Question: What quality or qualities of Loki do you most admire? What quality or qualities of Loki do you find the most troubling?
I’m going to start by saying that I’m not entirely sure how to approach this question, as I try to keep the fact that the gods aren’t human at the forefront of my mind at all times. Because of that, I can answer the second part first – I don’t find any quality Loki holds to be troublesome because I know that if and when I do, it comes from me slipping and thinking of Loki as more human than god.
I really don’t like this question because it leans too heavily into the realm of assigning human qualities to the gods, and they don’t really possess them. They do have personalities, as they are entities with their own agency, and thus have qualities associated with those personalities. I just don’t know about this question, to be honest.
What I like about Loki is that he exists in the in-between spaces, that he is a liminal being, and that he doesn’t force people into things like some other gods will. He tends to honor the human concept of consent (from what I can tell, the gods don’t really have concepts like that amongst themselves). That doesn’t mean he won’t put a person through an ordeal by fire, but it seems that he usually waits for us to ask him to step into our lives before actually doing so.
I guess, if I had to choose what I admire most about him, is that he is always honest. Sometimes brutally so, and not always in the most appropriate manner – but there is still honesty there. Not that he can’t lie – he can, as shown in the story where he helps Thor retrieve his hammer – but he seems to only lie when dealing with enemies or when the situation does not allow for the truth to be told. He also never breaks any of the oaths he makes – he is loyal to those oaths to a fault. There is a level of integrity that most of the other gods seem to lack – although, to be fair, integrity is a human concept and so not really applicable. This is why I don’t like this question.
I guess some people might find his Worldbreaker aspect troublesome – at least, the larger American Heathen community seem to find this a difficult quality to come to terms with – but it doesn’t bother me. In that guise, it is just him angry about the harm that was done to his children and his willingness to seek revenge, no matter the cost, on those who have harmed his family. That is just another expression of the loyalty he has towards those he cares for, and that, to me, is beautiful.
In general, I have a hard time finding bad things about anyone I consider a friend. I tend to take people as they are, rather than trying to reshape them into who I think they ought to be. Even if I don’t like something about someone, I am not going to try to force them to change. Instead, I am going to try and find a healthier way to view what I dislike about that person so that I can be more fully accepting of who they are. It’s easy to judge others when they don’t fit our standards, but I personally think that we should rework our standards so that we are better able to meet people where they are, instead of where we think they ought to be.
It’s far easier to do that with gods than people, of course, since the gods, after all, aren’t human. I have an easier time shifting my perspective about a god when I read a myth that has them acting in a way that troubles me because I more fully understand that I am only seeing a part of the picture. That is also true with other human beings, but we are all (myself included) terrible at remembering that people are far more complex than the small interactions we have with them often suggest.