In the latest trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Loki series, a TVA (that’s Temporal Variance Authority) employee puts a great honking stack of paper in front of the God of Mischief, and asks him to sign and confirm that this is a record of “everything you’ve ever said.” Loki is nonplussed, and tells him outright that this is absurd, to which a nearby computer spits out record of that comment with another spot for a signature.
It should be a cute joke, but it would seem that everyone on the internet has had the same thought about this gag—are you kidding me with that l’il stack of paper?
There are a few points of dissonance at play here. Of course, your average person talks often enough that the stack presented doesn’t even seem on par for normal folk. Then you add the fact that Loki is kind of known for talking, and it seems more unlikely. Then you add on the fact that Asgardians are extremely long-lived—that Loki is probably somewhere beyond his first millennium of life—and this meager ream is practically an insult to our intelligence.
In honesty, I’d expected the visual gag to play out differently: Instead of focusing on the print-up of his single affronted comment being added to the pile, it seemed more likely that once Loki went to sign, the guy was going to bring up another stack of paper. And then another, and another, and then maybe motion behind him to an unlabelled office where the rest of the material resided. You know, more of a “here’s the warehouse where we’re going to store the Ark of the Convenant” sort of joke.
I’m not the only person who’s irritated, it would seem, as a discussion of the trailer on Reddit led to someone asking about that rather short manuscript. Thankfully, user ph4mp573r came forward with some basic calculations to assure us that we were all correct in noticing something was off:
The average person speaks about 16,000 words a day. Loki would likely speak significantly more than that, considering his loquaciousness, fame, and penchant for scheming – but for our purposes let’s just stick to 16,000 words.
After considering we could guesstimate Loki’s age at roughly 1,000 years, and accounting for the thickness of paper, and the average number of typed words that fit on a page that size, the math worked out thus:
This translates to a stack which is 58.4 meters (191.6 feet) high. Again, this is likely a lower bound to Loki’s official “everything you’ve ever said” list.
So, there you have it. We’re talking stacks on stacks on stacks (on stacks on stacks on…) for Loki’s testament to the TVA. You’re not alone in being bothered by that pittance of paper. I mean… maybe they’ve got special Time Paper that fits more words? They abridge everything heavily because they’re trying to lower their carbon footprint?
You know what, nope. Still annoyed.
(Loki will arrive on Disney+ June 11th.)