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Loki riding

My Marvel Big Bang story

Whew! I made it, and just a few hours before the deadline. I finished my story for the Marvel Big Bang.

I originally projected it to be 15,000 words (the minimum was 10,000). Well, it was a lot longer – 50,000+ words. My life has been chaotic over the last many months, and I’m still reeling in shock from the results of an election that feels like a direct assault on everyone and everything I hold dear.

But, early on I set myself a goal of a minimum of 300 words a day five days a week, and I stayed with that goal day after day, week after week, despite everything else that was going on. I made this commitment months ago, and I was 99% of the way there on election day. So I kept on going all the way to the finish line.

“Secret Identities”, a Thor/Loki fic:

http://archiveofourown.org/works/8581408

Summary: It’s a long and twisting road that leads to redemption, whether it’s Thor’s path back from his murderous attack on Jotunheim, or Loki’s descent into emotional darkness when his treachery backfired and he learned his true identity. He struggles between his love for and his hatred of his brother - which path will he take?
Canon divergence from the point where Odin falls into the Odinsleep. Odin’s punishment for Thor’s arrogance: Banish him to earth. Make him mortal. Take his memories from him and give him the identity of the mortal, Donald Blake, a mortal, moreover, with a disability. Because three days as a mortal isn’t enough to overcome the habits of a lifetime.
At first Loki is gleeful about Thor’s banishment, but despite himself, Loki’s emotions turn into longing for what they had once, which turn into fear and determination as he realizes he has to somehow break Odin’s spell, restore Thor’s memories, and bring Thor home before Thor meets a mortal death. And there’s also the matter of the pending war with Jotunheim…

***
I’ve seen other writers tackle this particular topic: that Thor basically gets a free redemption pass for his murderous rampage on Jotunheim in “Thor”. Yes, Loki egged him on, but Thor took the bait and lived down to the lowest expectations. A lot of fan writers, myself included, feel that three days as a mortal on Midgard among people who immediately befriend him is not enough time to overcome the habits of a lifetime.

Thor’s actions are essentially equivalent to Loki’s path of destruction in “The Avengers”. Or perhaps more so, depending on the fanon writers subscribe to based on the odd story choices in “the Avengers” (see end of post for details): Was Loki Thanos’s willing accomplice? Was he coerced? (Deleted scenes in The Avengers plus the one scene that survived showed that Thanos’s minion “The Other” seems to have direct access to his mind at all times. Loki sure looks terrified of him during their encounter in the scene left in the movie.) Was it actual brainwashing, perhaps from the effects of constant exposure to the scepter? There are lots of stories which deal with all this possibilities.

The equivalency of their actions, however, is obscured because the Jotnar are othered as “the monsters parents tell their children about at night”. They don’t look like Asgardians, and because of this they are a race of intelligent beings who are portrayed as irredeemably evil in nature. The fact that Thor personally slaughters a whole lot of them is made to seem trivial next to the humans who died (though very few directly) at Loki’s hands in “The Avengers”. (I won’t even go into the bizarre nature of Loki’s plans; for a character who supposedly has centuries of military experience, couldn’t he have come up with a plan better than this one?)

All we know about the Jotnar is that they were on the losing side in a war, a war we know nothing of except what Odin tells his sons, and that Odin took from them the son of their King as well as their most powerful artifact, The Casket of Ancient Winters.

I’ve been wanting to write my own take on this idea. But it took my memories of reading 1960s/1970s era Thor comic books and remembering Thor’s “secret identity”, Donald Blake, for me to realize the approach I was going to take. Because in the comic books, Odin didn’t just make Thor mortal and send him to Midgard. He also took his memories from him and gave him a mortal body with a disability. And, in original canon, Donald Blake apparently lives a full enough life to grow up and become a medical doctor before he accidentally discovers that, somehow, he is also Thor. (I know the Blake character was retconned later to be a magical construct, a host body for Thor’s spirit, but he apparently also came equipped with a full set of human memories and medical skills.)

Writing Loki’s characterization in this story was quite a tightrope. I didn’t want to go too evil or too good; I wanted to keep his tricksterish nature and have him find some self-interested reason for doing the right thing.

Because this is canon divergence from a very early point, he doesn’t try to kill Thor, doesn’t try to destroy Jotunheim, and of course he never falls into the Void and then into Thanos’s hands. However I kept his envy of his brother. Additionally, one of the authors of “Thor” stated in an interview that one of his primary motivations is internalized racism. All he knows of the Jotnar is that they are monsters, and therefore, he, too, is a monster.

When writing this story, I could not remember the nature of Donald Blake’s disability. I did a lot of google searching and found that while the character of Donald Blake has been frequently retconned and rebooted, I could not find any canonical explanation as to why he needed to use a cane. At this point I decided, whatever the actual canon, I would choose a specific reason for his disability. (And if anyone knows the canonical cause of Blake’s disability, could you let me know?)

The odd choices in The Avengers:
- Why was Loki so weak that he literally collapses when escaping from SHIELD’S HQ at the beginning of the movie, and has to be helped up by his minions? Why does he continue to appear to be on the verge of exhaustion when he gets into the truck bed? (Remembering the way he looked like in the post-credits scene in “Thor” when he’s in the mirror talking to Selvig. There’s a massive bruise on his face and blood in his teeth.)
- Why was he so underpowered in that he can only manifest four flickering doubles of himself when in “Thor” he had what looked like a couple of dozen?
- Why, when Thor confronts him on Stark Tower, does he forego a perfect opportunity for a supervillain rant when Thor points out the destruction the Chitauri are causing? He looks around as if he can’t believe what he’s seeing, and then, instead of going Bwaa haa haa!, a tear falls from one eye a minute before he stabs Thor with a blade so tiny it only slows Thor for a brief moment.

Let’s hear it for sharp-eyed fangirls who spotted that moment; it’s literally one second long. It took me awhile to see it, but now I can’t unsee it. Look at the corner of his right eye when he blinks.

See here: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8zj01OYjl1qfwtu5o1_500.gif

Comments

Congrats on finishing on time, Cat! Marvelous writing discipline, these Big Bangs, and they can actually help you take your mind off the darkness outside your windows.

I like your use of Donald Blake. He is sadly neglected in the MCU (doesn't exist at all!), so it's a pleasure to see him as integral to your story. :)
Thanks for the congrats! And to you too! Which reminds me, I never finished reading your story. Or answering posts. Or emails. The election and a friend's terminal illness drove everything else out of my mind. What a horrible year this has been.
Yes, those story challenges are great at making me be disciplined about my writing. I made it a point to write between 300-500 words almost every day. I had the idea for this story back in January, but aside from writing a few notes I didn't bother to do anything until I signed up for the Big Bang. (I just never thought it would be as long as it was... I was aiming for 15,000 words, not 50,000. :-D) These story challenges force me to write. All the stories I've completed in the past few years have been because I had a specific deadline, either for these Marvel challenges or the K/S Advent Calendar, or in for the story I did for "Devotion".
And you are so right - writing definitely helped me take my mind off the darkness. I immediately started a new Marvel story after I finished “Secret Identities” – this one with no deadline or challenge. It’s short and it’s almost complete and I hope to post it in a week or so, after my betas have a look at it. Working on this story has kept me from sinking into a very bad depression.
I always identified with Donald Blake, due to my difficulties in walking, which have been ongoing since childhood. I wanted to bring him back into the context of the MCU (not just a nametag of Jane’s ex-boyfriend or a fake ID). I have a sequel in mind, which will deal with all the loose ends I left untied. Thor is going to return to living as Donald for awhile, to take care of loose ends as well as fulfill his plans as Donald. Because he now has all his memories he can value both of his “lives”. Lots of other issues to resolve, as well.
Now to get back to reading your story - I'd read about 1/5 of it before everything just halted.
Very sorry to hear about your friend. :(

I'm glad you were able to finish your story. I look forward to your opinion on mine. Thank heavens for fandom! Sometimes it's the only thing that chase the blues away.
have grabbed. will let you know when I've read.