I’m so glad someone reblogged this gifset. Loki’s relationship with “kinghood” is so complicated.
I think people often assume that Loki wanted to usurp Thor’s position as the crown prince from the get-go. Not only is this inaccurate, it goes against Loki’s entire early characterization, which is crucial to who he becomes later.
Top left gif says it all: “I never wanted the throne. I only ever wanted to be your EQUAL.”
Bingo. That’s not a lie. That’s an exasperated, exhausted, tearful, raging moment of candor he has with his big brother. That’s Loki simultaneously furious at Thor for existing, and needing Thor so poignantly much to exist.
I believe that Loki grew up coveting Odin’s unconditional support, the way, in Loki’s eyes, Odin SEEMED to give it only to Thor. Loki knew “a throne would ill-suit” him (Thor’s words in Avengers) all along. He knew that he was too introverted, cerebral, and impatient with lesser beings to be a king. The Trickster God had no interest in being tethered to the daily monotonous responsibility of a throne. He just wanted the emotional equivalent of having it offered to him by Odin. He just wanted to hear an unequivocal “good job,” he wanted to be called “worthy” even if he had no initial desire to be a king. When Loki undermined Thor’s coronation, this was to give himself more time to prove himself an equally worthy heir. It was not to take Thor’s place.
You have all the proof you need in the way he reacts with this nauseous look of terror, sadness, and shifty anxiety when Frigga says “Your father does everything for a purpose,” gives him Gugnir and charges “Make your father proud.” Here is the impossible task of filling his father’s shoes and pleasing nine whole realms that never saw him as an insider in the first place. Someone has compellingly stated that while Loki accepted this role out of the desperation of having a chance to prove himself to Odin while in a position of power, it was also when he truly had his psychiatric break. I would agree. It’s after the pressure of ruling is imposed on him that he starts to try to shut Thor out for good, take his place indefinitely, and plot to stage a theatrical show of patricide and genocide before Odin: look, I belong to you and you only, tell me I’m WORTHY. Even then, Loki intended to hand the throne back to Odin. Fully.
I wouldn’t even put it past Odin that he’d decided to succumb to the Odinsleep while Thor was in exile to give Loki a test run on the throne, to test what his younger son might do with such a burden on his shoulders. To see if Loki could indeed handle this if something ever happened to Thor, or could even handle co-regency with Thor. Unfortunately Loki was so unstable and so hung up on proving himself to Odin that he totally missed this and proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that he was no more ready to rule than Thor was. Even less, once he’d lost his marbles. What this should have proven to Odin was that co-regency was the ONLY way for Loki and Thor—Thor had all the ethics and the patience and the caring for a diverse array of citizens, and Loki had all the cautiousness and judiciousness and logistical sensibility to mold policy from Thor’s ethics. They’d have been the best team Asgard would have ever seen, a fact that frankly often haunts me. But it was never going to happen once Loki learned “what he was” and went off the deep end, and without Odin there to explain “hey this is me giving you a chance, listen to your mum.”
So scratch that and move on. Loki thinks Odin has said “no” to his worthiness and he attempts suicide. Then he spends time as the slave of Thanos and the Chitauri. And all his own warped sense of authority and justice gets further warped. And Loki begins to REMEMBER his time as Asgard’s king as something he somehow earned rather than was given temporarily, and starts to see Thor’s return as the usurping of something he NEVER WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. And after spending time with the Tesseract, WHICH SHOWS YOU WHATEVER YOU THE WIELDER WANT TO SEE (comics CANON), Loki thought he’d had some mind-blowing revelation as to the secrets of the universe: love is a lie, freedom is a lie, I’ve known this from suffering so long in the shadow of a greater being, so here let me be your pariah-savior, I’ll rule you all so you don’t have to go through the misery I went through. This warped sense of heroism (“Every villain is a hero in his own mind”). And a perk was to finally become analogous in power and accomplishment to Thor. If he couldn’t have Asgard, he could have Midgard. He could be a king somewhere. Even though he never wanted to be a king, now he CLINGS to it because it’s the only evidence, in his mind, that he ever amounted to something worth Odin’s respect--an impulse that is disturbed and “petty, born of a childish need”—to just be thought EQUAL to Thor, who is the embodiment of everything that Odin and Asgard love and admire.
Interestingly that’s again where Thor and Loki’s relationship gets so damned complicated. Loki actually NEEDS Thor for everything he wants, but it suggests a very real codependency between the brothers that neitehr will ever escape. They do, to be cheesy, complete each other. Like puzzle pieces that are opposite but indeed equal.
EQUAL EQUAL EQUAL.That’s the key word here. Odin needs to call Loki Thor’s equal. And it will never happen now, because they are too far down the road of strife and misunderstanding. But I want it remembered that Loki NEVER WANTED TO BE A KING. It just became the ONLY choice in his fatalistic mind—and THEN he started to fight like a viper for it.