Arguments with Lokeans

“He does more good than bad.”

To examine this claim, I will use the following list to examine some of the deeds of Loki.

Deeds of Loki

Deeds which break Frith (Familial bonds or peace)

  • Murder of oathed bloodbrother’s son
    • Voluspa (Implied)
    • Lokasenna (Confession)
    • Gylfaginning XLIX
    • Skáldskaparmal XVI
  • Leading Thor into danger knowingly
    • Thrymskvitha (Possible)
    • Skáldskaparmal XVIII

Deeds which break Grith (Bonds of temporary and/or sacred truce or community peace)

  • Lokasenna (various offenses against hospitality including murder)
  • Gylfaginning XLIX (Baldr murdered at the Thing)
  • Kidnapping Iðunn and endangering the immortality of the gods
    • Skáldskaparmal I
    • Skáldskaparmal XXII

 

Deed listing

Murder of Baldr

  • Voluspa (Implied)
  • Lokasenna (Confession)
  • Gylfaginning XLIX
  • Skáldskaparmal XVI

Murder of other

  • Lokasenna (Femafeng)
  • Lokasenna (Threat to kill Eldir)
  • Otr/Ottar
    • Reginsmol (Otr – accidental)
    • Skáldskaparmal XXXIX (Ottar – accidental)
  • Gesta Danorum (Several men)
  • Hyndluljoth (Possible, unclear of the source of the heart)
  • Ragnarok (Untold billions)
    • Voluspa
    • Baldrs Draumar
    • Gylfaginning L
    • Gylfaginning LI

Participation in Ragnarok

  • Voluspa
  • Baldrs Draumar
  • Gylfaginning L
  • Gylfaginning LI

Disarms Thor and Leads him to danger

  • Thrymskvitha (Possible)
  • Skáldskaparmal XVIII

Eats a Human Heart

  • Hyndluljoth

Breaks oath or lies

  • Skáldskaparmal XXXV
  • Skáldskaparmal I
  • Skáldskaparmal XXII
  • Killing Baldr (as an oath of brotherhood to his father made him kin)
    • Voluspa (Implied)
    • Lokasenna (Confession)
    • Gylfaginning XLIX
    • Skáldskaparmal XVI
  • Deliberately withholds information from Thor
    • Skáldskaparmal XVIII

Kidnapping Iðunn

  • Skáldskaparmal I
  • Skáldskaparmal XXII

Assault of Sif

  • Skáldskaparmal XVI
  • Skáldskaparmal XXXV

 

I believe his deeds speak for themselves on this matter.

 

“He doesn’t kill people in the myths.”

I believe this statement forgets his involvement in Ragnarok attested in the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. In Ragnarok it is said that two people survive:

Othin spake:

  1. “Much have I fared, | much have I found,

Much have I got of the gods:

What shall live of mankind | when at last there comes

The mighty winter to men?”

 

Vafthruthnir spake:

  1. “In Hoddmimir’s wood | shall hide themselves

Lif and Lifthrasir then;

The morning dews | for meat shall they have,

Such food shall men then find.”

 

The Poetic Edda (Vafthruthnismol) (Translated by Henry Adams Bellows)

 

In the attested myths everyone else dies, all of humanity, as a direct result of Ragnarok. Furthermore, there are lingering questions as to why he chose to eat a human heart in the Hyndluljoth and where it came from. There are also issues with this statement as in the Gesta Danorum, that Loki is responsible for the deaths of several people.

 

 

“His words and not his deeds got him punished.”

 

“Then said Gangleri: ‘Exceeding much Loki had brought to pass, when he had first been cause that Baldr was slain, and then that he was not redeemed out of Hel. Was any vengeance taken on him for this?’ Hárr answered: ‘This thing was repaid him in such wise that he shall remember it long…’”

 

His punishment and the nature of his punishment mimic his crimes. His tongue isn’t removed as you might expect for someone punished for their words, instead his crime was using trickery to have one of Odin’s children kill the other so Loki’s children are made to kill each other through magic. The punishment is a mirror of the crimes.

 

 

“If you don’t call the Loki you want, he’ll show up as the Loki you don’t want.”

 

That is not really the kind of god I want around, bidden or unbidden. Furthermore, the myths show through their use of traveling that the gods are not omnipresent, they have to travel quite often. The gods have to look for things and things can be misplaced and information has to be sought; this means the gods are not omniscient, they don’t know everything automatically. There are many things that the gods cannot do, this means that while they are powerful they are not omnipotent. If the gods are not omnipotent, not omniscient, and not omnipresent then you really do have to call to them in ritual in some form. If you do not call to them you should have every assumption that they will not be there. If indeed Loki does show up unbidden, the gods have a fair track record of being able to deal with him. They caught him and bound him to a rock for instance on that one occasion and Thor caught him in another occasion when he ran from the dwarf he wagered his head to.

 

 

“Odin demanded that Loki be given offerings too when Odin was offered to.”

 

For this one, let’s look at the source material.

 

Loki spake:

  1. “Remember, Othin, | in olden days

That we both our blood have mixed;

Then didst thou promise | no ale to pour,

Unless it were brought for us both.”

 

Othin spake:

  1. “Stand forth then, Vithar, | and let the wolf’s father

Find a seat at our feast;

Lest evil should Loki | speak aloud

Here within Ægir’s hall.”

 

Here we see that Odin does not remind the gods of it, it is instead a demand by Loki. Next we see that the oath applies to Odin, it is not an oath which really applies to people worshipping Odin. Then we also should remember that this was part of an oath of brotherhood, a brotherhood which Loki broke by murdering and confessing to the murder of the son of his blood-brother. Therefore, it should not be considered by us here as an obligation at all and it could even be detrimental to our relationship with Odin to pour out offerings to the murderer of his son.

 

“Chaos is part of change; you should embrace it.”

Change can exist perfectly fine without chaos. All time is change, but that doesn’t mean we should embrace chaos because change can occur within order just fine. Furthermore, if we’re talking about gods that are not omnipresent and not omniscient then it is probably best not to call attention to yourself of chaos.

 

“But what about…”

It boils down to this, Loki does these deeds to those closest to him, his avowed kinfolk. He repeatedly breaks frith and grith in the myths. He lies and breaks oaths. He murders. He doesn’t do these things to enemies, he does them to those close to him and that is far worse. If the bond of blood-brotherhood is not sacred to him, if the bounds of hospitality are not sacred to him, if oaths mean nothing to him, then he cannot be trusted to hold any bond.

 

* The featured image is from the Gosforth Cross.

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