View Full Version : star wars and norse mythology

02-17-2003, 05:51 PM

i was reading this and the comment that luke skywalker was "luke s. lucas" caught my eye because i always thought that luke skywalker was a take on loki sky-traveler, the norse god of mischief who was born to an evil giant farbauti ("cruel striker") and was associated with magic (the force) and had tried on several occasions to overthrow the aesir (evil empire) by forming an alliance with the giants (who had been previously overthrown and condemned by the aesir and would be analogous to the rebel alliance) in norse mythology he was also directly responsible for the death of balder, the god of light (death star?) who was completely impervious to everything as a result of the other gods making everything in existence promise never to harm him, save one plant, the mistletoe. loki then tricked one of the other gods into throwing a mistletoe dart directly into balder's heart thus killing him. this is somewhat similar to luke having to fire his missile into exactly the right spot in the death star which caused it to explode.
the only difference being, while loki was then caught and tortured for the rest of eternity, luke lived happily ever after.

02-17-2003, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by cbfog

i was reading this and the comment that luke skywalker was "luke s. lucas" caught my eye because i always thought that luke skywalker was a take on loki sky-traveler...

Nope. George Lucas has gone on record that Luke S. is an altar ego of himself, Lucas.

"Use your imagination, Lucas"

C K Dexter Haven
02-17-2003, 10:19 PM
One of the nice (or annoying) things about the great myths is that they tend to be echoed in many, many later stories. STAR WARS is clearly built on lots of great story-telling and myths from the past, including Westerns.

02-24-2003, 11:09 AM
It's a nice idea cbfog, but I see a few problems, not the least being that Aesir (or Ćsir if your browser supports the right code-page) were the good guys and Loki (sometimes) the bad guy, or at least the trickster/practical joker. It also glosses over many of the better known tricks/jokes of Loki, such as the birth of the Wolf of Fenris (Fenrisúlfur) and the horse Sleipnir, the wedding of Thor (Ţór) to the giant Thrymur (Ţrymur), the creation of the net (not internet :) ) and why salmon are slimmer at the tail end.
I've never heard Loki connected to sky-traveling, that would be the domain of Thor, but Loki is a multi-faceted god and I might easily have missed that.

02-24-2003, 12:38 PM
Lucas' 1973-1975 scripts have very few of the elements that we now know from his landmark movie. "The Starkiller" was the protagonist's name initially (in later drafts changed to Luke Skywalker), and he was at first a partially-mechanized older general who initially did very little which would be considered analogous to Loki's adventures, as you described them. See this site for details:


Most people familiar with Lucas' past and who are interested in this sort of thing cite Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress" as the actual progenitor of the Star Wars story. Though certainly Lucas likes to promote the false legend that he based his "mythology" on his academic interpretation of Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces"--to the point that entire books have been written about this sham connection, such as this one:


Sad, isn't it? Anyway, this is just Lucas' self-aggrandizing personality at work. It is true, though, that he did seem to be aware of the moniker "Skywalker" being used in conjunction with the norse character Loki, if the reference in the first-cited web page has its story straight.

God help me, why do I know this?

02-24-2003, 04:07 PM
Shawnbbrad: the ref in http://hem.passagen.se/wookiee/developm/ of Loki being the norse god of fire:

The name “Skywalker” was a title of Loki, the Norse god of fire, while “Luke” is commonly associated with light.13 However, the general’s first name arises from the Greek root “Loukas”, and if you compress the name to first name and last initial (“Luke S.”), the presence of the screenwriter is evident.

This is wrong, the norse god of thunder is Thor and I'm fairly sure he is also the god of fire. Loki is not connected with fire in any way, except once he competed against another character called Logi in a eating competion and lost because Logi not only ate all the food, but also the utensils and even the table. But that was because Logi was in fact fire in disguise.

02-24-2003, 05:20 PM
Um, hey Pez, I didn't write the source material that was on that web page, and I don't vouch for it's unassailable accuracy. But cfog had heard of Loki being called Sky-traveller, and, as we've seen, the web page I ran across noted essentially the same thing, independently. I hadn't really considered that they might both independently have invented something completely wrong...

So I ran a quarter-of-a-second Google search, and lo and behold, immediately bazillions of references to Loki Sky-walker, Skywalker, Sky-traveller, etc come up. Like this one, at http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/loth/u/l/uli/loki.gif.html

'I am the mother to Odin's stallion, Sleipnir.
I am the father of Fenrir Sun-Eater, and of Hel Halfrotted and of Jormugund the World-Serpent.
I am Loki Scar-Lip, Loki Skywalker, Loki Giant's Child, Loki Lie-Smith.
I am Loki, who is fire and wit and hate.'

Which is evidently quoting a common transcription of Norse myth, since the same quote comes up several times on several different unassociated web pages from around the world (doesn't say which text, however). Note that it also quite clearly says "I am Loki, who is fire..." I don't know much about Norse mythology, so I don't know why you feel this is so clearly wrong, but perhaps the following is part of your thought train, quoted from this site:

"Although there is no direct Norse evidence for the nineteenth-century reading of Loki as a fire-god (based on a false etymology connecting him with logi, 'flames')...

Loki has several heiti, including Hveđrungr (roarer? - Völuspá 55, Ynglingatal 32), Loptr (he who fares aloft - or, as Paul translates it, "Skywalker"), and perhaps Lóđurr (etymology difficult)."

So, as I say, I have no particular expertise on or familiarity with details of Norse myth, but there do seem to be a few different interpretations of Loki out there, many of which refer to him as Sky-Walker, and others which claim him as the god of fire. I'm not as sure they're all wrong as you've indicated, but I recommend you look around for yourself and see what's out there.

And remember, oral traditions are, by definition, almost impossible to trace back to their origins (most don't HAVE exact origins). Scholars are bound to make huge mistakes in their assumptions, and to teach these mistakes to thousands of students. I wouldn't go parsing folklore, especially folklore with very little written textual record, for definitive absolutes.

John W. Kennedy
02-24-2003, 08:47 PM
I'm pretty sure Loki is the god of fire. I [i]know/i] Loge, his German counterpart, is.

02-27-2003, 01:39 PM
ok shawnbbrad I freely admit to not knowing everything about norse mythology, but I still am sceptical about the Loki = fire, and Loki=Skywalker connections. Sure Loptr (Loptur, Loftur, Loftr) can be translated as Skywalker, but also as Air or Sky. I've also searched on the net and few sites connedt Loki to fire, see:
Sure Loki can be connected to fire, and be named skywalker, but these are very minor features of his character.