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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A To Z 2024 - Villains! - U Is For Utgard-Loki


Utgard-Loki. Public Domain

Today’s visit will be to Norse mythology, in the Eddas. Utgard-Loki is not the Loki we know and love. He is the king of a group of giants living in a castle in Jotunheim, the land of the giants. 

Really, he isn’t particularly evil, just cheeky. But he does humiliate Thor, Loki and Thor’s servant, a young boy called Thjalfi. 

Travelling through Jotunheim, our heroes encounter a giant who introduces himself as Skrymir. They take shelter for the night in what turns out to be Skrymir’s glove. He snores loudly all night. When Thor tries to shut him up with his hammer Mjolnir, the giant murmurs in his sleep that an acorn must have fallen off the tree. Skrymir is Utgard-Loki. 

They journey on to the castle, where they are made welcome, but are expected to show what they can do to be allowed to stay.

 Thjalfi, an excellent runner, races with a young giant, Hugi, and loses.

 Loki, who is very good at eating, challenges a giant called Loge to an eating race. He manages to eat an entire meal at amazing speed, but the man competing with him gets through the meal and the plate in the same time.

Then it’s Thor’s turn. Utgard-Loki sneers at him. Thor challenges the giants to a drinking competition, which he loses despite three huge gulps from the drinking horn. Utgard-Loki suggests, laughing, that he try lifting the castle cat, but he is only able to lift a paw, which must be humiliating for someone who is proud of his strength. 

Finally, Utgard-Loki suggests that he will go easy on Thor  by having him wrestle Utgard-Loki’s old nurse, Elli. But the old lady is a lot tougher than she looks. Thor can’t beat her. 

The party is only too glad to leave next morning after their humiliation. Utgard-Loki walks with them.

He tells them that they did a lot better than they realised. Instead of destroying Skrymir, Thor created some valleys with his hammer blows.

Hugi is Thought, and nobody can outrun thought, not even young Thjalfi.

Loki was challenged by Fire, so of course it ate the dish! 

Thor was trying to drink the sea. He couldn’t finish it, but he did create tides.

The cat was the Midgard Serpent. Even lifting its paw was impressive.

The old woman he wrestled was Old Age, which nobody can defeat. 

Utgard-Loki is extremely disturbed by how well they did and lets them know that they are not welcome to return! At this point, Thor swings his hammer at the giant, but he disappears, as does his castle.

Utgard-Loki appears in one of Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase novels, very annoyed at how many people get him mixed up with the better-known Loki. That Loki, by the way, really is a villain in the Magnus Chase trilogy, not the MCU anti-hero-to-hero, or the likeable rogue of the later comics. 

See you tomorrow for V is for Voldemort! 


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I enjoyed the Magnus Chase trilogy.

Sue Bursztynski said...

So did I! Almost more than Percy Jackson.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

This bloke may have annoyed the Asgard crowd, but he doesn't sound like a villain to me! =)

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I always enjoy reading about Utgard-Loki and how he outwits those from Asgard.

Ronel visiting for U: My Languishing TBR: U
Unbridled Harpies