‘Loki’: The Norse Origin of the God’s Laufeyson Last Name
After watching the first episode of Loki on Disney+, fans are already homing in on Easter eggs and clues for potential villains. Everyone’s favorite Marvel trickster god wants to get back to his old tricks, but the Time Variance Authority has other plans for him. Something viewers may have noticed is that Mobius (Owen Wilson) formally refers to Loki as Loki Laufeyson. Yes, the god has a surname, and it’s different than his brother Thor’s. But the origins of his last name actually honor Norse mythology.
[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Loki Season 1 Episode 1]
Loki is Loki Laufeyson in Marvel lore
Naturally, breaking down a last name that ends in “-son” means translating it to “son of.” With Thor, it’s easy to determine that he’s Odin’s son. That holds true for Norse tradition and in Marvel canon.
With Loki, it’s a bit different. The first Marvel Thor movie that dropped in 2011 kicked off with Odin taking Asgard to war against the Frost Giants. Loki later learned that Laufey, the Frost Giant king, was his father. Odin and Frigga adopted him. Loki betrayed both dads, Asgard, and Thor in the movie and killed Laufey before the credits rolled. The Disney+ show taps into his biological parentage.
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Loki’s surname comes from his mom in Norse tradition
Looking back at the Marvel films, Loki felt close to his mother, Frigga. Fans noticed his anguish when he watched the TVA’s footage of her death because feels responsible for it. However, in Norse mythology, Loki’s mother is Laufey, a goddess and Jotun giant who also goes by the name Nal. Therefore, his last name is maternal.
In lore, Odin and his brothers killed Laufey’s grandfather Ymir, setting off the Great Flood (of blood). This goddess and her husband Farbauti were the only survivors, and they went on to magically conceive Loki. Farbauti was some sort of lightning deity, and Laufey is connected to earth and leaves. Various stories about Laufey paint her as a witty goddess who likes to have fun. Sound familiar?
Loki is mentioned in the Eddic poem “Lokasenna” as Laufey’s son and several other pieces of Nordic literature where all the giants are immortal. Traditionally, he’s linked to fire. Most ancient Loki-related myths speak on his shape-shifting abilities, gender fluidity, and penchant for mischief. In some cases, he’s a hero rather than a villain.
Marvel Loki and mythological Loki have similarities
Other than the obvious God of Mischief tag, Loki in Marvel comics and Loki of Norse origins have several things in common. He has a complicated family tree that’s ripe with dysfunction. He’s known for being a crafty spy, a genius inventor, and extremely observant. But he also has a mean streak.
The Disney+ series centers on the 2012 Marvel version of Loki. The show may give him a redemptive arc where he can put his skills to use and eventually morph into a trickster god who is down for a good rescue mission. Delve into Loki Laufeyson’s story on Disney+ each Wednesday.