Battle of Asgard
  • 33. The Swordboat

The series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abdicate the Throne: One of the early stories has Thorgal helping a kid reclaim the throne (rightful heir, Evil Uncle killed his brother to get the throne, enlist help of Viking army in exchange for treasure, yadda yadda yadda). After much fighting, they finally make it to the throne room... where the Evil Uncle abdicates in favor of his nephew, wishing him good luck with the intrigues and backstabbing that comes with it. The story would end there, except Uncle intends to leave with Thorgal's wife in his luggage... Asskicking ensues.
    • Actually, they don't meet in the throne room, but in the treasury vault and they don't even realize Shardar (the evil uncle) was in there with them until he activated a mechanism that caused the treasury's floor to open up and cause its entire contents (and the leader of the Viking army) to disappear into a deep chasm underneath it, effectively leaving the new ruler with a bankrupt kingdom.
  • Adrenaline Makeover : Aaricia's transformation at the beginning of the Ogotaï Arc has to be seen to be believed.
  • Anachronism Stew: The setting is supposedely Europe circa A.C. 1000. Yet it features armor and weapons from the 13th or even 15th century, like crossbows. Also, spaceships.
    • And Mayan zeppelins.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted hard. Arrows are dangerous for the characters and downright deadly for mooks.
  • Ancient Astronauts
  • The Archer
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The initial king of Brek Zarith, among others. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the aristocrats in the story are corrupt.
    • The prince of Brek Zarith Thorgal helps to reclaim the throne is an exception, being shown as well-intentioned but powerless to end the corruption in his own court.
  • Artifact of Doom: Jolan's bracelet in Alinoë. Once Thorgal removes it
  • Atlantis
  • Awesome McCoolname: Thorgal Aegirsson: Gift of the Thundergod, Son of the Sea-Giant. Jorund-the-Bull is also rather appropriately named...
    • Thorgal's daughter is named Louve, which means She-Wolf.
  • Back From the Dead: Thorgal, though it was for a short time. Also, Aaricia, and even Volsung. As of the latest album, it seems even Kriss gets a chance to return to the land of the living. (or maybe "is forced" just as appropriate)
  • Badass Normal: Xargos inhibited Thorgal's Psychic Power in the hope that he could have a normal life. Therefore, Thorgal is the only descendant of the People of the Stars to not have any special powers, contrary to his children Jolan and She-Wolf.
  • Balancing Death's Books: In Beyond the Shadows.
  • Betty and Veronica : Aaricia Betty and Kriss Veronica. Unfortunately for all of them, Thorgal's love for Aaricia is so strong that Kriss is forced to resort to things like trying to murder Aaricia, abusing Thorgal's God-given Amnesia for her own foul ends etc... One could argue that Thorgal's puritanical views about marriage brought it on himself. The man missed a great time and caused needless deaths on top of it.
    • It wasn't just Thorgal's views on marriage that made a relationship with Kriss unthinkable for him, but also his views on stealing, murdering and manipulation that made him object to Kriss' thinking and way of life. Even when she abused his amnesia to become a pirate lord, he kept feeling this wasn't how he was meant to live his life.
  • Big Badass Wolf: She-Wolf was born as Aaricia was protected by wolves, and she has a special relation with them.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Jolan's signature method of dealing with armed enemies is using his psychic powers to desintigrate or melt their weapons. The targets are shown in pain as if they burned their hands, but are otherwise unharmed.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: All Vikings, though Jorund stands out.
  • Bow and Sword In Accord
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: In Children of the Stars, Thorgal is helped by two talking winged cats. One of them dies in a pursuit. Thorgal says to the surviving one that he is sorry for its death, but the other cat shows up fine, asking him "Don't you know cats have nine lives?".
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: What happens when you mix a mysterious artifact, Psychic Powers and Imaginary Friend?
  • Combat Pragmatist: Aplenty, especially if the opponent is a Giant Mook.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: The drink-spill variant gets pulled by some random viking, to humiliate Thorgal, who is a beggar at that time (due to Angst Coma after he thinks his wife and child have died) and can't defend himself.
  • Creepy Child: Alinoë.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: During the Saigan story arc, albeit a remorseful one.
  • Dark Action Girl: Kriss of Valnor.
  • Departure Means Death: The three sisters live in a secret valley inside a glacier. The valley is a time anomaly that has allowed them to live for centuries but they cannot leave for fear of time "catching up to them".
  • Despair Event Horizon: Ogotay watched his friends, family and wife die as they struggled to survive on a hostile Earth after their spaceship crashed in the Arctic. Also, their expedition was of vital importance to his civilization, and its failure most likely meant its utter extinction. And since he was the ranking officer among the initial survivors, he held himself responsible for it all. Eventually, it drew him crazy.
  • Disney Villain Death: Plenty
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Kriss. It even gets her into Valhalla.
    • Note that getting into Valhalla isn't exactly difficult (at least not in the way say, getting into the Christian Heaven or escaping Samsara is said to be). If you die in battle, you have a strict 50/50 chance of ending up there, no matter how much of a cunt you have been in life. The other possible result is to land in Freya's realm, which isn't so bad either. To the Norse, the big sin was to die of natural causes (or, according to some traditions, without a sword in your hand - hence dying men requesting their weapons). Vikings were pretty metal, if you weren't aware of that :) It may not stick though.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Volsung, eventually.
  • Femme Fatale: Kriss of Valnor.
  • Future Badass: Jolan in The Crown of Ogotai ends up becoming a huge bearded Viking (except he doesn't- it's complicated).
  • Giant Spider: Show up in Arachnea.
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Kriss of Valnor offers to sleep with Aaricia at one point. She refuses and goes to bed with a knife.
  • A God Am I: Ogotaï combines God Guise with megalomania into this trope.
  • Godiva Hair: The Key Guardian.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Thorgal keeps a scar on his cheek from the very beginning of the series where Gandalf gashed it.
  • Heroic BSOD: When Thorgal thinks his wife has died.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kriss. Also, Thorgal numerous times, and eventually Jolan.
  • Horny Vikings: In all their glory.
  • Human Aliens: The People of the Stars are originally from Earth.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills
  • It Got Worse: In Alinoë it starts with a Not-So-Imaginary Friend, and ends up with Thorgal's house getting burned to the ground, Aaricia attacked by multiple copies of Alinoë and Jolan almost drowning.
  • Knights and Knaves: This riddle is used in Sacrifice.
  • Large Ham: Jorund the Bull.
  • Last of His Kind: Averted, turns out that he's not.
  • Low Culture, High Tech
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted, Ogotaï is Thorgal's father but it's Thorgal who finds out first..
  • Manipulative Bastard: Or rather, manipulative bitch is the best way to describe Kriss of Valnor. The only person in the world she was shown truly caring for was her friend (and teacher) Sigwald. Whenever she works alongside other people, she's always using them for her own benefit or plans to betray them later. Despite Kriss having a crush on him, Thorgal is no exception to this rule. (and in fact, a reluctant tool on more than one occasion)
  • Mayincatec: The Land of Qâ.
  • Mind Over Matter: Arlac, one of Jolan's fellow-initiates seems to have the gift of telekinesis.
  • Mind Screw: Lord of the Mountains. Try to find out what happened, and in which timeline. How did Torric die two times?
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Alinoë, to Jolan.
  • Only You Can Repopulate My Race: Slive's original plan.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted; dwarves are close to the original Norse creatures, but smaller. They look more like gnomes, in fact.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: In Giants.
  • Ouroboros: In "The Lord of the Mountains", a ring that allows time travel takes the form of an Ouroboros.
  • Psychic Powers: Thorgal's people were stated to have these, though only Ogotai and Tanatloc are shown actually using them. Jolan inherited them and uses them frequently, though the only power he can actually reliably control is the power to desintegrate objects.
  • Psychopomp Death is a long-haired dissicated humanoid of indiscriminate gender. Its servants meanwhile are angel-like creatures, eyeless and with scythe blades for wings, flying through a void filled with people's life threads.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Menthor is assembling an army against Asgard.
    • Later averted. He hated Asgard because the Gods cast out his mother, but when they welcome her back and restore her immortality, he puts aside his grudge or at least realizes acting on it would be counter-productive since his mother is part of Asgard now.
  • Rape as Backstory: Kriss
  • Rapid Aging: several nightmare-inducing examples.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy
  • Redemption Equals Death: Shaniah. And Kriss de Valnor, as well as Tjall.
  • Religion of Evil: Ogotay, in his madness, institutes one among his Mayincatec followers, dedicated to himself and his late wife. It includes regular human sacrifice.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Nidhogg the Snake.
  • Retcon: in The Island of the Frozen Seas, the atlant colony is supposed to be 120 years old. By Child of the Stars it is just one generation. Or perhaps they didn't know any better yet.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kriss, against the village where she was raised, along with Kill'Em All and Kill It with Fire.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Three Eagle Lord is Slive's daughter in The Island of Frozen Seas.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In The Invisible Fortress, Thorgal accepts to have all his memories erased in order to have the gods "forget" him, and leave him and his family in peace; Kriss of Valnor uses his amnesia to persuade him to adventure with her as a pirate lord.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: She-Wolf can communicate with animals.
  • The Multiverse
  • The Virus: The titular disease in The Blue Plague.
  • Time Travel: The Lord of the Mountains, The Crown of Ogotaï.
  • Took a Level In Badass : Aaricia is a textbook example. Since the series started so long ago she was initially set up as a classic Damsel in Distress, complete with some very stupid decisions when the plot required it. She then had her own album, focusing on her childhood, to give her character development and highlight her very strategical spirit. When the Ogotaï Arc began she upgraded to Action Girl. Also, Jolan starts as a spoiled brattish child before he takes a level in badass. Then eventually he takes another one by bringing his future self in to help him.
  • Trick Arrow: Treefoot made arrows of all kinds, including sickle-heads to cut ropes, blunt ones to knock people out and whistling ones to scare people.
  • Unobtainium: The "metal which doesn't exist". It does exist anyway; it refers to a metal from another world.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Thorgal seems to spend more time in just a loincloth than in actual clothing.
  • Warrior Poet: One that would rather be poet than warrior. Thorgal was a Skald (Scandinavian Bard) in his youth, courtesy of his tribe's king as an attempt to keep him isolated from the rest.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The fact that Thorgal does not belong to this world wreaks havoc on his destiny.
  • Woman Scorned: Galathorn's sister does not take well to Thorgal not sleeping with her.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Alinoë is green-haired, that's why Aaricia treats him as Jolan's Imaginary Friend when he tells her about him at first.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: And they are Mayincatec Zeppelins.
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