He's managed to take his "consent issue" fetish into the Avengers fandom. GAH! How does he keep doing this?! And why does it always create huge kerfluffles everywhere?! Prepare for me to once again rant about the Glowhypnol sex in S8 and Loki's role in Thor and the Avengers! Gird your loins! This is not spell/grammar checked at all.



So, I still haven't seen the Avengers. However, most of my RL friends have, and I've watched pretty much all the Loki scenes (through totally legal methods that I did not pirate in any way, shape, or form). I have noticed that Loki fandom is divided up into camps just as Spike fandom was/is-- evilistas ("We like our boy big and bad in any medium he's in!"), comic book and movie apologists ("Nothing is his fault! His family is so horrible! Can't you see he's just a damaged soul that needs help?"), movie!redemptionistas ("Loki has to learn from his mistakes, but he can be redeemed."), comic book!redemptionistas ("Loki already is redeemed. He's been reborn into a fresh start in life. If anyone hurts him, I will kill every living thing on this planet."), and general fans who like him in any medium he's in and are just along for the ride. There's also a split between older fans of the comics and new movie fans. Sound familiar? Yes. I thought so.

Anyway, Tumblr has brought to light just how divided fans of Loki can get in regards to the films. Some people claim that movie!Loki is too sympathetic due to Tom Hiddleston's ability to cry like his heart is literally ripping in twain (some fans do not even give that much credit to the others, claiming that it is Tom Hiddleston's physical attractiveness that has given rise to the amount of apologists and redemptionistas out there). However, a new debate has sprung up about whether or not Loki was being mind-controlled to some degree during the events of the Avengers film, and the conversation started to sound like one I had heard before during the end of Season Eight.

Due to Tom Hiddleston mentioning that his eyes were digitally altered to appear more blue in Avengers: Assemble, some fans took that to mean that it was a sign that Loki was being in some way mind-controlled by Thanos, either through the scepter or a mental link. Based on one scene I saw in which Loki receives a very literal "flash"back in which he's warned about what will happen to him if he fails, I would say that that is a fair assumption that there is something weird (okay, weirder than normal) going on in Loki's brain. It's been noted that Loki really looks crazy for most of this film. His eyes are sunken, his gaze darts around wildly, he's twitchy. It's only at the end of the film when he's restrained and taken away from his toys that Loki suddenly appears to look more like Thor!Loki.

The thought that Loki might have been influenced was quickly denounced by a lot of general fans. They reminded everyone that Loki made his own decisions, and he has to face the consequences of his decisions. This is a logical way to look at things because, at the moment, there is no concrete proof as to what is going on. It was stated that, if Loki was being influenced in some manner similar to how he could control Hawkeye, then Loki wasn't really being fully controlled; the power over him was only amplifying his own wants and desires. Someone wrote that, and I'm paraphrasing, "To some degree, the scepter may have influenced him, but it was not making him do anything that he did not want to do. It just made what was already there come out more, if it did anything at all." This made me have a flashback to Season Eight, and some of the consent issues brought about by the Buffy/Angel space sex.

Where does a consent issue start when something is influencing a person's behavior? Scott Allie claimed that if Buffy and Angel were being affected by Twilight or some mystical force, everything they did was still completely consensual because it only brought out there deepest desires. However, would a rationally minded person, no matter what their desires are, have sex in the middle of a battlefield while his/her friends are in danger? It did not make sense for either character, except Angel, who seemed to already be deeply under the effects of Twilight's influence. Then later when Angel is completely taken over (with glow-eyed motif) by Twilight and kills Giles, the act is treated as if it is Angel's own action. Granted, it would be difficult for other characters to know that, but it is obvious to the reader that Angel is not at the steering wheel of this tugboat. The reader is supposed to accept that because Angel did allow Twilight to influence him, then he must accept the consequences of those actions. He killed countless people because he thought he was doing the right thing. However, what happened when Angel was willing to stop listening to Twilight and follow Buffy's lead? Is it then fair to shift all the burden onto Angel for Giles's death? Angel did not want to kill Giles, which is why Twilight had to take over his body and mind entirely. It's logical and reasonable to say that everything that happened because Angel listened to and agreed to help Twilight is his responsibility, but when did the influencing really start? When Angel agreed to help, was that when it started? Or did it start the moment they came into contact? It's hard to know. I tend to believe that, Whedon's own weirdness and Allie's comments and retcons aside, something of significance had to have happened for Angel to be willing to abandon Connor. I don't have an answer for when that willingness started.

For Loki, it is a similar situation. He's made a deal with the devil, and even if he wanted to stop (which is debatable), it's not clear that he could. A lot of what Loki says is pure bullshit; he's the god of mischief and trickery. It would also be extremely easy for him to convince his dear brother Thor that Thanos manipulated his mind and made him act in a way that killed a bunch of people. Thor would believe his brother, and Loki is a talented liar. However, there is some evidence of fear in Loki. Did fear really make him accept the bargain? Or did the fear come after the deal was struck? What if he really did want to back out of it? What if Thanos had to exert some influence over him to get him to do certain aspects of his plan? When Loki fell through the void, he had just experienced an emotional trauma (finds out he was adopted, kills his biological father, tries to kill his adopted father and brother, and nearly destroys an entire realm of beings because of his own self-loathing after finding out that the race he was taught to fear was the race he belongs to), leading to his attempted suicide into the void (again, I've heard whether or not Loki thought he would die debated). After that, was he capable of making rational decisions?

Ultimately, I am left with one question-- If a person is being influenced, even in the smallest measure though mind control or mystical object, does that negate all of that person's ability to consent? If it pushes their desires to the forefront of their mind and make them act in a way that is obviously the way the controller wants them to behave (otherwise, why would the controller need to influence them at all?), are they truly consenting? What about when they want to stop being controlled, and they can't stop it? These are a lot of vagaries with Loki, just as there were a lot of vagaries with BtVS-- Willow's mind-wipe of Tara, Jonathan's Superstar twins, Buffy ripping off Spike's cloths during the Gone home-invasion, and the Buffy/Riley poltergasm episode just to name a small portion of the consent issues during the seven seasons. I guess I'm not surprised to see these sorts of issues come up again in Whedon's other work, and I just wonder where things will go from here. The writing of Loki's next appearance will be up to non-Whedon persons and Kenneth Branagh (who I trust as a director more than Whedon), so it will be interesting to see where things will go. Branagh seems to have a more sympathetic touch with Loki's character, so I guess we'll find out what is in store for Loki Liesmith in November 2013 (unless he shows up in the Easter eggs at the end of any of the other Marvel films before then).
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