Tuesday, April 20, 2010


When I was little, reading the (considerably cleaned-up) children's version of various mythologies, my favorite of the old gods was Loki, the Norse trickster god. The story of how Loki's cleverness (hey, that's how I remember it!) helped Thor recover Mjollnir especially impressed me, and sealed my crush. As an adult, though, no longer confined to child-safe versions, I am far more aware of just how elusive and dangerous this fire god could be. Which, actually, hasn't done a thing to stop me from being fascinated with him!

"Set out to mislead
Sets out to murder
False appearance is everything to him
Is he good today, or is he evil
In a violent crazy spewing words of madness
It can go either way you never know
Conditioned to deceived and that's how he likes it"

Loki, Rancid

One of my favorite treatments of Loki is L.E. Modesitt's The Timegod, the second book in his Timegod's World duology. In this book he takes a look at Loki as a member of an alien species of timedivers who have the ability to think themselves through space and time. He follows Loki's maturation, and eventual disillusionment with his people's parasitic society. True to form, Loki is a troublemaker here, although not primarily out of any malicious or mischievous impulses. Rather, he seeks to be a reformer.

Loki"Lord of Chaos
Brother of wisdom
The other side of good
Lurking in your mind
Lord of Chaos
By evil kissed and
Your other side
The evil I will find"

Diana Wynne Jones, in Eight Days of Luke, hews closer to the traditional Loki. David, angry with his relatives, makes up a chant to try to curse them. Instead a nearby wall falls apart, spilling out a red-haired boy named Luke. Luke is fun, but dangerously impulsive. He is always repentant after the fact, but more, it seems, out of a fear of getting in trouble than a true understanding of why his actions were offensive.

"...Luke did not operate by the same rules as other people...He was great fun, but David was going to have to be careful what he said to him in future."

I currently have Odd and The Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman, on my list of books to read. This children's book also features a child who is pulled into the world of the Norse gods, this time to help Loki, Odin, and Thor, who have been forcibly transformed into animal shape by the Frost Giant. Gaiman wrote it for World Book Day. (Interesting tidbit - did you know that Neil Gaiman is a fan of Diana Wynne Jones? Which makes me all the more interested in reading this book. Evidently he once worked out a story structured around the gods and the days of the week - and then realized he had something very similar to Eight Days of Luke. He talks about that experience in his blog.)

"He lives between the worlds
The world of gods and men
He is the god of fire
Burning higher"

Loki God of Fire, Manowar

Books: The Timegod, Timegod's World, L.E. Modesitt
            Eight Days of Luke, Diana Wynne Jones
            Odd and The Frost Giants, Neil Gaiman
Music: Loki God of Fire, Manowar
           Loki, Rebellion
           Loki, Rancid

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