Dec. 12th, 2012

If one cannot sleep, why not rec

There are many reasons to be interested in Loki, reasons that deserve a true essay. I cannot seem to find rest precisely when I seek it. There will be no essay today.

One of the reasons I am interested in Loki has less to do with his character than the circumstances that constitute his character. In Thor, Loki wonders why Odin rescued him, but a runt-baby-of-the-enemy-king-left-to-die, what purpose he could have served, he being considered a monster both on his own world (as a runt) and on Odin's (as a Frost Giant) alike. When Loki hears the answer, he then fears that he will end up no better than as ›another stolen relic‹. In the film, he then sets plots in motion that could be perhaps interpreted as an attempt to escape that fate at all costs.

The idea of Loki as a stolen relic, as a living prize-prince-monster-sorcerer kept in a collection of dead weapon-objects stolen and stored for the ostensible purposes of enlightenment and law, probably fascinates me more than it should. (I should probably explain that one of my favourite novellas is Tynianov's Voskovoj persony (Wax Effigy), unfortunately not yet translated into English, but available in German as Die Wachsperson and in French as Une majesté en cire, in which a six-fingered ›monster‹ sold to Peter the Great's natural history museum by his own brother manages to escape from the Kunstkammer and St. Petersburg, moving from the periphery to center of the story.) For a few weeks now I have searched for fic about Loki sharing a similar obsession with this concept, with the logic of preservation and sovereignty and memory and scientific order, and although Thor fandom is quite literary, until recently I searched in vain.

Not so anymore. [ profile] circa1220bce's magic, lost and found (Thor/Loki, WiP!) not only plays with my simple idea, it goes well beyond it. I do not wish to spoil too much, but this is a story that plays beautifully with the concept of the natural wonder/›monster‹, the singularity, the creature whose solitude, based on appearance, on difference from the ›norm‹, is not so unlike that of a king. It plays with our prejudices and scientific order and then goes beyond, showing how such imprisonment can create of the innocent the very monsters it claims to display.

This is a deeply Oedipal story, not only in its focus on the monster (Oedipus was club-footed) and the king, and on their fall through too much knowledge (Odin sacrificed his eye for it; what Loki would do for knowledge is probably too terrifying a thought) and through the implicit incest (Thor and Loki may not be brothers, but we readers know of a world in which they were raised so), but also in how it shows that attempting to escape a murderous destiny can ultimately end up sealing it. The story is not complete but I don't particularly care, for the arc I am particularly interested in is complete. I don't see this ending happily, rather in the excess of a final, desperate act of true free will, but no matter. Whatever this becomes, even if it were to remain as it is, it is currently so wonderful -- so full of trickery and transgression and thought -- that I am overwhelmed just by writing glancingly about it.

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