In a fascinating Ted Ed lesson written by Nordic historian Scott Mellor and animated by Julie Herdichek Baltzer, narrator Addison Anderson tells the wonderful folktale of Thor, son of Odin, god of thunder, and protector of mankind and his fabled journey to the land of the giants. In the story, Thor and his companions, the trickster Loki and Thjalfi travel to a distant land and are subjected to a series of unwinnable tests by the king of the giants, yet these tests were not as they appeared.
…as the king escorted them out, he revealed that nothing in the castle had been what it seemed.
Loki lost the eating contest because his opponent Logi was wildfire itself, devouring everything in its path. Thjalfi couldn’t outrun Hugi because Hugi was the embodiment of thought, always faster than action. And even Thor couldn’t defeat Elli, or old age, which weakens everyone eventually. …Thor and his companions failed the challenges presented to them. But in trying to achieve the impossible, they’d pushed themselves harder than ever before and changed the world in ways no one had expected.