Netflix’s Nordic series, Ragnarok, might not be the best adaptation of Norse mythology, but what sets it apart is the plot revolving around climate change and environmental pollution. We come across a rich family, the Jutuls, who run a massive industry in Edda, Norway. The big revelation here is that the Jutuls are giants from the old world who have survived Ragnarok, the final clash between the gods and the giants, and have been living on Earth, hiding among humans for centuries.
The poisonous wastes from the Jutuls’ factories are contaminating the nearby drinking water and slow-poisoning hundreds of people each year. Even the workers in the Jutul factories suffer from severe lung diseases, but the Jutuls refuse to pay for their losses or improve the working conditions. In short, they are exploiting the townsfolk through their monopoly and have become the fifth richest family in Norway.
The giants were convinced they were invincible until a young boy named Magne Seier returned to Edda with his mother, Turid, and half-brother, Laurits. As soon as Magne steps into town, he is blessed with the powers of Thor and is believed to be the incarnation of the God of Thunder. But will Magne, a simple, shy nerd, be any match against the giants? Will he alone be able to stop the menacing creatures? Let’s find out through a detailed recap of Ragnarok Seasons 1 and 2 and what we can expect in the final season.
Meet the Jutuls
Each episode of Ragnarok begins with an opening text that shares information from Norse mythology about the gods and the giants. As per one of the texts, giant is a common term used for various supernatural creatures. They’re often the embodiments of destruction and the bringers of chaos.
The Jutuls family is led by Vidar, who acts as the patriarch of the family of four, though none of the family members are biologically related to each other. Vidar assumes the position of the CEO and manages the affairs of the company. Below him in rank is Ran, who acts as the mother in the family and is the principal of Edda High School, perhaps the only school in town. Vidar and Ran have a daughter named Saxa and a son named Fjor. Apparently, both Saxa and Fjor are high schoolers of the same age and are currently studying at their mother’s school.
The giants are living under the disguise of a perfect human family in order to blend into society and conceal their real identities from the world. We are made aware that these creatures have no moral compass, which is why they didn’t mind polluting the climate. And they would go to any length to stop anyone trying to expose their illicit practices. At the beginning of the series, Vidar mercilessly kills a young student named Isolde Eidsvoll. She had found a secret tunnel in the hills where Vidar had been storing hazardous factory waste containing heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium. It was implied that these wastes were the reason for the contamination of safe drinking water.
Turid had been offered an accountant’s job at Jutul Industries, and thus, she decided to return to Edda, where she used to live with her husband, Asbjorn, until his tragic death years ago. Turid has two sons: Magne and Laurits. It is revealed in Ragnarok Season 2 that Turid had an affair with Vidar back in the day, and Laurits is his biological son. It is for this reason that both brothers are so contrasting in physical stature and nature.
As Magne comes to Edda, he comes across a mysterious woman named Wenche, who is a Seeress from the old world and lives among humans. Wenche has been waiting for the right opportunity to assemble a team of gods who will stop the giants, and therefore she grants the power of Thor to Magne.
Magne, while struggling with his newfound powers, attends Edda High School with his brother, where he befriends Isolde and gets really close to her. Her mysterious death takes a toll on Magne’s mental health, and he gets obsessed with the investigation. He finds out about the secret tunnel and tries to inform the authorities about it, but before they can inspect the tunnel, Vidar removes all the barrels from the facility. As a result of it, the teachers and the doctors start to believe that Magne may be schizophrenic. It is evident that everyone here is working against Magne and for the Jutuls.
At the end of Ragnarok Season 1, Magne finds out that Vidar is shipping his poisonous barrels and therefore steals a few of them and puts them in front of the police station so that authorities can have enough proof to file a case against the Jutuls. In a fit of rage, Vidar tries to attack Magne near an abandoned warehouse, but Magne recognizes his power to control thunder and is able to save himself from Vidar.
Loki and the Identity Crisis
It might be safe to say that Netflix’s Ragnarok perfectly portrays Loki’s struggle with their sexuality and identity. The main conflict of Season 2 focuses on Laurits, who finds out that Magne is not their real brother. The entire arc of Laurits can be seen as a faithful representation of Loki from Norse mythology; however, there are so many different versions of the old text that we are not sure which one we can rely on. Nevertheless, as Season 2 begins, Laurits finds out that they are the illegitimate son of Vidar, a giant, and therefore suffers from an identity crisis. They fail to choose a side between their own brother, Magne, and their sworn enemies whom he’s a descendant of, the giants.
Being the reincarnation of a mischievous god, Laurits tries to play around a bit. They develop a strong relationship with Vidar, who employs his son to spy on Magne as the giants prepare to kill him on the next new moon. For the time being, Vidar faces backlash from the media and the government after his toxic barrels are confiscated by the police. He struggles to keep the business afloat and blames it all on Magne, whom he considers the root of the issue.
Meet the Other Gods
In Ragnarok Season 2, Wenche informs Magne that he would need a team of gods to put up a fight against the giants. And soon, we meet a new girl called Iman Reza, who is the reincarnation of Freyja. With Iman’s help, Magne tries to forge Mjölnir but fails to do so without an eternal fire from the old days. Later, Ran finds out about Wenche’s real identity and kills her. However, before turning to dust, she hands over her necklace to an old man named Wotan, who is the reincarnation of Odin. They also find the God of War in a local mechanic named Harry, who runs a garage in Edda.
The Death of Vidar
Laurits’ closeness with Vidar subjects them to the hatred of other giants who refuse to consider Laurits a part of their family. Later, Laurits ruins their relationship with their father when they bring Magne to Jutulheim to forge Thor’s hammer, and Vidar catches them red-handed. He calls Laurits a traitor and bans them from entering the house again. After being discarded by Vidar, Laurits tries to befriend Magne’s new friends, the reincarnations of other gods, but they refuse to accept a giant in their team, which breaks Laurits further. They try to go back to Vidar when he brings them to Jutulheim to punish them for treason. Fortunately, Magne arrives in time and saves Laurits, but in the scuffle, he kills Vidar with a weapon from the old days, which is the only thing that can kill gods and giants.
Magne and his moral conflict
The latter part of Ragnarok Season 2 deals with Magne’s dilemma as he develops a guilty conscience after killing Vidar. He questions the moral conflict of good versus evil in modern times, where killing a person or a giant to stop evil isn’t godly enough. Unable to move on and falling prey to his own thoughts, Magne asks the gods to take away his powers and make him normal again. During Vidar’s funeral, he visits the church and prays to the new god, which upsets the old gods further and causes Magne to lose Thor’s powers.
The Return of Fjor
Fjor had a falling out with Vidar after he chose a human girl over his own family. He had left the family house and decided to leave Edda with Gry, but Vidar’s sudden death changed everything. Fjor, filled with emotions, developed a sense of duty towards his father figure and decided to take over the family business. He even swore to avenge Vidar’s death and kill Magne when he got the chance. With the return of Fjor, Saxa, who had earlier made plans to run the family business, felt cheated and joined hands with Laurits so that he could favor her in the family voting.
The Birth of the Midgard Serpent
While Magne lost his powers and was struggling to get them back, Laurits gave birth to a huge tapeworm, which was in reality the Midgard Serpent, called the child of Loki in the old Norse mythology. Laurits kept the creature in a locked glass tank in their room and fed him whenever possible. The serpent foreshadows an upcoming battle between Magne and the creature, as, according to the source material, Thor puts up a fierce battle against the serpent.
Magne finally forges Thor’s hammer.
Wotan told Magne that the only way to get back his powers was to forge the god’s weapon; however, for that, they needed an eternal fire which had been burning since the old days. Wotan revealed to Magne that the giants had kept that fire in a hidden warehouse located inside their facility, and therefore, Magne teamed up with the other gods and a dwarf to forge the hammer. He was finally able to do so and later threatened to kill Fjor and Ran if they hurt Laurits. The power of the hammer made Magne arrogant and invincible, and we saw the dark side of the god, implying the fact that power can make the metronome of morals go berserk.
What can we expect In Season 3?
During Ragnarok Season 2’s ending, Fjor finds out that it was Saxa who had given the key to Laurits with the help of which they were able to locate the eternal fire and forge the hammer. Hence, he blamed Saxa and Laurits for treason and punished them. He locked Saxa in the basement and banned her from leaving the house while he tried to kill Laurits, but he saved their life through yet another treachery. When Ran and Fjor attacked Laurits, they, like a sheep, proposed to spy on their brother and revealed the truth about the serpent, the only creature who could kill Thor. Fjor, the giant, who already knew about the creature’s great power, decided to give Laurits a chance and wait for the creature to develop into its true form, powerful enough to kill Magne in battle.
Finally, Laurits joined hands with the giants in order to protect their own life, and following their command, they released the baby Midgard Serpent into the Edda Fjord so that it could become powerful enough to kill Magne. Saxa, on the other hand, starts to feel like a prisoner and victim in her own house and thus tries to tempt Magne, thereby suggesting a possible affair in the third season of Ragnarok. We are curious to find out if Ragnarok‘s final season will be a faithful adaptation of the source text or if its ending will be something different and unique. As we have noticed in season 2 that Magne’s moral dilemma played a huge role in shaping his character arc, we can speculate that he might not kill the giants in the last season and somehow suggest a truce between gods, giants, and humans, so that they can live in peace and harmony without hurting each other. Let’s see how the third season unfolds and how it brings closure to its characters.