YOU DID LOKI YOU LITTLE SHIT
Loki has an external locus of control. Nothing is ever his fault or the result of his actions.
As Frigga put it, he’s so perceptive of everyone but himself.
While I completely agree that Loki has an external locus of control (it’s nice to see someone besides myself saying this) as well as a hostile attribution bias (both Cognitive-Behavioral Psych terms), I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to lay all the blame on ANY one character for what happened in the nucleus of the House of Odin (well, a sound argument can actually be made for Odin himself as the chief INSTIGATOR, but you know what I mean). I think Loki increasingly refused to accept blame for his actions, but I also think it’s important to notice that Loki’s actions are almost entirely REACTIONS to the behaviors of others. Wrong reactions, yes, but if the bias toward Thor and all that he embodied didn’t already exist, Loki’s innate jealousy and insecurity wouldn’t have been fed past a breaking point. And it might never have been had he never learned he was a member of a race that the Aesir genuinely consider, and are culturally CONDITIONED to consider (Loki included as a child growing up for CENTURIES in Asgard), subhuman.
Loki is also a classic case of internalized racism. None of this is an effort to condone his actions, which are certainly criminally punishable. But I do think it’s a bit overly simplifying to claim that he 100% “put himself there” in prison. After all, Thor committed similar offenses in the first film, and was simply temporarily banished, then, when he returned home, welcomed like the prodigal son. Perhaps more pertinent still is the fact that Thor really was an egocentric, insensitive, entitled manchild until very recently (I say this with GENUINE LOVE for the character—I absolutely adore Thor, but he is as flawed as Loki is, just in very different ways) and his dismissive words and deeds, which took for granted that Loki would be by his side for eternity cleaning up after him and doing damage control and taking care of all the tedious strategizing, was damaging to Loki’s self-esteem over EONS and reached its breaking point in the first film with the added pressure of Loki suddenly being given the throne of Asgard at the same time as Loki realized his real heritage. ALSO contributing, in Loki’s mind, to the SEVERITY of Loki’s incarceration was Thor’s cold dismissal of Loki (falling in line with Odin, because Thor in the Dark World very much lacks a sense of how HE wants to rule, so he imitates dad, even when dad’s sanity is slipping) and his attempt to proclaim Loki “no longer his brother” in order to emotionally distance himself from the pain of Loki’s betrayal. Loki may be wrong here, but we have to consider it from his POV, and not just dismiss it because he’s the “bad guy.”
Let’s also remember to view this scene ***in context.*** They both just lost their mom. But Thor got to go to the funeral and mourn her properly. Loki did not. Loki was told by a guard and had to mourn alone in his cell. Fast forward to this scene, and Loki (actually quite reasonably) is pointing out that Jane is a mortal and Thor should emotionally steel himself now for her dying long before he does. A few comments about never surrendering and being “the son of Odin” later, Thor’s response is a petulant, low-blow (though completely understandable) retaliation meant to hurt Loki back for bringing up such a painful subject: by telling him that Loki “might have had [Frigga’s] tricks, but I had her trust.” This (just as understandably) provoked Loki to retaliate that Thor “let her die,” which led to yet another nasty rebuttal from Thor that Loki was “useless in his cell.” In short, Loki’s “Who put me there?!” is uttered in a moment of EXTREME emotional and psychological duress, with probably the person he was closest to in all the world telling him that the OTHER person he was closest to in the world (Frigga)’s opinion of Loki was mixed at best. I mean, OWCH.
While I REFUSE to take sides by “picking” one brother over the other, in this particular scene, I found Thor’s commentary far more wounding than Loki’s. And I think that Loki has some capacity to recognize how much he truly is to blame for being in prison (that’s the whole POINT of why he rescued Thor and said “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry”—he was finally acknowledging Frigga’s words that a “true king admits his faults”). BUT THE FACT REMAINS THAT LOKI’S PUNISHMENT VS. THOR’S WAS ABSURDLY INEQUITABLE, WHICH BOILS DOWN NOT TO JUSTICE, BUT TO ODIN’S PERSONAL BIASES. And I think THAT is what makes Loki angriest, more than being imprisoned at all. The opening scene, when Loki facetiously insinuates that he was imitating Odin’s own ruthless model of rule, makes that quite clear.
tl;dr What Loki is SAYING is NOT an issue of blame-placing. It’s an issue of his rage at Thor and Odin presenting a united front (in Loki’s eyes) against Loki, and conveniently writing him off as a monster to be stuck in Asgard’s bowels and socially erased from Asgard’s memory, a scapegoat so that they don’t have to look with real honesty at their OWN faults…whereas Thor got a comparable slap on the wrist for trying to a)invade another planet, b)start a war there, and c)do so against the king’s express commands, which is high treason. Odin exiled Thor while also sending Mjolnir after him, and giving him all of the tools to rescue and improve himself. When Loki fell into a wormhole, was abused and coerced by Thanos and the Chitauri, obviously came out of his experience in space psychiatrically imbalanced and physically malnourished, and committed the same offenses as Thor (a, b, ad c above), Odin threw Loki in prison and told he would never see his family again. The difference? Thor is Odin’s son, Loki is not. And MORE IMPORTANTLY, MIDGARDIANS (the people Loki threatened with a war) ARE JUDGED WORTHY OF PROTECTION, WHEREAS THE JOTNAR (the people Thor threatened with a war) ARE NOT. So remember the implicit racism of Odin and the Aesir here too.
AGAIN, I am NOT picking one brother over the other here. I am just saying, do people understand the inequities at work here? Because Odin makes those inequities REAL. And whether or not Loki takes the blame for his own bad behavior, those inequities CONTINUE TO EXIST.
Once again, we’d all be better served picking ODIN apart than EITHER brother.
These GENUINE inequities do not justify Loki’s actions, but they do explain them.
The point is, if we try to assign blame to one person in this series for the shit that’s gone down to hurt them all, we will be here ALL NIGHT arguing. Let’s remember it’ NOT that simple.
This is so much of what I try to communicate in my fics about Aesir treatment of Jotunns and of Loki, asdfghjkl YES THIS