Note: This post contains spoilers.
When Escapade (a slash convention held Feb. 28 to March 2, 2014 in Los Angeles CA) put the topic “Thor: Loki... Mad, bad and absolutely delightful” as a possible panel topic, no one had volunteered to mod, so I jumped right in – as did Gloriana, spasticat, and Tenaya. We were all motivated to make sure this panel made the cut. :-D
Panel Description: “Let's discuss what makes the God of Mischief tick. Did he really want to rule Midgard or was all that just to stay ahead of Thanos? Can he even be defined without referring to Thor? And bring your story recs, too!”
I got together with the other three mods the night before the panel so we could plan out our panel. We quickly discovered we had so many potential topics to cover we could have filled a whole day’s worth of programming. We managed to break it down into these categories:
Thor meta; The Avengers meta; Thor: The Dark World meta; how to deal with a fandom that has four “canons”; and fanfic tropes and recs.
At the panel, we had a lively discussion, with everyone taking very opposite views at times – in other words, a classic Escapade panel.
And yay spasticat for your awesome Loki banner – I know it was hard work putting together that many Loki images, but you persevered!
I’ll list the questions we discussed below – the answers are up to every fan.
- For “Thor”, the big question was, when Loki let go of Gungnir was this a suicide attempt? Or did he have an escape route in mind, one of his many pathways between the worlds? (If he as planning to find his way to a safe place it sure didn’t work out all that well for him.) Is it only symbolic this act took place in the area where the Asgardians send their dead to rest?
- For “The Avengers”: How much choice did Loki have in his actions? Was he working to thwart Thanos’ plans the entire time, as so many fics postulate? Was he entirely controlled by Thanos and The Other (played by an unregnizable Alexis Denisof)? Did the scepter work as a mind control device on him as well? Or did it act like the Ring in that it brought out his worst impulses? Did contact with the scepter function like an addiction? Was being bashed by the Hulk a type of “cognitive recalibration”?
- For “Thor: The Dark World”: We discussed the multiple levels of meaning of what Loki said to Thor when Thor believed him to be Odin.
- How to deal with a fandom that has four “canons” and how this impacts fic:
- Marvel Cinematic Universe – i.e., only the movies
- MCU plus deleted scenes, because the deleted scenes are, of course, character moments, and add a lot to our understanding of Loki and Thor.
- The fluid Marvel comics-verse, in all its 70+ years of reboots, where Loki is currently canonically bisexual and genderfluid, and in previous years he was female for a number of issues (see # 1, links to 2 jpgs of Lady Loki and # 4, a link to an article on the new incarnation of Loki in the comics)
- Norse mythology in all of its contradictions and complexity
It’s no surprise that people look for and find completely different things in fic. Example, I had absolutely no idea, until talking with the other mods, that the “Always a Jötunn Loki” (where Loki is raised as Laufey’s son and meets Thor as a young man, often in an arranged marriage) was as big a trope as it is, because I’d only encountered that trope once. Which just shows how big a fandom it is – there are currently 14,029 stories on AO3 tagged “Thor/Loki”.
(My own fic preferences: Post-Avengers, with some or a good deal of Marvel comics canon and Norse mythology, or “what if” AUs such as Aria’s “Shatter”, in which Odin banished Loki to earth, not Thor.)
We did a quick poll as to when people got into the fandom, with a fairly even split between Thor, The Avengers, and The Dark World, with one women having gotten into the character via the comic books.
Other topics we discussed:
- The challenges of reading/writing a character who is – to put it mildly – an extremely unreliable narrator. (The last time I was in a fandom with a Lying Liar Who Lies was Garak/Bashir (Deep Space 9), and Loki makes Elim Garak look like an amateur when it comes to lying.)
- Does Loki ever play a long game, or does he create chaos without any thought as to the consequences?
- The trope occasionally used in “Always a Jötunn Loki” fan art – i.e., the “harem look” (2)
- The yin/yang of Loki and Thor
And, of course, though this was not an actor panel, we had to squee about the awesomely talented Tom Hiddleston!
Lastly, we did story reccing. Tenaya compiled a handout recs list from the four mods:
Glo’s Marvel Comics notes
Interviews, blogs and vids:
Topics we wanted to discuss, but didn’t have the time for:
- The impact on fandom when mpreg is canon (in Norse mythology Loki sires/gives birth to various gods and monsters and even several mortals). (See “3” for a quote re Loki from an online article entitled: Sacred Gender-Variance in Ancient Germanic & Celtic Cultures)
- Discussing Odin’s horrible parenting
- Can Loki be redeemed? Example, the Black Widow, an “evil Soviet/commie spy” in the 60s who later defected to the west.
- What does costuming – and the fact that he’s the only beardless male Asgardian - tell us about Loki? (5)
Before the coronation
Frigga and Loki talk about his adoption and Loki is given the kingship
Thor and Erik drinking
Thor deleted scenes – one of these duplicates the coronation scene above; the main one of interest is the one near the end where Frigga and Odin argue over his banishment of Thor.
The Other keeps in close touch with Loki
THOR THE DARK WORLD: DELETED SCENES
Scene immediately follows Frigga visiting Loki in his jail cell. She and Thor discuss Loki.
8 second clip of Loki screaming in his jail cell
Featurette about Thor and Loki
Here’s a quote from an online article entitled: Sacred Gender-Variance in Ancient Germanic & Celtic Cultures:
“The most 'obvious' figure of gender-variant magic and mystery is that of Loki. The complex figure of Loki encapsulates both animal transformation & gender variance. In the Lokasenna tale, Odinn verbally abuses Loki for allowing himself to be impregnated, calling him argr - a crude form of abuse inferring that one takes the passive role in intercourse with another man. The noun is ergi - and there is the suggestion that anyone repeatedly & willingly doing so is regarded differently from other males. However, the Germanic historian Folke Strom says that ergi refers to male practitioner of seidr [sorcery] - that it was both the passive role in sodomy & the receptive relationship to the gods was what caused a man to be looked upon, or identify himself as ergi. Morever, in the case of Loki, it is this 'impregnation' which has given birth to Sleipnir, Odinn's eight-legged steed. Loki is interesting in this respect, as the ambiguous relationship between male-oriented and female-oriented magics are most obvious in him. Loki often uses Freyja's feathered cloak to aid his schemes, and it may also be significant that it is only when Loki & Thor submit to feminization that they are able to conquer the giants. Certainly the motif of the bird-feather cloak is a recurring symbol for both shape-shifting and gender-variance in European traditions.”
‘Loki: Agent of Asgard’ Writer Confirms Loki is Bisexual and Genderfluid: “What’s surprising is that Marvel has actually allowed for a previously coded-straight character to come out as bisexual. While Marvel boasts several excellent queer characters (two of which, Wiccan and Hulkling, are part of the Young Avengers with Loki), they have rarely reinvented a character as queer, at least in the main continuity.”
This fascinating article talks about all sorts of meta, using costume design as a base.
Loki, Gender and Costume Design in Thor: The Dark World.
Some of my favorite meta links:
Speculation on how much free will he has in The Avengers.
More Avengers meta – free will, control and projection:
Love this – particularly the final line
“Who's hotter? The ultimate thor/loki showdown”
Re possible way Thanos and The Other tortured Loki, used often in fic:
This one, because I love this line: “The question shouldn’t be whether he (Loki) means what he says at any given moment—the point is that on some level, he means all of it. As a personification of chaos, that’s his job.
Posted to LJ and Dreamwidth. Comment wherever you prefer. :-)