Category Archives: Loki

The Owl and the Raven

“The great destroyers of nations and men are comfort, plenty and security. A coward gets scared and quits. A hero gets scared, but still goes on. ”     – unknown

by Leyla Akdogan

“We make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion.” – William Shakespeare

The Owl

Heroes rarely surprise us.  They do what we expect them to.  What is right, what is just, what is honorable.  They may struggle getting there but there is never any real question as to the outcome of their fight.  They may die trying but it will be a heroic death.  But what makes them heroic?  Is it strength, intelligence, wit, loyalty, perseverance, morality, sheer bull headedness?  Is it the fact that they do what is right, not for any benefit or personal gain but simply because it is the right thing to do?

Heroes are rarely seen as such by their peers.  Their actions are often regarded as too avant guard, consider Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird or Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games.  While a hero’s actions might be altruistic, their motives rarely are.    I personally have always been skeptical of the typical hero.  Why would someone go to such lengths for others with no thought of any gain of any kind?  We all want to be at least recognized for our good deeds if not compensated.

The Raven

Villains rarely surprise us anymore.  They are a necessary evil to thwart the hero.  They are crafty, greed, capricious and cruel.  They seem to appear out of the ether, hate already fully born and festering for revenge on the hero.  They will die before they let the hero succeed.  But what makes them a villain?  Is it strength, intelligence, lack of morality, snark, perseverance, sheer bloody mindedness?  Is it the fact that they do whatever they damn well please just for the hell of it, or at least for some principal gain?

Villains rarely see themselves as such.  They are fully justified within their own minds and see their actions as not only right but necessary.  Darth Vader, Shere Khan of The Jungle Book, Moriarty from any incarnation of Sherlock, Sauron of Lord of the Rings. Shall I go on?  You get the idea.  I personally have always hated the one dimensional evil for the sake of being evil villain.  Everyone has a motive and motive implies will and will implies thought and reason.

The Quandary

So who is the Owl and who is the Raven?  Sometimes it’s surprisingly difficult to determine.  This has given rise to the terms anti-hero and anti-villain.  Theses characters are neither strictly one or the other.  They are the vagabond hero and the dubious ally, the thief with a heart of gold and the benevolent overlord.

To illustrate this point I will be drawing on several characters.  Most I’ve discussed before and a couple will be newcomers.  If you are not familiar with my fandoms then beware of spoilers here on out.

First, Megatron.  Yes that Megatron.  By the time we meet him in the franchise he’s a despotic overlord with the mantra ‘Peace through Tyranny.’  A villain’s villain if you will.  Yet we learn that he and his archrival Optimus Prime were once friends and depending on which backstory you prefer, co-collaborators in the rebellion on their homeworld.  In the most recent iteration their friendship fell apart over method.  Megatron, a former slave and gladiator only knew how to achieve his means through violence.  Optimus saw a more peaceful, albeit slower, method through diplomacy.  Neither was wrong in wanting change in their society.  So what made one the hero and the other the villain?  Motive and execution.

Then we have Loki.  In the original works he is not the scene stealing villain from Marvel, but a crafty, cunning and beloved brother.  He’s as mischievous as he is helpful and often his schemes benefit himself more than anyone.  When they do go awry he still manages to find a way to make the outcome work for him.  Yet he allows his jealousy to get the better of him and resorts to murder and extortion.  This doesn’t stop him from helping when a situation calls for it.  He simple will only do it if it in some way benefits himself.  He’s an opportunist.  Again motive and execution come into play.

Now let’s look at Deadpool.  He’s the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ who fancies himself a hero yet can never quite live up to the hype.  When he’s trying his hardest to be the hero is when he fails the most spectacularly.  Its those moments when he stops trying and just does that the hero emerges.  Yet he’s too bogged down by his own demons to ever fully transcend his penchant for indiscriminate violence. He at times both hinders and helps the other super heroes depending on how the situation strikes him and if he can make money off of it.  Much like Loki, he’s an opportunist and will stab a hero in the back as soon as offer a helping hand.  Motive. Execution.

So how do you write a convincing non villain?

Keep them consistent.  Know their motivations, even if they don’t. Make sure their actions are supported by their motives, that they execute their plans accordingly.  Loki and Deadpool are both consistent in that you know at some point they are going to betray you sometimes just for the hell of it.

Writing. For real.

I love to read.  Almost as much as I like to write.  I read everything that comes within eyesight. This is not always a good thing, but meh, can’t help it.

As someone who loves to read, I read a lot of fan fiction.  Don’t judge me.  I’m impatient.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been putting together a writer’s conference just for fan fiction writers.  I knew fanficcers where considered fringe writers at best and social pariahs at worst.  I was not prepared for the amount of vitrol directed at these amatuer writers.  They are not just social outcasts of the writing world, they are viewed as the demon hellspawn of the internet by many a pro-writer and avid reader alike.

And along came Fifty Shades of Grey, the oh-so-famous porn version of Twilight-er no wait, that version is an ‘original’ work.  Now fan fiction is in the public eye like never before and the debate continues.  Is it legal?  No.  Is it fun?  Often.  Is it terribly written?  Mostly.  Should authors sue and demand their works be banned from  Their call.  George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame wrote in his Not A Blog on Livejournal about his views on the phenomenon.  You can read his post here:

The issue has been debated to death and will rise as a zombie issue to be debated over and over.  I’m not here to debate the legality or the ethics of fan fiction.  Others have and much more eloquently than I ever could.

For the record, I never planned on writing fan fiction.  I don’t like messing with someone else’s characters.  My characters are as dear and real to me as my flesh and blood children.  So I completely understand other author’s stance on fan fiction.  Have I written fan fiction?  Yes.  I am currently writing an Avengers peice all from Loki‘s pov.  Why?  For one Loki is fascintating to me.  (In case you hadn’t read any of my other posts, I adore the manipulative bastard.)  He’s very hard for me to write.  He’s a huge challenge, which I relish.  He’s an incredibly complex character with an rich back story and that’s just Marvel’s version.

But, I digress.

I’m of the opinion that young writers need somewhere to start.  They need mentors, someone who will offer them sound advice and helpful critiques.  They get this, and more, by writing and posting their fan fiction to the various sites available for it.  Of course this means there is a ton and I mean a ton, of horrible writing out there to sift through.  Yet, often these amateurs feel they are not  ‘creative’ enough to spawn their own universe and characters, so they decide to use someone elses.  Or they find a certain character in  fandom that they identify so closely with that they just have to write about them.  Or there are the ones who insist they can do better than the original creator.  And then you have the people who only care about writing por-er smut about their favorite pairing.

Writing is writing is writing.  Whatever you want to call it.  Fan fiction.  Dirivitive works.  Copyright infringement.

The point is, these young writers want to write and do so with a verbosity and passion that I’m sure a lot of us more experienced writers wish we could muster at times.  They love their characters just as fiercely as we love ours.  Yet, I know deep down the majority of them want to be original they just don’t know how.  I cite the plethora of original characters (OCs) in any fandom as proof of that.

Of course it has been pointed out that one of the major failings of fanfic, legality aside, is the quality.  We are all learning the hard way that digital publishing has it’s downside-quality control.  This is something that any regular to or other fanfic site could have told you years ago.  The number of barely readable works far outnumbers the truly well written ones.  Trying to find a well written fic in a fandom can be worse than trying to find a normie at ComicCon.  They are there, but they can be hard to spot.

Cathy Young speaks about this in her post at  (  “The good news about the Internet is that, in a world without gatekeepers, anyone can get published. The bad news, of course, is the same. Much fanfic is hosted on sites such as, where authors can get their work online in minutes—which means that professional-quality stories coexist with barely literate fluff, and reader reviews will sometimes congratulate an author on good grammar and spelling. Even sites that prescreen fanfic and encourage authors to use beta readers and a spell checker tend to be quite lax with quality control, and only a few fan fiction archives are genuinely selective.”

This is only more true today five years later and not only about fan fiction.  So with the new public eye on fan fiction what’s a writer to do?  Where can the amatuer turn to for advice and education on the craft when all they’ve ever written is fan fiction?  Some are too intimidated to even admit to their writing addiction.  Others would never take a writing class because they don’t consider themselves ‘real’ writers.

The sites on writing that welcome or even encourage fan fiction writers are few and far between outside of forums. is the preeminent site for writers of the genre offering writing advice and encouragement specifically for fan fiction writers.  That’s why I decided to have a writer’s conference just for fan fiction writers. ( These authors write out of love, as we all do.  Love for the character, love of writing, love of recognition and acclaim for our works.   When it comes right down to it, the amateur and the so-called professional aren’t so different.  We both love to write and should be more interested in helping each other learn the craft.

We are all writers after all.

The Victim and the Martyr

The victim is preyed upon, unawares until the deed doth fall.  The martyr marches on, head high, sword gleaming, until death wields it’s heavy hand.

The Victim

When I first started writing Sorrow’s Fall, I had a very clear idea who my protagonist would be, but not what that would mean for the other characters.  As I worked through different plot scenarios and wrote scenes, it became clear to me that my protagonist was not the ‘good guy’ neither was he the stereotypical ‘bad guy‘.  I’ve always quailed at such polarization’s.  In fact the first working title of the novel was Shades of Grey for years since nothing is ever truly black and white. (How glad I am I didn’t go with that!)

Now that I’m into writing the second novel I’m learning even more about him and how he relates to those around him.  In Sorrow’s Fall he was  more of a victim of his own upbringing.  Unable to break free of the burden placed on him.  Now he knows he has choices.  But the burden of freedom can be even greater than the burden of enslavement.  Now he has to fend for himself and that includes deciding who is friend and who is foe and what to do about it.

This brings up an interesting conundrum.  Is he an anti-hero or an anti-villain?  The two terms are not mutually exclusive and a definitive definition is hard to pin down.  Not even Wikipedia can decide.  I see them as basically same except for one point; motivation.

Sorrow is intrinsically flawed and has issues with morality.  His motives tend to be toward self preservation first and for others a distant third.  He knows little to nothing of love or kindness and as such has no idea how to show them.  Does this mean he’s a villain?  Too a lot of people, yes.  He’s a murderer and some people would say a sociopath.  To other’s he’s a hero who protects their lively hood and keeps them safe from the threat of war.

So who is right?

The Martyr

As any of you who’ve read my other posts know, I am a huge Loki fan.  I do not see him as villainous.  Misunderstood and reviled for his actions, yes.  But not evil.  His actions might be reprehensible but his intentions are based on his need for love and acceptance.  Even in the myths he’s the scapegoat, the one punished even when things are not entirely his fault.   Time and time again he sacrifices himself to right a perceived wrong on his part or a misunderstanding.   Though there are times when he is fully to blame yet he is never saved from the consequences of his actions.

Mommy, look at me! by jen-and-kris

And then there are times he does things fully knowing he’s going to suffer greatly for it.  Yet he goes ahead and sacrifices himself.  Much is made of his deviousness, yet little is said about the massive intelligence behind it.  He always knows what he’s doing and that makes him less of a victim and more of a martyr.

I find parallels between the two.  Both come from troubled backgrounds with contentious family members and deep seated problems.  Loki finds out he’s adopted.  Sorrow finds out he’s not.  Both have older siblings they hate.  Loki tried to commit suicide and Sorrow is- well I won’t spoil it for you.

Very Good Writing – Why Loki Won in The Avengers

Very Good Writing – Why Loki Won in The Avengers.

This brilliant article highlights all the plot points I’ve been trying to get my friends to understand.  Some do, some just look at me with vacant expressions.  I guess I shouldn’t expect those who do not write for a living to understand the complexities and ambiguity of crafting a truly complex plot.  Thankfully Mr. Whedon knows that there are those of us who like plot with our porn fun.

There was no better ‘villain’ than Loki to bring the Avengers together.  Mr. Black makes some excellent points and dissects the plot of Avengers very nicely.

There was a lot of subtext for an action/adventure movie and I am not surprised that most people overlooked it in favor of the more explicit plot points.  It was painfully obvious to me from the first viewing that Loki set things up to make sure the Xanatos Gambit happened.  The reverse interrogation scene with Black Widow was a study in manipulation and misdirection and I’m sorry to say that most people just simply miss how beautifully understated and subtle Mr. Hiddleston’s acting is.

However I do not agree with the idea that Loki is working with Thanos.  It just didn’t seem like a symbiotic relationship in the movie, more a parasitic one.  Thus setting up Loki’s need for the Xanatos Gambit.  He needs the Avengers together to either defeat him and remove the possibility of Thanos retaliating, or lose and he deliver the goods and avoid retaliation  that way.  He knew that either way there was significant risk to himself, but it was risk possibly being killed outright by Thanos or suffer a defeat at the hands of his brother and co.

Oh and for those saying the Loki said he never really wanted to rule Earth.  Umm . . . God of Lies.  He wants Earth because he knows that is where Thor’s heart is and he does love to mess with his brother.  He obviously did not think that Thor would appear on Earth to challenge him.  From his reaction on the quinjet he was quite surprised at Thor’s sudden appearance.  Which further necessitated a change in his plans.  Thor is the only person on Earth who could stop him, he knew this and changed his plans to use the Hulk to keep his brother busy.

The Loki Effect

The Loki Effect

“Before you judge me, try hard to love me.

Look within your heart.

Then ask,-have you seen my childhood?”

-Michael Jackson

When the Avengers opened May 4th, few people would have expected the recording breaking success that followed.  It is a movie that breaks many bounds both in scope and achievement.  It has set the new standard for movies in general and super hero moves specifically.  But what would the Avengers be without their villain?  Loki.

So much is made of the Avengers themselves; Captain America the ultimate good guy/patriot; Thor, the golden god; Iron Man the captain of snark and impossible tech; Hulk, need I say more; Black Widow of the ledger rouge and Hawkeye who trumps them all with his quiet badassery.   They would all just be loose ends floating around in their separate little universes of do-goodery if not for one particularly intelligent and mischievous deity.


What makes Loki such a compelling villain?

What makes Loki so compelling, not just as a villain but as a character are his motivations.  He is not evil for the sake of being evil, which is all too common among lesser villains in other storylines and a major failing of many, many writers.  Fortunately this was not the case or I am quite certain Avengers would have been mediocre at best, pathetic at worst.

Loki’s motivations are grounded in his upbringing.  He was raised to be a ruler, a leader, someone others could look to for guidance and protection.  Odin even tells him in Thor (2011) that he was born to rule.  As a child of Laufey, the defeated monarch of the Jotunheim, he was a captive prince even if he was adopted as the son of Odin.  If he had not been left to die as an infant by Laufey and found by Odin he would have been rightful ruler of the Jotunheim.  Had he been older than Thor he might even have been first in line for the throne of Asgard.  However, as with most patriarchal societies the eldest, regardless of ability, inherits.

But how does this bear on him becoming the antagonist in Thor and Avengers?  He is the anti-hero, the one who does what others won’t in order to achieve goals that must be met.   “In literature and film, an anti-hero is a central or supporting character that has some of the personality flaws and ultimate fortune traditionally assigned to villains, but nonetheless also have enough heroic qualities or intentions to gain the sympathy of readers.  Anti-heroes  . . . are always in some fundamental way, flawed or failed heroes.”  (  Loki knew in Thor that his brother was not ready even when everyone else was eager to enthrone the golden god.  He resorted to clandestine means to show this fact to his father.  It worked.  Thor got a much needed lesson in humility, but Loki was left to suffer far graver consequences.  Thor’s penchant for violence not only got Fandral injured it damaged Loki in far graver ways.  His learning of his true heritage in such an abrupt manner would have thrown anyone for a loop.  Then add in the fact that all he’s ever been taught is that his kind are monsters to be slaughtered on sight and the ante for self-hatred goes up several notches.  What sort of emotions would have gone through your mind as you confronted the man you’d learned was never your father?  His anger, frustration and hurt are easily observed in the weapons vault scene. (  How many of us have ever felt betrayed, looked down upon, or felt dismissed as trivial?  Then you might have a glimpse at the depth of what Loki was feeling as he confronted Odin.

He has been unfairly mislabeled as a sociopath.  By definition he is not.  Only those who refuse to look passed his most overt actions are lead to think this.  (For a full definition of sociopathy:  He is desperate to be loved and accepted.  We all of us are and sometimes we do the opposite of what we know we should do just to get some attention-any attention.

The Loki Effect

So why are we so enamored of this not-so gentle god?  Why have so many joined his (unofficial) army?  Because we all know that deep down inside we are all capable of doing and being just like Loki.  It’s much more realistic than believing we could ever achieve the level of a super soldier, genius scientists or super spy.  Loki is inspiring in other ways.  He is a cautionary example to be certain, but he is also a character we can feel for, we can relate too and root for him to redeem himself and find happiness.  We want Loki to find happiness and redemption because ultimately that is what we want in our own lives, to be loved and accepted for who we are.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

-William Shakespeare