Monday, September 12, 2022

The Tricksters of SF and Fantasy: Q and Loki

Star Trek and The Avengers have something in common. They both have a trickster. In Star Trek "The Next Generation" you have Q. Of course, in the Marvel movies you have Loki. They are different in ways, but what they both do is stir up trouble. (The following is based on Loki in the movies, not the comics.) 

How are they similar?

These two bring conflict to a story. 
  • Q interrupts various missions. He puts the crew on trial for the sins of mankind. He sends the Enterprise into the Borg sector, and Picard has to beg him to save them. 
  • Loki craves power and attempts to be king of Earth in The Avengers. This causes all the superheroes to join together to stop him. 

They need humans while at the same time looking down on them. 
  • Q says we are a dangerous, savage, child-race. However, he enjoys teaching us a lesson. He loves it when Picard admits he's right and begs him for help. Humans give him something to do when he gets bored.  
  • Loki finds humans puny and pathetic, but he craves to rule over them and enjoy their worship. 

They aren't really happy.
  • Q has unlimited power, but he's often bored. Having lived for so long, he's run out of things to do. There are others of his own kind, but Q tends to be an outcast. 
  • Loki is sad over many things as we know. The fact that he never had a chance to be King because he's adopted. He's frustrated at never being able to be what he's supposed to be. He loved his mother and is devastated over her loss. He's never seen to be in a relationship. However, that might be changing.   

They get punished. 
  • Q gets kicked out of the continuum for "spreading chaos throughout the universe" and they revoke his powers. Without his powers, Q was terrified. 
  • Loki is often seen locked up or being taken away in special restraints. 

They are humorous.
  • Q cracks me up by all the costumes he wears. Usually, they are some sort of historical uniform. The reactions of the crew are what makes it funny. One time he dressed up in a red English uniform and sat in Picard's chair. Then Picard said he looked ridiculous. I also like the way he talks so bluntly to Picard. Then they get into amusing arguments. The audacity of that Q "Get off my Bridge! Get out of my chair!" One time Q told him he was dead and in the afterlife. Picard said. "No, I am not dead. Because I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you. The universe is not so badly designed."
  • Loki can be funny too. Loki and Thor have this funny chemistry between each other when they argue. It's funny when Loki gets what's coming to him. Like the time the Hulk pounded him into the ground as if he was nothing. 

They have a soft side. Are they really anti-heroes? 
  • Some of the things Q did to Picard (like taking him into the past) was a way of helping him. When Q brought them into the Borg sector, it really did teach them a lesson. A hard lesson because people died. However, they grew from the experience. In the last episode of Next Gen, he helped Picard save humanity. 
  • Loki is more of a villain than Q, however, he has come around to teaming up with Thor on many fights. In the climax of Ragnarok, he helps save the citizens of Asguard from his evil sister. In his new Disney series, he's even fallen in love.

Do readers like Tricksters or do they find them annoying? When it comes to your own writing, would you ever consider a Trickster? I might. In any case, it would be a good writing prompt. 

1 comment:

  1. Tricksters can be fun even when they're villains. That Loki is in love with a female variant of himself is the kind of weirdness I can't get away with.