Trickster Characters Why We Love Them
Trickster Characters Why We Love Them
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I love trickster characters, despite their many faults. Maybe the flaws are the reason. It can be like standing back, and watching yourself sometimes. What is a trickster character? He can be the sidekick, the devil’s advocate, the villain. He can be the unintentional hero, or the hero who does not view himself that way, nor does he want to be a hero. He can be almost any character.
What makes him a trickster? It is a character who disobeys the rules, who questions and mocks authority, destroys standard practices and complacency promoting chaos and unrest. He is impulsive, yet enthusiastic. He might be the oddball or the one who has trouble fitting in. He can bring knowledge and wisdom. He shows a lack of strength or bravery through manipulation, planning, and outright cheating. Is he foolish, or just unencumbered by convention? He does this deliberately or unintentionally creating a positive effect for all, or negative effects, even for the trickster himself.
They do this while being cunning or foolish, or even funny. They are prone to temptation or manipulation by others; often resulting from the normal life situations they find themselves in, or they are born into circumstances and environments that mold their personalities. The trickster is often emotionally and intellectually complicated, despite their outward appearance of ease, fun, and good times. My favorite trickster character right now is Loki played by Tom Hiddleston in the Marvel Comic movies.
Tom Hiddleston has been dubbed by women as one of the most beautiful men in the world, but what really makes him beautiful is his spirit, his attitude, and his graciousness to his fans. In one interview, he said, “he is no better than anyone else out there”, therein is the spirit of his genius as an actor. That is Tom’s gift to the audience and his fans. Tom’s ability as an actor to gain understanding and insight into his characters, and makes us relate to them, make them real on the big screen. That is what makes him and his characters so enduring.
He has taken the Loki trickster character, and made the world love him. Why do we love Loki? Tom said that he does not identify with Loki per say, but he can identify with his pain, even though it is outside his own personal experience. Tom’s creative acting has created a character that we have all gotten to know, because Tom as an actor has gotten to know Loki. He said, “He is like an old friend to him”. The character feels personal to us. Loki is someone we know, and he is someone who could be us.
We see this through the character growth, and story arc through all three films, Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. We all feel for Loki, in spite of his evil deeds. Tom stated in another interview, he believes the reason for this is that it is “the collective experience of all humankind that draws us all in”. It makes us all root for Loki, despite his bad choices through the movie experience. We understand Loki’s motivations, and we have common empathy with him.
The trickster character is one we can all learn from, and at times applaud. We all want to know what he is going to do next, because often times he does not even know himself. He is the broken spoke in the wheel, or the extra spoke that does not quite fit. He has an indomitable spirit, and laughs through all the chaos. He is having fun, which is exactly what we see in Tom Hiddleston’s performance, and the character Loki. He enjoys creating chaos. He can even smile or smirk when he loses. I think, that is these elements that we as the writer’s need to capture in works of fiction. The only drawback is not letting the trickster hijack our writing, and maintaining control throughout our stories, because they can be quite fun to write, as is the trickster nature.
I have included videos of Loki and Tom Hiddleston below that I really enjoyed. I thought you might like them too.
Bibliography: Information gathered from Wikipedia Trickster, Loki and Loki mythology, USA Today the cult of Loki, YouTube Tom Hiddleston videos
**Photo from the movie Thor: The Dark World Thor: The Dark World Trailer
This is six different videos: Tom Hiddleston’s Funny Moments, Tom Hiddleston Sweeps his fans off their feet, Popcorn Taxi interview 1 & 2, Tom Hiddleston’s favorite Loki Lines, Conversations with Tom Hiddleston Nerd HQ (2013). If you wish to skip ahead to one of the other videos, just click on the YouTube icon in right bottom corner, and it will take you directly to YouTube and the list. You can then select the video you want to watch.
ADDENDUM: April 6, 2014 This YouTube list belongs to a good friend, and she keeps adding to it, at this time you have 35 videos to choose from, so I recommend going to the list in the way describe above, and picking the ones you want to watch.