Question: What are the common mistakes made about Loki?
From my perspective, there are quite a few mistakes made about Loki on a rather regular basis. The first of those, of course, is that he is the equivalent of the Norse devil due to the role he plays in Baldr’s death and the bringing of Ragnarok.
That is a mistake made by people who have been highly influenced by the society we live in, as there are a lot of Christian values that bleed into everything in the United States. The idea of a dichotomy existing only as good-evil and right-wrong is one of those ideas, which the ancient Norse did not ascribe to. While the ancient Norse did ascribe to a dichotomy, it is one of action-stagnation, rather than good-evil and right-wrong.
As long as things moved forward – as long as the present was always feeding into the past and allowing life to continue in its natural way, the Norse did not view actions as inherently good or bad. They viewed them as action and therefore necessary to keep the world from stagnating.
In that respect, Loki is the god that prevents inaction, that keeps the world in motion. Even the end of the world, Ragnarok, is only part of the cycle that continuously renews itself. The complexity of this is best expressed in The Well and the Tree by Paul Bauschatz, which I highly recommend everyone read (try a library, as a paid-for copy runs a few hundred dollars).
The second mistake I see people make all of the time is that inviting Loki into your life invites chaos – it does not. It invites change, and change is almost always for the better. Ironically, my life was much less stable before Loki was around because I had no focus. Once he became entangled in my life, I had to face the truth about the world around me and figure out where I was going. Action spent aimlessly is just another way to stagnate – life does not move forward without action focused on something specific. That is the best influence he has had on my life, and I finally feel like I can put all my excess mental energy towards self-growth.
The third mistake that I see people make, and I’m sure there are those who will get upset with me over this, is that Loki as the god and Loki as portrayed as Tom Hiddleston in the MCU are often confused. They are not the same. Hiddleston is an actor, the Marvel Loki is a character designed by a writer for a specific universe that has no relation to the world of the gods.
While I am almost certain that Loki uses the appeal of the MCU to draw people to him, I am also fairly certain that he does not expect or want them to stay enamored with the Marvel version of him to the point that they ignore who he actually is.
I mean, think about it – if someone was pretending to be you (and a version of you that has a lot of inconsistency and just sheer wrong information at that), how would you feel if someone came up to you expecting YOU to be that version of yourself? It wouldn’t feel very good or very real, and it would feel like the person has idealized/idolized a version of yourself that you don’t even see much of yourself in.
I absolutely don’t mind the people who come to Loki through the MCU version, but I struggle to understand how some of those people refuse to learn more about Loki as himself, the Norse god of action, change, liminality, and so much more. They limit themselves, and Loki is all about defying boundaries and pushing limits.
Those are the primary mistakes I see, but the most problematic one, of course, is that so many people tend to see him as evil, when, to me, he seems to be one of the most honorable gods I work with.