Loki Laufeyson, a Piece of Work (in Progress)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s #WIPjoy, Day 9, is a fun one: “Share a line that shows off your antagonist.”

In the spirit of sharing, I’m going to give you not a line, but a whole paragraph.

Here’s the thing: any time you find yourself in Norse mythology, even if you’re just visiting, you’re going to have Loki as an antagonist. That’s the nature of Loki. Even if he’s not the primary antagonist, he’s going to be an antagonist, because Loki.  In modern interpretations Loki is often something of an anti-hero, but that’s not consistent with the source material, in which Loki is pretty much just a turd to everyone. (A useful turd, sometimes, but still a turd. And if he does get threatened or beaten fairly often, well, he usually had it coming.)

Loki as depicted on an 18th century Icelandic manuscript (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Loki as depicted on an 18th century Icelandic manuscript (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Loki as Anti-Hero/Antagonist

A playwright friend who adapted Treasure Island for the stage commented to me on how difficult it was to “translate,” because the original work and original audience viewed the pirates as villains, while today’s audience (influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) views the pirates as the heroes. That’s much the same thing here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Tom Hiddleston and Agent of Asgard and all that, too! but this is not that Loki.

So with that in mind, here’s a snippet of conversation Euthalia has with the Lie-Smith and Sly One.

Euthalia looked at Loki, at his broken face and his bleeding skin and his dry, untroubled eyes. “But how?” she asked. “How can you stand this? You are Odin’s sworn brother, and you are one of them in all but blood — and they owe you for so many services. How can you take what they do to you without protest?”

One corner of his mouth curled upward, a sardonic smirk made more horrible by the trickle of crimson it brought from his broken lip. “Naive little bird,” he said. “You forget the simplest of truths. I am not of the Æsir, no matter how much time I spend with them here in Asgard. I was born Jötunn, and I am still Jötunn, and Ragnarok is coming. And when Ragnarok descends, no matter how the Æsir and Vanar fight against the end, they will die, and the Jötunn will prevail and destroy all, Asgard and Midgard and everything above and below.” He grinned. “And while they pick at me with their petty words, and when they beat me with their stones and staves, I know that it is only time which stands between this momentary pain and my complete victory, and that finite time is running like water down a hill.” The grin widened, showing bloody teeth. “And sweeter yet, I know they know it, too.”

Ooooh, Loki.

You can follow the book’s progress or sign up to receive updates. Title is still subject to change, because that’s the nature of writing…. (Update: It’s now The Songweaver’s Vow.)

natural black Doberman with ears and tails in full gallop across green grass

Not to drop nerd cred, but I called this fantastic dog Laevatein (Loki’s weapon of mass destruction).

Recommendation

There have been so many different takes on Loki, and this anime (based on the manga series Matantei Loki or Mythical Detective Loki) is one of the most different….

Loki has been bound in the body of a child and exiled on earth, where he works as a sort of detective in supernatural phenomena. Jörmungandr is his butler, addicted to mail-order shopping. High school student Mayura meets Loki and joins him on his paranormal adventures. And oh, Asgard politics are still going on behind the scenes. The show has some fun touches; the title has been subtly altered from “meitantei,” detective, to “matantei,” including the character for “supernatural.”

This series is included in Amazon Prime (free trial), but unfortunately only with the inferior English dub, which is a real shame — the original was perfectly accessible with subtitles and included some great voices. This is where I first encountered Paku Romi, as Heimdall, and subsequently recognized her just from her opening scream in Fullmetal Alchemist.

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