In the Loki series, the TVA is hunting variants. Once they capture a variant, they delete the timeline they were found in using a small tool that they put on the ground. The tool then spreads out a purple light that consumes everything it hits and eventually the whole timeline.

But the universe is HUGE. It would take trillions of years for the whole timeline to be reset, if the purple light is moving that slow. So why does the TVA prune timelines like this? if the purpose for it is to stop evil variants of Kang to discover the multiverse and conquer it, pruning the timeline wouldn't necessarily help, as the pruning probably won't even reach him in time.

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    You're assuming thats the max speed of the pruning. They've only shown it for a short time, what if it speeds up and swallows everything very quickly? Also if you prune a plant at it's root, it dies out. Hence the term prune used for the event.
    – Villan
    Aug 5, 2021 at 12:59
  • "No witnesses" maybe? Aug 5, 2021 at 19:43
  • @Villan well no, if you prune a plant you make the remaining parts of the plant stronger. Cutting off the stuff you don't want to reinforce the stuff you do. That's why it's called pruning. Except it's a branch of the timeline, not of a plant.
    – OrangeDog
    Jun 22, 2023 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


When a timeline branches it doesn't immediately branch everything. Essentially it appears there is a ripple effect and the affected radius spreads out the longer the branch goes on. Loki recites the below when asked what Reset Charges are:

Loki: Reset charges prune the affected radius of a branched timeline, allowing time to heal all its wounds. Which sounds like a nice way of saying disintegrate everything in its vicinity.

Loki, Season 1 Episode 2, "The Variant"

Effectively the passing the Red Line would be passing the point where they can no longer safely reset the timeline and be the situation like you're talking about. Before that the Reset Charges work just fine in only pruning the affected radius not the whole timeline.

  • Presumably once things go beyond the red line, you need to take far more dramatic measures.
    – Valorum
    Aug 5, 2021 at 13:01
  • So by that logic in theory there can be a branch in time on the TVA monitors before the nexus event actually happens, because if the monitors would show the branch at the right time, the TVA would get there to late for the pruning to reach Kang? In that case who would the TVA take as a variant?
    – MBEllis
    Aug 5, 2021 at 13:19
  • Perhaps the red line is when a Kang turns up.
    – OrangeDog
    Aug 7, 2021 at 19:02

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