Why would/did Anubis risk antagonizing the Asgard?
As I'm rewatching the series for probably the 50th time, this question has been nagging me since Revelations.
I understand that Anubis's dalliance with the ascended plane may have afforded him some insight into the Asgard's affairs and their preoccupation with the replicators, something I don’t really see as too likely, but that doesn't really explain why he would directly attack what is very likely the only Milky Way planet under Asgard protection that would absolutely necessitate a response from them.
Yes, he had upgraded his Ha’tak ships with more advanced shields and weapons than other Goa’uld vessels and apparently even Bilskirnir-type Asgard ships, but it’s implied by Thor that the initial victory was due to him having underestimated the new vessels and further, at the end of the episode, that O’Neill-class ships would be a bit more of a threat. Also, I’m being diplomatic here; it’s my personal opinion that the Bilskirnir-class was at least a millennium-old design, given that they are mentioned in Jaffa legends and a Jaffa’s extended lifespan, and the O’Neill, being also designed primarily as a warship, would have absolutely no problem dealing with the upgraded vessels, even if outnumbered.
The thing is, regardless of how these ships fare against one another, Anubis would have known that the Asgard would pose a significant threat to the success of his plans if they were drawn into a conflict, yet he seemed intent on forcing their hand. Attacking an uninhabitable planet containing the last remaining Asgard ancestor and their primary lab focused on researching a cure for their genetic problems forces them to shift their attention, even if momentarily, to the Milky Way.
At the time of the initial attack, he couldn’t have had any idea that there weren’t any other vessels available and that a Bilskirnir would be sent instead of an O’Neill. I can rationalize this as being the reason Osiris was the one conducting the attack and not Anubis himself. But, after antagonizing them, he proceeds to then probe Thor’s mind and extract important information, detailed enough for him to replicate their transporter technology.
What would have happened had he killed Thor and/or destroyed the cargo ship before Freyr arrived with his "modest" fleet? Anyway, sorry for the rant, just wanted to get that out there and see what folks thing.
Also, for f#&k’s sake, please don’t say anything to the effect of “fictional works are fiction created by non-fictional individuals influenced by non-fictional circumstances.” That’s like writing an essay analyzing Beowulf’s fight with Grendel’s mother by saying that such an analysis is impossible because they are fictional characters who don’t exist. Technically, you’re not wrong, but that wasn’t the assignment…so, you get an F.