Loki wears a new crown of horns, surrounded by green strands of time.

‘Loki’ Season 2: All About Yggdrasil, the World Tree

Loki season 2 ends with an astonishing transformation. It also introduces a concept that Marvel fans have heard about, but have only seen hints of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What is Yggdrasil, also known as the World Tree? How does it tie into the events of Loki and the rest of the MCU? Here are the basics!

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Warning: massive spoilers for the Loki season 2 finale ahead.

What is Yggdrasil in Loki season 2?

At the end of Loki season 2, Loki realizes that there’s no way to fix the Temporal Loom. As long as the multiverse keeps branching, it will keep outgrowing the loom, causing meltdown after meltdown. Loki realizes he has to do something more drastic: he has to break the loom and bind together the strands of time himself.

Loki walks off the gangway into the time stream. As he pulls the fabric of time around himself, it gradually transforms from a rope-like shape into a giant tree.

This tree is Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology. Loki is now enthroned at the center of it, binding the cosmos together with his own will. To understand why that’s so significant, you have to look at Yggdrasil in the original Norse myths.

Yggdrasil in Norse mythology

Engraving of Yggdrasil, with Asgard in its branches.
(Friedrich Wilhelm Heine / Wikimedia Commons)

In Norse mythology, the giant ash tree Yggdrasil contains the nine realms of the universe in its branches, trunk, and roots. Yggdrasil is the home of the Norse gods, along with other lands like Midgard (home of human beings), and Hel. Numerous beings live in the tree, from the gods to the Jötnar (the giants or ogres that Marvel’s Frost Giants are based on).

Significantly, the World Tree isn’t just a container for the cosmos. It’s also a site of wisdom. Odin travels to Yggdrasil’s roots in order to exchange one of his eyes for a drink from the well of Mimir, which grants knowledge. Odin also hangs from an unnamed tree in order to gain knowledge of the runes, and scholars agree that that tree is most likely Yggdrasil.

Yggdrasil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

A wooden carving of Yggdrasil in Captain America: the First Avenger.
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Although Loki season 2 gave us our first clear look at Yggdrasil, we’ve seen it in the MCU before. In Thor, Thor explains the Norse concept of the Nine Realms to the scientist Jane Foster by telling her that the realms are nestled throughout Yggdrasil. We also see Thor wearing an Yggdrasil T-shirt in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Yggdrasil also features prominently in Captain America: The First Avenger. When Johann Schmidt travels to Norway to steal the Tesseract, he finds it hidden inside a wooden carving of Yggdrasil. Schmidt calls Yggdrasil the “guardian of wisdom and fate.”

The existence of Yggdrasil before the events of Loki leads to yet another time loop in the series. Presumably, Loki reshapes the Sacred Timeline into Yggdrasil because Yggdrasil is a concept he’s familiar with, having grown up on Asgard. But if Loki—who now exists outside of time—created Yggdrasil in the first place, then where did Yggdrasil come from? It’s a paradox, just like the TVA handbook.

One thing’s for sure, though. If Loki is now the creator and keeper of Yggdrasil, that makes him the guardian of wisdom and fate that Schmidt mentioned all those years ago. Talk about glorious purpose.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>