My Life with Loki - louie stowell
I first met Loki in the early 1980s when I was very young, and he was going by the name of Loge. I can’t tell you when, exactly, because time-sense and toddlers do not mix. But I was watching television when something astounding happened. Giants walked onto the screen. I was transfixed. The giants, in this case, were singing. In German. But that didn’t matter, because … look! Giants!
Years later I realised they were probably people on stilts, and that it was a production of Wagner’s Ring cycle. Loki (he goes by many names) will be annoyed to discover that I barely noticed him when I met him. Loge, as he’s called in the opera, didn’t register. It was all about the giants and the Valkyries.
I next met Loki in an Usborne book of Norse myths, a few years later. Again, I’m afraid he paled in comparison to Thor and his goat-pulled chariot, or the detailed diagram of the world tree that frames the Norse universe.
So far, Loki was only at the edges of my awareness. (He’s fuming as I type this.)
I studied Old English at university and that brought me closer to a world of dragons and heroes and gods. Close, but not quite to Loki’s door.
It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I discovered the true joy of Loki. I was researching a book on Norse mythology for my job at Usborne Publishing and dived into the recorded myths. I read the various Edda and a bunch of sagas. Then I knew, Loki was MY Norse god. I was co-writing with a colleague, and he took all the Thor stories while I did the Loki ones. The more I learned about his tricky ways, the more I was compelled. I love stories of outsiders and oddballs. People who don’t quite fit. (Yes, Loki, you ARE an oddball, you cannot deny it.) Loki is always at the edges of the myths, causing trouble or (occasionally) helping out. He’s definitely not a hero; he’s more like the grit in the oyster that starts the pearl forming.