(art by sekra)
“[Steve] can’t take those words back. Years from now they’re still going to be rattling around in Tony’s head echoing every crappy thought he’s ever had about himself.” - luckster31
“Tony is listening to his childhood hero tell him he’s a piece of shit. Tell him he’s worthless, and tell him he means nothing. And this really affects him. If you watch the scene closely, you’ll see Tony tear up. His eyes get glossier through the scene. And when it flashes away from Tony and then back a few seconds after this gifset, you see him wipe his eye. Tony didn’t cry when Obi betrayed him. When his only ‘father’ figure rips out his reactor and leaves him for dead.” - rainbowninjasock
“But I think it’s not really his ‘childhood hero’ telling him he’s worthless. Tony grew up seeing Howard just a liiittle bit obsessed with Captain America. If anything, Captain America is to Tony like a brother he never had - a brother he had to compete with for his father’s attention nonetheless. This isn’t the guy Tony looked up to: this is the guy his father idolized. This is the guy who, in Howard’s opinion, was the best man out there.
Tony feels like he could never be quite good enough for Howard. And Captain America is the guy who was more than good enough. To me, it seems like Tony feels another failure of his own in the way Steve treats him here - like Howard’s ghost is saying those words through Steve. Because Steve Rogers is supposed to be a kind, gentle guy, someone who sees the worth and potential in EVERYONE.
And yet, he can’t see anything in Tony. For someone with as much self-worth issues as Tony, that’s a pretty low blow from Steve.” - pheuthe
However, as is shown in Avengers, this isn’t impossible: Tony is able to redeem himself in Steve’s eyes (by being willing to sacrifice himself) and an opportunity arises for Steve to re-evaluate his actions and judgments of Tony.
One argument that can be made in favor of Stony/Superhusbands is that there are potentially more factors that would force Tony and Steve to work together and see each other in a new light. Likewise, Steve doesn’t appear to be trying to define himself against Tony in the way that Thor is (although Tony is); he simply misjudged him based on his past actions. So, there are more opportunities for a healthier relationship to develop.
However, one has to also factor in that Tony and Loki have almost obsessive insecurities that are linked into every aspect of their lives and manifest in numerous ways. These self-esteem issues make them reliant on Steve and Thor for their approval.
“Tony trying to protect himself. This is Tony afraid that no one will care, so afraid that he can’t even test the theory, and it’s eating at him as visibly as the blood poisoning is, self-evident in every action he takes.” - gyzym
“We’ve been shown in the MCU that Tony has huge abandonment and self-esteem issues. To get Steve and/or Pepper’s approbation is not a pleasure for him, it’s something he needs, because it serves as a substitute for Howard’s approbation (because, well, Steve is Captain America [his childhood hero], and don’t come and tell me Pepper isn’t presented as a mother figure in the beginning of Iron Man). That means that Tony has at least some form of emotional dependence going on toward them and that is not the start of a healthy relationship…
Anyway, the point of all this is that, from that perspective – which may well be mine alone - Pepper and Steve, if placed in a romantic relationship with Tony, would end up being his caretaker more than his lover, which would be destructive for Tony – as there is a great risk that he would become more dependent on them with time, putting him in a similar mindset to the one he had with Obadiah- and for them because yes, you’re supposed to try and make your partner happy, but you’re not supposed to be the only one determining whether or not they’re going to love themselves.” - terresdebrume
Additionally, this would likely lead to further feelings of self-hatred by Tony and Loki because, at their core, both characters want to be equals with Steve and Thor – something they can’t have while reliant on them. For Loki, Thor’s actions can come across as condescending or Thor being blinded by sentimentality (as his brother is Jotun, a fact he seems to blithely ignore despite setting out to destroy the Jotuns in Thor).
Tony and Loki also have a difficult time seeing anything as real caring. Both assume their friends’ and family’s caring is out of obligation. Pepper is paid to work for Tony and Tony appears to keep her at arm’s length (and knows no personal details about her life, like allergies or her birthday) despite saying she’s “the only one he has”. Rhodey, meanwhile, states that being around Tony is “bad for [their] friendship” which, again, indicates their relationship is at arm’s length. When Loki’s heritage is revealed to him, he says “No matter how much you claim to love me…,” which reveals he sees Odin’s love as something of a lie as it has never compared to his love of Thor. Likewise, he can’t accept the idea that Thor would accept him as his brother after finding out Loki is Jotun.
As such, Tony and Loki would probably work better in a relationship where they 1) both feel real caring is attainable (like Tony feels after Pepper tells him “you’re all I have, too”) but 2) also have a sense of earning it so that the relationship doesn’t seem one-sided (as well as to appeal to their egos). This relationship, of course, isn't limited to that between Tony and Loki. As for how both could obtain those feelings with one another:
“They both have abandonment and self-worth issues the size of Stark tower, and honestly that is bound to lead to (huge) fights between them, too, but the difference here is that they’re both in the same case. Emotionally speaking, they’re on even ground, and so they don’t risk becoming dependent on one another (or if they do, I think the possibility is not as strong as it is with Steve or Thor). Plus, they’d see through each other’s bullshit… In the end, I think Tony and Loki together would manage to help each other find some form of balance between their craving for acknowledgement and recognition, and their equally strong independent streaks.” -terresdebrume
This is what largely separates Stony/Superhusbands and Thorki from a pairing like Frostiron. It’s not that character growth becomes impossible when both are in a relationship but because Stony’s/ Superhusbands’ and Thorki’s character growth would arise largely from influences outside of the relationship while Frostiron’s arises from factors assumed to be present within it. However, as unnecessaryligatures points out, “the development of relationships depends a lot on characterization, which of course everyone does differently”.
As stated, the appeal of Frostiron is that the potential for both characters to form a relationship is dependent on character growth sparked from their similarities and initial interactions. Frostiron generally assumes that the initial interaction between these characters has either confirmed or forced them to re-examine something about themselves or their lives that will work as a catalyst for future character growth (see DRINK SCENE below). That idea is then built upon in fanworks.
This is interesting for their individual characteristics because both characters function as mirrors, able to amplify their traits for better or worse like a “kerosene and a match”. Through this, they are able to bring out the best and worst in one another while Steve and Thor draw on their insecurities in the MCU, forcing them to prove themselves in often self-destructive ways.
Parallels in Histories
(Art by phobs)
- Frostiron pt. 2
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