Monday, November 25, 2013

My Loki is not your Loki, and that's okay

Trickster has taken over the Internet, and is laughing out loud at all of us.
...
Of course I am talking about Loki. Geez, everyone's talking about Loki these days.

Thor: The Dark World is premiering worldwide, bringing along a renewed interest in Marvel comics, Norse mythology, and, most of all, a certain trickster so masterfully embodied by Tom Hiddleston that it gave birth to this gemstone of a meme:
I really tried not to go there, but as a storyteller a little voice (probably masculine with a Scandinavian accent) keeps needling the back of my mind: I liked Loki before it was cool.
My Loki is the Loki of Norse mythology. It's the Loki of the Lokasenna. It might not be Eric the Red's Loki, or Snorri's Loki, but it is the Loki I imagined as a kid when I first devoured my way through Norse mythology books like the Very Dorky Caterpillar. When I grew up to be a storyteller, the idea of Loki grew up with me. I have always had a thing for tricksters.

And then Thor came out followed by the Avengers and then Dark World, and now I hear people all over yelling at each other in text and in person, going "THAT IS NOT WHAT LOKI IS LIKE, YOU ARE TOTALLY WRONG."
In Corner A, you see Team Hipster Loki - People who, just like me, liked Loki long before it was cool. Straight from Norse mythology, or anyhow as close as you can get without reading Icelandic and living in the 10th century. They claim that Loki is a Trickster, a god, and an all-around complex character. They quote the prosaic and the poetic Edda, and make obscure clandestine jokes about horses and Mother's Day.
In Corner B, you find Team Marvel Loki - People who read comics and have been familiar with Loki Of The Cricket Helmet for a while now. They quote comics and comic authors, frown on Jane Foster, and hang up garlic to keep away the next group on the list, known as...
Corner C, or Team Loki Hiddleston - Here Be Fangirls. These are the people who have an interest in Loki as portrayed in the Marvel cinematic universe (Earth 199999, to be completely nerdy). This Loki is a villain and a fan favorite at the same time. Some people say he only needs a hug. Some people say he is an evil psychotic bastard but damn he is sexy. Some people say he is an unappreciated genius among spandex-sporting heroes. Some people don't say anything. They just squeal. It gets uncomfortable.

Now, here is the Law of All the Universes, people:

EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN LOKI.

Deal with it.

My Loki might only be my Loki, but as a storyteller, I know a few things about Tricksters. And one thing is sure: Whenever someone tries to define what a trickster is, things merrily meander off to hell in a neat little hand basket. The entire thing that is the Trickster thrives on breaking rules and definitions. And yet, people keep trying. I have heard and read arguments over whether or not Hiddleston Loki is a trickster or "just a villain." Seriously, if you have to question it, it is already decided.

One thing to note about Dark World: It has plot holes the size of Asgard, but they did Trickster right. If you don't believe that, refer to Cory O'Brien's handy Norse Crisis Flowchart on the left, summarizing the issue.

Trickster is an archetype. That means, everyone gets their own version of it, and that is just fine.
With that said, keep arguing. Keep talking about mythology, and tricksters, and stories. Most of all, keep fighting over Loki. I am sure he loves it.

1 comment:

megan hicks said...

brilliant flow chart! And yes, controversy is fine. Just as long as the conversation keeps going and always veers back to Trickster.