Loki is considered a god in Norse mythology. Although his father is a giant, Loki is a member of the Æsir gods, the pantheon including Odin, Thor, Frigg, and Tyr.
Why is Loki Considered a God if he’s a jötunn (giant)?
It is not clear exactly how one becomes a god in Norse mythology. There are various theories, such as Odin deciding the creature was worthy, whether because it had magical powers or because it was the offspring of one or two parents that are gods or goddesses.
It is always open to interpretation, and if an ancient scholar or writer decided a character was worthy of the title “god” or “goddess,” that would be taken by later researchers to be the truth.
The jötunn Loki has highly developed magical powers that can shapeshift into various animals, such as flying, falcon, or horse. He also changes Idun (Iðunn), the keeper of the magic apples, into a nut.
Loki was already a demi-god as the son of the goddess Laufey. That may be why he was allowed to become one of the Æsir, as Snorri Sturluson, the Icelandic poet, and writer, mentions in the Gylfaginning (the second part of the Prose Edda).
Loki and his status within the Æsir Society
He seemed to ingratiate himself into Æsir society (despite being technically a jötunn) and enjoyed the company of Odin, Frigg, Tyr, and Thor. However, his malevolent nature meant he was constantly on the knife edge of punishment and torture.
It is worth mentioning that he and Odin share a strong fraternal bond. In the Poetic Edda poem Lokasenna (or Loki’s Verbal Joustings”), he says the following:
Remember, Othin, in olden daysThe Poetic Edda Poem Lokasenna – Sacred Texts
That we both our blood have mixed;
Loki does seem to shun his jötnar heritage because he also takes the surname “Laufeyson” from his mother and not his father.
An interesting point is that no statues of Loki have been discovered yet. Maybe because he wasn’t the kind of god you would worship as his values were not ones you would aspire to or admire.
How is Loki a God if He’s Adopted?
Odin has adopted Loki in the movie Thor, but, as we’ve discussed previously, in Norse mythology, he’s more of a brotherhood member, having exchanged a blood oath with Odin.
Who Is Part of Loki’s Family?
Mother of his Children: Angrboda
The translation of her name is “grief-bringer,” and the Gylfaginning from the Prose Edda by the Icelandic poet Snorri Sturluson mentions that her mother’s nature was evil and she would create mischief and disaster.
Angrboda’s Daughter: Hel
Hel was the only daughter of the trickster god and the giantess Angrboda. Her monstrous siblings were the wolf Fenrir and the serpent Jörmungandr. Although reports often refer to Hel as a goddess, she is really a demi-god (being the daughter of one) and half jötunn.
Viking descriptions of Hel depict her as half-black or half-blue and half-white, with a gloomy and threatening disposition.
Angrboda’s Son: Fenrir
Fenrir is captured and bound by an apparently indestructible manacle made by the dwarves of Svartalfheim. Fenrir bites off the god Tyr’s hand while being chained and later breaks free during a pre-Ragnarok earthquake. He kills Odin before Odin’s son Vidar slays him in revenge.
Angrboda’s Son: Jörmungandr
Jörmungandr (or the Midgard Serpent) lay in the sea surrounding Midgard and encircled the entire world. During Ragnarök, Jörmungandr would rise from the ocean surrounding the realm, poisoning the land with its venom and causing tsunamis that tear the world apart.
The prophecy says Thor will kill Jörmungandr with his hammer Mjölnir, but the poisonous serpent will bite him, and Thor too will die after taking nine steps.
Fárbauti is a jötunn whose name translates as “dangerous striker.” He is also the father to Loki’s brothers, Helblindi and Býleistr.
Laufey appears in a list of Ásynjar (goddesses) in a þulur or sub-section of the Prose Edda. She was described as weak and thin and was known as “Nál” (or “Needle”).