Magnus Ver Anderssen, better known to some people as Tank, is the son of a master stonemason, and comes from a cultural group that has many similarities to the Vikings of our world. They use a language exceptionally similar to Norse, and would be almost completely intelligible to an Icelander. Their native language is written in runes, but there is also a transliterated version to an alphabet not dissimilar to those found in Norway and Iceland.
Magnus was a large baby, weighing almost 8.5kg (compared to the species average of 6.5kg) and it was thought he would turn out to be exceptionally tall. As it turned out, Magnus is above average in height for his species, but only moderately so (comparatively he would be like a 6’3” human). The large birth size transmuted into an incredibly robust, heavy-set build which gave Magnus an excellent foundation for pursuing what became his childhood dream: to be the World’s Strongest Man (i.e. winner of the annual strength athletic competition, not a defined and measurable surpassing of everyone else).
Magnus was never particularly intelligent, while he was able to stand quite early on, the concept of walking took him longer than most children. The same was true of speaking, feeding himself and, much to his mother’s despair, potty training. Once at school, it became clear that if Magnus was interested in a particular subject, he would try to learn. However if the subject did not interest him, no amount of effort by the teacher would make any of it sink in. Subjects that held his attention were: sports of any kind, specialising to contact sports as he grew older before being completely superseded by strength training once he was a teenager; art, which he displayed little talent for initially, but through determination has developed a decent ability; and once he began his strength training in earnest, a limited scope of biology as well as food preparation.
Magnus was, and still is, quite naïve, often ending up as a fall guy in various schoolyard misdemeanours perpetrated by others, or being convinced to do something that he shouldn’t. He rather undeservedly ended up with a fearsome reputation as a merciless bully who would break every bone in your body as soon as look at you. The frequent trouble he ended up in at school confused his parents as the reports didn’t match up with the quiet and conscientious young man they knew.
Due to his lack of scholarship, and reputation, Magnus was barred from returning to school after completing the statutory minimum number of years at the age of 15. His parents were a little concerned about what to do with him, but found they didn’t have to find something for him to do as he simply spent as much time as he could at the gym. When it became clear to Magnus’ parents that their son wasn’t going to do anything else, his father decided to apprentice Magnus as a stonemason, pointing out to the teenager that he would need some sort of job to fall back on when he couldn’t do the strongman thing anymore.
Inability to do “the strongman thing” came sooner than anyone could have expected when at the age of 19, Magnus came across a strange stone while crevasse climbing on the surface. For reasons that no-one else can fathom, and Magnus can’t remember, he put the golfball-sized mineral in his mouth where, according to Magnus, it dissolved in his saliva and he swallowed the goop left behind. After a few days, Magnus’ strength increased drastically, far beyond anything that could be deemed conventionally possible, making him the undoubted strongest man in the world but disqualifying him from the World’s Strongest Man. Faced with his life goal having been both achieved in the technical sense, and made completely impossible in terms of what was actually desired, Magnus threw himself in to his apprenticeship.
Unfortunately, due do the sheer magnitude of the increase to his strength, he found it hard to control his actions. What he thought was a light tap with the chisel would crack a granite block in two, and softer or more brittle materials were even more trouble, including people. This inability to control his strength (mainly due to the fact that in terms of how little strength he needs to use, crushing a diamond and holding a glass are a tiny fraction apart) is usually ‘explained’ as him being clumsy. It’s also made him rather socially awkward as he prefers to avoid physical contact.
Magnus’ incredible physical abilities did eventually find a use when he rescued an entire village from a cave in, moving aside the massive boulders blocking the access tunnels as if they were nothing more than pebbles. His abilities as a living excavator have given him a status that might be considered as heroic in other cultures. This has caused him to become something of a bête-noir for the manufacturers of heavy duty excavating machines, in particular one Sigrid Hjalmarsdottir, heiress-presumptive to the Hjalmar Gruvbolaget fortune. This 22 year-old calculating corporate executive and seductive ice-queen temptress seems to go out of her way to try to humiliate Magnus in the public eye, frequently pointing out his lack of mental capacity and his ‘clumsiness’ then trying to use these as evidence that he poses more risks to rescue operations than benefits. It has been suggested by some observers that perhaps Sigrid’s motivations towards Magnus are not entirely governed by the rational processes of the head.