Warning! This article contains spoilers for Loki season 2
- Loki quotes two lines from T.S. Elliot’s poem “Little Gidding”, which reflects the cyclical nature of life and death, as well as themes of rebirth, redemption, and the contradictory nature of living.
- These themes are evident in the Loki season 2 finale: He Who Remains’ death, Loki’s sacrifice, the Sacred Timeline, and the Multiversal War.
- Through his sacrifice, Loki finds enlightenment, accepts the past, and helps reconstruct the Sacred Timeline as the MCU’s new Yggdrasil.
During Loki season 2 episode 6, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki quotes a poem that illustrates the main theme of the MCU series. Loki season 2 ends with Loki’s ultimate sacrifice as he brings order to the multiverse and saves every timeline from destruction. Loki is unlikely to return in the MCU, but his selfless actions will continue to affect the Marvel multiverse, not only in upcoming MCU movies and shows within the Multiverse Saga, but also in all previous Marvel releases thanks to the nature of the multiverse.
When Loki talks with He Who Remains about his options in the Loki season 2 finale, He Who Remains reveals that letting Sylvie kill him was always part of his plan, as he knew that Loki would return to stop her. Although He Who Remains doesn’t actually come back from the dead, the villain calls his return “reincarnation.” Meanwhile, Loki understands that killing He Who Remains is detrimental, but killing Sylvie or sacrificing other innocent lives is certainly off the table. As he contemplates the situation, Loki says “we die with the dying. We’re born with the dead,” which perfectly encapsulates the Loki season 2 finale’s main conflict.
What Loki’s Quote To He Who Remains Means Explained
“We die with the dying. We’re born with the dead.”
Loki’s quote “we die with the dying. We’re born with the dead” is part of T.S. Elliot’s poem “Little Gidding.” Published in 1942, Elliot’s poem addresses the cyclical nature of life and death, the relationship between past and future, spiritual rebirth, and redemption. Just like Loki seasons 1 and 2, T.S. Elliot’s Little Gidding faces the contradictory nature of living in spite of impending death. The line quoted by Loki in the Loki season 2 finale is only a fragment of the original poem, which actually goes:
We die with the dying. See, they depart, and we go with them. We are born with the dead: See, they return, and bring us with them.
How Loki’s Quote Fits The Themes Of Season 2
When Loki quotes T.S. Elliot’s Little Gidding to He Who Remains in Loki season 2 episode 6, he’s coming to various realizations simultaneously. First, Loki understands that sparing He Who Remains would require him to kill Sylvie, which in turn would allow countless universes to live. Second, Loki secretly begins to shape his plans to sacrifice himself in order to save everyone else. And last, considering how Loki seems to know Earthly poetry quite well, he may also be acknowledging the cyclical nature of the poem, which describes the cyclical nature of Loki season 2, the Sacred Timeline, and the Multiversal War.
T.S. Elliot’s Little Gidding also explores themes of enlightenment and transformation, the balance between destruction and rebirth, the acceptance of the past, and sacrifice — all of which are patent in the Loki season 2 finale. Enlightenment comes when Loki finds his true purpose in sacrificing his freedom for the salvation of the multiverse. Rebirth comes from the destruction of the Time Loom and the Sacred Timeline’s reconstruction as the MCU’s new Yggdrasil. And acceptance of the past, present, and future is evident in Loki’s inner growth as he draws new lessons from events he already experienced while Time-Slipping.