Warning: SPOILERS for Loki episode 4.
It’s still unclear what caused Sylvie’s nexus event, but hints from Loki episode 4, “The Nexus Event,” suggest that it was her decision to become a Valkyrie and not simply fate. While Sylvie has been shown to differ from Loki in many ways, from outlook to fighting style, the series has not indicated any of these as the main event that caused her to diverge from the Sacred Timeline. Yet, many of these differences would make sense if Sylvie had set her sights on the new purpose of becoming the leader of the Valkyries.
Opening on a shot of Asgard, Loki episode 4 immediately focuses on the issue of nexus events as the TVA takes Sylvie without telling her why. Only a few glimpses are shown of her life before being pulled through a time door and viewers are left to infer the answer to the mystery from those details. Loki continues to draw attention to the idea as it highlights the unknown cause of the nexus event on Lamerntis-1 that saves Loki and Sylvie. While Sylvie suggests that her nexus event was the very matter of her being born a woman, it’s clear she doesn’t fully believe this as she later questions Ravonna Renslayer as to why she was taken as a child. This idea is also called into question as episode 4 shows Sylvie was taken when she was a kid, not a baby.
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When Sylvie was first introduced as a Loki Variant, viewers were quick to theorize about “Lady Loki’s” true history and identity. While theories that she was secretly not a Loki Variant but actually the Asgardian Enchantress have been disproven (or at least shown to be reductive), there’s more to this character than has been revealed so far.
The TVA Snagged Sylvie When She Was Playing With Valkyrie Toys
The scene of the TVA taking Sylvie at the start of Loki episode 4 is brief but presumably contains clues as to the nature of Sylvie’s nexus event that made her a variant. Sylvie is the only non-TVA character shown in the scene, so it’s unlikely another Asgardian was involved in the specific cause of the event. However, what audiences do see is the character happily playing with toys. Assuming that her happiness itself isn’t the nexus, then these toys must signal the truth.
As she plays, Sylvie depicts an Asgard under the threat of a dragon who’s swiftly defeated by a lone Valkyrie. Given that, within the Sacred Timeline, Hela wiped out the Valkyries before Loki or Thor were aware of them, she can’t be reenacting a fight that she has seen but must instead be playing out a story that she has been told. Sylvie’s idolization of the Valkyries in this moment could signal her desire to become a Valkyrie herself, a decision that would have sent ripples across Asgard and caused a large departure from the Sacred Timeline.
As A Valkyrie, She’d be A Loki With No Quest For A Throne
Loki’s thwarted quests for a throne over Asgard or Midgard define his character arc through the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok, at which point he’s claimed Odin’s seat through devious means. His contests against Thor to be able to claim the Asgardian throne, and his resentment at learning later in life that Odin adopted him and he would never ascend even if he proved himself more worthy than Thor, are major parts of his journey on the Sacred Timeline. If Sylvie has set her mind to becoming a Valkyrie, then none of these points would’ve happened for her.
Only two major differences have been revealed about Sylvie that predate her nexus event. First, she was born a woman. Hela’s arc in Thor: Ragnarok makes it clear that gender is not a disqualifying factor when it comes to the Asgardian throne; however, it would have enabled her to be a Valkyrie. Second, she knew that she was adopted. As she was told this at an early age, she would have always known that she wouldn’t have a stronger claim to the throne than Thor. The young Sylvie taken by the TVA doesn’t seem to be in the immediate aftermath of learning this, so it follows that she had known for some time, and it was instead the decision to become a Valkyrie and pursue power in that way that caused the nexus event by taking her off the path of fighting with her brother and attempting to usurp her father.
Thor Once Wanted To Be A Valkyrie, Too
Up until the reappearance of Hela, Loki’s relationship with Thor on the Sacred Timeline is combative with Loki feeling that Thor had been given everything he wanted. While this includes the throne, it applies more broadly to their lives with Loki consistently being jealous of Thor. Sylvie deciding to become a Valkyrie would have flipped that script and caused huge changes to the way they interacted.
In Thor: Ragnarok, when Thor meets Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie (Brunnhilde, the last of her kind), he tells her that he had wanted to be a Valkyrie himself until he was informed that they were all women. In the Sacred Timeline, Thor moved on from this desire to follow his path to becoming king of Asgard before pursuing his own heart. However, if Sylvie had been able to become a Valkyrie and that path had still been denied to Thor, then it would have quickly become Thor that was jealous of Loki rather than the other way around.
Sylvie’s Glorious Purpose Wasn’t Supposed To Be Rebuilding The Valkyries
Loki has long announced that he is “burdened with glorious purpose” and his attempts to fulfill this purpose (and his inevitable failure in that mission) are clearly the backbone of his part in the Sacred Timeline. If Sylvie decided to become a Valkyrie, it would’ve redefined what her own purpose was. Not only would it change her endpoint, but it might make it a more achievable goal in which she would be supported by her family.
With Hela’s massacre of the Valkyries and Brunnhilde’s self-exile as established parts of the Sacred Timeline, Sylvie would have more work to do than just becoming a single Valkyrie. The Valkyries are warriors of legend, so Sylvie would have had to master her own fighting style (something that has been no problem for the Sylvie viewers see in Loki) and rebuild the whole warrior faction from the ground up. Not only would becoming leader of the Valkyries give Sylvie a position of power that Loki had always strived for, but also it would likely earn her the respect of both her peers and her father.
The events of the MCU would have gone very differently if Loki wasn’t presented as a villain, but instead a hero of an elite fighting force like the Valkyries, and when Thor eventually stepped aside from his path to the throne, he may have even offered the position to Sylvie as he did Brunnhilde. As the new leader of the Valkyrie’s, Sylvie would have forged her own “glorious purpose” and stepped out of her brother’s shadow. Sylvie’s life within Asgard society would be happy, fulfilled, and wildly diverge from the Sacred Timeline. The TVA clearly couldn’t allow that to happen, so her simple decision to become a Valkyrie instead created Sylvie’s nexus point and had her snatched from Asgard, setting the events of Loki in motion.
Loki releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.
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