I, Frost Giant

I am notoriously late to most conversations, living as I do under a rock. So it was only a few days ago that I saw The Avengers (and that was because I had to catch up by renting Thor and The Incredible Hulk, and I needed to do that because I have never been a comics reader–yes, my geek credentials are quite thin, actually).

But since I have finally seen it, I can finally comment on the apparently controversial line about Loki being adopted. In case you missed the controversy, start here.

Obviously, they’re brothers.

Before I saw the film I was aware of the line, which was summed up to me as, “They use adoption as an explanation for Loki killing a bunch of people.” Perhaps awkwardly, my first response to that was, “You mean I get to kill people because I’m adopted? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

Of course, the summary I heard was a little flawed. The lines go:

Thor: He is of Asgard and he is my brother!
Black Widow: He killed 80 people in 2 days.
Thor [deadpan]: He’s adopted.

When this happened in the theatre, I laughed as loud as anyone. Because it’s funny, and because it’s familiar. For adopted children, that distance is always there between us and our families. I don’t read Thor’s line as indicating that Loki killed people because he’s adopted. I read it as a funny, instinctual distancing by Thor, who’s not always the sharpest or wittiest or most thoughtful, when confronted with his brother’s horrible deeds.

But it is a real thing. I used it all the way through my adopted childhood. If one of my (adoptive) parents asked me why I was so _________ [insert negative thing], I would say, “environment.” If they asked about something positive, my answer was, “genetics.” Har-har. Nobody’s feelings are hurt.

I know that feelings can easily be hurt in these situations. This has also happened to me, when a relative lets something slip indicating that he or she thinks of me as something less than family. What’s relevant to me in the Avengers dialogue is Thor’s initial defense of Loki. They’re family.

If they weren’t, Thor wouldn’t feel the need for distance. After all, our family are the ones who annoy us the most.

On that note, off I go with the family. To Norway, of all places! I guess Loki is my brother.

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