Ancient history


The character

Loki (also known as Lopt and Hvedrung) is a god in Norse mythology. He is the son of the giants Farbauti and Laufey. Despite his origins, he was considered an Aes after Odin welcomed him to Ásgard. Only Odin and Thor agreed to be with him.

In the Gylfaginning, 33, Hárr describes him as the firebrand of discord among the Aesir, the father of lies and the shame of all gods and men. Very pleasing in appearance, his mind is malevolent and his temper capricious. He has a knack for getting Aesir into big trouble, but will always find an ingenious way out.

Loki has the ability to transform into all kinds of animals and even change gender (become the "mother" of the horse Sleipnir, for example). He has the gift of eloquence and cunning.

He is married to Sigyn and is the father of Ali, Vali and Narvi. Along with the giantess Angrboda, he also fathered three of the most horrific creatures in the Norse pantheon:Jörmungand, the Midgard Serpent, Fenrir the Giant Wolf, and Hel the Goddess of the Realm of the Dead.

His penchant for malevolent acts exposed the Aesir to many dangers, though his presence of mind repeatedly saved them from the Giants. He participated in particular in the construction of the wall of Ásgard, caused the kidnapping and then the return of Idunn, offered Sif a golden hair after having shaved his head, and helped to find the missing hammer Mjöllnir (Thrymskvida) . He further brought Odin the spear Gungnir and Freyr the ship Skidbladnir.

Despite this, Loki definitely attracted the hostility of the Aesir when he caused Baldr's death. The Aesir then chased him away and tied him to three rocks with a poisonous serpent above. His wife Sigyn protects him by collecting the venom with a bowl, but when she stops to empty the contents, the poison reaches Loki and his pain causes earthquakes.

It should be noted that in some myths, Loki does not appear to be responsible for Baldr's death, and it was an argument between Loki and the Aesir at a party at Aegir's that caused the confinement ( see Lokasenna).

During Ragnarök, Loki will free himself and join his daughter Hel to attack the gods and seek revenge. He will fight Heimdall, and the two will die of each other's wounds.

An uplifting episode

An episode of Loki's life shows his destiny made of cunning and ingenuity. When he wanted to hide from the Aesir who were pursuing him for causing Baldr's death, Loki hid himself in a hut he created himself with four openings to see from all sides. He often turned into a salmon so he could escape the Aesir when they found him. At the same time, he wondered how they could do to catch him in this form. So to keep busy, he made a fishing net. Hearing the Aesir coming, he burned the net in the fire, turned into a salmon and hid in the river.

But the Aesir guessed things, and they understood that Loki had turned into a fish. Kvasir, the wisest of all the Aesir, found the remains of the burnt net and understood its usefulness. They made an identical one and thus managed to catch Loki the salmon. It was Thor who grabbed it by the tail, and that's why salmon have pointed tails. This passage is told in Gylfaginning, 50.

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