A Summary of The Flyting of Loki: Lokasenna

The introduction starts with a large party taking place in a sanctuary where no deed of violence may be committed. Among the guests are the sea god and two servitors of his, Fimafeng and Eldir. The guests praise the sea god’s servantmen, after which Loki slays Fimafeng (because he “hated to hear that”). The gods drive Loki out into the woods and return to the feast. Loki eventually goes back and finds Eldir, who warns Loki that the guests will not kindly welcome him back. Loki goes inside anyway and everyone stops talking. Bragi says they refuse to give him a seat, but Loki reminds Óthin of the time they became blood brothers. Óthin invites him to sit down and has Víthar pour him some ale so he won’t become upset and “fling lewd words” in the ale hall. Before drinking, Loki hails the present gods and goddesses with the exception of Bragi, who tries to no avail to make Loki change his tune by offering his sword and saddle horse. Loki responds by saying he doesn’t think much of Bragi’s offer and, furthermore, calls Bragi a coward. Bragi tells Loki that he’d have his head if they weren’t in a violence-free sanctuary and Loki encourages him. Ithun tries to convince Bragi to “tease not Loki with taunting words”. Loki insults her and she insists she was only trying to prevent a fight – and certainly not teasing or taunting Loki. Gefjon asks them why they’re verbally fighting and Loki does not respond to her kindly. Óthin cautions Loki not to get Gefjon mad at him and says he must lack reason and be raving to do so. Loki bids him be silent as Ithun and Gefjon before him before accusing Óthin of letting the best men die in battle. Óthin admits that Loki’s accusation is true (he needs the best heroes for the final fight with the Wolf) and then accuses Loki of being womanish because he once spent eight winters beneath the earth milking cows as a maid and because he gave birth to a brood there (it is unknown to which myth this allusion refers). Loki then accuses Óthin of being womanish for weaving spells like a witch in warlock’s shape. Frigg tries to quiet the two of them, but Loki ends up verbally sparring with her as well. Freya tells Loki he is raving and says Frigg knows what will happen if he continues to do so. Continuing the pattern, Loki insults her. Njorth and his son Frey are the next to be insulted by Loki. Týr defends Frey and Loki reminds him that he only has one hand after his sword hand was bitten off by Fenrir. Týr reminds Loki of Fenrir’s fate and Loki tells Týr that he begat  a son with Týr’s wife. Frey threatens Loki that he will be bound nigh to Fenrir and calls him a “breeder of ill”. A servitor of Frey introduces himself as Byggvir and starts to talk, but Loki bids him be silent as well. Heimdall says Loki is drunk and doesn’t know what he is saying. Loki hushes him. Skathi warns Loki of what is going to happen to him and Loki reminds her that they killed her father. Skathi says if this is true, then cold counsel will come for Loki from her holy groves and hallowed shrines. Loki says she spoke more lovingly to him when she invited him to share her bed. Sif pours Loki mead in a crystal cup, hails him, and bids him drink so he will spare her his insults. Loki drinks from the goblet and, ignoring her request to be spared, reminds her that she is not, as she put it earlier, “alone among the gods without a blot…” (quote taken out of context). Byggvir’s wife Beyla says Thór is coming to quiet Loki. Loki insults her, saying  “a worser wench never was with the gods”, before Thór threatens him. The two get into a verbal sparring match involving insults and threats until Loki finally agrees to leave the hall (“for I well know thy hammer’s weight”). Loki curses everything within the sea god’s hall to burn before leaving and hiding in the Fránangr waterfall disguised as a salmon. The gods catch him there and bind him with his son’s (Nari’s) guts. Skathi hangs a venomous serpent above Loki’s face to make its poison drip on him. Sigyn (Loki’s wife) sits by her husband with a bowl to catch the poison. When she is emptying the bowl, the poison drips on Loki and he writhes so fearfully that the whole earth shakes in the form of earthquakes.

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