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Loki, in Norse mythology is the god of mischief and is described as the "contriver of all fraud". The trickster god is Thor's half-brother, and is also known as Loki Laufeyiarson.

Loki is by far the most interesting character in the Nordic pantheon, at least as seen from our perspective. He was unusual for a god in once having had a brief liaison with a giantess, by whom he had three children; the sea-serpent, Fenrir the giant wolf and Hel, the goddess of the realm of the dead. Loki was the god of evil and trickery, yet not so much a figure of unmitigated badness as a kind of celestial confidence trickster, who always managed to persuade the gods to give him another chance. Anthropologists have compared him to Coyote, the trickster figure of the Native American mythology. But then one day, Loki overplayed his hand: disguised as a giantess, he arranged the murder of Baldur.

When the gods discovered that the giantess had been Loki in disguise, they hunted him down and bound him to three rocks. Then they tied a serpent above him, the venom of which dripped onto his face. His wife Sigyn (a goddess, not the giantess who was the mother of Loki's monster brood) gathered the venom in a bowl, but from time to time she had to turn away to empty it, at which point the poison would drip onto Loki, who writhed in pain, thus causing earthquakes. He would free himself, however, in time to attack the gods at Ragnarok.

Other spellings

  • Common Swedish and Norwegian form: Loke