Parallels: Tony Stark and Loki Laufeyson
Revisiting this, I wanted to say a few things to the people who seem to be misunderstanding it: It’s a parallel in that their the literal scenarios are similar. Loki and Tony are both prisoners presented with a task that will give them a chance to (possibly) earn their freedom. However, their situations are actually quite disparate — that is, they can’t really be compared. That’s what makes it exciting.
Tony is not a prisoner who is guilty of a crime. He is a hostage. He is imprisoned under the impression that his presence is solely there for the manufacturing of weapons which can really only be made by him. He has a use, which makes him indispensable — that is until he completes his job. Loki on the other hand is a prisoner for (going out on a limb and assuming here) the explicit purpose of serving a sentence to pay for his war crimes. He has no job, no purpose, no use; the imprisonment is a punishment.
So here we have Tony having a use, and Loki being punished.
Now we get to the social and emotional stuff, are you excited? I’m excited to talk about it…
Tony’s captors are an anonymous collective with one distinct leader who is a part of a people who are an enemy. Loki’s captors are his own people, his family. In this case, Tony’s situation allows him the benefit of othering the group against him, while in that same vein making a friend, Yinsen, who he almost immediately loses. Loki on the other hand is the one who is othered by his family (not saying they’re wrong here) by being separated and isolated.
Think about it: Being alone in a crowd of people who you don’t know or like is vastly more comfortable than being in a group of people who know you well but leave you out. Tony rightly has a sense of fear of these people, which gives him even more distance, but on the flipside, Loki probably suffers mostly shame and boredom inside his cell. We know he has the comfort of books, a table, he’s physically clean (even if his hair is something special).
The immediate and lasting emotional impacts are both going to rely on these factors. It wouldn’t be surprising if Tony developed a hatred for the race of the people who held him, but we know he doesn’t — he hates the organization, which we see later when he returns to stop them from their abuse and destruction.
Conversely, Loki already bears resentment for his family. That serves him differently in that his feelings are afforded reinforcement. It also gives him a chance to change his mind altogether, given that his lodgings are so lax (books on the table, reliable shower) given his crimes. A chance at redemption not only given to him by his emotional setup, but also literally handed to him by his ‘captor.’
SO NOW WE HAVE THE SETUP, right? Both are prisoners, captors implied. Now is the promise/threat on their lives.
Tony is promised his life, if he serves his duty. He knows he is being lied to. Thor threatens Loki’s life, which I suspect Loki assumes is a lie. We don’t have the benefit of knowing Loki’s mind like we know Tony’s so it’s a harder conclusion to come to, but that actually makes this quite opposite for both of them: Tony is working under the assumption that he won’t be walking away from this without his life, whereas Loki may be seeing this as a chance of escape, possibly because the thought of continuing his life in his prison is tedious. (Meaning that Loki does not feel threatened for his life.)
Maybe my frostiron feels may be getting the better of me when I suggest that even so, their positions are still highly relatable. Dare I suggest that angry as he may be with Loki, Tony is fascinated with him? And the same goes in reverse: It stands to reason that Loki would be interested in (if not obsessed with, and if not for revenge) the one man who almost single-handedly defeated him. There’s tons of meta and fanfiction on this already out there, I don’t have much new to contribute to it, but as far as this specifically goes, I just have so many feelings.
Between the two of them, they relate on a lot of levels that their peers, family and friends simply can’t. They’ve both got daddy issues, they’re both volatile and self-obsessed, they both hate themselves — and now, they’ve both been prisoners who have had demands placed on them under threat of their lives.
It hurts me. ;o;