About D.E. Towry:
D. E. Towry is a Grey Havener and writer from Berthoud, Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, in 2013 with a Master’s (MA) in English Literature. She is intensely interested in mythology and language, and blames J.R.R. Tolkien for her continued fascination with both subjects. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video games, playing dress-up, and constructing worlds and languages. She is currently working on her first novel.
D.E. Towry’s paper for Real Myth is titled “Magical Lordship: Loki and Odin, Sauron and Gandalf.” She will also be a guest speaker for Grey Havens YA on March 21.
The Norse god Loki is a complicated figure: He is the father/mother of monsters and Odin’s steed Sleipnir. He is Odin’s blood-brother and sometimes companion; he is a companion of Thor. He is fiercely intelligent, a shape-shifter, a creative force and a figure of destruction. Loki survives by his cunning and wit, an outsider amongst the Æsir. As a Trickster figure, he is a kind of “super-shaman”; his magic is the shamanistic, shape-shifting, spirit-journeying sort.
Odin also practices magic, but his magic is bounded by his position as lord of the Æsir. His “knowledge (skaldic poetry, runic letters)” and his “capacity as a sorcerer” are linked with his place and power as an “earthly king” and “hall-owner with his hird”. Odin’s knowledge of verse and runes is an ordered facet of magic, and his place as the hall-lord, king of the gods, puts him in a place he can easily practice sorcery if he chooses.
These gods are intimately entwined and co-dependent on one another, as blood brothers and with respect to sorcerous sovereignty. Ragnarök — the final eruption of the magical rivalry between Odin and Loki — is not so much tragic as it is the realization of the end of a cycle and death of an age. Fate and magic are bound together, locked in with the primacy of magical sovereigns.
Fate and magic are bound together in Tolkien’s mythos, as well, and there are reflections of the rivalry of magical sovereigns. Gandalf is a reflection of Odin, with ordered magic based on knowledge and runic learning. Sauron is the reflection of Loki, a Trickster in destructive form. In this paper, I will discuss Loki and Odin and their place in the Norse mythic world, and how Sauron and Gandalf fit in the mythic complex formed by Loki and Odin, individually and in sorcerous rivalry.