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A number of sources claim Loki to have originally been a fire god of some description. This, for instance:

Loki was originally a fire deity before he became more closely associated with the trickster archetype, and this better explains the odd story of conception. Farbauti, meaning “fierce strike”, was a representation of lightning. Nal meant “pine needles”, and her other name, Laufey, meant “leaves”. In this way, Loki – fire – was created by Farbauti – lightning – striking Nal or Laufey – pine needles or leaves.

Loki appears as a fire god (Loge) in Wagner's Ring Cycle, as well.

However, I've also read that this is a mistake, caused by the similarity between the names Loki and Logi, who is a personification of fire, as seen together in the Prose Edda:

So it was also with the games, in which ye did contend against my henchmen: that was the first, which Loki did; he was very hungry and ate zealously, but he who was called Logi was "wild-fire," and he burned the trough no less swiftly than the meat.

Was Loki really once considered a fire god?

(On a related note, does Farbauti's name ("fierce striker") really refer to, or could it reasonably refer to, a lightning strike?)

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    Upvoting this. I started watching The Almighty Johnsons on Netflix, and Loki is portrayed as a fire god there. I'd never heard that one, and in general their mythological lore is really bad, but I was curious. If wrong, it could certainly use a debunking. – T.E.D. May 19 '15 at 23:17
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    I will make the point (here in comments lest I be voted down) that there is a clear parallel between Loki and Prometheus, who stole fire from Heaven. Both defied the Chief God, Zeus/Odin, and were bound. So the Loki/Logi connection may not be mere confusion. – DukeZhou Aug 25 '16 at 18:55
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No, the confusion between Loki and Logi goes back to 19th-century theories about myth, which saw Odin as the storm (or sun), Thor as literally thunder, and Loki as fire. No one accepts these ideas now, as Rudolf Simek and John Lindow make clear in the dictionaries of Norse myth. The general consensus about Loki is that pinning him down to one thing is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. The 9th-century poem Haustlong calls him the "rouser of tales" and I think that's as close as we're going to get to a defintion of Loki.

It is ironic that Logi is confused with Loki, as they are opponents in the contests that Utgard-loki sets up. (After all, Thor contends with the Midgard-Serpent and old age, and no one thinks he is somehow the same as them.)

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It's true, Loki is believed to have been a god of fire, before being considered a trickster god. But, as Karl Seigfried tells us:

The “god of fire” idea is a famous mistake that is due to the similarity between the names Loki and Logi, the latter being a personification of fire in the well-known story of Thor’s visit to the giant Útgarða-Loki. The connection to fire was popularized by the composer Richard Wagner in his Ring operas, in which he portrayed Loki as a sort of fire-sprite named Loge.

Norse Mythology Blog

So, is he just a trickster god? No, he was neither a fire god, nor a trickster god.

Loki is not referred to by either of these titles in the source texts of Norse mythology. Rudolf Simek calls him “a god without a function,” and all the major scholars of Norse mythology and religion agree that Loki was never actually worshiped in ancient times.

Norse Mythology Blog

Someone could say that whether or not he was worshipped could be a matter of conflict among historians, but it seems noone disagrees with this view:

John Lindow:

In Runemarks’ character list, all the gods and goddesses are defined by their (antagonistic) relationships with Loki. He appears more in both novels than any of the Æsir or Vanir. John Lindow writes that “[e]veryone agrees that there was never any cult of Loki,” yet he is a favorite fictional character today.

Interview with Joanne Harris

Ellis Davidson:

(...) for there is no evidence of his worship among men (...)

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

Gabriel Turville-Petre

There is nothing to suggest that Loki was ever worshipped.

Rudolf Simek

There was no cult of Loki, and place-names based on his name are equally unknown.

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You do not mention the Snaptun stone, a smith's item used to protect the bellows from the fire by blowing though a hole in the large stone. On the stone is a carving of a bearded face whose lips are sown shut. There is only one myth where lips are sown shut, and that revolves around Loki. In the context of this hearthfire stone this means a warning to the fire deity: "Be not treacherous and do not burn the bellows - remember the traitor's punishment."

There is the Danish proverb "Locke beats his children", spoken when the hearthfire cracks.

The contest between Loki and Logi is obviously one between the domestic fire, which consumes only what it ought to consume, and the wildfire, which consumes everything. Loki is considered a friend of the Aesir, in his role as domestic fire, helpful and useful, an indispensable companion in a country like Scandinavia.

Loki furnishes the Aesir with Mjölnir, Skidbladnir, Gungnir, Draupnir, Gullenborsti et al. - weapons, jewellery, technical masterpieces that can only be produced by the most skilled smiths. And for smithing you need fire.

In American research, the native folklore hero "trickster" has been given much attention. The characteristic traits of the trickster have been compared to deities of European, African and Asian mythology, to fulfill that great scientific dream to find the nucleus of all things.

Unfortunately, in Loki's case, this has led to a marginalization of his fire qualities.

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