With the announcement that former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston will be menacing the God of Thunder in "Thor: The Dark World" as Malekith the Accursed, you could almost hear a collective, “Huh?” ring across the nation. Not as recognizable as Loki, or well, most of Thor’s rogue’s gallery, Malekith is regardless a force to be reckoned with. Here’s some frequently asked questioned about the Dark Elf:
Q: Who now?
Good opener, guy! Malekith is the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim.
Q: Dark Elves, you say?
In myth, Dark Elves are closer to the Fantasy idea of Dwarves; in the comics, they’re very tall and thin; and Malekith at least has half white-face, half black-face. They’re the evil version of Light Elves, first introduced by Walt Simonson during his epic run on Thor. They’re super strong and fast, but with a weakness for iron. Not like they can’t get enough of it, more like it’ll kill ‘em.
Q: And Svartalfheim?
Yup, that’s the world of the Dark Elves - one of the nine worlds that includes Asgard, Jotunheim (land of the Frost Giants), Alfheim (land of the Light Elves), and more.
Q: Wait, other than being “Dark,” why does Malekith come into contact with Thor?
He - like pretty much everyone else - wants the mystical artifact The Casket of Ancient Winters. To get it, he strikes a deal with Loki, Surtur (ruler of the fiery Muspleheim), and Hela (ruler of Hel), and proceeds to kill a bunch of people, as well as capturing Thor’s sometimes sweetheart Lorelai.
Q: So he wins, right?
Oh, totally. Actually, he sends his strongest lieutenant, the appropriately named Algrim the Strong, to fight Thor. Thor beats Algrim up. Then he beats Malekith up... But not before Malekith can plunge Earth into Eternal Winter.
Q: That explains global warming! I knew it wasn’t real.
Q: Okay, fine, fine. Was that the last we saw of Malekith?
Of course not! Malekith returned multiple times, often disguising himself as other members of the Asgardian court, particularly Balder. Each time, he was beaten back by Thor and friends, and each time he’s returned to cause more havoc.
Q: What about Algrim the Strong? Was he turned into an unstoppable man/machine called Kurse who wants nothing more than to kill Thor, until he regains his memory and takes revenge on Malekith instead?
Yeah, actually Kurse IS pretty cool. While Malekith makes a good mental adversary for Thor, Kurse/Algrim is a great physical threat, with a fantastic amount of emotional conflict wrapped in. Probably make a great arc for a movie some day.
Q: See, now you’re being a know-it-all jerk.
Well, I am a FAQ.
Q: Fair point. I love you.
I love you too.