'Tis time for the truth to come out! Loki is not the traitor to the gods that most believe him to be, but is actually both an undercover operative for Odin *AND* the victim of a conspiracy aimed at destroying both the Ase and Vans. Any evidence to the contrary in the Eddas or elsewhere was *OBVIOUSLY* planted by those conspiring against him.
For starters, look at Loki's standard behavior. He is actually honorable to a fault. For an example, the kidnapping of Idunn is done because Loki is forced to give his word to steal her in exchange for his life. He fulfills his oath, then steals her back, thereby maintaining his honor with the gods. When his team loses the "nifty object making" contest, Loki goes with the letter of the law, allowing the winner to do as he wishes with Loki's head, as long as his neck isn't touched. Those who have accused him of oath-breaking haven't been studying.
Loki's behavior doesn't start to go wrong till the Baldr thing, and I will endeavor to show that he had reasons for that.
There is a far-reaching conspiracy between one of the gods and Surt (the Chaos-bringer and true "satan-figure" of our religion). The god in question has sown seeds of discontent among several of the children of the Aesir, eventually causing two of Loki's children to become so rebellious that one has to be bound, and and another is cast into the sea (not so hard to do, all it takes is a few whispers to Fenris of "How come Garm gets meaty Alpo when all you get is dry kibble?"). This god is also responsible for the strife among mankind and was the true force behind Baldr needing to make the trip to Helheim.
Loki, in revenge for the corruption of two of his offspring, as well as in his capacity of Odin's left-hand man (as it were), goes under cover to expose this foul traitor to his fellow-gods. The first phase of this operation is simple. In order to make Loki appear even further alienated, his daughter is "punished" by being put in charge of the world of the dead.
With Odin's help, Loki is framed for causing Baldr's death, which at the same time gets Baldr clear of the influence of the corrupting traitor. The corrupter, due to his position, is ideally located to suggest to Frigga a means of getting Baldr back from the dead and back into his influence, luckily Odin discovers the imminent return and sends Loki off to thwart it (which he does, of course, in the guise of an old hag who refuses to cry for Baldr), helping cement Loki's rep as being on the outs with Asgard.
Now comes the events in the Lokasenna, where Loki provokes the gods in order to be driven off and then "captured" making him appear to be a solid enemy of the gods. But, as Hollander's version of the Voluspa verse 34 states:
A captive lies in the Kettle-grove,
Like to lawless Loki in shape.
So there is a captive there who LOOKS like Loki, attended by Sigyn. I suggest that in order to move freely and secretly, Loki has given his son Vali (yeah, the one who guts he's supposedly bound with) his own appearance, while Loki is off gathering the final proof as to who the traitor is.
After a sojourn in the east, Loki DOES discover who the traitor is, but that traitor, due to his unique position, knows that he's been found out, and takes drastic steps to stop Loki from warning Odin et al in time to keep him from accomplishing his vile task of starting a rebellion in Asgard.
Now, can anyone guess the traitor? Here's some clues: He's excellent at finding dissatisfaction and grumblings to exploit because he "can hear the wool growing on a sheep," also making him an invaluable source of intelligence for Surt's forces.
Gee, got it in one! That's right, Heimdall, Warder of the Gods, creator of class strife among mankind (Hel, creator of slavery for that matter), and the guy who holds the Horn that starts Ragnarok. Which is what he ends up doing to keep from being exposed. While what we've always believed is that the Horn would be blown to warn the Gods, the facts could well be that it's sound is a signal for Surt's forces to attack.
Loki sets sail in a ship provided by his daughter Hel, and crewed by her minions, following his son, the Fenris wolf in an attempt to dissuade him from attacking Odin. Loki gets to the battleground behind Fenris and is intercepted by Heimdall. As we know from the Voluspa and other sources, the two of them then kill each other. Loki is prevented from saving Odin (and possibly Thor, depends on whether the serpent would listen to his father or not), but the traitor Heimdall is prevented from ruling the new , freshly recycled world.
Return to Loki: A Paean in Progress
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