In the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, as we all know, Thanos and the Children attack and kill half of the surviving Asgardians. In search for the Space Stone, Thanos tortures Thor and then gains it from Loki. Loki makes a false attempt to join Thanos then instantly tries to stab him. He is stopped and killed easily.

Why did Loki try to kill Thanos here? He's seen Thanos defeat Hulk and kill half of the Asgardians, so he should logically know that a small blade doesn't have a great chance of success against Thanos. Also, even if he did succeed in killing Thanos here, the Children would kill Loki instantly.

If this was a spur of the moment decision, it might make sense, but it doesn't seem as if Loki is acting all on instinct - he's worked with Thanos before; he could've tried to pull off the "fake ally" thing.

I quite like the fan theory that Loki was deliberately trying to get Thanos to kill him in order to save Thor according to Thanos's 50/50 rule, but I am wondering if there is a canon answer for his actions.

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    Not a lot of help from the novelisation - ""The rightful king of Jotunheim, God of Mischief." Thanos missed the glint of a knife hidden in Loki's hand. But Thor saw it. His eyes flared with warning and worry and rage at his adoptive brother's flagrant stupidity and his inability to read this enemy as something worthy of more than Loki's usual parlor tricks. And perhaps a touch of admiration at his brother's bravery, no matter how naive. "Do hereby pledge to you my undying fidelity-." Loki took a deep, steadying breath and then, with blinding speed, he lunged at Thanos"
    – Valorum
    Apr 8, 2021 at 7:07
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    I like your fan theory on 50/50 though Thanos did leave Thor floating in space. At a minimum this might be lottery logic where you definitely can't win if you don't play - so might as well try at a neck stab. Apr 8, 2021 at 8:46
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    “he should logically know that a small blade doesn't have a great chance of success against Thanos” — why not? Thanos eventually dies by — spoilers — having his head chopped off. If you prick him, does he not bleed? Seems to me that as long as the blade is sharp enough, size doesn’t matter. Apr 8, 2021 at 8:57
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    @PaulD.Waite Also it was a magic blade! It could be imbued with the Anti-Mad Titan Serum (TM)!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Apr 8, 2021 at 8:59
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    " Also, even if he did succeed in killing Thanos here, the Children would kill Loki instantly." Is it completely unbelievable that even if Loki is selfish, he's still capable of the level of altruism needed to sacrifice one's self to save half of all people ?? I would hope that even the worst of the worst would do this. It's not a high bar. Apr 8, 2021 at 20:30

2 Answers 2


Loki is ever the anti hero at this point. He’s finally doing right and he knows Thanos’ plan better than most at this point having worked with him in the past. He believes it is better to sacrifice himself and end it all before it begins. And he didn’t have any reason to suspect it wouldn’t work. He is doing a surprise attack, straight at the neck: a killing blow. Remember surprise attacks are very powerful and he did have a high chance of succeeding compared to a normal head to head battle.

Though at this point why would he try the fake ally thing? For starters he’s essentially already outed himself as an enemy of Thanos when he introduced Hulk for the fight attempting to defeat Thanos.

Loki: Well, for one thing, I'm not Asgardian. And for another...we have a Hulk.

Avengers: Infinity War

And secondly he tried the whole ally, working for you thing, as part of his speech to get close to Thanos and Thanos is clearly unimpressed by the whole thing. He might have wanted to try the ally thing but when he saw it wouldn’t work decided to try and take him down instead.

Loki: If I might... interject... if you're going to Earth, you might want a guide. I do have a bit of... experience in that arena.

Thanos: If you consider failure experience.

Loki: I consider experience, experience.

Avengers: Infinity War


What other option did Loki have at that point?

First, Thanos had already defeated - with incredible ease! - both Thor and Hulk, the strongest Avengers, so there was no hope to beat him in a regular fight.

Secondly, when Hulk attacked Thanos by surprise, Loki had just said "we have a Hulk", which reveals he was aware of the ambush, and arguably it was his words that signalled the Hulk to attack. This made him an enemy, or even a traitor, in Thanos's eyes. And there was no way Thanos would forgive that: just think of what he had just done to Heimdall. Loki must have realized that Thanos would kill him too, either directly or by leaving him there, stranded in space on a half-destroyed ship.

So he was going to die anyway. This means he had nothing to lose: why not try to have revenge, and die honorably?

  • ...and possibly even save half the universe from being killed.
    – DSKekaha
    Apr 8, 2021 at 17:38
  • Loki was already beaten - no need for direct. Heimdall was punished for a significant slight - he forewarned Earth of the attacks which put the Children of Thanos at far more risk. Thanos only killed significant threats to himself of which there were very few. Stark was the only other in Infinity War he was even remotely concerned about because Thanos weakness was innovative/new counters. Most heroes were predictable to him. Stormbreaker he didn't conceive because he thought the forge was done.
    – Shiv
    Apr 9, 2021 at 1:55

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