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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Hela from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Hela (Marvel).
~ Hela to Thor during their confrontation in Norway
I'm not a queen or a monster... I'm the Goddess of Death! What were YOU the God of again?!
~ Hela's most famous quote.
Hela Odinsdottir is the main antagonist of the 2017 Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok.
She is the first born daughter of Odin, which makes her the elder biological sister of Thor Odinson and adoptive elder sister to Loki Laufeyson. She is the goddess of Death and heir to Asgard's throne who is bent on taking over Asgard with her own army of Berserkers at her side, rebuilding it in her own image and conquering the entire universe instead of simply Nine Realms.
Hela started out as the firstborn child and sole daughter to Odin and Frigga. She served her father as an executioner and leader of the Einherjar in Odin's plot to conquer the Nine Realms. She served as a loyal, faithful, and dutiful servant to her father, even being so pure as to wield Mjølnir. However, as the years went by, Hela start to develop her ambitions and powers to a degree that would grew beyond Odin's control. Having noticed his daughter's ambitions as well her new warmongering and bloodthirsty behavior, Odin, who had finally realized that peace is the true way to unite the Realms, was forced to fight Hela when she massacred anyone who tried to oppose her and attacked her own father. Able to defeat her but incapable of killing her, Odin decided to dispose of Hela by banishing her to a realm called Hel, where his life force would be the only lock to keep her from escaping.
Hela once tried to break free from Hel, which prompted Odin to send female Asgardian warriors called the Valkyries to stop her. Hela first send out Necroswords to kill some of the Valkyries and then engaged the remaining Valkyrior Warrior Maidens and overpowered them all,killing almost all of the Valkyries. Odin was ultimately convinced that he himself must personally intervene, having apparently been convinced after apparently waiting for the Valkyries to return that Hela is too much for them. Odin then personally entered Hel and was able to overpower Hela and re-imprison her, but save for Brunhilde, the leader, all the Valkyries perished in the battle.
Odin then proceeded to write out Hela from all of Asgardian history, even replacing the murals of her conquests with those of his other children.
Kneel. Before your queen.
~ Hela to Thor and Loki.
Several years following the deaths of Frigga, Malekith and the Dark Elves, Thor battled against the fire demon Surtur, who foretells him of an event called Ragnarok that will destroy all of the Asgardians once his crown is united with the Eternal Flame within the city. Undaunted, Thor defeats Surtur and his demon horde before taking Surtur's crown, believing that he has averted Ragnarok.
However, Odin dies of old age after being found by Thor and Loki in Norway, but not before he tells them about the existence of Hela to them. Following Odin's death, Hela was able to escape from Hel through a portal-like gateway, musing that she would have liked to see her father die in which during their humorous encounter that when Thor introduces himself as her sibling, much to her shock in which she replied that he does not resemble Odin after all. When Loki proposed a truce, she sarcastically stated he sounded more like Odin. Forgoing all civilness, Hela then demands her brothers to bow down before her and acknowledge her as their new queen. Thor and Loki defiantly refuse before the former throws Mjølnir at Hela, but unfortunately, she catches the hammer and destroys it instantly with her bare hands before adjusting her headdress. A shocked Thor and Loki then attempt to escape to the Bifrost Bridge, but Hela pursues them and easily throws both of them out into space, leaving them to crash-land at a nearby planet named Sakaar (ruled by the notorious Grandmaster).
With both Thor and Loki banished, Hela took the opportunity to take over Asgard by eliminating the Einherjar (the elite army of Asgard) along with the Warriors Three (Volstagg, Fandrall, and Hogun) and eventually appointed a downtrodden Asgardian named Skurge to serve as her Executioner after the latter spared him upon her arrival in Asgard in which she killed Volstagg and Fandrall with ease for resisting her. Upon destroying the remaining army and with Asgard left defenseless, Hela then swiftly assumed the throne and destroyed the murals that Odin created which she described it as "lies" upon seeing within its murals that depicted peace treaties, festivities and exchange of gold and goblets; which its destruction revealed several of its darker murals that foretold her history before proceeding towards Odin's Vault with Skurge in which she discovered several artifacts stored in there as she declared the Infinity Gauntlet "fake" in which she deduced that the latter was just a mere replica (the real Infinity Gauntlet was wielded by Thanos), the Casket of Ancient Winters "a useless object", viewed Surtur's crown as 'smaller than she thought', became interested in the Tesseract but proclaimed the Eternal Flame the greatest of all. She smashed through the floor to the mausoleum underneath while wielding the Eternal Flame as she demonstrated to Skurge her true powers before descending down and used the Eternal Flame to resurrect her dead pet Fenris Wolf and her own army (known as the Berserkers) to cement her new role as Queen of Asgard.
With her subjugation of Asgard complete, Hela plans to use the Bifrost Bridge to expand the Asgardian empire through the universe, but Hemidall (the sentry of the Bifrost Bridge who was banished earlier by Loki) secretly returns as he covertly steals the sword controlling the bridge rendering it useless before hiding away with the rest of the Asgardian citizens to form a resistance against Hela's reign. A furious Hela then orders Skurge along with her troops to take down the resistance so that she can use Hemidall's sword to activate the bridge and proceed with her plans.
Eventually, Hela, Skurge, and the Berserkers manage to discover the location of the Asgardian resistance with an information from a Asgardian civilian who exposed the location in which he revealed that the resistance took refuge on an old fortress within Asgard after Hela coldly ordered Skurge with a threat to execute a young and innocent Asgardian woman and upon hearing the plea of the civilian which led her to promptly convince Skurge to spare the woman.
Using the information that she gained from the Asgardian civilian, Hela and Skurge, along with the Berserkers, then begin their assault on the old fortress (by tearing down the ancient gate with her spikes) where Heimdall is hiding with the Asgardian civilians but the echo from Asgard's throne room that was sounded by Thor's hammering of an iron staff prompted her to return and confront him in which she was surprised that Thor managed to survive from their encounter in the Bifrost Bridge while Thor sarcastically stating of her actions by tearing down the murals as "redecorating" which he discovered the now revealed darker murals upon his arrival earlier while Hela replied that was "father's solution to cover it up" then demanded Thor to leave the throne but he refused which led to engaging in a fight with him, thereafter. This distraction also allowed Heimdall to evacuate the Asgardian civilians from the old fortress and led them to return to Asgard through the Bifrost Bridge only to be cut off from behind by Skurge and the Berserker army and in front by the enormous Fenris as both fronts began to attack them; However, the battle's tide is turned when Loki returned after defeating the Grandmaster's forces and escaping Sakaar (with the help from the Hulk and several gladiators) on one of the Grandmaster's giant ships. It also turns out that one of the gladiators named 142 happens to be the sole Valkyrie who previously survived Hela's attack during her previous attempted escape from Hel. The Hulk and 142 then proceed to fight against Fenris, Skurge, and the Berserkers while Loki and the gladiators evacuated the remaining Asgardians on the ship.
Whatever game you're playing, it won't work. You can't defeat me. (Thor: No, I know....... but he can.) NO!!
~ Hela's last words after seeing that Thor has summoned Surtur to destroy Asgard before her death.
With the defeat of Fenris and the Berserker army faltering, the duel between Thor and Hela continues to intensify, but he loses an eye in which Hela was able sliced it with ease before subduing him and then Thor receives a vision from Odin that only Ragnarok can defeat Hela. It was then Thor realized that the true meaning of Asgard meant for protecting its citizens, not its land. Then, he eventually regained his full power by striking a lightning towards Hela, knocking her down in the process while at the same time, taking down several Beserkers in a massive lightning blast. Deciding to let Surtur bring about Ragnarok, Thor and 142 distract Hela while Loki takes Surtur's crown and unites it with the Eternal Flame (per Thor's orders). Witnessing the heroes and the remaining Asgardians escaping on the giant ship, an angry Hela attempts to stop them by pinning the ship with her spikes, but a repentant Skurge redeems himself by allowing the Asgardians to escape while taking down several Berserkers (who were attempting to board the ship and attack the Asgardian citizens), though Hela kills him with a knife in retaliation. Hela taunts Thor that even with his full power, she is too powerful to defeat and that she's willing to hunt down and kill all the remaining Asgardians to complete her goal. However, Thor taunts Hela by revealing an arising Surtur, who starts destroying a large portion of Asgard, leaving a shocked Hela to realize that she's been distracted. This allows both Thor and 142 to stab Hela in the chest and send her down into the river before escaping with Hulk, Loki and the other survivors. Unwilling to let Asgard be destroyed (as it is the source of her power), an infuriated Hela arises from the waters and tries to destroy Surtur by impaling him with a multitude of spikes, but Surtur is immune to them and taunts Hela by laughing back at her, much to Hela's distraught. Surtur then violently shoves the tip of his mighty flaming sword down on a horrified Hela, killing her in a blast of green energy and incinerating her remaining Berserkers in the process. Thor and the survivors then all watch as Surtur fully thrusts his sword to destroy Asgard, killing himself in the process.
With Hela and with her forces vanquished for good, Thor (taking over as the new King of the Asgardians) decides to build a new Asgard for his fellow people on Earth.
Avengers: Infinity War
Hela is only mentioned in the film as it took place following the events of Ragnarok. Though Thor and Loki are satisfied that they defeated Hela and saved their people, their dream of creating a new Asgard on Earth was crushed when the notorious alien warlord Thanos and the Black Order arrived to obtain the Tesseract that Loki retrieved. To that end, Thanos and the Black Order made the Asgardian survivors suffer Hela's fate by killing half of them (including Loki and Hemidall) while the other half (including Valkyrie) manage to use escape pods, just as Thanos sets their ship to explode, much to Thor's horror.
After being rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor explains his adventures to them while mentioning his battle against Hela, just as Star-Lord relates this to his battle against his evil father Ego.
Asgard is dead and it will be reborn in my image.
Hela is extremely wrathful, ambitious, sadistic, callous, and manipulative. Her easily angered and impatient nature make her prone to killing and maiming anyone who stands in her way. These traits made her an effective and brutal leader, and essential to Asgard's violent conquest of the Nine Realms. Hela was a wonderful wartime leader, or executioner as she called herself; proudly serving as Odin's general in conquest. However, when Odin transitioned into a peace-time King, Hela refused to oblige to this as her cruelty grew to become a threat to his new society. Furthermore, Odin saw her overambitious goals to be a risk to his ruling over Asgard, especially considering how powerful she is, Odin banished her from Asgard for several millennia.
After her freedom, she immediately conquered Asgard and Heimdall himself said that she was so power-hungry that if she could access the Bifrost Bridge, she would conquer all of the Nine Realms and even all the Cosmos. Hela proved that Odin was wise to imprison her, rather than let her rule Asgard during peacetime. She quickly made it clear that she would exterminate her whole nation if they stood in the way of resuming her conquests. Hela was quite content to rule over a dead nation of dead soldiers completely loyal to her as she would conquer more worlds.
Hela was also extremely cantankerous and resentful of her imprisonment at the hands of her own father Odin, who she at first appears to be loyal enough to at first that she willingly executed his will and helped him conquer the Nine Realms. She gleefully mocked his death and openly expressed her wish to have been able to see it herself. However, she also feels highly betrayed by Odin due to her imprisonment, as she was quickly angered by the fake displays of the castle that displayed only Odin, Thor and Loki as well as his peaceful conquering of the Nine Realms to the point that she immediately threw her swords at those false images and shattered them to reveal the true images of Odin's violent deeds.
Powers and Abilities
Our sister destroyed your hammer like a piece of glass. She's stronger than both of us, she's stronger than you; you don't stand a chance! Do you understand what I'm saying to you?
~ Loki to Thor.
Hela possesses all of the various superhuman attributes common among Asgardians. However, being part of Asgard's royal family, (more specifically the eldest child of Odin), her attributes are significantly superior to those of any other Asgardians, even her younger brothers Thor and Loki combined, as she can draw power from Asgard itself to increase her own might, with the coming of Ragnarök being necessary to take her down. This makes Hela incredibly powerful, and an almost unstoppable foe for Thor and the Revengers, with only Surtur at full power, and Odin in his prime, having enough power to defeat her.
Asgardian Physiology: As the eldest child of Odin, Hela has tremendous superhuman abilities and supernatural powers, far superior to those of any other Asgardian, even her younger brother Thor. It appears only the late Odin in his prime surpassed a younger Hela's power among Asgardians. However,after returning to Asgard, Hela's power increased even more, almost,if not truly, rivaling Odin as the most powerful Asgardian of all time and one of the most powerful beings in the Nine Realms.
Superhuman Strength: Hela possesses tremendous levels of superhuman strength, which allowed her to single-handedly wipe out all of the Valkyries (with only their leader barely surviving), and to even easily catch Mjølnir with one hand after it was thrown at her with full speed, before crushing it in her hand with no visible effort, in spite of it being one of the most powerful weapons in existence, causing it to explode in a blast of lightning. Hela later slaughtered the Warriors Three, Skurge, and the combined might of the Einherjar with ease. Furthermore, she was able to easily physically dominate Thor himself in two of their three battles, sending him flying with her attacks, and proved to have enough strength to injure the nearly invulnerable Asgardian, easily overpowered and tossed Valkyrie. away. Even after Thor gained his full powers, Hela proved to be still too strong for him. Only a fully-empowered Surtur and Odin at his prime was stronger than Hela (who was younger and weaker when she fought Odin), with Odin imprisoning her in Hel and Surtur managing to destroy her (at her highest power at the time) by destroying Asgard. In her peak,she is presumably almost as strong as,if not,as strong as Odin.
Superhuman Durability: Hela's body, much like that of Thor, appears nigh-invulnerable, although her durability surpasses even her brother's, which allowed Hela to easily block spear strikes from a Gungnir-wielding Thor with her bare hands, and to even catch Mjølnir without injury. Hela was even unharmed after grabbing a handful of the Eternal Flame, impaled through the torso with an Einherjar's sword and stabbed with Gungnir by Thor without her body or her clothing being damaged, and emerged completely unharmed after a fully-empowered Thor hit her with massive lightning bolts. Indeed, only revived and enhanced Surtur's Twilight Sword was able to crush her, thus sending the Goddess of Death into oblivion.
Superhuman Stamina: Like all Asgardians, Hela's musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of humans or normal Asgardians, allowing her to defeat numerous Asgardians, as well as fight against the combined might of Thor and Valkyrie without tiring.
Superhuman Speed: Hela can move at exceptionally high speeds, as she was fast enough to keep up with and even outpace Thor and Valkyrie in combat, as well as even being fast enough to catch Mjølnir with one hand.
Superhuman Agility: Hela naturally possesses greater agility, dexterity, balance, and body coordination than that of a human, and even most other Asgardians, with her managing to dodge and outpace Thor and Valkyrie's attacks for the majority of her battles with them and easily jump through a crater and land fully on her feet.
Extended Longevity: Due to her connection to Asgard and to Hel, Hela is immortal and will not die, so long as the realm of Asgard exists.
Connection to Asgard: As the first born of Odin, Hela has a supernatural connection to the realm Asgard, and can draw power from Asgard itself to perform incredible supernatural abilities. Hela can manifest various physical structures out of thin air, ranging from weapons to ground structures to even her own armor. She can even draw power from Asgard to enhance her natural abilities.
Control over Life and Death: Hela was exiled for all eternity in the afterlife realm of Hel where the souls of those who died without being honored are driven to.
Weapon Manifestation: Hela can manifest various weapons out of different parts of her body, though she would usually generate Necroswords, daggers, spears, and axes. These weapons are incredibly durable and sharp, enough to not only instantly kill the likes of Warriors Three and Skurge, but also even pierce right through Thor's nigh-invulnerable body, with Hela thus gouging his right eye out with a Necrosword. She also manifested the Bloodaxe, which she then gave to Skurge. Hela later generated oversized blades from her body to weigh door and collapse the large gate to a secret cave where the fleeing Asgardians were hiding. She was also able to generate these spike-like constructs from the ground to pierce Surtur with, but that ultimately proved ineffective against the Fire Giant.
Structure Manifestation: Hela could manifest metallic, blade-like structures from the ground surrounding her, as seen when she attempted to prevent Loki's spaceship containing the Asgardians from launching from the doomed realm, and later when she attempted to gain elevation during her short battle with Surtur.
Armor Manifestation: After being freed by Odin's death, Hela was able to repair the damage to her clothing and make her headdress appear and disappear from her head.
Necromancy: Hela, as the self-proclaimed "Goddess of Death", demonstrated being able to resurrect her allies, using a handful of flame from the Eternal Flame and tossing it against the ground to create a huge blast of green infernal energy. As such, she was able to revive her pet wolf Fenris and her Berserkers after discovering their corpses under Odin's Vault. She has ruled in the realm of Hel, where the souls of those who died without being honored are driven to.
Master Combatant: Hela is immensely skilled and deadly in both armed and hand-to-hand combat, as she was the original owner of Mjølnir and the chief of the legion of Asgard as well as Odin's Executioner. Her skills are so great that she easily managed to single-handedly slay the entire Einherjar army of Asgard, as well as swiftly slay all of the Warriors Three. Indeed, Hela's combat skills are superior to even those of the extremely skilled Valkyrie and Thor, with her notably able to battle both of them simultaneously, and beat Thor into submission in two of their three battles, even gouging out Thor's right eye with her Necrosword, as well as easily defeating Valkyrie in battle while she single-handedly slaughtered the Valkyries. While a fully-powered Thor (after receiving guidance from Odin's spirit) was able to almost match her to a stalemate, Hela still proved herself too much for him, necessitating Loki to resurrect Surtur and start Ragnarök. Only Odin was ever able to defeat Hela in battle, having been the one who cast her out of Asgard and imprisoned her in Hel,and presumably,she is now on equal level to her father.
Swordsmanship: While Hela usually prefers to fight with her bare hands and telekinetically hurled weapons, she is also an incredibly skilled swordswoman, typically wielding a Necroswords. Indeed, Hela's skills allowed her to easily slaughter all of Asgard's Einherjar and Valkyries and even gain the upper hand over Thor using Gungnir and easily disarm him of his blades.
Arcane Lore: Hela has been shown to have an encyclopedic knowledge of mystical artifacts and energy and also has great skill in handling them, as demonstrated when she easily caught Mjølnir (possibly due to being the hammer's original wielder) and shattered the nearly indestructible Asgardian Hammer, withstood repeated attacks from Gungnir, and withstood grabbing a handful of the Eternal Flame. She was also quickly able to tell that the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin's Vault was a fake replica, that the Casket of Ancient Winters was no longer functional, that the Crown of Surtur was supposed to be much larger, and that the Tesseract could still be useful to her.
Expert Leader: As the Chief of the Legion of Asgard and Odin's Executioner, Hela was known to be a very effective and brutal leader, with her skills in Leadership being essential in Asgard's violent conquest of the Nine Realms.
Buri † - Paternal Great-grandfather
Bor † - Paternal Grandfather
Odin † - Father turned Enemy
Frigga † - Possible Mother
Thor - Brother turned Enemy and Attempted Victim
Loki - Adoptive Brother turned Enemy and Attempted Victim
In Norse Mythology, as in the comics, Hela is the illegitimate daughter of Loki. She was raised in the care of Asgard for a time until she was appointed as ruler of Hel and Niflheim by Odin.
But this incarnation of Hela is rewritten as Odin's daughter, making her Thor and Loki's older sister.
This incarnation of Hela is a composition of many characters:
Hela's backstory of having been imprisoned many years ago and freed during the present day is taken from Cul, Odin's brother from Fear Itself.
Having Skurge the Executioner as her servant comes from Amora the Enchantress.
The twist of the character being Thor and Loki's long-lost sister is taken from Angela.
According to producer Brad Winderbaum, her power of the All-Black the Necrosword was taken from Gorr the God Butcher. Like him she's also a vengeful killer of gods.
Hela was originally conceived as the main villain of Thor: The Dark World, instead of Malekith.
Hela is the first female main antagonist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise; she would later be followed by Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp and the Supreme Intelligence in Captain Marvel.
She was also the first female villain in the entire franchise to be Pure Evil.
Charlize Theron was considered for the role of Hela before Cate Blanchett was cast.
Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Hela received critical acclaim.
In some ways, Hela proved herself to be dark a reflection on Thor and Loki:
Loki's ruthlessness in his pursuit in conquering Earth in the events of The Avengers dangerously as bad as Hela in the past, but all the God of Mischief actually wanted was to be acknowledged by Odin, become Thor's equal, and be accepted as a proud Asgardian in spite of his dark heritage. That, coupled with his love for his adoptive mother Frigga and in lesser extent, Thor, are what kept him from becoming a ruthless monster. Hela on the other hand, completely consumed by her own ambition that she more than eager to turn against her family to get what she wanted and reject any chance of redemption given to her.
With Thor, on the other hand, Hela shared exact same bloodlust and crave for battle God of Lighting once had in the past that had Thor never learned about humility and value of life, he would be ended up become a monster she is now. In fact, the Goddess of Death was indirectly become one of reasons why Odin banished Thor and turned him onto a mortal human in the first place.