[posting][opinion] Distortions In Time: A Character’s Eucatastrophe

A reviewer recently posted a review for Chapter 58. At the end of the review, they state:

Again, I am weary [wary] of this story, I love it and I’m exited, but reading some of your comments I get a bit nervous. Like, how Loki has good intentions, but that doesn’t always lead to good results. And that his actions will only bring sadness to him, for the time being. Yeah, I’m scared. But optimistic at the same time! *remembers this is suppose to be a happy-ending story* (repletes that mantra again and again in the head)

[parenthesis added for clarification]

My response was:

I am… I suppose… a difficult writer. Not just in the sense that I enjoy writing lush scenes and use higher level vocabulary, but also in the sense that I enjoy subverting the audience’s expectations. This is probably due to the fact that I have been heavily impacted by J.R.R. Tolkien’s works – the use of eucatastrophe. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucatastrophe) However. Eucatastrophe cannot work if the middle of the tale doesn’t get incredibly dark.

One reviewer at the end of the story wrote: “Especially I like that despite a very tough life, there are characters who end up with a chance at a happy future but not without work; and you didn’t use a constant rollercoaster of emotions to get that across…people are normal but there is no inescapable, inevitable Fate…”
Another reviewer said: “And yet, there is still room for more and that’s what’s most amazing: you worked with this as life does, it isn’t complete because life isn’t either. He can still learn and go on and he will continue making mistakes but he will also continue learning. There is such promise to this Loki.”

So, I guess, you can say – there is a happy ending. BUT that doesn’t mean that Loki will not make very bad choices before then, that bad things will not happen, and that internal and external challenges won’t be overcome. Unlike a lot of fanfic writers who make Loki into a woobie character – or someone who is misunderstood – my Loki is a difficult person. He is neither black nor white. He has loveable moments and also terrible moments… just like us humans. He is portrayed as close to the canon as I can get – vain, immature, spiritually empty, and hopeless – as well as mischievous, flexible, innovative, and passionate. However, in DIT, Loki makes progress by the end. So, yes, there is heartbreak ahead… but also great triumph for Thor and Loki.

Hope this helps!

A thought then occurred to me – as it has done many, many times before: how the current political and academic landscape has become particularly unforgiving of error. As a result, the justification for becoming invested in a person is reliant on that person’s behavior and character both past and present. If that person reveals a history of wrong-doing, corruption, or what have you, they must either be excused (intersectional politics/the victimization pyramid scheme) OR be jettisoned (virtue-signalling witch hunts/1984 suppression techniques/social shaming).

As such, a problematic figure like Loki becomes a figurehead for intersectional politics as various hyper-compassionate females of the left-wing Humanities attempt to justify his actions using buzzwords such as “internalized racism”, “homophobia”, and Asgardian “supremacy”. Asgardian supremacy is indeed a thing, but to remove from Loki any potentiality for flaws destroys the genuine nature of his character. Loki, then, like many so-called popular figures today (Rey of the new Star Wars, particularly springs to mind), is unable to progress as a character, except maybe in learning to accept himself and in so doing be accepted by others (the suddenly forgiving Avengers).

However, as I stated above, and as is apparent in Distortions in Time, Loki is not an easy character to love because canonically he makes mistakes – stupid mistakes, continual mistakes, repeated mistakes – and he has genuine character flaws and weaknesses. In my story in particularly, through the culmination of his errors, he is forced to deal with the fallout of his poor choices and must learn to confront his darker nature.

In this sense, I would argue that I am not limiting Loki’s representation to a specific group (the Jotunn), which we could not understand if they were real; I am suggesting that like all other Marvel characters, Loki represents a form of humanity that we have the possibility to understand and empathize with – and potentially look up to as a model for restoration, responsibility, and realistic growth. As such, Loki-as-humanity must mirror some forms of human frailty and error – and in so doing, create a realistic character which may potentially connect on a mythic level.

Furthermore, I would argue that within this limiting representation of Loki in certain fanfiction, we can see in what way, in the dawning age of diversity and inclusivity, the gatekeepers of Academia and their minions are not the avatars of compassion they claim to be. Rather, they are society’s watchmen, vindictively and unforgivingly, making paper-thin excuses for their in-group and cutting off those who transgress the often unspoken social rules they have constructed on a whim. They are a massive clique of high school girls.

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