In which Loki is a jealous little shit any time Thor’s attention is directed at someone else. (Inspired by a conversation with thescentofwhiteroses) I apologize for the length, but I had a case to make!
Scene one. Thor literally spent less than a day with the Avengers and yet Loki still seethes WELL SINCE YOU LIKE THEM SO MUCH when he changes into Captain America, like that is the worst splinter under his skin that Thor had made new friends (that weren’t him).
Scene two. Loki staring creepily at Jane, partly for other reasons, but also because this is the woman that he thinks has softened his brother up. He says it in the first movie, that he thinks it’s Jane that changed Thor’s attitude, so when he first meets her directly, he ramps up the creepy staring at this bug under a microscope, because why is Thor so fascinated with her (and not Loki)?
Scene three. There is no other reason for Loki to give even half a shit about Thor getting into a relationship that’s only going to cause him pain. Why does Loki even CARE if Thor loves her, given that he professes that they’re not even brothers, that they never were, that there’s nothing left between them? And yet there he is, telling Thor all about how Jane is just a heartbeat in Thor’s life (unlike Loki).
Scene four. NOBODY WAS TALKING TO YOU, LOKI. But the way Tom delivers this, Loki is so offended that Thor’s attention wasn’t on him for five seconds, he’s petulant and cranky, like, there’s a reason it’s a running joke in fandom that Loki’s all THOR THOR THOR I’M READY THOR THOR THOR PAY ATTENTION TO ME THOR THOR THOR I’M SO FUCKIN’ READY THOR THOR THOR in this scene, because he is. Who cares if Jane’s ready, LOKI IS.
If this had only happened once, or maybe even twice, I would be willing to chalk it up to one of those things where it was more open to interpretation, that it could have just been a fan reading into it what they wanted to see, that multiple interpretations were all just as valid as each other. But I think it’s pretty clear that, even if this isn’t meant in a shipping sort of way, that Loki is demonstrably jealous any time Thor’s attention is on someone else for a significant amount of time—usually Jane. And that’s thing about these scenes, they’re largely about Loki being jealous of Thor’s GIRLFRIEND. It invites you to wonder just why Loki cares so very much that Thor has a girlfriend that he pays attention to.
Any one of these on their own isn’t that big of a deal. Nor am I implying that Thor/Loki is actually canon, because I don’t think that’s what they were going for, I don’t think that’s even what they were maybe leaving the door open a bit for. What I’m saying is, when you take out authorial intent (which is important, I’m not downplaying that!) the Thor/Loki relationship has a good amount of evidence to thematically and narratively tie it to romantic relationships in some pretty consistent ways.
One of the biggest of those is Loki’s jealousy—usually over Thor’s canon love interest—and how it seems to just bug the absolute shit out of him when Thor pays attention to other people. For all that he says otherwise, whenever Thor’s attention strays from him, Loki gets entirely worked up, he gets furious or he gets cranky or he starts picking away at things until Thor’s paying attention to him again.
For all that this is a really unhealthy way to be a lot of the time, I can’t help but see it as something that has potential for good, that Loki’s desire for Thor’s attention will keep drawing them back together, that a little time and a little growing (given that I do sort of consider them to basically be teenagers and teenagers are often JEALOUS LITTLE SHITS) will ease up this desperate need to only have each other as the center of their worlds.
Thor is already better about this, he’s always been able to hold more people in his heart, that’s one of the best things about him. He may love Loki the most dearly—which I think is true even in the MCU, because Thor always has the strongest, most intense scenes with him, you see that Jane practically fades into the distance when Loki is there for more than five minutes—but Thor loves many people. Loki, however, only holds a very, very few people close to his heart. Sometimes he only ever has Thor in his heart, that’s all he’s interested in caring about.
He may get better about that, he may not, but I think the important thing to take away from these scenes is: Yeah, you just have to look at him and see that he is a wonderful, darling, precious, jealous little shit.
There’s a trope of sorts called “No Heterosexual Explanation”, which basically means that there’s just no way two characters (usually two male characters, but sometimes two female characters) are written in a show that’s not usually about homosexual undertones (at least not textually so) where there’s just… no way to explain they way they react to each other, other than that it’s about sexual/romantic attraction.
I keep thinking of that in this moment. Not that it has to be a sexual/romantic undertone, but more in that I cannot see any sort of motivation for Loki here that is not about him caring very, very deeply about who Thor loves. Every single time I get to this moment in the movie, I keep thinking:
“But why do you care, Loki? What’s it to you if Thor gets his heart broken by loving someone who will die in just a handful of years in your life experience? What does it matter to you?”
The answer is always that Loki cares very much about Thor, is still very much emotionally invested in Thor’s attention and where it’s spent. Which may seem obvious when you’re in the Thorki fandom, one of those “well, no shit?” moments, like, yes, obviously, that that’s like saying water is wet and fire is hot.
But I find it good to stop and point out specific instances of it, especially the way it comes in this argument—where Loki is just so incredibly bothered by the idea that Thor would choose this relationship with her, with someone like that, with a mortal.
I also think of the scene from the Observatory in the first movie, where Loki said, “I don’t know what happened on Earth to make you so soft! Don’t tell me it was that woman?… Oh, it was. Well maybe, when we’re done here, I’ll pay her a visit myself!”
Even if you take these in a totally familial sort of way, that it’s not romantic or sexual at all (though, it’s really not hard to see it as both, personally), there is very much a consistent thread of Loki being just utterly jealous of Jane and Thor’s attention on her. It leaves him hissing and spitting mad, it riles him up, the thought of his brother, his brother!, giving his affection to someone like that, some mortal that Thor has hardly known for very long at all, that he’s not paying attention to Loki in that time instead.
Hey, can you write a short fic on Loki being jealous of how close you are with your best guy friend, and laughing when Loki tells you cause your friend is actually gay and thinks Loki is rather attractive.