Slight Miscalculation

by wjw on November 24, 2013

Today was a miserable cold day, so I decided to spend it indoors, catching up on the movies I missed while I was away.  So I saw THOR: THE DARK WORLD, which was pretty good as Thor movies go— lots of action, twisty story, some nice comic turns, and each actor had a scene to call his own.  But after a while, I began to sense a problem in Malekith’s cunning plan to wipe out all life in the Nine Universes.  No one else, so far as I know, has noticed this little flaw.

I illustrate thus:

Let’s assume, for the moment, that Malekith has succeeded in his plot.  Thor, Odin, and the Asgardians have been wiped out, and all life on the Nine Worlds has been extinguished, with the exception of Malekith and his Swart Elves.  Let’s eavesdrop on this clutch of villains at the moment of their victory.

SWART ELF #1: Thor, Odin, and the Asgardians have been wiped out!

SWART ELF #2: All life on the Nine Worlds has been extinguished!

MALEKITH: Except for us, my children!  We alone survive to repopulate our devastated world!

SWART ELF #1: Glory to you, my peerless leader!

SWART ELF #2: Let’s travel to Swartalfenheim and celebrate!

SWART ELF #1: Roll out some barrels of wine, invite some chicks . . .

SWART ELF #2: Yeah, let’s get this repopulation business started!

SWART ELF #1: Man, it’s been five thousand years since I’ve seen an elf maiden!

SWART ELF #2: They won’t be maidens for long once we get ahold of them.  Ha hahahaha!


SWART ELF #2: Yea!  O glorious Lord Malekith, reward us for our victory by bringing forth the elf maids!

MALEKITH: [silence]


The chanting gradually dies away.

SWART ELF #1: My lord?

SWART ELF #2: There are elf maids, right?  I mean, we did bring some with us?

MALEKITH:  Well . . . guys . . .

SWART ELF #2: I mean, we’re supposed to repopulate Swartalfenheim, right?  Surely some girls were in the plan somewhere?

MALEKITH: Well, you know, the plan was really complex.  The Aether, the Aesir, the Conjunction . . . I got a little distracted . . . some details slipped my mind.

SWART ELF #2: Details!!!

SWART ELF #1: Are you telling me that you devised a five thousand-year plan to wipe out all life and repopulate the Nine Worlds with Swart Elves and you forgot that we’d need FEMALES?

MALEKITH: Well, y’know, it was my personal ship . . . I just took my drinking buddies.

SWART ELF #2: No girlsI  No girls EVER???

MALEKITH: I’m sorry, guys.  You don’t know how embarrassed I am . . .

We FADE on a scene of growing chaos and violence.


So yeah, they forgot to include girl elves in the story.  You can tell a bunch of boy-fans wrote this movie, right?

Oz November 24, 2013 at 11:32 am

Are you sure there weren’t any with them? I hear those swart elf chicks are hard to tell from the swart elf guys…

Lila November 25, 2013 at 1:36 am

I was expecting you to wonder what they were going to eat, given that they’d wiped out all life….

JaniceG November 25, 2013 at 3:17 am

I figured there were girls in purdah on the ship reblacking the armor, cooking the food, and sweeping up the ash those guys probably left everywhere

DensityDuck November 25, 2013 at 5:58 am

They seemed kind of okay with permanently and painfully mutating themselves into terrifying monsters. So, presumably, they weren’t much more than mindless drones who just did whatever Malekith told them.


There were a lot of moments in “Thor 2” where I thought “this is straight off of a comics page”. That wasn’t a bad thing.


Someone else (I think it was the MightyGodKing guy) said that the “Thor” movies were Marvel’s version of “supernatural romance” (i.e. Twilight) and I kind of agree.

DensityDuck November 25, 2013 at 5:59 am

Ooh, one more thing. If you’ve ever read “Roadside Picnic”, then the black-hole-grenade gadgets the bad guys use are pretty much what I imagine mosquito mange would look like.

John F. MacMichael November 27, 2013 at 8:17 am

I enjoyed this movie. One reason I did was that as I watched it I kept in mind that I was watching the result of 8th Century Norse myths reinterpeted for 20th Century American comic books and then adapted for 21st Century cinema.

Thomas Hazlewood December 2, 2013 at 7:13 am

According to my brainy son, in Norse mythology the ‘Dokkalfar’ were all male and they ‘may have originated as nature spirits, as beings associated with death, or as a mixture of concepts’. The lack of females may not be considered, by them, to be a problem.

wjw December 5, 2013 at 5:12 am

Well, there were Swart Elves, Dark Elves, and Bright Elves. Bright Elves were beautiful and lived in a heaven-like world. “Dark Elves” lived underground, and it might have been a term for dwarves.

Swart Elves, aka Black Elves, were according to one source the Sons of Ivaldi, who was a dwarf. This would make them all male, but also just the members of one family, not a whole species. Another source has them living in Swartalfaheim, which is clearly the version Marvel adapted. In the sagas Swartalfaheim is a place you go to find a skilled dwarf, which argues that Swart Elves might just be another name for dwarves.

So the sources pretty clearly confuse Swart Elves with Dark Elves with Dwarfs, depending on what kind of story you need to tell. Norse mythology was a mashup, like most mythology, and Marvel has mashed it up with their own mythology.

But I still want to know where the next generation of Swart Elves is coming from.

cd December 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Doesn’t one version of the Norse myths have the dwarves appear out of the ground, “like maggots”? Or is my memory wildly off?

Johan Larson December 12, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Most of the Swart Elves are only seen in full-face masks, right? Some of them could have been females, easily enough.

Assuming they even have two genders.

wjw December 16, 2013 at 5:10 am

I was paying attention for a while, and all those elves had male bodies. (And it’s not as if this series hides the femininity of any of its female characters anyway.)

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