For a couple of episodes there, Sylvie Lushton, a variant who doesn't actually refer to herself as Lady Loki, appeared to be the primary villain of the now-concluded Disney Plus streaming series Loki.
That turned out to be something of a misdirect in a series about deceit and fake facades and variant identities.
But the events of the Loki season one finale could lend themselves to questioning what her ultimate role in Loki really was.
Hero? Anti-hero? Villain? Love interest? The real star of the show..? Or all of the above?
Spoilers ahead for Loki episode 6.
Either which way, Sophia Di Martino's Sylvie is, in the end, a full-fledged Loki - the goddess of mischief and an enchantress - so we maybe shouldn't have expected to fit her into a box.
Taken from her reality's Asgard by the Time Variance Authority (and Ravonna Renslayer specifically) as a little girl as she was playing with action figures, Sylvie was already Loki enough to escape Ravonna and make off with a Timepad only minutes after her abduction.
She then raised herself, growing up on the run by hiding in time periods right before cataclysmic events (which made her invisible to the TVA) while developing her Asgardian magical abilities on her own.
But as we now know her life was hard and it produced scars and led her on a quest to discover the truth about who or whatever the TVA really was so she could have her revenge.
More of a mash-up of a couple of different Marvel Comics characters than one faithfully adapted one, the MCU Sylvie seems to incorporate aspects of Sylvie Lushton, the second character from Thor comic books that went by the name Enchantress, and Lady Loki, who wasn't so much a variant of Loki but more of Loki in an alternate form.
Given her MCU future is now wide, wide open, understanding Sylvie's comic book past may give us clues about what Marvel Studios may choose to do with this well-received new character.
So if you let us, we'll break it all down for you.
Who is Sylvie Lushton?
There have been several characters known as the Enchantress in Marvel Comics history. The original, Amora, is an Asgardian sorceress who was also one of the Avengers' earliest enemies. Amora possesses powers of mesmerism and illusion, even once impersonating Brunnhilde, Marvel's original Valkyrie, in one of her attempts to take on the team.
Amora's sister, Lorelei, has her own relationship with Loki that began when Loki enlisted her to seduce Thor - though this scheme evolved into Loki and Lorelei becoming on-again-off-again lovers while attempting to manipulate each other. Lorelei later became an ally to Loki again while he was working as an Agent of Asgard, which also involved some lies on his part.
Lorelei was a one-off character in season 1 of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, which may or may not be official MCU canon.
The version of the character who appears in Loki takes the name (although not much else) of Sylvie Lushton, a more recent incarnation of the Enchantress. Sylvie was a human girl who was granted Asgardian power by Loki as one of his schemes - or who may even have been created by Loki whole cloth.
Following one of Asgard's cyclical Ragnarok events in which the realm and its denizens die and are reborn throughout time, Thor finds himself as the only Asgardian to return. Discovering his fellow Asgardians are trapped in human form, he rescues as many as he can - including Loki, who is reborn as a woman.
Using their combined might, the Asgardians summon Asgardia, the capital city of their home realm, to Earth, where it floats high above the plains of the small town of Broxton, Oklahoma - putting the Asgardians in closer contact with humanity than ever before.
Naturally, Loki exploits the situation to rope the people of Broxton into his schemes to conquer Asgard - part of which includes teaming up with the villainous Norman Osborn, then the leader of the sanctioned security force known as HAMMER, a kind of authoritarian replacement for SHIELD.
Loki and Osborn's plans are spearheaded by the creation of the Dark Avengers, a team of ersatz heroes comprised of villains impersonating known heroes such as Spider-Man and Hawkeye - though working solely in the interests of Osborn and HAMMER.
Here's where Sylvie comes in.
Before Asgard appeared over Broxton, Sylvie was a normal teen girl, living an average life, until the day she woke up with inexplicable magic powers which she sensed were connected to Asgard in ways she couldn't understand. Inspired by the Asgardian Enchantress, Sylvie takes the name for herself and moves to New York to use her newfound Asgardian sorcery to be a hero.
But there's a twist in her journey.
Sylvie Lushton in the Marvel Universe
Along with a team of Dark Avengers, Osborn helps organize his own version of the Young Avengers, a team of teen heroes whose identities are inspired by the original Avengers (many of whom have now appeared in their civilian guises in the MCU).
Taking the name the Young Avengers for themselves, Osborn's recruits are secretly the Young Masters, inspired by the Avengers' old foes the Masters of Evil - a team that included the original Enchantress and her longtime enforcer Skurge the Executioner (played by Karl Urban in Thor: Ragnarok) in its earliest incarnation.
The Young Masters, with Sylvie in tow as the new Enchantress alongside a new, non-Asgardian Executioner, take after the original Masters in one other key way - the original Masters of Evil, who were led by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Baron Zemo, took on secret heroic identities to disguise their villainy as the Thunderbolts, a team Norman Osborn later led and which inspired his Dark Avengers.
The Young Masters, calling themselves the Young Avengers, clash with their heroic namesakes, with the original Young Avengers demanding the Young Masters either stop calling themselves the 'Young Avengers,' or try out to join the actual team.
At first, the Young Masters play along, but only two of them - Coat-Of-Arms, and Sylvie/Enchantress - are invited into the Young Avengers. Early in her time with the team Enchantress tries to strike up a magical mentorship with Wiccan (who would later come under the tutelage of Kid Loki in a subsequent Young Avengers story), but when she attempts to seduce him, her relationship with them sours.
Spurned by the Young Avengers, the Young Masters turn coat and fall in with Osborn, trying to take out the Young Avengers once and for all just as Osborn plans to eliminate the real Avengers.
As Osborn schemes with Loki how to best use their team of Young Masters, Loki, then still in the body of a woman, reveals she is responsible for empowering Sylvie with Asgardian power, even potentially implying she created Sophie entirely out of Asgardian magic, to have a mortal pawn of her own in play.
The Young Masters call in Osborn's Dark Avengers for back-up, resulting in a clash with the Young Avengers, who wind up winning out and escaping Osborn with the help of Sylvie, who soon becomes deathly ill with her powers fading when Loki and Osborn's scheme results in Loki's death. Sylvie winds up surviving and regaining some of her powers, though she decides to leave the Young Masters for good.
Sylvie then enrolls in the Avengers Academy, attempting to fulfill her goal of being a true hero, though she only stuck around for a little while before it was revealed that she was once again being manipulated by one of the Academy's foes.
Sadly, after leaving the Avengers Academy, Sylvie fell back into a life of crime, first joining a version of the Masters of Evil proper before falling in with the Hood while she pretended to be the original Enchantress - a choice that led to Amora returning and banishing Sylvie to an unnamed place in the Ten Realms, which Amora implies will be a hard place for Sylvie to survive for long unless she's truly got the power of Asgardian magic.
Unfortunately, Amora may have been correct about Sylvie's inadequacy, as she hasn't been seen since being banished.
Sylvie Lushton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Di Martino's Sylvie is indeed a Loki variant, taken from Asgard in her early childhood, explaining why her life and her knowledge of Asgard are so different from that of Loki himself.
Despite the series ending (well, season 1 anyway), there are still significant mysteries surrounding Sylvie, like what was the Nexus event that led to her abduction by the TVA? And how redeemable or, by contrast, irredeemable is she?
Given her powers of enchantment and illusion, it's entirely likely there's yet more to Sylvie to uncover, especially with a second season of Loki now confirmed.
Sylvie seemed genuinely drawn to Loki and seemed to teeter on the edge of a full hero turn, but the pain caused by He Who Remains - the variant of Kang the Conqueror that was responsible for the TVA - was too deep. At the end she couldn't help but take her revenge by seemingly murdering him, resulting in an eruption of multiversal chaos as countless new timelines suddenly began branching into existence.
And not for nothing, Loki seemed genuinely crushed by her decision.
It's also important to consider Sylvie's comic book roots with the Enchantress, an Asgardian villain known for lies, manipulation, trickery, and deceit, all with the aid of magic. Sylvie has displayed similar powers, so could there be a level of further illusion in her story, even though she seems to definitively oppose He Who Remains and the TVA?
It looks more and more likely Sylvie is who she seems, but with a second season coming up and her unclear status at the end of time after she kills He Who Remains unknown, you can't take anything for granted.
We almost certainly haven't seen the last of Sylvie, and considering her deep connection to the comic book concepts we detailed, the options for her return are almost endless.
Whatever happens, in a show with multiple universes, opposing timelines, and the potential for multiple versions of the same character to appear, adding in the potential of the Enchantress and her specific brand of illusory magic could signal some serious twists ahead for Loki season 2 and the MCU.
So who considers the Disney Plus streaming series best Loki stories of all time?