THE NORNS (FATES)

Membership: Clotho ("spinner," alias Urd, Klothos), Atropos ("scissors," alias Verdandi), Lachesis ("lots," alias Skuld)

Purpose: To measure and assign the destinies of mortal man and to provide the prophecies of possible futures.

Affiliations: Balder, Cable, Gods of Asgard, Gods of Olympus, Karma, Kartag, Those Who Sit Above in Shadow

Enemies: Argius, Pluto, Thoas, Typhon

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Themis (mother), Eirene, Eunomia, Dike, Tyche (The Horae, sisters), Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Japet, Oceanus, Ophion, (The Titans, uncles), Dione, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Tethys, Theia (The Titanesses, aunts), Argus, Brontes, Steropes (The Cyclopes, uncles), Briareus, Kottus, Gyges (The Hecatocheiroi, uncles), Neptune, Pluto (Olympians, uncles), Hera, Demeter, Vesta (Olympians, aunts), Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hercules, Hermes (half-brothers), Artemis, Athena, Discord, Eileithyia, Hebe, Helen, Venus, The Muses (Olympians, half-sisters), Helios, Eos, Selene, Prometheus, Eprimetheus, Atlas, Menoetius (cousins)
see comments for more

Aliases: Danaids, The Fata, the Furies (see Comments), the Parcae, the Moirae, Wyrd, Sand Devil

Base of Operations: Nornheim, Asgard, by the roots of Yggdrasil
formerly, Olympus

First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#102 (March, 1964)

Powers/Abilities: The Norns possess the conventional powers of the Olympian Gods in addition to any powers they might have developed through the practice of Asgardian magics. They possess superhuman strength (Class 25 at least), resistance to injury, and a long life enchantment. They also have numerous magical skills primarily in controlling and perceiving time. They can freeze time and allow themselves to be seen by anyone of their choosing. They can perceive and view alternate futures even sharper than any known mortal psychic and even endow objects such as thread, paint or a burning log with the attributes of time. They can also disguise their appearance, taking on the form of a Sand Devil, a child, or a beautiful woman.
    It should be known that the Norns are not prone to feats of strength and have not actually demonstrated such, but it is ASSumed that they have comparable power to other goddesses--Snood.

History: (Greek/Roman Myth) - The Fates are the daughters of Zeus, Ruler of the Olympian Gods, and the Titaness Themis who Zeus once dallied with to get her support in overthrowing the male Titans from Olympus. Themis was the second of his twelve wives and, after Zeus overthrew the Titans,  her daughters became bestowed with guiding the affairs and destinies of mortals. Their medium in casting their spells was usually the thread of a spinning wheel. Clotho spun the thread to represent birth and Lachesis wove it to simulate life. Atropos, the most feared of them, used the scissors to simulate death by cutting it from the spinning wheel.

(Greek/Roman Myth/Incredible Hercules#127) - The Fates foretold that the daughter of Zeus and Metis would be greater than Zeus himself.

(Greek/Roman Myth) - Around 1250 BC, the Fates descended from Olympus to view the birth of Prince Meleager of Calydon, a region now part of modern Greece. Both Clotho and Lachesis predicted the child would be noble and brave as an adult, but then Atropos lamented that the newborn heir would die once a log in a nearby fireplace was consumed wholly by flame. Meleager’s mother, Althaea, quickly rescued the piece of wood and kept it hidden. Her son grew to adulthood and even became one of the Argonauts with Hercules, the son of Zeus. Following a lifetime of adventures, Meleager killed his uncles to keep them from taking the throne from him. Angry over the death of her brothers, Althaea took the wood back out and burned it to ashes; Meleager quickly died.

The god Apollo, upon hearing that his mortal friend, King Admetus of Pherae, was going to die, actually got the Fates drunk on wine in order to save the life of his friend. They agreed to allow someone else to die in Admetus’s place. Admetus’ wife, Alcestis, offered to take his place out of love, but Hercules broke that arrangement by wrestling the god of death, Thanatos, to a stand still when he came to collect her.

Generally remaining remote to the affairs of the gods, the Fates have taken part in battles that affected the Olympian Gods themselves. Angry over Zeus’ treatment of the Titans, who were her children, Gaea, Mother-Earth, gave birth to several giants who tried to conquer Olympus. The Fates quickly killed two of them named Agrius and Thoas with clubs of bronze. Gaea then produced Typhon who was more formidable than any of the other giants. Although Typhon gained a advantage over Zeus in his first clash with him, the Fates later fed him mortal food to weaken him enough that Zeus might defeat him.

(Gree/Roman myth/Incredible Hercules#116 (fb)) - The Fates were consulted by Athena, Ares and Zeus over a fight between Hercules and Kyknos. The Fates informed them that Kyknos was fated to die by Hercules unless he was killed first. Ares set out to kill Hercules before this could happen, but Athena intervened and prevented him, resulting in Kyknos' death.

BTS- Sometime either before or after Zeus put an end to the worship of the Olympian Gods, the Asgardian Gods started consulting the Fates as to affairs and prophecies concerning Asgard. The Fates then moved to or were presented with the region of Nornheim where they became known as the Norns. They tended to the needs of Yggdrasil, the Celestial Tree, whose existence was linked to the existence of the Asgardian Gods.

(Bizarre Adventures#32) - After failing to save the life of a Runolf, a Viking mariner the Norns had decreed to die, Thor was sentenced by Odin to visit the Norns (referred to here as the Weird Sisters) each year at the root of Yggdrasil.

(Journey into Mystery I#102/2 / Thor: Son of Asgard#10) - The Norns met with Thor to inform that before he could claim Mjolnir as his weapon, he would have to face death. This prediction came true when Thor came face-to-face with Hela for the first time.

(Raven Banner GN) - Greyval Grimson, out to reclaim the Raven Banner, asked the Fates for advice. They told him that his lover Sygnet was held by rock trolls. They also informed him that Odin granted him the Gullinbursti, Odin's magic (golden) boar. Grimson left on the Gullinbursti.

(Thor I#197) - The Norns tested Thor through their servant Kartag, to determine if Asgard was worthy of being saved from the Mangog. When Thor passed their test, they presented him with water from the Twilight Well, and the temporary use of Kartag in battle. Thanks to the Norns, Thor was able to defeat Mangog.

(Thor I#200) - The Norns watched as Thor faced Pluto in combat over the soul of Odin. When Pluto attempted to strike Thor down with his axe, the Norns intervened and destroyed the axe, so that Thor would die by the means they had themselves prophecized.

(Thor I#201) - The Norns shifted their attention to briefly gaze upon Heimdall, who had been set out to find one of the Young Gods for Odin, but they soon returned to observe Thor defeat Pluto.

(Defenders I#66) - Brunnhilde the Valkyrie consulted with the Norns. They told her of her future, and showed her what she thought was herself consigned to Niffleheim. In fact, it was actually Barbara Norriss.

(Thor Annual#11) - At the season of Thor's birth, the Norns looked back over the life of Thor and hailed him.

(Thor I#346-347) - Tortured by his experiences amongst the dead, Balder had come to wish himself dead, and rode out into a desert to seek his end. However, the Norns assumed the appearance of a beautiful young woman and a Sand Devil pursuing her, knowing that Balder would come to the woman's defense. They then brought Balder down to the Well of Wyrd, by the roots of Yggdrasil, to confront him on his destiny.

(Thor I#348) - The Norns presented Balder with the thread of life which represented his own existence, and told him that if he wished to die, he needed only to snap the thread. But Balder did not react swiftly enough, and was pulled into a giant tapestry made of the threads of other lives. Within the tapestry, Balder saw all of the lives he had saved, and those he had not. This resulted in him realizing that his every action or non-action bore consequences, and he began to regain his confidence as a warrior as a result.

(New Mutants Special Edition#1) - After Karma of the New Mutants was stranded in a desert by the Enchantress, she hoped that her life wound end there, but she found herself in the same Sand Devil scenario Balder had, only with a young girl instead of a woman. Karma took care of the "girl", and slowly lost all of the fat her body had gained after being possessed by the Shadow King. When Karma was finally reunited with her friends, she found that the "girl" had disappeared, and a thread had been tied around one of her fingers.

(Thor I#374) - After having become lord of Asgard, Balder rode back to the desert and was again confronted by the Sand Devil, which then assumed a human form to communicate with him. Balder asked the Norns for water from the Well of Life so that he could revive the raven Huginn. The Norns gave him the water gladly, and Huginn was restored to life.

(Ultimate Silver Surfer: Tarnished Soul) - The Nornir/Fates (explicitly named as Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) confronted the Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd (who curiously revealed that his name Norrin was derived from Nornir). The Fates revealed that they were also known as the Danaids. The Norns reviewed the past adventures of the Surfer, including summoning Zeaklar of Dynamo City, the Obliterator (an Elder), Doctor Doom, Ganymede, Mephisto, and Shalla Bal.

(Cable II#81 (fb)) - In a far alternate future known as Harmony two thousand years into the future, the Norns presented themselves to the ruler of Earth and revealed that the existence of his empire was in peril from the Ranshi timeline.

(Cable II#79) - In the present, the Norns appeared to the time-traveling mutant Cable to warn him of an attack on Presidential candidate Randall Shire at Madison Square Garden. After defeating Aentaros the Undying in possession of a man, Cable was once more confronted by the Norns as they spoke of a "third test."

(Cable II#81) - In the future known as Harmony, the Norns appeared to Manuel Crie, a member of the supreme council of Niers, the greatest metropolis of the planet, and informed him that Cable was the key to his timeline.

(Cable II#83) - In the present, the Norns appeared to Cable once last time. Identifying themselves this time, they informed him that the point of divergence was at hand that could make or break either the Harmony or Ranshi futures.

(Thor II#85) - The Norns were confronted by Thor, who had discerned that their power had been granted to them by Those Who Sit Above in Shadow. Determined to alter Asgard's destiny, which had forced them to accept a continuous cycle of death and rebirth in Ragnarok, Thor tore apart their tapestry, revealing Those Who Sit Above in Shadow. Thor destroyed the Norns' tapestry, and they were all sucked into Yggdrasil, seemingly perishing with Asgard as Ragnarok consumed it.

Comments: Adapted by Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils) and Paul Reinman (inks)

    Traditionally, the Fates (Moirae) are the daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Themis and sisters of the Horae (seasons) born before he conquered Olympus. Hesiod briefly considered them the daughters of Erebus and Nyx, but then later changed his mind in the same story and made them daughters of Zeus.

    It is worth noting that there is no reference in Norse Myth as to how the Norns were related to the Asgardian Gods. They were called more powerful than the Asgardian Gods and were said to predate Asgard itself. Not even Odin could undo what they did. This reference makes a good argument at least in the Marvel Universe that as the Norns, the Fates had more power and sway in Asgard than on Olympus. The Norn Urd was considered the oldest in that she once stood alone until joined by the other two. Urd is also possibly cognate with an obscure goddess named Erda by whom Odin is said to have fathered the Valkyries.
    --It should also be noted that there is nothing to support or refute the mythological origins of the Fates in the Marvel Universe. They may be cosmic beings who have become associated with the various pantheons, rather than being the children of any of the mythological gods--Snood.    Certainly debatable whether the 1950s stories just mis-represented the origins of these Fates
--Snood

    The idea that the Fates and the Furies were one and the same is a bit of a stretch. The Fates might have been called Furies, but the actual Furies (also called Erinnyes, Eumenides and Semnai Theai) were three goddesses who pelted out curses or punishments on mortals who had offended their kin. There were three of them named Alecto, Tisiphone and Megaera with Alecto the only one taking participation in a solo mission to torment Aeneas for Hera, the Queen of the Olympian gods.
    --In the Marvel Universe the Furies would certainly appear to be different than the Fates--Snood.

    The Fates appear in at least two other stories in literature. They appear as three witches in the beginning of "Macbeth" to warn the 11th Century Scottish Prince Macbeth against picking up a sword against his uncle and sometime in the Middle Ages to warn a vague king of tragedies to his daughter in a story later passed down as "Sleepy Beauty." They also appeared in random episodes of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "Xena" and "Disney’s Hercules." In modern years, they also appeared in the episode "Hanging by a Thread" in the "Real Ghostbusters" Animated Series. Who ya gonna call?
    --I vaguely remember the witches of Macbeth being connected to some weird horror story in the MU, but can't pin it down--Snood.
That would be "Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble" in Adventures Into Terror#27 (reprinted in Dracula Lives#3), in which Macduff is said to be one of the witch's son. If they are the Fates, that would make him a relative. --Prime Eternal

A Sand Devil also appeared in flashback in Thor I#479, but it appeared to be a genuine Sand Devil.

Per Degaton provided the info for the Raven Banner Graphic Novel. It was placed after Journey into Mystery I#102/2 because Thor was seen in the Graphic Novel with Mjolnir. He also provided the info for the Ultimate Silver Surfer novel.

Profile by Will U and Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Norns are not to be confused with:

Atropos of the Norns is not to be confused with:


Images taken from:
Thor I#201, page 3, panel 2
Thor I#348, page 5, panel 3
Thor I#347, page 5, panel 1


Appearances:
Journey into Mystery I#102 (March, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Paul Reinman (inks)
Thor I#197 (March, 1972) - Gerry Conway (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Thor I#200-201 (June-July, 1972) - Gerry Conway & Stan Lee (#200) (writers), John Buscema (pencils), John Verpoorten (#200) & Jim Mooney (#201) (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Defenders I#66 (December, 1978) - David Kraft (writer), Ed Hannigan (pencils), Bruce Patterson (inks), Bob Hall (editor)
Bizarre Adventures#32 (August, 1982) - Alan Zelenetz (writer), John Bolton (artist), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Thor Annual#11 (1983) - Alan Zelenetz (writer), Bob Hall (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thor I#346-348 (August-October, 1984) - Walt Simonson (writer/pencils), Terry Austin (#346), Walt Simonson (#347) & Bob Wiacek (#348) (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Marvel Graphic Novel: The Raven Banner (1985) - Alan Zelenetz (writer), Charles Vess (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
New Mutants Special Edition#1 (1985) - Chris Claremont (writer), Arthur Adams (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Thor I#374 (December, 1986) - Walt Simonson (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Ultimate Silver Surfer (November, 1995) - Katherine Lawrence (writer), Stan Lee (editor)
Cable II#79 (May, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Mark Powers (editor)
Cable II#81 (July, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Mark Powers (editor)
Cable II#83 (September, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (pencils), Walden Wong (inks), Mark Powers (editor)
Thor II#85 (December, 2004) - Michael Avon Oeming (writer), Andrea DiVito (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Thor: Son of Asgard#10 (January, 2005) - Akira Yoshida (writer), Greg Tocchini (artist), MacKenzie Cadenhead (editor)
Incredible Hercules#127 (May, 2009) - Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak (writers), Dietrich Smith (pencils), Cory Hamscher (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)

Last updated: 09/04/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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