Have you ever noticed that when Odin says “you’re unworthy of the loved ones you have betrayed!”, camera pans in on Loki? That heartbroken expression, is it guilt? Repent even of what he’s brought upon Thor? Because he’s the one who has betrayed the loved ones.
I’ve always wondered, had Odin let Loki speak, what would have Loki said? Another trick, another lies or the truth? Maybe this is the moment when everything could have been stopped, if only Odin had listened.
I think there were two moments in which Loki could have been saved from going off the deep end. This is the first. And yes, he engineered the events that led to it, but I think he was being honest when he said he didn’t expect Thor to be banished. I get the feeling from his behavior that Thor gets away with a lot of shit. Why else would Loki have to go so far to prove he wasn’t ready for the throne. I do think Loki would have said something to prevent Thor’s punishment. Maybe not the truth, this is Loki after all, but something.
Then you have the scene later in the film. Loki has just killed the man he has learned is his birth father in order to prove that he’s worthy. He’s eliminated an enemy of Asgard in a way that is actually really genius. Because there were only two people that knew Loki brought him there in the first place, and the second one is dead. There’s a chance to avoid war, because to all outside eyes it was self defense. He’s done what Thor couldn’t do, and done it in a way that doesn’t go against Odin’s wishes. Do you not see the brilliance of the accomplishment? And his mother runs to embrace him. And he finally, FINALLY has his moment. And then her arms drop, and she’s not looking at him anymore because Thor returned. Thor did nothing but enter a room and his great triumph means nothing. I have no doubt that his mother meant none of that. She didn’t know of the planning and I don’t think she was thinking anything but that BOTH of her boys were safe. BOTH were with her. But to Loki, it was yet another confirmation that he was not good enough. Not yet. And so he would have to up his game. One step further. Destroy one more thing.
And yes. He lied to and try to kill Thor. But did he mean for Thor to die? His inaction would have served much better to keep Thor on Earth. He wanted to help, but to stall, I think. If he hadn’t lied, would Thor have been sufficiently humbled? Yes, he was upset over not being worthy, but it was the acceptance of exile and the guilt that truly humbled him. And if he had wanted Thor dead, he would have killed him. Think of all the things he’d seen his brother do? Why would Loki think that backhand would do more than injure and stall him?
First off, I love the commentary above about the moments when Loki could have been saved — especially Thor accidentally hijacking his big moment by just walking into the room because UGH YES and it wasn’t something he meant to do at all, which I think was just further proof to Loki that Thor could take everything of Loki’s without even bothering to want it. And also yes Loki’s Kill Laufey plan really was pretty brilliant and I actually found the whole thing weirdly touching, with the whole YOU DIE AT THE HANDS OF THE SON OF ODIN thing.
But mainly I want to weigh in on the subject of Loki trying to kill Thor. Because that’s… something he actually does fairly often, both in this movie and in The Avengers. Fighting, stabbing, dropping him off helicarriers, etc. And I don’t think he does any of it with the actual intention of succeeding. He would tell you differently, of course, but that’s because he’s not terribly in touch with his own emotions
or reality. I think he’s testing his own limits, proving to himself he can overcome his own sentimental weakness, and I think he’s testing Thor, too. I think he’s doing his darndest to make Thor hate him, to prove to himself that Thor will turn against him just like everyone else if he’s pushed far enough. And instead, what he keeps getting is a Thor who is desperate to forgive Loki absolutely everything at the slightest excuse, because this is his baby brother and all he wants is to have his baby brother back.
I think that, like any out-of-control child fighting with his brother, if Loki actually succeeded in killing Thor, he would be devastated, hollowed out, destroyed.