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In the myth of Utgard-Loki, Thor and friends visit the castle Utgard, where several beings have nearly identical names:

  • Utgard-Loki, a giant and the ruler of Utgard
  • Loki, an Aesir and the half-brother of Thor
  • Logi, another guest, the personification of fire

Is there any deeper meaning to these similar names? Do the beings have a mythological or etymological connection? Is it simple wordplay, or coincidence? I know that Loki and Utgard-Loki are both associated with giants, and that Loki and Logi are both associated with fire. Is there more to it than that?

10

The only thing in common is the spelling.

LOK in Norse means - The end, or to lock the end.

So Loki would be who everyone goes to when they die.

UTGARD in Norse, from the wiki means - Outyards or outlands

Utgard-Loki is the ruler of the Outyards (Utgard) and his name is also Loki so the name means, Loki ruler of Utgard.

Logi in Norse literally means fire.

3

Logi means, as pointed out above, fire, so that is explained. Loki and Uthgarda Loki are, however, more open to debate.

There is a theory these days that when Snorri Sturlusson wrote the mythology down he, due to his own Christian beliefs needed a Satan-figure and that role was given to Loki. This explains why he went from being on the side of the Aesir to very quickly turning on them and finally siding with their mortal enemies in Ragnarokk. Some have theorized that the more extreme actions allocated to Loki in the Edda were actually done by Uthgarda Loki as he's obviously also a skilled trickster and deceiver and not a friend to the gods.

Whether this was done on purpose by Snorri, as a means to turn Loki into his Satan-figure, or if it was a legitimate mistake is another debate, but I do find this to be quite a compelling theory.

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