An Informational Outline

Written by Lokadottir, © 2001.


Divine race: Jotun, honourary Aesir

A/K/A: Loptr, Lodur (disputed)

Immediate family: Father: Faubauti; Mother: Laufey or Nal; Brothers: Byleist and Helblindi (one or both may be references to his blood-brotherhood with Odin).

Wife: Sigyn; Mistress and/or Concubine: Angrboda; Children: Ali/Vali and Narfi/Narvi (by Sigyn), Fenris, Jormundgand, and Hel (by Angrboda); Sleipnir (fathered by Svadilfari). Father of an unnamed child by Tyr's wife (also unnamed). An otherwise obscure reference in Voluspa hin skamma realtes that "Lopt was impregnated by a wicked woman, from whom every ogress on earth is descended." (Larrington translation) Unlike the birth of Sleipnir, which was quite usual in its own fashion, this pregnancy came about because he ate the heart of the woman, who had been burnt for unspecified reasons.

Blood-brother of Odin.

Appearance: "Pleasing and handsome" (Gylfaginning). Other conjectural descriptions exist, but this is the only one which appears in the Eddas.

Attributes: Ambivalence - Loki aids or hinders the gods as it is convenient to him, or when necessary to save his own skin; the "wise fool" - renowned for his cleverness, he manages to find himself at a disadvantage because of his thoughtlessness many times; humour - he is the only one of the Aesir who can makes Skadhi laugh after her father's death; indiscriminate sexuality - in addition to Sigyn, Angrboda, and Svadilfari, he's also slept with Skadhi, Sif, Freyja and Tyr's wife (and, no doubt, others).

Treasures: None, although he influenced the making of Mjolnir, Draupnir, Gungnir, Gullinbursti, Skidbladnir, and Sif's hair. Borrowed the feather cloaks of Freyja and Frigg, as well as Ran's net on one occasion, although the net is also said to be his invention.

Sacred beasts: None, unless one counts those Loki has appeared in the shape of at one time or another: mare, fly and/or flea, salmon. The similarity between the Swedish word "lokke" (spider) and Loki has suggested this as one, although it appears nowhere in the myths.

Star Lore: The dog star, Sirius, is referred to as "Lokabrenna."

Kennings: "How shall Loki be referred to? By calling him son of Farbauti and Laufey, of Nal, brother of Byleist and Helblindi, father of Vanargand, i.e., Fenriswolf, and of Iormundgand, i.e., the Midgard serpent, and Hel's and Nari's and Ali's relative and father, brother, comrade and table-companion of Odin and the Aesir, Geirrod's visitor and casket-ornament, thief from giants, of goat and Brisingamen and Idunn's apples, relative of Sleipnir, husband of Sigyn, enemy of gods, Sif's hair-harmer, maker of mischief, the cunning As, accuser and tricker of gods, contriver of Baldr's death, the bound one, wrangler with Heimdall and Skadi." (Skaldskaparmal, A. Faulkes translation)

Also: Farbauti's terribly sly son; the sea-thread's (Midgard serpent's) father; not very trustworthy trier of war-thunder-Gaut (Thor); vulture-way (air=lopt, a pun on this alternate name for Loki); the cargo of incantation-fetter's (Sigyn's) arms (alternately: the burden of Sigyn's arms); the raven-god's (Odin's) friend; Honir's good friend; the trier of Honir's mind; the wolf's father; the thief of Brising's girdle; the hawk's offspring (Loki, in bird form); ale-Gefn's (Idunn's) flowing corpse-sea (blood) hound (wolf, thief).

Hall: None (Where does he live, anyway?)


***After Aegir's feast, Loki is hunted down and captured by the Aesir; his son Ali is turned into a wolf and kills his brother, Narvi. His son's entrails are used to bind him to three boulders, and Skadhi places a poisonous snake where its venom will drip down on him. His wife Sigyn reamins at his side, holding a bowl to catch the venom. When she must go to empty it, the venom strikes Loki and causes such agony that the earth shakes with the contortions of his torment. He will remain bound until all fettered creatures are loosed at Ragnarok.

***Loki is the antagonist of Heimdall; they will slay one another at Ragnarok. Loki fights on the side of his family by birth, the Jotuns, rather than that of his blood-brother Odin and the Aesir.

***Snorri Sturluson attributes Baldr's murder by Hod to Loki's influence. This can be either supported or refuted by reference to verses in Voluspa and Lokasenna, depending on how one chooses to read them. It seems to be refuted in Baldr's Draumr and Hyndluliod, which mention Baldr's death and Hod as his killer, but make no mention of Loki's involvement. The Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus lays the blame solely on Hod.


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