So i’m trying to examine movie!Asgard culture since so much of it underlies my meta and headcanons, and also because other sources like the original myths and the regular MCU keep creeping in without my notice.
Movie!Asgard is a patriarchal warrior culture. There does not appear to be ceremonial armor; the armor we see the Asgardians wearing for Thor’s coronation, and the armor the W4 wear when just sitting around, don’t appear to be much different from what they wear into battle. Parts of it – cloaks, helmets – look like they’re optional as battle-wear, but functional in that context. We see Loki add trappings to his armor in Stuttgart, and Odin’s got shinier bits on his during the coronation scene, but that’s it. It’s worth noting that women are shown dressing up fancy, but the garb is feminine and not armor, including when Sif does this. Sif herself is shown as breaking the mold by proving that she can compete as a warrior, as men do, and this is something she’s immensely proud of. Weapons are worn at all times even in the royal hall and during feasts. Even the king’s symbol of office is, itself, a weapon.
There are also a lot of telling dialogue cues. Thor speaks of battles as glorious, and Hogun and Fandrel agree; Odin speaks of Thor as a warrior and as a king in the same context, telling him his words were not leadership and he’d forgotten what he’d been taught of a warrior’s patience. Thor speaks to Loki of fighting together in the same breath as playing together, when he speaks of brotherhood. Not only battle itself but the type of battle is important; Loki’s use of magic is mocked and differentiated from real fighting, denigrated as “tricks.” Even the stories Odin tells them as children are about past wars and glorious victories. Valhalla itself is mentioned when Thor speaks to Volstagg.
Odin himself is the only character who ever speaks negatively of war. During the coronation he speaks of the peace of the realms, plural, but this comes off as Asgard being paternalistic and essentially considering themselves as owning the other realms (the time Thor spends getting involved in fights on other realms which start after the Bifrost is broken, suggesting Asgard keeps them from fighting amongst themselves by force, and the very fact that an attack on Midgard is interpreted consistently as an attack on Asgard while Midgard’s actual inhabitants are considered inferior [“you wouldn’t bring a goat to a banquet lol”], indicate this pretty clearly). From the nuances of Thor’s reaction during the scene where he’s banished, I wonder if that isn’t the first time Odin, or anyone, has referred to war as “horror and devastation.” All Odin tells him during the opening scene’s story about Jotunheim is that a wise king never seeks war.
Yet Asgard jumps into lots of conflicts not primarily its own – more of them essentially owning Midgard. Jotunheim was condemned to slow decay and death via the confiscation of their Casket, for having tried to take over Midgard; I suppose it’s no wonder that the same was essentially done to Loki for the same reasons.
Asgard being a warrior culture is extremely important in looking at its core values. Warrior cultures tend to despise cowardice more than almost anything; Thor has contempt for cowardice as perceived in the frost giants, as he accuses them of hiding from him. It also explains the contempt for less direct means of fighting, and the distinct lack of Asgardian soldiers with ranged weapons (it’s a little thrown off by the stupid laser turrets from TDW, but advanced technology and whatnot so). Warrior cultures also tend to find death in battle honorable, which matches Norse tradition (and the mention of Valhalla) and also Sif’s words about dying a warrior’s death against the Destroyer. Warrior cultures also take betrayal very seriously, and it’s hard to list all the instances in which this is brought up.
I keep wanting to go off immediately on what this means for individual characters, but I think I need to gather my thoughts more and extrapolate its application over the course of the movies in general. @.@ Unfortunately I have to go shopping so this post will get added onto later.