In the first episode of Loki (2021) in the Transcript Room, Loki is told to sign a stack of papers documenting every word he has ever said.

Loki, being over 1000 years old and quite the talkative type makes me ponder if this stack of words is grossly short, and how big it should have been.

Is there any in-universe way to explain why the file seems so short? Perhaps having something to do with the TVA's time manipulation and/or variant Lokis?

For those suggesting the print is very small or in a different language we can see in the scene in question one of the pages from the transcript. Here’s a screenshot below and the video I took it from:

Close up of the paper printout of Loki saying "What?"

Finally got the time to work out the math behind this:

Even if we high-ball the number of sheets of paper in an inch thick stack we won’t have more than 400 sheets. So 400 x 12 inches ( a foot ) is 4,800 sheets. We can high ball this again and make it 5,000. The stack in this scene doesn’t look much larger than a foot thick if not less but let’s round up to 2 feet thick. So that’s 10,000 sheets max in this scene. A typical page of single spaced document with font size 12 pt takes approximately 500 words to fill. Let’s double this again so we get 1,000 words per page. 1,000 words X 10,000 pages gives us 10,000,000 words - which doesn’t seem like a small number at all. In 1984 Gyles Brandreth came up with an estimate that we as humans speak roughly 860.3 million words per lifetime, so the 10 million or so words in the stack in this scene could be few for even a regular person, not to mention Loki. He’s 1000+ years old and talks a lot.

  • 11
    Very small print.
    – jwodder
    Jul 18 at 23:31
  • 6
    Deduplication, probably.
    – Adamant
    Jul 18 at 23:51
  • 3
    There's a separate dimension halfway through the stack because they couldn't fit all the papers otherwise.
    – Righter
    Jul 19 at 9:57
  • 2
    I think that is only the word Loki said when he become a Variant. So it only count from the moment he derail from the destinated "way". Which in my opinion a lot Jul 19 at 10:14
  • 2
    Perhaps the paper is magically thin?
    – Wade
    Jul 19 at 14:29

In short this is just a joke and you're not meant to think too heavily about this. Kate Herron, the director, has spoken about the size of the paper pile and suggested they tried to make it relatively accurate but at the end of the day you can't get it perfect. She even forewarns of debate over the size of the pile knowing that it isn't entirely accurate. Just don't overthink this one, it's a small joke for a quick laugh and that's pretty much it.

Was there a lot of debate over how big to make the “everything you’ve ever said” stack of papers?

There actually was. (Laughs.) That stack of papers is everything Loki has ever said in the MCU, and then we added extra, obviously, because it’s Loki’s whole life. So, yes, there was a lot of thorough debate about the size of that paper. I think our props department was very thorough about it, and I’d say that they were mathematical in the sense that we wanted to present it in the most realistic way we could. But obviously, Loki has been around for a long time and he loves to talk. So it’s really just an estimation, but I’m sure there will be much-heated debate on Reddit about the size of that paper. (Laughs.)

The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Loki’ Director Kate Herron on Shooting New ‘Avengers: Endgame’-Era Footage

  • This is definitely the answer. To be fair, though, it's not just "inaccurate". If the pile was half as big or twice as big as what would be reasonable (or even ten times bigger/smaller) then it would be inaccurate. I think the point is that no reasonably-sized stack of papers could ever contain the words of an average grown person, let alone a 1000 years old talkative being.
    – Wade
    Jul 19 at 16:47

I think:

the TVA has the power to travel all across time, yet the organization’s technology is very unassuming. The organizations odd blend of retro and future tech was described by Kate Herron, the director, as being so because it's tech is outside of time:

Maybe it doesn't look super futuristic, because they aren't necessarily in the future and they aren't necessarily in the past. They're completely outside of that, because it's TVA. It was really fun. I think, bringing that retro futuristic vibe in that sense to the technology

Ordinary looking devices like the 1972 Weltron Radio actually are actually Holoprojectors which can project both the past and future of an individual's life onto a screen.

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Miss Minutes seen in TVA propaganda material appears to be a vintage 1950's cartoon only to be revealed to be a sophisticated super advanced artificial intelligence created by He Who Remains to observe and provide aid to the TVA.

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In the TVA what appears very low-tech and outdated - even to our own present day standards - usually ends up having some hyper-advanced beyond our current understanding practical use case. This includes the TVA batons, Reset Charge's and Temp pads. All very unassuming advanced technology that look like ordinary devices pulled straight out of the 70's.

An ordinary looking stack of paper in the Transcript Room, then, wouldn't be an exception to this established rule. The show didn't elaborate on how this works but given the tech of the TVA literally anything is possible.

Perhaps the paper transcripts all have a maximum size so it can still be moved and handled by the TVA staff and the rest of the "papers" get as thin as they need to - to accommodate how large each transcript actually is. When interacted with individually each page reverts to its original thickness again to accommodate better handling. This fits with their bureaucratic style and very unassuming highly advanced tech.

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