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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 165: ‘Thor’

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of pop culture, including Batman: The Animated Series, Steven Universe, the MCU, and Doom Patrol. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight and more!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 165 – Thor

In this episode, we welcome the Norse Mythology and Shakespearean overtones that flavor the Marvel movie, Thor (2011)!

The film offers a satisfying introduction to Odin’s family of royals and gives us a clear motivation for brothers Thor and Loki. Thor has lived a life of privilege and unearned power and is banished to Earth by his father to be humbled and discover attributes within himself that deem him worthy of ruling the planet Asgard. Loki, who has always felt eclipsed by his stronger brother, discovers he is adopted, and is actually the son to his family’s enemy – a descendant of the terrible Frost Giants. Feeling emotionally injured by his adopted family, Loki harnesses his cunning and mischievous ways as a mechanism to gain power and control. Drea notes that while Thor’s biggest adversity is losing his superpower (and his hammer, Mjölnir), Loki’s struggle with profound rejection becomes his biggest challenge to overcome.

Many people have argued that “adoption is trauma” (i.e., the very fact that children have to be removed from their birth parents is traumatic). Indeed, psychologists, too, have debated whether adoption itself is traumatic, but it is worth noting that the experience of adoption is influenced by multiple factors. A key finding to date: Irrespective of whether they’re raised in an adoptive or their biological family, children who are put through the care system are usually happy and have a strong sense of identity when they end up with a stable placement. Placement stability and belongingness become more important as predictors of health and happiness and can shape the adoption experience in positive ways.

This is only the first episode that covers the psychology of Loki–many more to come!



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