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Loki, The Trickster
Loki, the trickster god, was the most malignant of the Nordic gods, but he could swing from the role of malicious trickster, to the one who baled the gods out of trouble.
It has been suggested that Loki was a brother of Odin or the son of the giants Laufrey and Farbauti. He was associated with chaos, and his schemes and tricks sometimes had disastrous ramifications.
At first Loki was a relatively decent character and helped the other gods a great deal. When the walls of Asgard were built by a giant and his horse the giant asked for the sun and moon in payment, Loki disguised himself as a mare and distracted the horse from his duties. As time went by he became more and more jealous of the other gods, and their favour on others within their company. He eventually set into motion the events that were to lead to Ragnarock and the twilight of the gods.
It was his jealousy that led to the death of Balder, one of the most loved and popular gods. Loki found out that Balder could be killed by mistletoe, and arranged for the blind giant Hodr to throw a spear of the wood at Balder. The spear pierced Balder's foot and led to his death.
Thor captured Loki in the form of a Salmon after his crime, as he tried to escape the gods clutches. Loki was bound with his son Narvis's entrails, and chained to three rocks below a cliff. A deadly serpent was hung above him, so that its fiery venom would fall into his eyes. Loki's wife captured much of the poison in a bowl, but when she went to empty it some of the poison would still fall and burn him. He was imprisoned here, where his hate grew for the gods until the end of times and Ragnarock.
Loki was also the father of some of the most loathsome beings in Nordic mythology from his mating with the giant Angrboda. She gave birth to Hel, a goddess of the underworld with the lower half of a rotting corpse; Fenrir, who swallowed the sun and bit the moon; and the serpent Jormunganr who stirred up the seas, and blew clouds of poison into the skies.