Loki has been busy. There’s a lot of mythological lore left lying around …
Since the recent release of Disney’s and Marvel’s Loki, people have been losing their minds over the premise that some of the Time Variance Authority’s paperwork lists Loki as gender-fluid. What they should be paying attention to is Disney attempting to co-opt the Norse gods into their intellectual property. Dirty business, that.1
Anyway, mentioning Loki’s gender-shifting abilities is very progressive and probably caused a Conservative or two to burst into flame, I could cause an Evangelical congregation to explode into a fireball of fear if I told you the truth of the mythology of Loki. He’s not just gender-fluid, Loki is SPECIES-FLUID!
Fenris, Jormungandr, and Hel, are the children of Loki. They are all god-like monsters who will, in support of their father, one day bring about the fall of the Asgardian gods and of great Asgard itself at the final battle of Ragnarök!
Loki’s favorite son is the wolf-demon, Fenris. The Wolf of Legend, the stalker of men in the night, the ultimate representation of Hunger itself, Fenris, so terrified the gods, a special thread was commissioned to bind him. A thread, nearly-invisible, completely unbreakable, was placed around his neck, while a brave god Tyr gave his hand to bind the beast.
Fenris, who will never know freedom, but has tasted of god-flesh will be driven mad while he hungers for more. One day, he will be free from his prison, by Loki’s hand, On that day, his hunger will be so great he will swallow the sun! His death is assured at the hand of the All-Father, who will die in turn in the jaws of the great beast. Thanks, Loki.
The Midgard Serpent, called Jormungandr is a sea serpent, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða. The creature takes its name from the legends of its size. It is a sea serpent so large, it encompasses the entire Earth, wrapping around it several times, creating massive earthquakes whenever it wakens. Snatching a ship or two was not beyond the creature when it woke and it was the greatest weapon Loki had against the Aesir.
The serpent has appeared in tales less dire, when Thor, out adventuring with Loki, came upon some giants who, poking fun at the duo, challenged Thor to lift their housecat if he was truly a god of Asgard. Alas, Thor could do no such thing, because he was trying to move the bulk of the Midgard Serpent through the magic of the giants, and as such it could not be moved, even by such as he.
In the end, Thor and the Midgard Serpent shall face off one final time and Thor would slay the beast, but not before it would destroy many of the gods of Asgard, and the great city itself beneath its massive bulk and terrifying earthquakes. The Serpent is fated to be brought low by Mjolnir, Thor’s constant companion, a great hammer of mythical capacities; yet on that final day, nothing would be able to save the God of Thunder. After a titanic battle, Thor and the Serpent slay each other, with Thor succumbing to its deadly venoms, miasmas and poisons leaching from its gaping maw.
Of his daughter, not much is known, but she would one day come to rule over the realm of the same name, Hel. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half “blá” (a Norse word meaning either blue or black) and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance.
The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr. It will be her legions of dead men who will one day storm the walls of Asgard, to be repelled by the heroes of Valhalla, who wait for this day to once again prove themselves in glorious battle.
Loki’s best child, and the only monster redeemed in Asgardian eyes, was the eight-legged super-horse, capable of being ridden by Odin between the Nine Worlds, Sleipnir. A trivia tidbit, Odin is a death god and his eight-legged steed is a metaphor for the four men required to carry a coffin or bier.
Loki’s sexual proclivities should be no one’s business but his own. Most people have no idea how dangerous it is for Loki to be doing the deed, no matter what gender or species he’s shapeshifting into this week. All of his children are the stuff of nightmares.
1 We have since discovered that Disney is not, in fact trying to trademark Norse gods. Takedown requests are arriving for artists on places like DeviantArt, Redbubble and Etsy based on similarities to trademarked versions of Marvel’s characters, but no such trademark covering Norse gods has been filed, and there is no indication that takedown requests have been coming from Marvel or Disney. The general confusion on this may stem from Disney’s attempt to trademark the term “Dia de los Muertos” prior to the release of the Pixar film Coco in 2013, lending credence to the idea that Disney attempting to trademark the characters Thor and Loki was at least possible.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.