Appearing in "What if... Thor was raised by the Frost Giants?"
- Prince / King Thor (First appearance)
- Frost Giants (First appearance)
- All-Mother Freyja (Only appearance; dies)
- Asgardians (First appearance)
- Norns (Mentioned)
- Laufey's father (Mentioned)
- Ymir (Invoked)
- Surtur (Mentioned)
- Vikings (First appearance)
- Loki's sons (First appearance)
- Loki's wife (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- Frost Giants
- Frost Beasts
- Dogs (Mentioned)
- Fire Demons (Mentioned)
- Dark Elves (Mentioned)
- Trolls (Mentioned)
- Human-Frost Giant Hybrids
- Gods (Invoked)
- Earth-22260 (First appearance)
- Nine Realms (Mentioned)
- Jotunheim (First appearance)
- Hel, Niffleheim (Invoked)
- Asgard (First appearance)
- Muspelheim (Mentioned)
- Midgard (Earth) (First appearance)
- Scandinavia (First appearance)
- Nine Realms (Mentioned)
- Gungnir (First appearance)
- Ice Crusher (First appearance)
- Yggdrasil (Mentioned)
- Mjolnir (First appearance)
Synopsis for "What if... Thor was raised by the Frost Giants?"
An unspoken narrator speaks to an unspoken audience, telling them the tale that unfolds on the pages. King Laufey of the Frost Giants leads his people into war against the Asgardians, under King Odin. After a long battle, Laufey is victorious when Odin misses a crucial thrust, allowing Laufey to slay the Asgardian king with his magical hammer, Ice Crusher. Victorious, the Frost Giants sack Asgard, slaughtering all save Freya and Thor; the former to rot in Laufey's prison, the latter to be claimed as Laufey's adoptive son, the ultimate triumph over his fallen foe.
In the frozen dungeons of Laufey's castle in Jotunheim, Loki sneaks into Thor's cell, hoping to befriend his new "brother". Thor is grateful for Loki's kindly gift of furs to weather the frigid chill of his new home, and Loki gives him a crudely carved amulet as a symbol of their brotherhood.
An unknown period of time later, Thor and Loki are part of a hunting party of young Frost Giants, seeking to bring down a monstrous Jotunheim beast. The boys watch as Laufey cruelly orders the other giants to charge blindly at the monster, with it killing several of them before Loki tries to impress his father by using his magic to veil himself in invisibility and slip in close enough to kill it. He only earns his father's contempt, as the creature uses its other senses to find Loki and pins him down. Loki begs for Laufey to save him, but it is Thor who leaps to his brother's rescue; although swallowed by the beast, he conjures a mighty lightning bolt that strikes it dead, ripping his way free of its guts and calling himself "Prince of Winter" - clearly, he has grown comfortable in his once-unwanted home.
Thor is jubilant, but Loki is humiliated - especially when Laufey tells Thor that he should have let Loki die, for he is a shame to the Frost Giants. Thor, on the other hand, he finds far more worthy, telling him that he may one day wield Ice Crusher, the weapon of the Frost Giant Kings. A Frost Giant named Grimr protests this, but Laufey cuts him off. Thor tries to share his excitement with Loki, but Loki has already left.
In the dungeons, Loki broods and discovers the long-forgotten Freya, who offers him the one thing nobody else would in Jotunheim: a sympathetic ear. Years pass, with Loki and Thor both growing to adulthood, and Loki regularly steals away to the dungeons to talk to Freya, learning magic from her and exulting in the kindness she shows him. He keeps the truth of her son's survival from her, in an act of childish selfishness, but also employs his growing sorcerous skills to bring her what comfort he can.
As one such session comes to an end, in the halls above, Laufey pits Thor against Grimr in mortal combat, for Grimr has continued to speak against Laufey's plan to name Thor as the next King of Jotunheim. Thor is not eager to slay someone he has hunted with for so long, but Grimr's taunts and Laufey's talk of honor sees them battle. Knocking his larger foe to the floor by shattering his knee with a punch, Thor is officially bequeathed Ice Crusher, and at Laufey's command, he uses it to slay Grimr.
Loki returns and sardonically congratulates Thor on his new position as Crown Prince; Thor is blind to how his brother has grown detached from him, greeting him with what the former Asgardian believes is genuine affection and good humor. He then tells Loki that Laufey has commanded both of his sons march to war against Surtur and the Fire Giants of Muspelheim with him tomorrow.
This makes up Loki's mind; he has no desire to risk his tender skin against the burning wrath of the Fire Giants. Using his magic, he steals into the dungeon, bespells the guards, and frees Freya.
Soon afterwards, Laufey leads a confused Thor through the frozen-over ruins of Asgard, telling his confused ward that the war against Muspelheim has been postponed to hunt a traitor. Unknowingly passing by the ice-covered Mjolnir, Thor assures Laufey that he feels no pull to this place, and is a true son of Jotunheim now. In a rare moment of tenderness, Laufey apologizes to Thor, admitting that he knows it hasn't been easy for Thor to be his adopted son and telling Thor that he believes Thor to be the only person in the Nine Realms who would not let him down.
They come across Laufey's targets; Loki and Freya, seeking to rebuild the Bifrost so they might flee to Midgard together. Laufey charges in, grabbing Loki and starting to crush him, dismissing Thor's pleas for mercy. Loki swiftly conjures a dagger and slays his unprepared father, stabbing him in the eye and then cutting his throat as he reels. Laufey's death enrages Thor, who attacks Loki in pursuit of vengeance, despite Loki's attempt to talk him down. When Thor unleashes a blast of utter cold from Ice Crusher, Freya pushes Loki to safety but is slain by it. Thor is horrified when he realizes he has just killed his own mother and resumes his attack on Loki; pinning the runty Frost Giant down and preparing to stave his head in, Loki pleads that he just wanted to leave and find his own path.
For whatever reason, Thor lowers his hammer and tells Loki to go. Loki tells Thor that he could come to Midgard with him, be free of everything he has had to deal with, but Thor refuses; with Laufey dead, Jotunheim will need Thor to defend it from fire demons, dark elves, trolls, and all the other monsters and malevolent peoples of the Nine Realms. The Frost Giants may not be Thor's people by blood, but they are still his people; they need him, and so he has a purpose. He tells Loki to find his own purpose, and then watches as Loki vanishes across the Bifrost before falling to his knees and mourning, lightning bolts spitting from the sky and arcing across the ruins around him.
Our narrator reveals himself as a man in a hut on Midgard, telling his tale to a pair of boys for distraction from a midwinter storm. He concludes that Loki went on to become a mighty champion of Midgard, but such is a tale for another night. The boys wonder if they will ever get to see Thor, even as the storyteller warns them that such might not be for the best. A woman, the boys' mother - and apparently the storyteller's wife - scolds him for telling them such stories and tells him to go out and get some more firewood, which he retreats to do with a chuckle. Outside, he stops in amazement; lying in the snow is the amulet that Loki gave to Thor so long ago.
He picks it up and looks into the snowy, stormy sky in wonder, revealing himself to be Loki.
When young THOR’S father falls to the King of Giants, his life is forever changed. He’s ripped from Asgard to be raised in a world of persistent winter, learning the brutal way of life in Jotenheim. But what happens when the runt of the giants, LOKI, is under the shadow of his new step-brother?