Father's Day - Thoughts on Odin, All-Father, but especially Father of Thor, Loki and Hela
I hope Father’s Day finds you all well.
I know families are complicated. I do not know what your relationship with your parents is. Maybe it’s good, maybe frayed, maybe healing, maybe completely disconnected. Maybe you’ve lost one or both or more of them. Maybe you have more than one father or mother, or maybe you have people that you think of as a parent. Maybe you never got to meet them at all.
I myself have recently lost my mother, to breast cancer. My father, stricken by grief, accidentally fell down the stairs and struck his head, resulting in severe trauma that has…deeply changed our relationship. I am grateful that I can still talk to him, but he cannot speak so clearly to me. I’ve always been very close with both my parents, but my father was always someone I loved to hear speak to me.
I want to talk about Odin. Specifically, who he is as a father, and how we as a fandom talk about him. Be warned - this is a monster of a post. I felt the need to be thorough.
Odin is the patriarch of the Norse Pantheon. He certainly looks the part with his big white beard and intimidating one-eyed glare - at first glance, he doesn’t look dissimilar from Zeus, Jupiter, or Yahweh. And yet - he is unusual. He is not much at all like other Western Patriarchal Deities.
Academic speculation is that Odin may have replaced Tyr, God of War, as arch-deity at some point in time. There is also evidence that in some places, Thor was overtaking Odin in popularity in the same way and some sects were positioning him as the patriarch. Tyr and Thor were very popular with the Vikings, and it’s easy to see why. They’re virile, masculine, tough, large and commanding. They match well with Jupiter/Zeus, Ares, Ba’al - Gods of War and Thunder. Not only that, but in-universe, Thor and Baldur are the most popular of the gods within the Court itself, while Odin is distrusted and disliked.
So why is Odin the Trickster in charge? And not even a trickster hero like an Odysseus or Robin Hood or Askeladd - Odin doesn’t always punch up. He often punches down. He can be cruel, cold, manipulative. Thor is sometimes named the ‘blue-collar god’, beloved by common people, while Odin was associated with nobility, and therefore kept his distance from others. While Thor used might and masculine strength to achieve his goals, Odin used guile, ferocity in ugly battle, and seidr.
The seidr is of particular note. Odin was called God of Magic, and along with Frigga, was considered the most powerful user of the craft. To practice seidr was to abandon the male gender role, and required the user to take up feminine tasks like weaving. Because of this, Odin is heaped with scorn for his abilities throughout the sagas.
“By his stage-tricks and his assumption of a woman’s work he had brought the foulest scandal on the name of the gods.” - Saxo Grammaticus
That quote's inference is that by using seidr, Odin was allowing himself to be ‘impregnated’ by it. A metaphor that implies shame as well as queerness. By practicing magic, Odin was seen as untrustworthy, unmanly, unnatural, even more so than Loki, who, as a nature spirit and a giant, was supposed to be like that anyway. But Odin was not only an Ás, he was King of the Æsir. Supposedly, the best of them. And yet he was despised in his own court for not conforming to their ideals.
No wonder he took to donning the disguise of an old man and wandering Midgard for ages at a time. No wonder he found friendship with Loki, another outsider, and even declared him his blood-brother with a place always at his side, despite giants being unwelcome in Asgard.
For all of this, Odin is seen as the God Without Honour, but also the god charged with keeping it. He is anti-authority and yet is the highest authority in the land. He craves solitude, but instead must convene with the other gods to keep them in line. He is the god of poetry and song, but also of berserkers and war. He is the god of the sky, but often prefers to wander Midgard in lowly garb, mistaken for an old man of no repute. He is All-Father, and yet is considered womanly.
I bring up all of this mythological trivia to make a point - Odin is a WEIRDO. He is as full of contradictions as Loki is, maybe even more so.
This is why I’m so fond of the OG Odin. He’s an outsider and unloved, despite being King. He is the lonely god, rejected by his people and yet still bound to them, despite his occasional, futile attempts to escape. He gives Norse Mythology a ton of depth and is sadly often misunderstood in the modern day. Too often I see Odin celebrated by people who completely misrepresent him, and would despise his queerness, and that brings me great sorrow. Worse, I see people condemn and despise him by doing the same, ignoring the qualities they praise in other figures because they mistake him for a symbol of something he never was.
Odin is not a hateful character.
Mythological Odin as a Father
Thor faces Harbard in a flyting exchange, W.G. Collingwood, from The Elder or Poetic Edda (trans. Olive Bray), London: Viking Society, 1908.
One of my favourite Odin stories is a flyting poem that involves him getting fed up with the big head Thor is growing, thanks to all praise and adulation his son regularly received. So, Odin disguises himself as a ferryman to take Thor across a swollen river. When they are too far from shore for Thor to escape, the ferryman tells Thor that there are vicious rumours circulating about him - his wife is cheating on him, people think he’s an idiot and bad in bed, that sort of thing. He moves on to dressing Thor down, telling him that he has no sense of fashion, is bad at flyting, and lacks a nobility of spirit. And then he goes on to brag about how he, ‘Harbard’, is super amazing at wooing giantesses (Odin is, much like Loki, someone who both disdains the masculine culture they find themselves within, and at the same time seeks to put themselves at the top of it), while Thor is stuck with the pretty but uninteresting Sif.
Finally, he declares that Thor would never be as awesome as ‘Harbard' because Thor was too uncreative and straightforward, lacking the moral ambiguity that allowed ‘Harbard’ to make the tough calls as a leader.
Harbard means grey-beard, of course, giving away Odin’s game a bit. I always found it interesting that Odin would disguise himself before giving Thor a tongue-lashing like this, as well as engaging in some base ‘masculinity measuring’. Clearly he values his distant, cold persona enough to not want to risk it when venting his emotions. It's not just this story, either - whenever he thinks Thor needs a good head-deflating, Odin tends to use disguises or set up traps that will humiliate Thor and teach him better manners, rather than personally confront him.
Now, the MCU
At first, Our Odin appears much more like the typical benevolent bearded god we’d associate with Yahweh or modern, more flattering depictions of Zeus. He is outwardly a warrior, and introduces both Asgard and himself as heroes who keep the peace with honourable might. This is also the story that he uses to present himself to his two sons, Thor and Loki.
There is much of the mythological character in this depiction, hiding in plain sight. Keep in mind Odin's designation as Trickster King, and all the contradictions that implies, as we interpret his actions in the films.
ODIN’S PARENTING 101
The main vice of THOR (2011) is Pride. Pride is what causes Thor to start a war with Jotunheim, Pride is what convinces Heimdall to disobey his orders and open the Bifrost to let Thor through in the first place, and Loki loses Pride in himself and seeks to recapture it with violent means. It is a sin everyone in Asgard falls prey too, and only Thor partially learns how to check it by showing humility.
Odin’s pride is less obvious than the other examples. It comes not from one clear example, but numerous small ones - little moments that add up to big mistakes. Pride for him, similar to how it is for Loki, is pride in how he is perceived, in the image he crafts for himself.
All of THOR (2011), and really, most of the Thor Trilogy, revolves around how Thor and Loki perceive their father, how he tries to be perceived by them, and the miscommunication and tragedy that arises as a result.
However, Odin’s larger struggle, most apparent when looking at his arc over the whole MCU, is having an authentic self recognized beyond what he projects or what others project onto him. Despite his need to be perceived a certain way, there's a frustration when his weaknesses aren't acknowledged, when his other facets aren't noted, and he must perform only within the superlative expectations of his roles as King, All-Father, and Father.
Thor wants set himself against Odin - he wants to live up to the Warrior version of Odin he has in his head, constructed from the childhood story we see at the start. He sees Odin as having grown foolish and weak, and thinks he needs to be the warrior Odin once was. When Odin shows up on horseback to save them in Jotunheim, Thor assumes they will ‘finish them together!’ He assumes wrongly.
Odin instead strips Thor of his powers and his heritage. He literally takes away his name and that of Bor from Thor and casts him out amongst mortal men. In a deleted scene (which of course is of dubious canon, but I see nothing to contradict it in the film and we have few enough scenes with Odin), Frigga rails against this, seeing it as cruel to deny Thor his family. Odin asks “What would you have done?”
Frigga replies only with what she would not have done - and that she didn’t have the heart to do as Odin has.
Odin then declares “That is why I am King.”
He admits that he grieves the loss of Thor, but that there are "things even he cannot undo" - and that "(Thor’s) fate is in his own hands now.”
This establishes a few things about Odin as a father to Thor. He is the disciplinarian out of him and Frigga, with Frigga actively avoiding making any suggestion of punishment or correction. She sees herself as the peacemaker, the ally of her children. That leaves Odin with the sole responsibility for managing his harsh lesson - and that lesson is this:
Thor cannot have his family at this time. He cannot have his mother, he cannot have his brother, he cannot even have the name of his grandfather or Odin’s name. Odin could end Thor’s banishment, but he cannot undo the mindset Thor has - that he is special because of his lineage, because of his powers, and because of the story he thinks he is owed. All this, likely because Thor is trying to live up to/surpass his ideal image of Odin.
And say what you will about this tactic and whether it worked as intended - but it did work. It took longer than the three days THOR (2011) originally afforded the lesson, but Thor did eventually learn not to define himself by his father’s name and his ideal image of his father. He learned to be kind to those less powerful than he. This was Thor’s first experience with loss, and it would not be his last, but it put him on the path to empathy and humility.
Later, he would also need the reassurances of Frigga (see End Game) to grasp an even deeper meaning to this lesson than even Odin likely intended - that he could be his own person and man outside of the responsibility he had then come to define himself by.
(I personally imagine it as analogous to a trust fund kid getting kicked off Dad's teat and having to see how it is to be a blue-collar worker, subject to the whims of the powerful).
I’m struck also by the final scene of Thor and Odin in this film. Some time after Loki’s Fall, Thor seeks out his father, who has separated himself from the revelry inside and is gazing out at the Bifröst. Odin tells his son, in a higher voice than usual:
“You’ll be a wise king.”
It is a note of affirmation, one given while Odin is looking towards the place Loki died after failing to receive the affirmation he asked for.
Thor replies “There will never be a wiser king than you. Or a better father.”
The camera rests on Odin for a beat, him still staring out at the Bifrost. Then he looks down, leans to one side, and struggles to say something. He almost does, but can’t quite get it out. It is a striking contrast to the booming, shouting Odin we have at the start of the picture. It reminds me most of the Odin from the Vault scene with Loki.
Thor continues, saying that he has much to learn and that someday he hopes to make Odin proud. Throughout, Odin appears pensive, eyes flickering to and fro, all the while still facing the broken Bifrost. Upon hearing that Thor thinks Odin is not proud of him, Odin turns and grasps his son’s shoulders, assuring Thor that he has already made him proud. This touch mirrors two previous scenes - where Odin originally stripped Thor of his titles and armour, and when Odin reached out to Loki but could not grasp him before falling unconscious.
After this touch, Odin leaves Thor alone, retreating again.
I love the acting in this scene. While Thor and Loki have the most obvious character arcs, Odin himself experiences a terrible lesson in his own right, one he is still dwelling on come the end of the film. When Thor calls him the wisest king and the best father, Odin appears visibly destabilized, unsure, and pensive. To me, the meaning of that hesitation, that clearly expressed doubt, is obvious.
Odin does not think he is worthy of those titles.
He extends his love and pride to Thor, openly and warmly, trying to convey to his elder son what he could not to his youngest. But he does not linger. He leaves Thor to grieve Loki alone, and I mean that in both senses of the dangling participle. Odin clearly blames himself for what happened to Loki, but cannot bring himself to share that grief or guilt. He closes himself off, as is his usually habit (he tends to do this a lot, leaving a place after any large emotion is expressed, as if he can’t bear to be in the room with it once it’s there).
Odin’s sons striving to match what they perceive as their father’s ideal is what causes much of their inner conflict. Odin recognizes that - and he seems at a loss for the answer. For Thor, he thought the answer was to move away, to help Thor become his own man outside of Odin’s shadow. For Loki, he thought the answer was to reassure, to offer support. Now with Loki gone, Odin seems transfixed between the two - and does both, reaching out to hold Thor before distancing himself.
For all that this film pitches itself as a story about Thor and Odin’s relationship, it devotes far more to the relationship between Odin and Loki. Loki is even the first to speak after Odin finishes the introduction, asking whether the Frost Giants still live, before Thor comes in with that all too infamous line about ’slaying them all’.
Odin doesn’t tell Thor off for his promise of future genocide. Instead, he utters the platitude “A Wise King does not seek out war, but must always be ready for one.”
Some might decry this seeming callousness, that Odin does not immediately tell Thor off for such thing, especially with Loki right there. It seems that Odin does not care for direct messaging like that, instead using a saying that essentially means “Be ready to defend, but do not aggress.” Some might think that nowhere near far enough, but it is a surprisingly pacifist concept, especially for a warrior like Odin. He does not tell his son off sharply, but attempts to plant the seed of non-aggression.
You may think it not enough - clearly, the plot of the movie indicates it did not work as Odin had hoped - but it would seem he wanted to encourage Thor while discouraging that particular idea.
Still, it is easy to wish that Odin had implored Thor to think of the giants as people with lives worth preserving, that he had done more to humanize the giants in his war stories that served to mostly paint Asgard and himself in a glorious light. It seems like a cruel oversight that Odin inflicts on Loki here. It is hard to reconcile that with the man who so warmly takes Loki’s hand moments later, linking him to Thor. It is the first of many instances of Odin being pictured as both the connection between Thor and Loki, as well as the divider.
In reflection, I think Odin prefers to teach through example, not words. He does not shout down Thor because he’d rather encourage a change in Thor’s mindset, rather than implanting it. He deliberately puts Loki and Thor side by side, refers to them equally (Yes, ‘You are both born to be kings’ is seen as a major flashpoint for conflict later, but in the moment, it is an expression of their equal status). This is not a man pitting his children against each other, but one attempting to put them on an equal playing field. Loki may accuse Odin of favouring Thor, but in the time we see Odin with his children (in this scene, and later in the Vault after the Frost Giant attack), they are conspicuously lined up shoulder to shoulder, with Odin equidistant from both of them. So while Odin may not say ‘giants are people too, Thor’, he probably thinks that by his actions, he has - even if Thor and Loki are actually unaware of the situation.
Which brings us to…
The Vault Confession scene. Will I ever get tired of talking about this? I hope not. It’s still my favourite scene in anything Thor related ever.
Odin strikes me as fascinatingly polarized from the one we saw only a scene ago with Thor. With Thor, Odin was raging, but also heartbroken, teaching a harsh lesson using harsh words. He breaks Thor down because he sees Thor as someone who needs to downsize his big head, not unlike that little Grey-Beard story we covered before. There is, however, a genuine grief in that scene as he tries to drive home how disappointing he finds Thor, and he seems to be attempting to punish himself as much as he punishes Thor. A certain shot even implies that when Odin says ’the loved ones you have betrayed’, Odin means Loki. Does that mean that Odin is angry that Thor has brought on war with Frost Giants on Loki’s behalf? Or is there another interpretation?
Odin is focused on Thor in that scene, going so far as to shush Loki with the famous ‘Hrrgh!’ Notably, however, he spends none of his rage on his second son outside of flicking away Loki’s attempt to help Thor.
Loki goes to the Vault to see if the Casket will affect him like the touch of the Frost Giant earlier did. Mere moments later, Odin appears, commanding Loki to ’STOP!’ - rather too late.
Loki confronts Odin, speaking quietly and calmly at first. He asks ‘What am I?’
At once, Odin replies with “You’re my son.”
Odin’s first instinct is to reaffirm Loki’s place in the family. He knows Loki well enough to know that this is what Loki needs to hear most.
Loki asks “What more than that?”
Loki does not refute Odin. He does not deny being Odin’s son. He asks what he is in addition to being Odin’s son.
Odin does not answer at first. He appears weary, unwilling to speak.
Loki: “The Casket wasn’t the only thing you took from Jotunheim that day, was it?”
Odin meets Loki’s eyes and says "No. In the aftermath of the battle, I went into the Temple, and I found a baby. Small for a giant's offspring - abandoned, suffering, left to die. Laufey's son.”
He tells the truth as he knows it, but tries to shade it with kindness. Loki rejects it, attempting to push Odin to say something crueler, to get him to confess to favouring Thor, to using Loki as a political tool. Odin replies that he had hoped to bring about peace with Loki, though we do not know how he meant to do so - and then states those plans no longer matter. This is a misstep, as Loki hears this as ‘I no longer have a purpose for you, you’re just a back-up plan’ or maybe ‘because of Thor’s warmongering, you no longer have a purpose’. Loki rejects the idea of being a tool, but he craves purpose and direction, something he was likely already fretting over when Thor was to be made king and his position felt less clear.
I suspect Odin’s intended meaning was ‘Yes, I did, at one point, hope to bring about a closer alliance and understanding through you - but I changed my mind, because I realized what it might do to you, and I only wanted to keep you safe.” I don’t know that that would have made Loki feel much better, but it is an indication that Odin made the call to prioritize Loki’s happiness over any political utility Odin had initially hoped for. However, it could also mean that the plan no longer mattered due to Thor's new war.
The only time Odin raises his voice in this conversation was to protest Loki ’twisting his words’ - indicating that Odin does consider himself to be telling the truth, and he’s upset that in the moment he sees himself as being truly genuine, Loki rejects his sincerity. It is a small showing of his pride, a note of hurt even as Loki is completely subsumed by it. Just as Loki has been ‘unmasked’ in this scene, so too is Odin, in part. Loki accuses Odin’s love of being fake - “No matter how much you claim to love me -“ and sees this knowledge kept from him as evidence of sabotage “-you could never have a Frost Giant sitting on the throne of Asgard.” Loki feels that love is expressed not through words, but Odin’s actions, which he sees as setting him up for failure and disappointment - to expect better than he was ever owed.
Loki is so overwhelmed by his emotions that he does not even notice how ill Odin is becoming until Odin has collapsed at his feet. Odin’s final motion before losing consciousness is to reach out to Loki, to continue attempting to reach him even as he loses his capacity for speech.
As soon as he becomes aware, Loki drops down to Odin and hesitates before taking his hand, as if afraid he will burn him.
It is worth noting how difficult Odin found expressing physical touch and affection. Whenever he reaches out to touch his sons, it is considered and rare. Even when he is dying, and Thor reaches out to steady him as he sits, Odin does not return any sort of physical gesture. Clapping Thor on the shoulder that one time in THOR was very meaningful for him. Even when his children are children, they run to him and grab his hands - which he accepts gladly.
He reminds me very much of Loki in that regard. Loki, too, seems to avoid physical touch or contact. It is often on Thor to instigate it, and while Loki accepts it and seems glad of it, he is somewhat passive as it occurs. That’s a big reason why the Vault Confession scene is so moving to me. Odin does try to make that physical contact, and though at first Loki is hesitant to take Odin’s hand - perhaps afraid he will burn him or hurt him further - Loki does take it. It is the only act of Loki initiating contact with someone else that I can recall, in over five films and now two episodes of a series.
I’ve written this scene out like this to bring attention to Odin’s part, which is much quieter than Loki’s and often forgotten. With Thor, Odin was commanding, standing above his son and clearly in control of the situation even with both shouting. Here, Odin stands above Loki but speaks quietly, reiterating his love and desire to protect Loki multiple times. He never shouts over Loki or interrupts him, and he does not say any of the terrible things Loki wants him to say. Even as Loki rejects him and his love, Odin affirms it over and over again until he is on the floor and holding Loki’s leg.
Too often I hear people head-canon this scene into something it is not. Odin does not browbeat Loki, he does not lie to him, he does not speak of Thor or demand Loki respect him, and most importantly, he does not treat Loki the same as he treats Thor. He recognizes the differences between his sons and applies two different approaches. He immediately knows what will be the source of Loki’s alienation and reiterates multiple times that Loki is his son. He states that he decided to ‘protect Loki from the truth’, meaning he was aware that this would cause his son suffering and he worked to prevent it. This is not something a callous or inattentive father would do. Everything in this scene points towards an Odin who is very, very aware of what makes Loki tick, to borrow from Möbius.
Odin did not fail as a compassionate father in this scene. The one area I think he might’ve lapsed in was on focusing on defining Loki as his son, and not praising what makes him Loki - by affirming his pride in other aspects of Loki as a person, to make sure that Loki did not define himself by lineage alone. But perhaps Odin would have, if he’d had the time before collapsing. In Ragnarok, he does precisely this, complimenting Loki’s magic abilities and the pride of his mother as well.
Odin did not fall into a ‘convenient Odinsleep’ to escape Loki. I realize that may have started as a joke, but I’ve seen the sentiment expressed seriously too often now. It’s reiterated throughout the film that he’s been at the end of his rope for a long time and under immense strain, and that this was the most devastating event in his day. And it was quite a day. A war started, a coronation interrupted, his eldest son banished at his hand - but what pushed Odin over the edge was Loki’s anguish and rejection. This is not a man blind to his younger son, or his struggles. This is not a man who ran away from the expression of Loki’s pain - he went to the Vault only moments after Loki did.
Trapped in the Odinsleep, Odin is unable to do anything except cry when his sons come to blows, though he eventually manages to wake up early and attempt to save their lives (apparently the little bugger can run like the wind when he needs to).
For the final scene, the contention is thus - why, when Loki calls out to Odin “I could have done it, Father! For you! For all of us!” does Odin reply “No, Loki.”
I see many people interpret this as a rejection of Loki. Certainly Loki takes it that way, or at least it isn’t the response he was looking for. But I don’t think for a second, based on Odin as we’ve seen him in this film, this was intended as a rejection of Loki at all. It might be a rejection of his actions - or maybe it’s a rejection of Loki thinking that he needed to take action to prove himself at all, an affirmation hidden in a ’No’.
It’s something said in a shocking moment, quickly, a reaction in the midst of a tense moment surrounded by destruction caused by Loki’s instability. Maybe it’s just a groggy, shell-shocked reaction to that - disbelief that Loki has done this.
Clearly it was the wrong thing to say - but it was not meant as Loki heard it.
After Loki lets go, Odin takes it very hard. He remains king, increasing his stress despite not finishing the Odinsleep.
Short entry, as Odin does not appear, although he sends his two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, to watch over Thor. They can be briefly seen during the ’talk’ Loki and Thor have in the woods. He is present through them, and would assumably know of this entire conversation.
It was Odin who mustered the dark energy to send Thor to Midgard after the destruction of the Bifrost, apparently. It is notable that he elects to send Thor rather than go himself or send Frigga. He likely sees Thor as potentially succeeding where he has failed, or perhaps as a more neutral but still familial figure, since he likely and correctly guesses that both he and Frigga are too complicit in lying to Loki for him to take their pleas kindly.
Thor affirms that Odin mourned Loki, and it is here that Loki first rejects Odin as his father by correcting Thor from ‘Our father’ to ‘Your father’.
In a moment that greatly disappointed me, we learn that Thor has indeed been told about Loki’s origins off-screen (goddammit I wanted to see that). When Thor tries to remind them of a shared childhood, Loki replies that he always felt overshadowed by Thor.
For all that Loki rejects Odin and Thor in this film, he spends a lot of time imitating his concept of both. He refuses to take Jotunheim, but he will happily accept Midgard as a planet to rule over, to match Odin and Thor’s Asgard. This is in contrast to THOR (2011), where Loki did not desire the throne and came into it accidentally. No longer expressly seeking Odin’s approval, he’s begun down the road to trying to become his own version of Odin and trying to find self-esteem in that - something that will become rather literal in -
Thor : The Dark World
Ah, the movie everyone points to when they say that Odin is the worst.
It never bothered me. It is a very logical continuation of what we see in THOR (2011).
The opening scene has many direct call-backs to the Vault scene of THOR, even recreating certain angles. It is meant to contrast with it. While the Confrontation in the Vault was meant to be a moment where Odin and Loki are being sincere to each other, this scene is all about posturing. Loki is putting on a show of insouciance, arrogance, and impenitence. He even speaks cruelly to his mother, rebuffing her attempts to help him.
Odin would seem to be doing just the same - putting on a show of cold-heartedness and cruelty to match, although one, like Loki’s, that does allow him to express his anger. This is a change in tactics from Odin here, going from his attempts to reassure Loki in THOR (which failed) to something more similar to how he treated Thor before banishing him. This is Odin deliberately pushing Loki away, and attempting to divest him of his arrogance and ’titles’. He does this by referring to Loki as the ‘prisoner’. He says ‘Wherever you go, there is war, ruin and death.” (This is comparable to how he tells Thor before banishing him that ’through his arrogance and stupidity, you have opened these realms and innocent lives to the horror and desolation of war!’)
Loki replies “I went down to Earth to rule the people as a benevolent god. Just like you.”
It seems likely to me that, like with Thor, Odin sees himself as a bad influence. He is not unaware that Thor and Loki’s actions are attempts to imitate him - both say as much. By separating himself from them, and even setting himself against them, he hopes to encourage rebellion - that they will attempt to be better than Odin, and see him as a flawed man rather than the god-warrior-conqueror he is in their minds.
Now for the shouty bits.
“Your birthright-uh! Was TO DIE! As a child! Cast out onto a frozen rock! If I had not taken you in, you would not be here now to hate me.”
This is similar to Odin stripping Thor of his titles in an attempt to divest Thor of feeling like he is owed his power. This sounds harsh, and certainly it is, especially to a Loki who was so recently made aware of his origins. But it is an attempt to remind Loki that he was once vulnerable, that the world owes him nothing. It is an attempt to shock Loki out of his arrogance and entitlement. But it also reveals something more personal to Odin.
Despite many fanfic having Loki shout “I hate you!” at Odin, this has never actually happened in the canon. Loki has disowned Odin, he’s yelled at him, he’s criticized him - but never has he ever said that he hated him.
It is Odin who says that Loki hates Odin, not Loki. Here in particular, he decries Loki’s ingratitude as evidence of that hate -
To quote the titular character of King Lear, one of the main Shakespeare inspirations for the series :
If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt, that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
Of course, King Lear is hardly a paragon of fatherhood himself. The point of that whole quote was Lear wishing he could take all the pain inflicted upon him by his daughter and turn it back on her, so that she can know what it feels like to be scorned and hated by someone she nurtured.
Additionally, Odin views his action in saving Loki's life as a 'good thing', one that he even defines himself by. When Loki rejects it and does terrible things with the aim to be more like Odin, it subverts how Odin views that action.
Loki replies by rejecting Odin’s ’sparing of his life’, saying "If I am for the axe, then for mercy’s sake, swing it."
Loki rejects Odin’s idea of mercy, saying he’d rather Odin just kill him than crow about saving his life. Loki does not want to be grateful for something that he once took for granted - the thing any child should be able to take for granted. He may say “I want a throne”, but what that means to him is “treatment as a legitimate heir of Odin, as any blood-related child should expect.” Or, failing that, the throne his blood-relation to Jotunheim assures him, even if he doesn’t want that particular throne. After having his sense of identity and pride shattered, Loki needs to cling to anything that gives him dignity - he will not throw himself on Odin’s mercy or define himself as ‘lucky to have been saved by someone as great as Odin’.
Odin’s attempts at humbling Loki, to try and find the little boy Odin rescued and loved, run directly against Loki’s need to project strength and find pride despite being something that Asgard sees as worth less than what he previously thought he was. It is, to put it lightly, a bit of a mustercluck of competing egos, each struggling to make the other see them as they want to be seen, rather than being honest about what they need.
Loki ends their conversation, saying he doesn’t care for ’their little talks’, tying this scene back to the Vault scene in THOR in dialogue as well as visuals and framing. Odin sends Loki to the dungeons ‘for the rest of his days' after mentioning that he’d considered execution - an execution stayed by Frigga.
This also parallels his banishment of Thor. For all Thor knew, he was also banished for the rest of his days to Earth. Some would argue that unlike Thor, Loki is given no Mjölnir, no symbol of hope to strive for, thrown immediately after him. I would disagree - that hope comes in the form of Frigga.
But! Odin says Loki is forbidden from seeing her! Ever again!
Odin sets himself up as the antagonist, goads Loki, and then forbids him from seeing Frigga, knowing perfectly well that Frigga can project herself to Loki’s cell, and he makes no attempt to prevent this?
Don’t forget that Loki initially plays his little charade with Frigga too, asking ‘Are you proud?’ and rejecting her love. After Odin forbids seeing her, suddenly Loki, to use a British phrase, corpses - meaning he breaks character. He reveals that he does care very much about Frigga and living free, thank you very much!
Odin succeeds in getting Loki, for a moment, out of his illusions and expressing his real feelings - something important to Loki's growth, and which is the focus of his arc in Ragnarok.
The next time we see Loki, he’s talking to Frigga. So much for ’never see her again’. Much like Mjölnir is within Thor’s reach, so, too, is Frigga within reach of Loki.
To touch again on the deleted scene from THOR, Odin is perfectly capable of refuting Frigga. When Frigga wanted Thor’s banishment ended, he refused, adamantly. If Odin truly wanted to execute Loki, Frigga could not have stopped him. Frigga also demanded that Thor not be separated from communication with his family, and Odin insisted upon it. But here? He not only gets Loki to open up to Frigga and talk to her more honestly, he practically ensures that Frigga is in contact with Loki. Much like before, Odin has set himself up as the bad guy, the enforcer, and allowed Frigga to inhabit the role of ally to her children, who loves easily and can be loved easily. Before he did this, Loki was angry with her, too. Afterwards? He is more than willing to vent about Odin to her.
You can’t say there isn’t a twisty brilliance to his. Whether it is healthy that Odin always casts himself as the villain to Frigga’s gallant and innocent of blame heroine is perhaps a problematic approach worth criticizing, but you can see the psychology behind it. It’s also worth noting that Frigga did accept this strategy, even relied on it to the point of being flawed herself - in THOR, she abdicated total responsibility to the decision to keep Loki’s origins a secret onto Odin, even with Odin asleep. She is the good cop to his bad cop. Although it is also worth mentioning that she still ties herself to Odin as a package deal, meaning that if Loki wants to call her his mother, then Odin is his father. Despite their roles, they are united.
It’s also worth mentioning that this scene does not take place in the privacy of the Vault, but in the throne room. Loki has done some very public bad things, and as King, it is Odin’s duty to prove he is not biased or weak - even though he is, in truth, in very poor health, often seen leaning on his spear and walking slowly, clearly in pain, throughout the film. So very often, Odin does not have the luxury of being a father first - he is All-Father, responsible for everyone on Asgard and the Nine Realms. He cannot allow himself to be swayed by nepotism, and likely balks at the accusation. But he does allow Frigga to be completely free of that duty, free to be a mother first and Queen a distant second.
I do not think that was an easy decision. I think, if he were free of the crown, Odin would happily be very biased towards Loki, and forgive him everything if he thought that would help him. He does do that in Ragnarok, once he’s free (and Loki is not performing the ol’ arrogant conquering villain routine, and in response Odin is not performing 'angry powerful god-king').
When Loki ‘dies', he declares that this time, he didn’t do it for Odin - implying that he did it for Thor, of course, and rejecting Odin once more. And yet...
The film ends with Loki returning in disguise as an Einherji, to see Odin in the throne room. When he informs Odin that there was a body, we see Odin react by saying “Loki.” It is left ambiguous whether he is asking if the body was Loki, or if he realizes the true identity of the man before him. After that, Loki successfully overpowers his sickly father and banishes him to Earth before taking his place and image, literally becoming Odin - exactly what Odin had been afraid of for him.
That final scene between the disguised Loki and Odin parallels the opening scene. Once again, both are in character. Much like how Odin broke through Loki’s façade by declaring Frigga off-limits, Loki probes Odin’s posturing by informing Odin of Loki’s death. My guess? Upon hearing of Loki’s second death, especially after the death of Frigga, Odin was struck with grief - giving Loki the opening he needed to overpower him. That is my interpretation, but in any case, Loki ends the film inhabiting the very image of his father, and having to perform as Odin for the next few years.
Thanks to all the stuff, Odin is still king, and he’s realllllly tired, guys. He barely got a three day nap when he probably needed a minimum year in bed. He is, in fact, dying, and has known it for awhile. He’s also been through a lot emotionally, what with Loki being dead for a year and then not-dead but acting like an entitled villain who disdains their relationship. This is not helping the whole ‘dying from stress’ thing.
The first thing Odin does with Thor is disapprove of his hang-up on Jane. He suggests Lady Sif as a better romantic interest, indicating that Jane simply won’t live very long - something that Loki points out as as well. It might seem cruel, but - Odin kinda has a point. Couples are supposed to grow together, and Thor will remain much the same while Jane goes through the stages of age alone. Of course, Odin also likens Jane to a goat at a banquet hall (real nice attitude to someone who helped reform your son), so maybe he’s not super worried about Jane’s well-being - more likely, it is Thor’s, and the grief Thor will experience when Jane dies prematurely in comparison.
Ironically for Odin, this is the film where Frigga dies an early death. Absent his other half, the half he’d relied upon to be the more nurturing parent, Odin becomes almost a parody of the man we meet in THOR. He is focused on revenge, on evacuating his grief and rage and frustration on the enemy, no matter the cost to Asgard.
Sound familiar? Yeah, Odin sounds a lot like Thor in THOR, as well as Loki in THOR. This time, when Thor rebels against his father, he is the voice of reason and compassion. It’s a great parallel to Thor's arc in his first film. Once more, Thor conscripts his friends for aid in freeing Loki and shanghaiing Jane to Svartalfheim. You could say that he has learned the lesson Odin taught him a little too well - he can now see the flaws of Odin, react to them and define himself against them, and act against Odin for the purposes of preserving life. This was what Odin wanted, even when it goes against his currently stated wishes. He never wanted his children to imitate him - he wanted them to surpass him. That’s why he was silent when Thor told Odin there’d ’never be a better father or king’ in the previous THOR film.
I also believe it’s worth noting that Frigga dies after Odin has pushed all his chips for hope of reconciliation with Loki onto Frigga. With Frigga dead, he’s lost not only his wife, but potentially Loki as well.
Much hay as been made of Loki not being allowed to attend Frigga’s funeral, or of Odin or Thor even showing up in person to tell him about her death. This is something that was pretty terrible on behalf of both Thor and Odin, but I would point to THOR again to show how this is a personal trait of Odin’s, and not a deliberate exclusion. Odin retreats when he is in grief, preferring solitude. Thor is not in prison, but Odin does not speak much with him about Frigga’s passing either. Thor also fails to communicate with Loki, too. There’s just a lot of communication failures in the family, probably because Frigga was the one relied upon as the peacemaker, the one who would normally deliver the news and try to ensure harmony (even if she sometimes was a little underhanded in how she did it, love that lady). Losing Frigga has upset their roles and no-one is prepared to step up and take her place just yet. And speaking as someone who recently lost a mother, a mother not unlike Frigga (she ran just about everything) - sometimes it is hard to even know what you should be doing, who you should be calling, what you should say. Especially when you are consumed with grief yourself. We actually did rely on a family friend to tell most people what had happened, and then deal with their grief. So I can’t say I’m blameless when it comes to sending a proxy rather than go myself.
Still, it is wrong that Loki was left to hear this from a guard. It is wrong that Thor didn’t have his father at his side after the loss of his mother. It is wrong that Odin governed so recklessly rather than take the space and time to process Frigga’s death. But grief is…a strange, terrible thing, and it rarely makes people act the best versions of themselves. I can speak to that. As for Loki not being at the funeral - perhaps Odin couldn’t bear to have Loki in chains in public, especially knowing how it would make Frigga feel. Indeed, this may be an example of him covering up what he doesn’t know how to address.
…which takes us to….
We never see Odin and Hela interact. All we have to go on for their relationship is what they say about each other, and the art in the throne room.
Hela is Odin’s secret firstborn. It’s kind of brilliant to make Hela his daughter - after all, OG Mythological Odin is God of the Gallows and Executions, among many other things. That he’d have a daughter who was Goddess of Death makes too much sense. Speaking of Executions, Hela claims that she was Odin’s Executioner - the one who saw that his will was done, and that will was bloody conquest - until he suddenly decided Nine Realms was enough, and she disagreed.
Hela seems disgusted with the man Odin has become, and with her siblings who came after. She is always herself, no airs, no deceits, no hiding, while Odin, in her words, covered up how he got it.
Hela is glad to hear that the ‘weak’ Odin is dead, but she sure does spend a lot of the film talking about him. She mocks his fake artifacts, is angry that he’s buried bodies in a crypt rather than put them on display. She restores his war-like image to her palace and for all intents and purposes appears to want to keep it up. She compares Thor and Loki to him as an insult and goes so far as to injure Thor in the same way Odin was injured. She brags about being his executioner, remembers his quote about war, and feels very strongly about being his rightful heir.
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
Hela is…kinda obsessed with Odin. Or more accurately - her Odin. That painting she reveals and revels over? It depicts Odin wearing a golden version of her dead-spider-looking-helm - or rather, reveals that her helm is likely recreated in Odin’s helm’s image.
Also to note, although Odin takes the mainstage of the mural, where he and Hela are depicted together, they appear to stand side-by-side as equals. It would seem that, while they were united, they were very close. Hela's bitterness and constant mentioning of Odin makes sense once you realize that they were once the most important people in each other's lives. No wife, no friends, no-one else is depicted at Odin's side but her - which also explains why Hela has no use for brothers when she returns. They are lesser versions of a lesser Odin, while she sees herself as the legitimate partner of Odin at his peak - before he started to 'sound like Loki' - i.e. prefer diplomacy to violent conquest, soft power to hard power.
Much like Thor, Hela defines herself against Odin, seeing herself as capable where he proved incapable. But like Loki, she also spends a lot of time trying to be exactly like her idealized concept of him and begruding his betrayal. Which makes her a great final villain for the brothers to face together.
As for what Odin says about Hela - well, he doesn’t have much time, but he covers a fair bit of ground. Odin confesses that he has failed his sons, and informs them that Ragnarok is near. His life was all that held Hela back, but now his time has come. He names Hela as the Goddess of Death, his firstborn - and Thor’s sister. He gives her her title, her birthright, and her relationship to the rest of the family. It is respectful, but also a little emotional. He does not insult her or degrade her, does not assure Thor that ‘he’s the real heir’, and does not detail how he feels about her personally much at all.
"Her violent appetites grew beyond my control. I couldn’t stop her, so I imprisoned her. Locked her away." - Odin
It is interesting that Odin apparently had the energy to imprison her - and, according to Taika Waititi, carry her around like a weight upon wherever he went - but could not bring himself to kill her. Also, Hela knows about Odin’s missing eyeball, even though he lost it in battle with Laufey, long after Hela was initially imprisoned. She’s also aware that she has brothers, though she is unaware that Loki is adopted or that Asgard has forgotten her.
This implies that Odin has been visiting her and talking to her, despite her hatred for him. It would seem that Odin maybe never really gave up on Hela, despite everything. Kinda harsh to stick his other kids with her disposal, but it is interesting that he could never bring himself to kill her or leave her in eternal solitude.
Some angrily demand “Why was Odin allowed to change, but Hela was given no opportunity to grow?” Unfortunately, we don’t know the whole situation. After all, Odin DID provide both Thor and Loki with the means to escape their imprisonments. Are we so sure Hela was given nothing? At the very least, she still had Odin. He never totally abandoned her. He quite literally kept her around him, even as it caused him to tire and sapped his life force. And that’s a metaphor if ever there was one.
The first Odin we see in Ragnarok (2017) is not the true one, but Loki disguised as his father. And what does he do with this power? Well, he does rebuild Asgard, but then he erects a (in comparison to most of the others, rather modestly sized) golden statue of himself in front of an amphitheater dedicated to performances of ’The Tragedy of Loki’, a cheesy play that’s Loki’s reimagining of reality. It serves as a good recap, not only of events, but of Loki’s motivations, hopes and dreams. In it, Thor is understanding and kind to him and Loki is a tragic hero, celebrated by Asgard. Matt Damon utters the now-iconic line ‘I didn’t do it for him’ and dies dramatically. But then who closes out the play but Sam Neill playing Odin, narrating the end of Loki’s story much like he did the beginning of Loki’s story (not to mention narrating the Thor films themselves)? It also mirrors how in TDW Loki’s story closes on Odin, as well as opens with Odin in THOR. It is Odin who decides the context and meaning of Loki's life, even in this fiction of Loki's life directed by Loki himself.
A little boy painted blue climbs a rock behind Actor-Odin, and Odin claims him as ‘my boy’. Actor-Odin recreates Odin’s discovery of Loki in Jotunheim and frames it as purely loving - that Odin’s ‘old fool heart’ was melted by this ‘little blue baby icicle’ whom he didn’t suspect would one day be Asgard’s saviour. Matt Damon might declare that he ‘didn’t do it for him’, but the play ending on Odin’s admiring speech implies that Loki hasn’t actually let his desire for Odin’s approval go in the slightest.
This is pretty crazy meta stuff here. We have Loki, in disguise as Odin, directing a play in which an actor also playing Odin speaks words written by Loki to a play-version of Loki as a child, as well as to the play’s director, Loki-disguised-as-Odin. Make no mistake, though this is intended as something of a propaganda piece for Asgard, its chief audience is Loki himself. The play allows Loki to reframe his story and control an Odin outside of the one he himself is already inhabiting. With this play, he can watch his puppet-Odin declare his love for the little blue boy on the rock. This is an Odin who sees Loki as a saviour of Asgard, a beloved child who changes Odin for the better and is loved and treasured, not in spite of being a Frost Giant, but in part because of it.
There is no accusation of Odin using Loki as a political tool, no insulting costume or dialogue, and in fact, no recrimination of Odin at all. This is a very flattering Odin, the Odin of Loki’s dreams. And yet, despite its cartoonish nature, what puppet-Odin says is not that far off what Odin previously said to Loki in the Vault. Read into that what you will - Loki reframing what Odin said to make it more palatable, even humourous, or maybe Loki processing what Odin said and even finding it acceptable once he'd had time to think on it - with an addition. In this version of the story, the 'saving' is mutual. Loki is framed as Odin's saviour as much as Odin is framed as his, with Loki on the rock even situated above Odin. Loki's purpose is not to bridge Jotunheim and Asgard, but to be specifically Asgard's saviour, which fits in with his isolationist policies as king. Loki has moved beyond making Odin proud to making him a better person - "Melting the old fool's heart". In this way, being a vulnerable child is made empowering, and the concept of Loki being something to take pity on is balanced with what good he can bring out in others.
Thor dispels the illusion, breaking Loki out of Odin and dragging him to Earth to find Odin. Fast-forward through Doctor Strange and we get to -
Gosh, I love how this scene is staged. It mirrors how THOR composed shots of Thor, Odin and Loki. Loki and Thor are placed side by side in their search for Odin. Upon finding him, they sit at either side of him, and the framing highlights their equality. No more does Odin loom larger than both in frame, or stand over them as he did in the Vault or the Throne Room. He sits side by side with them as equals.
Odin’s final conversation with Loki is brief, and unlike their two previous confrontations, Odin actually does all of the talking. Loki is conspicuously quiet during the whole thing, likely ashamed of his actions in banishing Odin and nervous for what Odin will say to him. Considering their last two conversations in the throne room, that’s understandable, but there’s a major difference here.
Odin isn’t king anymore. He isn’t in his finery, he isn’t in charge of Asgard’s well-being, and he isn’t attempting any trickery on Loki by setting himself up as the villain. As for Loki, he’s also not wearing the guise of an Einherji or his façade of villainous non-chalance. Loki is, all too rarely, just himself in these scene, and for the first time since the Vault Confrontation, Odin is also himself.
Thor goes up to Odin straightaway, while Loki drags his feet. Odin waits until Loki and Thor are by his side before he speaks to both of them simultaneously, addressing them as ‘My sons’.
Everything Odin does, he does for a reason, right? And almost everything Odin says is either directed at both of them or at Loki exclusively.
Loki expects Odin to be angry with him, to reject him. And instead, Odin welcomes Loki in the same breath as Thor, as one of his sons. When Thor brings up the spell Loki used to confuse and banish Odin, Odin laughs it off and turns it into a compliment for Loki’s abilities. He even tells him that Frigga would have been proud. (And for all those who are like ‘Loki’s on his blind side! It’s deliberate and represents how he is blind to Loki!’- Odin deliberately turns towards Loki and makes eye contact with him while telling him this, something he doesn’t even do with Thor).
While Thor is focused on by the camera as Odin gives his exposition about Hela, the words are equally directed at Loki. The ‘yous’ are meant to be read as plural. When he tells Thor and Loki that they must face Hela alone, he means face her without him, but not without each other.
Easily forgiving Loki, focusing on addressing Thor and Loki as a whole, and ending with another ‘I love you, my sons’ and a suggestion to remember a place as ‘home’ is deliberate message to Thor - Thor, I forgive Loki, my death isn’t his fault. I don’t consider what he did to be serious. He is equally my son, and equally loved. By ending on a thought to make this area into a ‘home’ after that, he also solidifies Loki as instrumental to creating ‘home’ - an equal partner to Thor.
Of course, Thor doesn’t immediately get this. After Odin’s death, he immediately blames Loki and seeks to evacuate his rage and grief upon Loki before Hela makes a timely entrance. But, as the film goes on, Thor does get past his initial anger and grows to understand Loki better, eventually forgiven him himself and making a place for Loki at his side. I don’t know that he would have been capable of that without what Odin said and how Odin said it. (I know this fandom loves to imagine Thor as a cuddly golden retriever who forgives Loki everything, but that’s just not the case in canon. Thor has been pretty darn resentful of Loki and the trouble he causes, demeans him on several occasions, distances himself from Loki to his friends, and has never actually forgiven Loki for anything until the end of this film. Odin emphasizing their familial bond in this scene is a major catalyst for turning Thor around, as is Odin dropping a bombshell of info on Thor that helps him understand Loki's feelings.)
It is notable that Odin is skewing towards Loki more than Thor in this scene. Thor gets Odin’s full attention later, in the short visions he receives after Odin’s death (side note, I love that Thor got Frigga’s powers of foretelling and dreams, he’s a bit witchy himself). But aside from the Hela exposition dump, every comment not directed at both is directed towards Loki.
Basically, Loki’s fantasy of Odin and Real-Odin aren’t really that different. Odin truly does love Loki, he does see him as a part of Asgard and her future, and he does love him equal to Thor but still in a unique way - and he does say it. Multiple times. Again.
Then - Odin dies.
Loki’s grief take on interesting forms in the rest of the film. He throws himself into the mad world of Sakaar and ladder climbs his way to the Grandmaster’s side, regaling Sakaarian elites with a humourous retelling of ‘letting go’ of Odin’s spear from THOR - turning his first death into a pithy anecdote. It is emblematic of how Loki deals with trauma, busying himself with a new project and dismissing his pain as ridiculous.
Then, even though he knows Thor is furious to the point of homicidal towards him, he joins Thor for Odin’s funeral in the cells beneath Sakaar. When the two are escaping Sakaar together, Loki declares that since it was Odin who brought them together, losing him would naturally split them apart. It’s true that throughout the THOR films, Thor and Loki’s relationship has been framed as through Odin. His first appearance has him holding their hands and joining them together. His death really does present the risk of them forever going their separate ways.
But they don’t. They do reconcile.
At the end of the day, Loki gets some of what he wanted from Odin in this film. Loki worried that his blood made him too inherently monstrous for Odin to truly love, and in that fear, acted monstrously, saying and doing cruel things to the world and also to Odin personally. And Odin didn’t change a single word of what he said. He still claimed Loki as his son, still loved him, still believed him equal to Thor.
Odin passed the test. Odin was telling the truth in the Vault all along. And now Loki can accept it.
Thor is really thrown for a loop in this one. While in THOR, he’s given a tough lesson by Odin, and in TDW, he learns how to rebel against Odin for the greater good, it is this film that truly destabilizes his concept of Odin and his relationship to him. This scene is his ‘Vault Confession’, putting him through some of the paces Loki went through previously (something Loki himself notes).
In responding to “Goddess of Death. My firstborn. Your Sister”, Thor goes - “Your what?”
It’s not the Goddess of freakin’ death that gets his attention, or even the ‘you have a sister’. It’s ‘My firstborn’.
Thor has always defined himself as Odin’s eldest child, the one saddled with the most responsibility and expectation. To discover that he’s Odin second attempt at a ‘firstborn' changes his concept of self and his understanding of what his relationship with Odin was.
With the revelation of Loki’s biological parentage, Thor’s response was one of denial. He refused to change how he thought things ought to be, and tried to push Loki back into his former place. When Loki doesn't get back in line, Thor stops talking to him, unable to digest this change in their relationship. In his mind, Loki was the one out of place, while it was Thor, Odin and Frigga who suffered for Loki’s rebellion.
Now it’s his turn to have his place and his identity spun around on him. Thor has usurped the place of another. Everything he took for granted was in fact never truly his.
Despite the events of TDW, Thor still trusts Odin, still sees him as a source of protection meant to keep out the bad guys, still sees him as the rightful king over himself. This is the first time Thor feels truly betrayed by Odin, and on top of that, foisted with the additional duty of killing Hela before he can take the throne he still doesn’t really want. This is where Odin finally just comes out and says what he’s been trying to teach Thor since Movie #1.
“I’m not as strong as you.”
“No. You’re stronger.”
Odin wants his children to be better than he was. He reminds Thor that he’s not the God of Hammers. The Hammer was a gift from Odin, but also, apparently, a hand-me-down from Hela. It was never as much a symbol of Thor’s power and unique connection to Odin as Thor thought it was. Hela really did him a favour by destroying it, allowing Thor to find his own abilities, free from his father’s control and opinion of 'worthiness'. Odin sees Thor as capable of doing the things he couldn’t, once he’s let go of trying to live up to Odin.
Thor defeats Hela, using not might, but trickery and sacrifice - which is very Odin-esque, but with his own Thor flair. He depends on others to help get the job done, and extends to them his friendship and belief. This is something Odin could not do. Odin ruled alone, with not even Frigga on entirely equal footing with him. Thor closes out the film with his throne surrounded by an eclectic group of people, who helped save the Asgardians and will presumably help them rebuild. It is a moment of hope, and one that spotlights the difference between Odin and Thor even as Thor’s eyepatch makes him resemble Odin more than ever.
Thor has fulfilled his father’s wishes by becoming king, sailing for Norway to make a new home, and welcoming Loki to his side as an equal. And then -
Thanos, destroyer of catharsis and completed character arcs, arrives.
The Asgardians are massacred again. Loki is killed. Thor is separated from his people.
Following his father’s wishes kinda ended poorly. Thor backtracks, seeking out a new weapon in Stormbreaker and returning to his revenge-obsessed ways, now far more passionate and inflamed than the boyish rebelliousness of THOR.
This does not work out well for him. Thanos lives to kill half the universe. Thor does get to behead him eventually. But then he still goes to pieces.
Luckily, a little time travel allows him a moment with his mother. Frigga is able to provide another lesson that Odin could not - the idea of not trying to surpass Odin, but bypass him. She tells Thor to find his own path, even if that means not being king. She gives him emotional support that, while Odin did try to supply, comes to her more easily. She hugs Thor, holds his shoulder, makes a ton of contact that Odin mostly stayed away from.
Our time with Loki in Infinity War is brief, but very important. Loki has brought down Thanos on the Ark, and Thanos has done what he do and killed half of everyone who was on it - men, women, children. Loki had become the saviour of Asgard, but now he's responsible for its second apocalypse. His father’s faith in him, his insistence in including Loki, has led to this - death and ruin.
And yet, even in the midst of all this darkness, Loki finally reclaims the name ‘Odinson’. He does it as pledge of loyalty to Thor, but also for himself. Even after bringing down this terrible thing, Loki does not doubt that Odin would still want him to have his name. He no longer doubts Odin’s love for him, or his place in the family.
He dies after telling Thanos “You will never be a god.” Meaning, of course, that Loki has embraced his own godhood and place in Asgard.
Odin as Image
Odin in paintings, new and old. Odin as played by Sam Neill in Loki’s play. Odin as portrayed by Loki in disguise. Odin in a vision. Odin in the imagination of his children as he tells them a story.
There’s a ton of false-Odins and Odin iconography throughout the series. It is symbolic of how Odin is symbolic.
It’s worth mentioning that we’ve never had a scene of Odin alone, something afforded Thor and Loki often. We see Odin only from their perspective, and never what he’s like when he doesn’t have to perform for anyone. Odin doesn’t get to be just himself - he is always shown in the context of what he means to others.
This is Odin’s struggle in the series - he is caught between being Odin the Icon and Odin the person. He plays many roles for many people - father, husband, king, warrior, politician. But who is Odin outside of these things?
I think Odin’s most vulnerable moments are when he attempts to break through someone’s conception of him, but is rebuffed in preference for the ‘Conceptual Odin’. Sometimes this is his own fault - like when he tells the stories to Thor and Loki and paints a certain image of himself for them, or when he reconstructs his own history - and sometimes it is simply the nature of his position or what people want him to be, positive or negative.
Three pieces of dialogue illustrate this.
“Why do you twist my words?” - THOR
The only time Odin pushes back on Loki in their conversation in the Vault is when Loki accuses of Odin of keeping Loki as ‘another stolen relic, locked up here until you might have use of me.’
Odin is trying to be gentle with Loki, and the one time he slips from that and expresses frustration is when he tries to reveal himself and the truth - and is called a liar who only 'claims to love (Loki)' . The accusation is that he must be someone first defined as a ruthless king, seeking to use others - which, while an aspect of Odin, is not all of him. When he is forcibly defined as only that, and only 'pretending' to be a father in order to serve the goals of a politician, Odin loses his composure - though he does recover it enough to put his hurt feelings aside and continue to try and convince Loki of his genuine affection.
“….” - THOR
When Thor tells Odin "There will never be a wiser king than you. Or a better father”, Odin slumps, as if a great weight has been put upon him. He doesn’t stand like a dignified king, nor a proud father eager that his son now appreciates him. He tries to speak and fails to get the words out. It’s as if he means to disagree, but can’t bear to shatter Thor’s image of him.
“Your birthright-uh! Was TO DIE! As a child! Cast out onto a frozen rock! If I had not taken you in, you would not be here now to hate me.” - TDW
Odin’s decision to make Loki his son is one he’s incorporated as an important part of his self-image. It seems like he considered it one of the best things he ever did, and when it leads to Loki’s ruinous and angry actions, it rocks him. He goes from seeing himself as Loki’s saviour to Loki’s villain. It is worth noting that for the rest of TDW, Odin isn’t just an arse to Loki, but to everyone around him. His relationship with Loki becoming antagonistic has made him more antagonistic to the world entire, sharpened his persona and making him a crueler person. The loss of that ‘good memory’ has, perhaps, reverted him to a more war-like version of himself. Loki represented his hopes for peace, and his own inner hope for redemption - losing Loki, and Loki’s perceived love, makes Odin swerve hard in the other direction, seeing himself as beyond redemption. If Loki doesn’t believe in Odin’s love, then Odin must be better at anger, and that anger comes out in all aspects of his life. Losing Frigga on top of that accelerates it further, as it was through her that Odin often enacted his softer sides.
The mural in the throne room is seen by Hela as a lie - Odin covering up the 'truth' of his conquest and relationship to her for 'peace treaties and garden parties'. But it is also true that Odin did only cover up that older mural, not destroy it - he created a new layer, one that re-invented himself as a peace-maker, who stood side by side with the king of Asgard's ancestral enemies upholding a written promise of non-aggression, as well as one that showed Odin alongside family. And at the center of this new mural was not Odin, as the older one had it, but Asgard and the Bifrost Bridge alone, the connection to the other realms.
Is one painting really any more legitimate than the other? Both are propaganda in their own way, and, much like Loki's play, undoubtedly some or even most of that propaganda is intended for the author. Yet this new propaganda undeniably has a better message, if still a nationalistic one. It is Odin's attempt to reinvent himself into a better king and person, with better, more harmonic values at the center of his priorities - once again, similar to Loki's play.
Of course, it is just an image, and not necessarily the truth. We know Laufey did not think so kindly of the peace treaty, that Thor, depicted here as hanging out with friends, was not always so peaceable, and Loki, shown with his family in his TDW appearance, was not nearly so content or available to stand with the family at that time (which does bring up the question of just when this was painted - Thor, too, has his Thor 2 look, so probably during Loki's year imprisonment?)
It is an ideal, something Odin wants to be true for himself and others, and perhaps revealing his own insecurities (really, this and the play are functionally the exact same things, adding another layer of meta to that beautiful, hilarious theatre).
This mural is stripped away, much like how when Loki and Thor see Odin for the last time, Odin is stripped of everything that contextualized him previously in the series. He is not a king, not in Asgard, not in armour, and not angry. He exists in one form and function - as a father. Including to Hela. He speaks without dramatic airs, lays out things as straightforwardly as he can, and doesn’t try to defend his own ego at all. He puts his efforts solely into preparing Thor for what’s to come and reassuring Loki.
Yet even though Odin has been stripped down for that scene, we still don’t quite see him as Odin only. He is Odin, Thor-Loki-Hela-Father, but still not Odin the person. He simply puts the needs of his children to be recognized and actualized above his own and passes peacefully, never having been truly seen as a whole person.
Odin wants to be loved, but Odin as a concept is so many things to so many people that it is often the Icon or the Imaginary Odin that receives this love, and not the flawed person who inhabits it. Whether it is his children, his people, or even the audience of the films themselves, Odin is seen as the role he plays, even to himself. The occasions he seems most vulnerable and emotional are also those in which he feels misunderstood. Odin is a fragmented person, lost behind layers of re-invention, much of it tied to how others see him, in particular his children and himself, all of whom have have tried to emulate or rebel against that image.
Yes, even Odin pushes back on the idea of Odin. In fact, the actions he seems to most proudly define himself by are those that contradict 'the ideal Odin'. Odin adopting Loki is a bizarre move, entirely incongruous with Asgard as know it to operate and think. Odin banishing Thor as punishment for starting a war - even though Thor expected Odin to fight it with him. Odin being banished by Loki - and accepting it, having no anger at all about the situation, despite previously banishing Thor for far less disrespect. Odin turning away from conquering and towards peace-craft.
Even the smaller moments - Odin speaking quietly when expected to shout and rage, Odin raging when expected to be wise, Odin being loving when expected to be conniving, Odin praising when expected to chastise, and Odin reaching out when expected to draw away - show a man unwilling to be put in a box, even one of his making.
It is a journey not dissimilar to Loki's in the MCU - but while Loki is able to find reinvention and the ability to be truly present and accepted as he is, Odin never quite does. He dies performing one role, the role of Father, rather than the multiple he's had to inhabit throughout the series, but our glimpses of Odin the individual appear only in the cracks of his personas.
It is a fitting portrayal, entirely in line with the mythological Odin, who also exists uneasily amidst expectations that suit him ill even as they define him. Like mythological Odin, there's a streak of the trickster rebel, unafraid to be underhanded, to go against the grain, to befriend what is considered monstrous or find strength in what others consider weakness. There's also the pride, the fear of acting openly, the mysteriousness, the desire to teach, the unspoken need to be understood. All there, in bits and pieces.
It is this odd and conflicting nature that allows Odin to create the circumstances of our story, as well as much of its depth. A more typical Asgardian might've killed Loki, praised Thor's aggression, or discouraged Hela for being a woman. Odin's actions with all three were unusual and unique, and unlikely to have been undertaken by anyone else without his collection of weirdo traits.
Perhaps an even better man would have nipped Thor's aggression in the bud as a child more effectively, channeled Hela's ambition into better, healthier things, and not adopted Loki at all, but sent him far away.
Perhaps. But then we wouldn't have a good story.
And now I want to talk about how the fandom talks about Odin. And whether or not Odin is a good or bad father.
In PART TWO.
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Loki Series Thoughts—The Variant
With the release of episode 2, I’m back with another analysis. Spoilers ahead!! This will be a combination of personal thoughts, theories, and objective analysis. This is overall, a positive review, so if you do not want to see that, I would not recommend continuing to read. I am however more than open to some friendly debate and discussion over any and all of the following points, whether you agree or disagree with them.
With all that being said, let’s dive in:
I feel gypped on the Holding out for a Hero fight scene. I mean, I liked how the scene was shot, especially with the whole loudspeaker thing (it set the mood very well), but where’s Loki fighting to that song?
Alright, I might as well address the elephant in the room: Is Loki OOC? Well, for my money, the answer is both yes and no. And I don’t mean to be wishy-washy; it really kind of depends on how you define OOC and/or who exactly you take this Loki to be.
What does OOC mean? To me, the literal definition of “out of character” would be the character acting in a way unlike they’ve been seen acting before. Likewise, according to Collins Dictionary it would be defined as “not typical of the apparent character of a person or thing.” Now, that’s a bit too black and white. What if you have a character in a new situation, how do you know how they’d react? By analyzing their past actions and seeing if they line up. And if you stop at this point and deem Loki entirely OOC, well you’re allowed to and that’s valid. I, however, would not say entirely is the word to use. Somewhat, yes, but not terribly and not inexcusably so. I’ll come back to this in a moment.
Who is this Loki? He’s the one right after the Avengers, of course, but he’s something different too. Think about it, the whole series is centered around how different choices can shape the very fabric of the universe. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that changes in Loki’s story would cause him to behave differently than what we’ve seen before? This is, in essence, a different Loki, albeit one who’s own narrative is shaped by a shared backstory with ours. It even says it on his jacket in big, bright letters: VARIANT. So while he shouldn’t be too dissimilar from the Loki we know, I do not think we can entirely look to the old to determine the new.
Now that we have that out of the way, we’re back to my somewhat noncommittal answer of the original question. Loki has some moments that seem OOC, but almost always has a (valid) reason for acting that way, both in and out of universe.
Loki’s OOC moments:
◦ The Renaissance Fair: And I by no means think this applies to his whole spiel. In fact, I think it was largely in character. What got me was “Which is absurd, because my people are, by nature, gullible fools. A trait that I, the God of Mischief, exploited time and time again simply by listening.” And then again, right after B-15 announces they are one unit away from red line. Though, my issue with the latter is how rushed it is. This could make sense because he’s worried about having time to finish his ploy. It’s a small thing to harp on for sure, though, for the point I am trying to make.
◦ In the hallway: This is where I think he’s most OOC. It feels rambley and pointless. More a desperate plea than a calculated last resort.
◦ With the librarian: I was hesitant to put this one in, but he seemed a bit unsure at points in his dialogue here. The inflection of his voice in the middle just sounded, like I said, unsure.
◦ The cafeteria (both times): More so in the first. The metaphor was, like Loki himself said, clumsy. But what I really think is OOC here is how excitable and obvious he is after Mobius concedes, “Not bad.” And the only thing on their second cafeteria chat is at the very end. His response of “I know” to being called clever, once again has an inflection to it that I would not typically associate with Loki—it’s too pronounced.
◦ Pompeii (beginning of scene only): Loki seems pretty flippant about the whole thing in the immediate moments after their arrival. (As an aside, I don’t think he’s necessarily unsympathetic here; he knows what happens and to keep himself safe and prove his point, he can’t branch the timeline.) To be quite honest, I think he might just be goading Mobius as he’s done to our God of Mischief many a time already.
◦ Before Roxxcart: He seems nervous, and his speech is a bit rushed again. Then again, this is something he wants—to be better. I’d think he’d be a bit more calm about it, though. Then again, with everything that’s happened recently, maybe it’s a natural response?
The reasons why he seems OOC:
◦ It’s on purpose: He knows what they think of him. If he plays into that, even in an exaggerated way, they’re not going to call bs on it.
◦ He’s been through a lot/Not our Loki: Like I mentioned earlier, not only is this a new environment, it’s a new Loki. He’s been shaped differently from our Loki because of how he was immediately thrust into the world of the TVA after many traumatic experiences.
◦ It’s an acting choice: No, it’s not one you have to agree with. But I believe Tom could be doing it to highlight moments where Loki is saying things he personally does not actually believe or that he knows others believe. Just to distinguish from the more calculated lying he does.
So, are there moments when Loki acts OOC? Yes. Is it inexplicable? No. Are the answers to those questions always the same from person to person? No, because like so many things, it’s all about how you frame it. And, of course, every person perceives each moment of time through their own eyes, with their own thoughts, in their own ways.
Loki has plenty of moments in character, too. In fact, I’d say he was overwhelmingly in character, for my understanding of it. In the earlier parts of the Renaissance Fair he is witty and lying with ease. At all other points that I didn’t mention, I found his vocabulary and inflection perfectly fine. I can’t think of any one moment his hand gestures particularly stuck out to me as out of place. And during his impromptu magic lesson, he seemed so sure of himself. He has snark without being rude. His interactions with “the variant” are on point. Even in the majority of the Pompeii scene, he’s not acting OOC, he’s just acting. He wanted to make an over-exaggerated splash to test his theory. Between that and speaking Latin, aren’t we seeing his cunning and wit?
Well, with that divisive and slightly negative topic out of the way, let’s move onto Mobius, his character, and his role in the show. He’s a bit different than the Mobius we see last time. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still moments where he seems to be manipulating Loki, or at least attempting to (the walk to the elevator; dangling a meeting with the Time Keepers in front of Loki’s face). In episode two, he’s presented as a victim. Mobius is just as much a slave to the “sacred timeline” as those living in it. He can’t go into the world and do the things he wants to do. Even any questions about time that Loki has, he answers seemingly by rote (perhaps drilled into his brain through propaganda?) or he can’t explain well (note, two times he somewhat hesitantly deems what Loki says as “an oversimplification”).
We’re also told that Mobius has a soft spot for broken things. That seems like a bold thing to say if Mobius hasn’t done something big before. Has he possibly ever used a variant like this before? Could he even possibly have a deeper connection to the rouge variant? Probably not on that second one, but it’s not wholly impossible. Though, going back to “has he done this before?” (and get ready for me to get absolutely insane now) do the rings on the table have deeper symbolic meaning pertaining to this? Yes, it could have just been for comedy, it may have just been a cool shot, but why put so much focus and emphasis on it like that with the camera and dialogue if it has no significance. Basically what I mean is, it’s symbolic of Mobius messing up. He messed up Renslayer’s table, maybe he botched a mission. Or maybe he even screwed up when working with another variant. Regardless of whether that’s symbolism, we do see him have a soft spot for the people at the hurricane shelter.
Mobius’s role in episode 1 was trying to break down Loki and recruit him. In this episode, he was more of a guide, more of a friend. Yes, there are lines like at Roxxcart when he says he knows he can’t be trusted, but there’s also a lot of camaraderie between the two. By the time Loki and Mobius are having their second chat in the cafeteria, they seem familiar with each other, engaging in what seems to be a friendly bout of verbal sparring. They seem, at very least, fond of each other, and I believe Mobius is, to some extent, on Loki’s side.
In fact, Mobius and Loki share something in common; they want something more than what the time keepers have preordained for them, even if Loki is more ready to admit that. Mobius is still, however, playing the part he’s been assigned, his “glorious purpose.” And, yes that includes some digs like that at Loki, whether Loki’s in the room or not, and whether they’re subtle or not. Is “I’ll delete him myself. He’s really arrogant.” really a dig though? I mean, it sounds like he could just be saying what Renslayer wants to hear. And when he talks about Loki wanting something more, wanting to change, I don’t think he’s actually talking about Loki. With the inflection and stage whisper, it almost sounds like he’s projecting. Remind you of anyone? Mobius will likely end up helping Loki, or may even turn into a tragic hero, his fatal flaw being his unwillingness to admit the TVA is not infallible.
The TVA workers. Isn’t odd how some of them have names and others don’t? Do they name themselves? More likely, I think whoever is in charge of a branch of the TVA gets a name, and all underlings get the less than human mix of letters and numbers with which to identify themselves. It also seems that the people with the most personality are the ones with names. B-15 has a personality, sure, but it’s more just in line with “I work for the TVA. This is what they want. I will do exactly that.” It’s almost lacking something that the named characters have lying beneath the surface of their character arc.
And then she gets enchanted, and if Wunmi Mosaku wasn’t already shining with the limited story for the character, oh boy she is now. When B-15 comes to, she is scared. It’s on her face and in that little shuddered breath. And when asked what happened, she seemed so unsure, timid. I’m definitely interested to see how that progresses!
Back to the workers in general, they didn’t seem as sad about their coworkers this episode as in the last. Even with C-20 it seemed to be a respect thing. I mean, they reset the timeline with their colleagues lying dead on the floor. I think in a lot of scenarios, dead soldiers would be given a proper burial.
Ravonna Renslayer and the time keepers. Renslayer is even more steadfastly devoted to the sacred timeline and the time keepers than anyone else. Why? Well, I think it’s because she is the time keepers. Any time they’re brought up, it’s quickly explained away with a simple “they’re busy.” That’s because they’re not real. But Renslayer sure seems chummy with them, huh? What other reason then its her timeline she has everyone protecting.
Then again, she may only be second in command, but not to the time keepers. (I mean, omniscient and omnipotent beings who are relatively aloof and unreachable? They’re perfectly set up to be revealed as not real. Plus the constant non-answers when it comes to them, I’ll be more surprised if they’re real than if they’re not.) But in the comics, her plot line is interwoven with that of Kang the Conqueror, a time traveler, among many other things. Even more likely than her being in charge, is him being in charge.
And now for the variant. It’s not Lady Loki, we all know that right? Ok, that comes off a bit harsh, but she is listed as Sylvie in the credits for languages other than English. This was also who Sophia Di Martino was previously listed as on IMDb. I won’t get into her story in the comics now, but I’d bet we’ll take elements of that in her story in the series. And if you’re still not convinced that’s who this is, why have her blonde? It just doesn’t make sense to change that about her. Plus, Sylvie takes on the name of Enchantress. What does Loki say her powers are? Enchantments. She doesn’t want to be called Loki either. She does say the main Loki variant is her, but if she’s framing him or taking on his persona for her crimes, why stop now? Her language is distinctly un-Loki like, too. She also boldly declares “This isn’t about you.” And finally, there’s the foreshadowing in Loki’s line, “I would never treat me like this.”
I only wonder what her motives are. Is she looking for revenge on the Loki from her timeline? Or perhaps she’s working fo him? Maybe he’s dead and she’s avenging him? Or he’s alive and she wants to grab his attention? Maybe she has motives all her own. And what of Mephisto? Does he actually play a part in this? I’m just spitballing, I need more information.
When Loki finds the file. No. Like. Give a detailed description of this please!!!!! He thinks he’s evil. That he causes all that death with malicious intent. Even if he doesn’t, there’s clear pain over the destruction of Asgard. And look at his eyes, the only thing we’re shown as he process the information fully for the first time. He’s hurt, confused. Disappointed and angry with himself. The bit we’re shown of his face before it zooms in on his eyes portrays this too. He looks so lost in that shot. And he looks to be tearing up a bit.
Maybe I’m just being dumb, but what does it mean 9,719 casualties? Didn’t they all escape? His face as the scene zooms back out is... defeated. Scared. Scarred. He’s barely holding it together. Then something else catches his eye, giving him an idea. And I’m sure more than anything he wants to be distracted from the storm in his mind. So yeah, he’ll happily throw himself into his work. The epiphany on his face as he’s still recovering and discovering new things is just so perfect too.
The confrontation at Roxxcart. This was really well done, I felt. Loki felt in character, and he was fighting smartly, using what he could. Because clearly the enchantment also lent Sylvie’s powers to the person. But Loki manages to hang in there and dig for information while keeping the battle going.
He gets mad, too. He starts yelling. And that makes sense. He wants answers, and for so long he’s been denied them; it’s a recurring theme in his life. He’s losing control of himself a bit here. And that’s a large part of the reason why he goes through the time door. Loki doesn’t want to lose control again. I don’t even know if it was exactly a betrayal of the TVA. I don’t think he’s on their side, but I think he just saw that he couldn’t lose the variant again. Because for what he says his plan is, he wouldn’t have followed the variant. However, he does because he wants answers.
What about that plan though? I’m working a bit in reverse with this scene I realize, but bear with me. That look on his face as he stands, it’s calculating. I think he’s lying about his plan. I think he’s trying to bring the variant in, not work with them.
Also, I’m so concerned for C-20. What’s real? I want to know!! But we’re already getting a feel for Sylvie’s powers. The people she enchants live, but they’ve seen something they’d rather not. What other reason is there for the similar way B-15 and C-20 act? And I know she mentions telling Sylvie the time keeper’s location, but really, it’s their location to her knowledge. It doesn’t necessarily mean they exist. Or maybe it’s just Kang.
And Mobius at the very end of this scene, the very end of the confrontation, the very end of the episode. The last thing is him calling after Loki. And he sounds genuine, almost. It didn’t sound like he was fearful for his own life, but rather more worried for Loki. Though, maybe I have that confused and it’s worried about Loki. Whatever the reason, it sounded like genuine fear in his voice to me.
Finally, some random thoughts that didn’t fit anywhere:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is so talented. I mean, I got a lot of emotion from Renslayer. Confident and proper at the beginning, panicked and afraid at the end. Even in her talks with Mobius, there’s many subtleties to pick apart. I think it’s heavily implied through her words and actions that she’s evil.
The casual magic use was great. Hope there’s more.
Why do setting off reset charges in the main timeline have a different effect than setting them off in the branch timelines? Like shouldn’t it wipe it, not make branches?
Loved all the rapport happening in the episode. There was a lot of good dialogue.
Despite the manipulations going on, I like the relationship forming between Mobius and Loki. I think they make a nice little duo.
I love all the Loki variants we’re shown. Very, very interesting. Just give us Jötunn Loki for real, please.
Loki was very clever this episode, particularly with figuring out you could hide in an apocalypse and at Roxxcart.
Does Roxxcart have a link to Roxxon?
Their little motto thing is a bit creepy. “For all time. Always.” Sounds like it’s just part of their propaganda.
“You see, I know something children don’t. No one bad is ever truly bad. And no one good is ever truly good.” I love this line. Seriosuly, why not use this sound bite in the trailers? Loki himself is morally gray, and I love that we’re addressing this fact of life; the world is not all black and white, not all good and bad.
In the second cafeteria scene, there is a guard in full armor just standing there. I guess they’re monitoring the employees. How likely does whoever is in charge think it would be for an uprising of sorts to happen?
Between sleepy Loki, him putting that jacket on, his hair, that talking to himself and that annoyed little shh in the library, and just being the happy goof that he is deep down (Miss Minutes scene and salad metaphor) Loki was just so adorable this episode.
I think it’s important Mobius said sorry when talking about ragnarok. He knows Loki cares.
Mobius does kind of understand Loki when saying he has an “insecure need for validation.” He’s right, honestly, albeit harsh. But that’s all he wanted throughout the Thor movies too, not to be looked down upon. To be treated as equal. As worthy.
Of Mobius’s two options for why he’s sticking his neck out for Loki, I think they both hold some truth.
Interesting how TVA agents like to keep souvenirs from lives they can never live. Though maybe Renslayer keeps them for a different reason. Like from timelines that were particularly a threat to order—her order.
The score is still on point. Loving the theremin.
Wow an explanation pertaining to time travel I’ve found no holes in. It’s unstable and they have to enter in real time (furthest point on the branch) because of that. Ok, yeah. Checks out.
I’m so glad they kept the title card from last week. I like it so much better than the one from the trailers, and it fits the vibe of the show better.
Is it bad I want all these new branches to red line? I think it seems a little too early into the show for that to happen, but maybe a few of them will? Perhaps improbable but not impossible. But think of the chaos! What better playground for the God of Mischief than a universe thrown into disarray.
And now, my final thoughts. A very good episode with a mainly in character Loki. I like how we’re slowly learning more with what’s going on, while still keeping an element of mystery. Though, Marvel’s twists aren’t landing as well as I think they were hoping (assuming I’m right of course. I’ve seen plenty of other people who were thinking along the same lines though, so). It’s lacking a certain je ne sais quoi that Glorious Purpose had, but I still enjoyed it. Overall, 8/10. Let’s just hope my rating doesn’t go down point with every episode.
Like something I said? Totally disagree? Really want to talk more about one point? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear! Reblogs and comments are appreciated. My ask box is always open, and anon is always on. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Thanks :)
Me, after not liking one, but two episodes:
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