Little O (The Midgard Serpent) In ‘Ragnarok’: How It Is Different From Norse Mythology?


The Midgard serpent aka Jormungand or Little O, Laurits’s child in Ragnarok, was rather tame when compared to its purpose and capabilities as defined by mythology. It made the occasional appearance to add some drama to the narrative, but eventually left to find its own way. Unlike the myth, the serpent only had one parent in the series, whereas the story said that it had Loki and his partner, Angerbotha, as parents. Loki’s mixed heritage transferred stronger giant blood to Jormungand, and it must have set its loyalties in stone. After all, Loki was obsessed with blood relations, and Jormungand had more blood from the giants than the gods.

Here is a funny fact about Midgard: he was the middle child, yet he became the most famous because of the battle he fought with his uncle, Thor. The oldest child was a wolf named Fenrir, and the gods had to confine him because of how vicious he got. We don’t see Fenrir in any season of Ragnarok, but we did see Vadir’s pet, Trym, in the first season, and he reminded us of the vicious wolf. But Fenrir couldn’t have been living with the Jutuls because, in the original mythology, it is Vadir who ends up killing him after the wolf kills Odin. Trym may or may not have been a reference, but he couldn’t have been Fenrir because that would be a major loophole to account for since Laurits was still human at that point. Fenrir was Loki’s eldest child.

One of the major theories of Season 3 of Ragnarok has been that the entire story of the three seasons was a product of Magne’s imagination. The absence of Fenrir and Loki’s third child, Hel, supports that. That is because if it was Magne’s imagination, then he was the hero, and all troubles were centered around him, which means that Midgard was the only real threat he had to face. Fenrir was a threat to Odin, and Hel never really did anything significant in the myths of the Norse gods. In fact, many people believe that Hel being Loki’s child, was a later alteration to the original story, which means that Midgard may have been the younger child and not the middle one. That changes things if we want to pull in some stereotypes.

If Midgard was the middle child, then we would say that he craved attention, was very independent, and felt alienated from the rest. It makes sense since Midgard and Little O, both lived an isolated life in the water. It would also be fair to draw some comparisons between him and his father, Loki, who had never felt like he belonged with anyone because of his mixed blood. But Midgard wasn’t even given the chance to find out since he was barely around anyone at all. We are not sure how much Loki and Angerbotha visited him in the myths, but Laurits was attentive enough in Ragnarok season 3. But in the end, he still asked him to go away and make a life for himself in the sea, far from Edda.

Frankly, Midgard/ Little O has been quite a good boy in the series. He eats what his mother gives him; he does not harm Magne, who is easy prey for him because he does not wish to kill, and when asked by Laurits, he even returns Magne’s hammer to him. When Laurits told Little O to go to the sea, like a parent tells their child to go to college, he did not throw a single tantrum and listened to his mother’s wishes quite well. All of this is making us think that he might be the sweet younger child instead of the secretly rebellious middle child.

We are also guessing that he will grow up to be fussy with his diet. Initially, Little O only used to eat the bread brought by Laurits before he got a taste of the meat given to him by Fjor. It wasn’t clear to us whether the bait was alive when it was given to him or whether Fjor killed the humans before he fed them to Little O. Our bet is on the latter, considering Fjor’s trajectory from a sensible giant to a bloodthirsty one, which makes us think that he may have been satisfying his own bloodlust by means of Little O’s hunger. Fjor needed Little O to become big so that he would be able to face Magne in battle, and he was worried that a diet of baked wheat chunks wasn’t doing that, which is why he brought live human meat for him.

The scene where Fjor leaves Magne in the middle of the lake is actually borrowed from Norse mythology and mimics Thor and Midgard’s meeting to some extent. Thor had no idea where to fish or what to do when he went into the lake, similar to Magne. Both were alone, and both caught their foe because of a fishing hook. But in the myth, Thor is more of a hero than Magne was in Ragnarok. Thor similarly threw a hammer at the serpent, but he escaped for a long time before meeting his uncle once again in the final battle. In the series, that is their only meeting, and Magne is left at a disadvantage after that since he loses his hammer. Maybe this was intended because Magne had been very unlikeable in Ragnarok Season 3, and this was his dose of humility. In case it was all Magne’s imagination, maybe he threw a rock at a fish, imagining it to be Midgard, and that is what he thought was the hammer he lost.

There is a moment in the myths when Thor and Midgard meet again. This is the time when the serpent shows some of his parent’s prankster sensibilities, but that is not there in the series at all. Midgard appears to Thor as a gray cat to test the strength of his uncle, and yes, Thor is stronger, though he doesn’t realize it then. Essentially, Thor and Jormungand, who are Magne and Little O in the modern world, are meant to kill each other, but other than the threat from the myth, not much else happens since Ragnarok did not happen. It would really have been something to see Magne get a real challenge in the form of the Midgard serpent, aka his nephew, Little O.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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