In Norse mythology, Loki’s relationship with the gods varies by source – sometimes he would help them, sometimes he would not. I suppose a part of the staying power of Loki is that his morality is hard to pin down, so he always keeps things rather interesting. However, we can do well by looking at Loki’s examples on chivalry, responsibility and loyalty. What we do with those examples, of course, is another story.
Chivalry: How to Cheer Up a Depressed Goddess
Skadi, the goddess of winter and hunting was not born a goddess and only gained that status by marriage. Originally, she was an ice giantess of Jotunheim, the mountainous world of the giants. Her father, Thiassi, was slain in battle with the gods, and an enraged Skadi gathered her weapons and traveled to Asgard, the world of the gods, to battle them. The gods—who killed giants and impaled people for fun—were actually intimidated by Skadi and opted to acquiesce to whatever demands for restitution she made rather than face her in combat.
Skadi demanded three things: that her father’s eyes be made into stars, that she be able to pick a husband from among the gods, and that they make her laugh, something she hadn’t been able to manage since her father’s death. Odin enacted her first demand by hurling Thiassi’s eyes into the night sky. To fulfill her second demand, Skadi chose Njord, god of the sea, as her husband (she later dumped him and married Odin). To fulfill her third demand, Loki tied his testicles to a goat’s beard, resulting in much struggling, bleating, and pain from both Loki and the horse – and what I’d imagine to be a rather disturbing giggle from Skadi.
Loyalty: How to Infiltrate a Den of Giants
One day, a giant by the name of Thrym stole Thor’s hammer and refused to give it back. He would only return the hammer under one condition: that he be allowed to marry Freyja. As no one was going to let that happen, Thor decided to impersonate Freyja and marry the giant in her place. Loki, of course, loved this idea and dressed himself as a handmaid so he could come along and watch.
Somehow, the giants bought the disguise, but throughout the wedding feast it became pretty obvious through the muscles, the belching and the bass voice that Thor was a man and the giants started to get a little suspicious. Totally not helping, Loki continually made excuses, all with unsubtle hints, underlying-but-still-obvious jokes and backhanded compliments about Thor’s actual gender. When Thor could finally get his hands on his hammer, he was so ticked off with the whole situation that he not only left the giant at the altar, he killed his would-be husband and all the guests in attendance – while Loki looked on delightedly.
Responsibility: How to Fix a Problem You Created Yourself
Loki made a bet with a giant who had been employed to build a protective wall for the gods. He offered the giant the hand of the goddess Freyja if he could complete the wall on time. However, the giant used a stallion who hauled the bricks much faster than the gods expected.
Faced with losing the bet and being killed by his fellow gods, Loki transformed himself into a mare and wooed the giant’s stallion. The ensuing `act of love’ led to Loki giving birth to an eight-legged spider-horse (for whatever reason) Because his stallion was occupied by Loki, the giant lost the bet and was subsequently killed by Thor.