Clotho (“spinner,” alias Urd), Atropos (“scissors,” alias Verdandi),
Lachesis (“lots,” alias Skuld)
Occupation: Asgardian/Olympian goddesses of fate and destiny
Legal Status: Citizens of Olympus
Identities: The general populace of earth is unaware of the Norns except as mythological deities.
Other Aliases: (Clotho) Nona (Roman name), (Atropos) Morta (Roman name), (Lachesis) Decuma (Roman name);
(as a group) The Fata, The Furies, The Norns, The Parcae, The Moirae,
Place of Birth: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Single
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, Kottes, Gyges (The Hecatocheiroi, uncles), Hades, Poseidon (Olympians, uncles), Hera, Demeter, Hestia (aunts), Apollo , Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hercules, Hermes (half-brothers), Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Discord, Eileithyia, Hebe, Helen, The Muses (half-sisters), Helios, Eos, Selene, Prometheus, Eprimetheus, Atlas, Menoetius (cousins),
The Olympian and Asgardian Gods
Nornheim in Asgard, formerly Olympus
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I #102
The origins of the Fates are unrevealed. In some myths, they are among the
Numina, the generation of Olympian gods who predated the Titans, but in later
myths, they 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, he bestowed the Fates with the
power to 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. The Asgardian
gods of the North particularly feared the Fates, but they knew of them as
the Norns. Even Odin, the Chieftain of the Asgardian gods respected them.
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 as her son grew to adulthood. As an adult, Meleager 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 as her son Meleager quickly died.
The god Apollo, upon hearing of the prophesy of death of his mortal friend, King Admetus of Pherae, actually got the Fates drunk on wine in order to gain the secret to preventing the prophesy. 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 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.
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 or were presented with the region of Nornheim where they became known as the Norns. They ceased using thread to perceive time and began tending to the care of Yggdrasil, the Celestial Tree whose existence was linked to the existence of the Asgardian Gods.
Even after mortal man stopped worshipping gods, the Fates continued to appear on Earth several times revealing futures that could be prevented. Although ageless, they generally appeared as elderly crones to the mortals they encountered. They appeared to warn an unknown king during the Dark Ages of prophecies concerning his daughter in a story later passed down as the tale of “Sleepy Beauty," and in the 11th Century, they appeared to Scottish Prince MacBeth against picking up a sword against his uncle. Toward the end of World War Two, the Fates appeared to an American who had turned traitor to the United States during World War Two. They tried to convince him that he could not escape justice, but he scoffed at them and fled to Japan. He died in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 as the U.S. Air Force dropped the bomb that devastated the city.
As the Norns, the Fates revealed the destiny connecting the death of Balder to Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Asgardian Gods. They also tested Thor in his power to defend Asgard and protected him when Hades attempted to slay him. Brynhilda the Valkyrie also consulted them about her identity. When Balder considered ending his life because of his experiences in the underworld, one of the Norns took on her true form as a beautiful Olympian goddess so that he would protect her and inspire him to live. She repeated this same scenario to the young mutant Karma wandering the deserts of Asgard.
An Asgardian demon from Hel eventually stole the Fates' scissors and took it to earth with the intent of using its powers of destiny to unleash demons upon the earth. After New York Paranormal captured the malicious entity as the Ghost Busters, they surrendered returned the scissors to the Norns.
consulted the time-travelers Cable to warn him he would be responsible for the
point of divergence that would cause the alternate futures known as Earth-Harmony
and Earth-Ranshi. Sometime after that, Thor, now ruler of Asgard, came to them
to investigate the spells keeping the Asgardians trapped in recurring periods of
Ragnarok. By severing the threads to their tapestry, he apparently ended the
cycles of death and rebirth the Gods of Asgard went through. In the destruction
of Asgard, the Norns returned their forms as the youthful Fates on Olympus. They
have not yet returned to the since restored Asgard.
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 375 lbs.
Physical Features: The Norns frequently appear as old women and sometimes in
the form of the maiden, mother and crone. These attributes describe them in
their true forms.
Strength Level: The Norns possess superhuman strength enabling them to lift (press) 25 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: The Norns possess the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian gods. Like all Olympians, they are true immortals, unlike the Asgardian gods, and have not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. They are immune to all Earthly diseases and are resistant to conventional injury. If they were somehow wounded, their godly life force would enable them to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of their bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Zeus or Odin or for a number of Olympian gods of equal power working together to revive them. The Fates also possesses superhuman strength and their Olympian metabolism provides them with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)
As the Norns, the Fates possess 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 mystically conjure objects and teleport between time and
space. They can also alter their true forms from gods and immortals;
they are capable of appearing as old women or as the mother, maiden and crone
They can also alter their true forms from gods and immortals;
they are capable of appearing as old women or as the mother, maiden and crone
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.
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 Furies
named 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.
Clarifications: The Norns are not to be confused with:
Ian Fate, sorcerer who fought Devil-Slayer, @ Defenders I #104
Fateball, Laura Broadbahr, member of the B-Sides, @ B-Sides #1
The Furies, Olympian goddesses of retribution, @ Ghost Rider III #77
The Laima, Russian goddesses of destiny, Not seen
in the MU
Last updated: 08/24/11
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