A discussion on maturity with one of my reviewers. The initial question on maturity was:

Q: On Byleistr, is he older than Loki? If so, he acts less mature, and I’m wondering if the way Jotuns normally mature is different from Asgard? or was it because Loki had to deal with so much that he matured quite early?

My initial answer:

Byleistr is older than Loki. Relative to Earth years, Loki is 19 or so. Thor is 20/21 years or so. Byleistr is around 22 years or so. However, when it comes to maturity, age is something a bit more relative. I would argue that none of the above characters are MATURE. However, some have more experience than others. And some have a greater variety of experience than others. So, if we were to say Loki is experienced in hard facts of life, the dark side of life, in magick and in underhanded combat and stratagem, that would be accurate. Thor is also experienced – like Helblindi – within the constraints of his culture, but what he can do, he can do well. Byla, sadly, is at the bottom. I blame Farbauti – and the fact that Byla is blessed with a loving family who protect him and make sure he doesn’t have to deal with those things.

So, compared to Jotunn levels of maturity, Byleistr is more or less on par (but with less respect in his culture ’cause he’s a scholar and a bit naive), whereas Loki is horrifyingly mature for his age because of his experiences. Once again, I say use the word mature carefully. He’s seen and done things few Jotunn would have done before they got to early young adulthood, but that doesn’t make him “mature” mature. If you take my meaning.

I feel that the Thor and Loki within the Thor film are horribly immature. The actors and writers and Feige and Branagh all refer to the two charas as being very young, immature, brash and hot-headed. So, yes, immaturity all around.

Reviewer response:

So basically, when you talk about maturity, Loki has been taught by his life experiences to be cynical and mistrusting, to hate himself and prefer to hurt others before they hurt him, but he has not gained enough understanding about himself and his own emotions to be considered adult-mature, nor does he really understand others and their wider motives. I suppose you could say that some adults never gain that maturity anyway.

My response to reviewer:

Yeah… maybe? I don’t remember who asked me the question, but I thought long and hard about it and it’s still not clear to me what the answer could be. I think “maturity” is a difficult question to ask of anyone – like “beauty”, I think “maturity” is kinda relative and a little less… well, you can’t define it as easily. Is it your actions? Your knowledge? Your experience? Your attitude? Your awareness? Your moral compass? Your commonsense? Your skills? Your street smarts? All of the above? I think that Loki’s response to things is HUMAN (not necessarily right) and therefore, it should be understandable. Like what Loki did in the first film of Thor – the same decision basically is chosen by Odin in Thor 2 – that decision, we understand. If a hostile country (you know who I’m referring to) tomorrow threatened nuclear war, I think quite a few countries would have no compunction about wiping it off the planet. It’s kinda… Darwinian? You know the idea of “it’s us or them”… Oddly enough, Thor rejects both Loki’s and Odin’s decisions… and goes for a third path. Is how Odin and Loki each responded to their situations mature? Some would argue yes. Some would argue no. I think there’s a bit of subjectivity to the whole topic of maturity which I find curious. Thor and Byleistr, I think, are a bit naive – they are kinda like Captain Kirk from Star Trek (and the reboots as well) – they think that the Kobayashi Maru can be beaten. Mature people might argue that it can’t (aka Spock)… so yeah… maturity is a funny thing.

This Loki however I think is mature in his experiences… sadly just because you experience a lot of things and endure hardship doesn’t mean you are a better person or know yourself well or know what you need. As we find out. And I think the Loki in Thor is INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE. Like… RAW… with emotion – I think this speaks to a hyper-sensitivity that is often found in people of high intelligence. It is that sensitivity which drives them to retreat from the world… and I think Loki is a study in what happens when you just keep pushing that person over the edge. If we compare that to the Loki I have built, we see the same foundation of sensitivity – but overlaying it all are years of a sort of acceptance of the abuse, devastation of self-confidence, bitterness and a self-protective persona… It’s… sad…

And of course, as you say, some adults never gain maturity. If we talk about self-awareness and knowing how to deal with inter-personal conflict, then I would argue MANY adults never gain full maturity. I definitely know I’m not mature. LOL. And in China, with the one-child policy, many kids grow up to be partially immature adults b/c they never learn(ed) how to deal with people… and so the divorce rates are sky-rocketing. @.@

What do you think?

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