Can we forgive Loki? This question has been on my mind for so long. If you are new to Norse mythology, you might see Loki as a villain. But if you have been spending some time reading between the lines, you will learn that every figure in Norse mythology had their own story and tragedy. Loki was no exception.
Who was Loki?
The original version of Loki was not like the version of the silver screen. In Norse mythology, Loki was the pure giant in blood. He was born to the giant parents. Loki came from the land of the Jotunheim. He was never adopted by Odin. He was not even brother of Thor like some movies depicted. Loki was just Loki, a giant from Jotunheim who used his talents to persuade Odin to let him stay in Asgard.
Loki had for himself many kids and a few wives. But the most famous children of Loki must be Fenrir, Jormungand, and Hel. They were the trios who later wrecked havoc to the Nine Worlds. Their mother was Angrboda the Woman who Brought up Anguish. But unfornately, the prophecy about Ragnarok separated Loki’s family when his kids were just kids.
In the prophecy, Fenrir would swallow Odin in Ragnarok, Jormungand would slay Thor, and Hel would rule over the land of the deceased. Because of this, Odin decided to bring up Fenrir up in Asgard, casting Jormungand deep into the ocean, and cursed Hel into the land of the death when she was merely a “girl”. Some scholars claimed that because of this mistake, Ragnarok happened.
How was Loki’s life in Norse mythology?
Short answer: not really smooth sail
Loki might turn out to be an untrustworthy friend. But I strongly believe what he did in Norse myth was to gain recognition from people around him. All of the tricks in Norse mythology started from Loki. But it was also Loki who came up with ideas to disentangle everything. What he did was to prove himself with the Asgardians. He was not a god in blood. A giant and a god came from different tribes that could declare war on each other as long as they wanted. Living among the Asgardians must not be something easy for Loki.
Loki received some mistreatment
Some might think Loki deserved mistreatment. I don’t think so. He did nothing wrong. Even if he did things wrong, he tried to make amends for that. Loki once cut off the hair of Sif but then he came to the land of the Svartalfheim land of the dwarves to ask them to create treasure for gods. Not only did Loki bring back the hair of Sif, but also Thor’s hammer, Odin’s spear, Odin’s ring, Freyr’s boar, etc. He gifted the gods with many things that later became well-known. Mjolnir hammer, Gungnir Spear, Draupnir Ring, etc. were from Loki.
The way gods treated Fenrir, Jormungand, Hel was also a mistreatment toward Loki. They separated the kids away from their parents although these kids at that time did nothing wrong to the world. Some scholars asked if the gods had not done in such a way, would it have had Ragnarok?
Another time was when the gods found out it was Loki who killed Baldur God of Shine who was also Odin’s son. The gods captured Loki into the cave. They tied Loki up and forced him to witness the death of his own son. Narfi and Nari, sons of Loki and Sigyn, appeared in the cave and the gods turned one into a wolf and the killing happened. Loki had to witnessed the scene from the beginning to ending. The gods later used the entrails of Loki’s son to tie him to a rock. They placed a snake above his head, letting the snake to drip venom onto Loki’s face. Every time Loki shivered because of pain, he caused earthquake to the Midgard. Thanks to his wife, Sigyn, who held a bowl to collect the venom, Loki did not have to endure the pain much time.
Forgive Loki, can we?
Should we forgive Loki? My personal viewpoint is, no need. Because Loki was not to blame for any fault in Norse mythology. He was not responsible for anything bad in Norse mythology. He did nothing wrong at all. Moreover, he was responsible for neither any death nor any damage to the Nine Worlds. His motives were so clear and reasonable. Loki was the victim of the fate. And the gods were, too. Everyone in Norse mythology was to take a part of the responsibility. Not everything started from Loki’s side.
What important is, what we learn from Norse mythology. Things we read between the lines are the things that matter the most. Norse mythology has been born and survived for centuries. It has its own reasons and values to stand the test of time. It is greater than a story to point out who is responsible for what and greater than a story of forgiveness.