‘Loki’: Tom Hiddleston Explains the ‘Love Is a Dagger’ Metaphor Meaning

Loki and the Loki Variant are getting to know each other better. In season 1 episode 3 of Loki on Disney+, the God of Mischief and Sylvie shared their theories about love. The conversation led to an exciting reveal about Loki’s sexuality. But it also led to a surprisingly sentimental moment. After getting drunk on a literal train to salvation, Loki tells Sylvie that “love is a dagger.” Tom Hiddleston explained the metaphor in a recent interview, as did writer Michael Waldron.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Loki Season 1 Episode 3.]

Tom Hiddleston as Loki wearing a blue jumpsuit and sitting across from Sophia Di Martino, who plays Sylvie. She wears a green and gold and black uniform and brass headband with a horn. They sit at a table in a room with purple and blue lights.
Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino in episode 3 of ‘Loki’ on Disney+ | Marvel Studios

‘Loki’ Season 1 Episode 3 recap

Hiddleston’s character finally tracked down Sylvie in episode 2. He figured out she was hiding in various apocalypses throughout time. And once he found her, he wasn’t going to let her go. Loki followed the Variant through a portal to the Time Variance Authority. And in episode 3, after some fighting, he lands them on Lamentis-1 — a moon that’s about to meet its catastrophic demise.

The two Lokis (although Sylvie hates being called that) spend the episode trying to find a power source to recharge the TemPad. All the while, a meteor is about to crash into Lamentis, destroying the entire moon and everyone on it. The duo sneak onto a train that will take them to safety to find a power source. And while keeping a low profile, they get to know each other better. They talk about their mothers, their adoptions, their powers, and love. Sylvie (played by Sophia Di Martino) said she thinks love is just hate. But Loki didn’t agree.

Later, Sylvie wakes up from a nap to find Loki drunkenly singing in Asgardian with the other passengers. And that’s when Loki shares his theory about romance.

“Love is a dagger,” he says. “It’s a weapon to be wielded far away or up close. You can see yourself in it. It’s beautiful until it makes you bleed. But ultimately, when you reach for it…”

“It isn’t real,” Sylvie chimes in. “Love is an imaginary dagger? Terrible metaphor.”

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The meaning of ‘love is a dagger’

Hiddleston told Marvel.com what he made of the metaphor. He said:

“It’s one of those things that Loki comes up with spontaneously. They were having a talk about love and trusting other people, and not being able to either love or trust for whatever reason, and Loki thinks he’s come up with something profound.”

While the metaphor may not be everyone’s definition of love, it certainly is his. Hiddleston said the dagger metaphor perfectly encapsulated how his character feels about romance.

This “is Loki’s experience of love, I suppose,” Hiddleston said. “He certainly feels like it’s not been something he’s been close to. It has been some sort of illusion that he has trusted and been let down by.”

Writer and producer Michael Waldron wrote the monologue himself not long before his wedding. As he told Marvel.com:

“I wrote that really, really quick. I remember I was revising Episode 3 in the two weeks leading up to my wedding. It’s interesting because that’s probably the most romantic episode. At that point, Loki is a little bit drunk. That freed me up, where it was just like, ‘Don’t think too hard about it,’ which is sort of my first thought that Loki would think here. I just ran with it, ‘Love is a dagger.’ And fortunately, like many of Loki’s metaphors, it almost works.”

(L-R): Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino in Marvel Studios' 'Loki'
(L-R): Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino in Marvel Studios’ ‘Loki’ | Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

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‘Lamentis’ revealed Loki’s sexuality

The metaphor also worked as a humbling moment for the God of Mischief, according to Hiddleston.

“It’s a chance for Sylvie to burst the bubble of Loki’s pomposity,” the actor said. “He’s always coming up with things that he thinks are profound, but actually, they’re not particularly profound.”

One thing Sylvie couldn’t tease was the Asgardian revealing his sexuality. Before the “love is a dagger” metaphor, Sylvie asked if he had any flings with princesses or princes on Asgard. In response, Loki confirmed he’s bisexual.

“A bit of both,” he said.

This reveal coincides with how Marvel Comics writers have written the character in the past. Writer Al Ewing, author of Agent of Asgard, wrote in a 2013 Tumblr post that Loki was gender-fluid and bisexual. (Marvel confirmed Loki’s gender identity in a trailer leading up to the series premiere.)

“Yes, Loki is bi and I’ll be touching on that,” he said. “He’ll shift between genders occasionally as well.”

Episode 3 of Loki ended with both of the Variants still stuck on Lamentis with time running out. Fans will see how they escape (assuming they do) in episode 4, airing June 30 on Disney+.