My Take on Loki

As I’ve mentioned before I am currently working on a web serial based on Norse Mythology. I’m going to try to avoid major spoilers, but one of the main ideas behind the story is that Loki is in no way the villain. The most popular versions of the character seem to be those produced by Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios. When most people think of Loki these days they picture Tom Hiddleston. I love the Thor comics and I think Hiddleston is a great choice for their version of the character. It is important to note, however, that the comic book and movie versions of Marvel’s Loki, as well as the rest of Marvel’s Norse Myth inspired characters, are very loosely based on the actual myths. Loki is not Thor’s brother or Odin’s son in the myths. Thor is usually described as having red hair and a beard rather than being blonde. Obviously there is nothing wrong with making your own versions of the characters when adapting mythological characters. You don’t have much choice with the Norse Myths considering how confusing and inconsistent the sources tend to be. I have always found it interesting, though, that almost every version of Loki is painted as the villain. In a sense Loki is seen as a villain in some of the myths but it is interesting to consider in which specific myths this is the case.

In most of the Norse myths we know of Loki is a trickster and nothing more. He is never violent and doesn’t kill anyone. As far as I can remember he doesn’t even kill any giants which is extremely common for a god to do. The most “nefarious” deed he seems to commit is cutting off Sif’s hair while she slept. Even then he finds a non violent solution to the problem and gets her hair, as well as five other important artefacts, constructed by dwarves. He is not a malicious villain or murderer. He is just a trickster. With one important exception.

It is predicted by the Norns (Norse Mythologies equivalent to the fates) that Loki will kill Baldr by guiding the blind Hod’s aim with a bow at the god of beauty. After essentially murdering Baldr, Loki refuses to shed tears for the most beloved of the gods and is punished. He is tied by his own innards beneath a mountain while a snakes venom drips onto his wounds. This is his state of being until Ragnarok begins when he breaks free and leads the forces of chaos to war against the gods. Obviously these myths don’t follow the most solid of narrative structures but this kind of leads me to a burning question. Why is a mostly harmless trickster turned into a murderous villain in this apocalyptic myth? He is a trickster and a clown in almost every case except this one. The answer may have been more clear if we had more of the myths on hand. Since this is the case I have decided to make this a major part of my web serial. I hope to play with the idea that fate has decided a good person must be a villain. Ragnarok is destined to happen and Loki is destined to, whether he likes it or not, murder a god and fight a war. What does he think of his fate and what will he do about it? That’s what this piece is all about. I look forward to sharing it with you soon!

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