🇳🇴 RAGNAROK 🇳🇴
RAGNAROK Season 2 ~ A Norwegian Netflix Original show co-created by Adam Price (Borgen, Ride Upon the Storm) and Emilie Lebech Kaae (both Danes). Season 2 has 6 x 47-54 min episodes. 15 Cert U.K. Norwegian and Old Norse. Available with subtitles and dubbing.
“In the small fictional town of Edda coming of age people are forced to respond to climate changes. The ice caps are melting at a rate no one had anticipated. People go through long periods of drought. The winters are too warm. More and more frequently, people experience extreme cold bursts. In all ways extreme weather conditions. The world is changing, and some might claim that we’re heading towards a new Ragnarok. Unless someone intervenes in time.” IMDb
David Stakston as Magne
Jonas Strand Gravli as Laurits
Herman Tømmeras as Fjor
Theresa Frostad Eggesbø as Saxa
Synnøve Macody Lund as Ran
Henriette Steenstrup as Turid
Jeppe Beck Laursen as Radio Host
Emma Bones as Gry
Gísli Örn Garðarsson as Vidar
Tani Dibasey as Oscar
Kornelia Eline Skogseth as Hilde
Odd-Magnus Williamson as Erik
Danu Sunth as Iman
Bjørn Sundquist as Wotan
Benjamin Helstad as Harry
Espen Sigurdsen as Halvor
Director: Mogens Hegedorn
Writers: Emilie Lebech Kaae Adam Price
Creators: Emilie Lebech Kaae & Adam Price
Cinematographer: Niels A. Hansen
Composer: Halfdan E
Sound Designer: Claus Lynge
Sound Editors: Rune Kristiansen & Hans Christian Arnt Torp
Editors: Lars Wissing & Elin Pröjts
A useful reference for Norse beliefs and mythology:
Each episode starts with a caption, it is worth pausing on these if you need more time to read them carefully.
Adam Price is the Danish writer (English name, historical reasons) who co-created Ragnarok. He also created hit shows such as Borgen and Ride Upon the Storm (Herrens veje). Emilie Lebech Kaae and he worked together on Ride Upon the Storm before Ragnarok.
⚠️ This review contains some spoilers ⚠️
First a bit of background: I watched series 1 of Ragnarok on the back of being a big fan of the writer Adam Price’s shows and a love of all things Norwegian. I was not disappointed, I found the story engaging, good acting and impressive visuals and music. I was certainly keen to watch the next series. Would this show continue to engage me and most importantly what on earth would happen next? (See a link to a short non-spoiler review at the end of this review).
The casting for this show is perfect! Not only great actors but when there’s a family resemblance required… there it is. (It’s Dark level casting for anyone familiar with that show).
David Stakston impresses as Magne who we know by now is Thor. Things are not plain sailing for poor Magne this season (are they ever?) David conveys all the inner turmoil of a young man who is struggling with the demands placed upon him and what he has done which collides with his moral compass.
He has all the demands of an ordinary teenager with a whole heap of extraordinary pressures on top. We see him reject the role he has been given but eventually coming to realise that this is a fight between good and evil and that he must take up his hammer and fully commit. Not being able to defend himself but more importantly, others is what drives him to accept the responsibility.
The standout performance in Ragnarok season 2 is, for me, that of Jonas Strand Gravli as Laurits who most viewers of series 1 will have gathered is Loki. Honestly, Laurits gets THE best lines in this show, and I especially love the ones he delivers to his poor, adorable mother (often accompanied with “the look”). This young actor has enormous range and screen presence! He is often laugh out loud funny, the perfect Loki in this respect. It was lovely to see him produce a pet!! Many a parent can probably sympathise with a mother who doesn’t want creepy pets in their son’s bedroom but this is a whole different level of “pet”!
Laurits has an equally hard time of it being so very different from so many in this small town. He wears makeup, listens to different music, is madly attracted to the guy who works in the local fast food outlet, and happens to be the son of a giant! Not only a giant but the giant Vidar. The scenes where father and son have bonding time are so well played and touching (in a somewhat world-dominating way). Just as Magne we see Laurits come to a full realisation of what and who he is. There is an amazing scene where he looks into the bathroom mirror and sees his true, ancient self. And the thing about Loki is that you never really know how much you can trust him…
Picking up a thread on both Magne/Thor, I loved that their mother unreservedly loves her boys. One of the strongest aspects of Ragnarok Season 2 is that although it is about frost giants and gods and a fight to save the world, nothing in it is unrelatable to ordinary life. The boys struggle with finding their place in the world, not fitting in, being from a poor family, finding out secrets (Laurits finds out a massive secret!), jealousy, grief, rejection etc.
The frost giants have a complicated and dysfunctional “family” relationship. They too struggle, with feelings (not feelings I hear you cry). Gísli Örn Garðarsson as Vidar conveys exactly the right level of creepiness and a very real physical threat. It was fantastic to see his reaction to being a real father (none of his other children are actually his) and how he bonds with Laurits. As with Laurits we never really know how much he does genuinely and how much to nurture an ally with a foot in the other camp. What is clear though is that Laurits is devastated when (and how, why) his newly found father dies.
The casting of Herman Tømmeras as Fjor is sensational because as we see his character develop he ends up looking so like Vidar it is uncanny. You would think they could be father and son. Saxa is another interesting character as is Ran, both have strengths and weaknesses and inner turmoil. Once again although the overriding aspect in Ragnarok is that none of their inner conflicts are any different from those of people in real life.
Ragnarok season 2’s supporting cast and characters are fantastic! Established characters such as Wenche have important roles to play. We also have new players introduced, and they are properly introduced and as with the rest of the story believably within “real life”. Wotan is an elderly gentleman with one eye who is in a wheelchair, Halvor (a “dwarf”) works in the same nursing home as does Iman, who has her own charms. We meet Harry in a car mechanics’ shop when the mum’s car breaks down. From there we see him try and make Magne a hammer and then being “the one who never gives up” even when fighting a superior foe in the ring. Of course, he becomes besotted with Iman and vice versa, this is another dynamic duo. We know that the blacksmith needs to lose an arm and yes, of course, that happens.
Before concluding this review of Ragnarok season 2 I want to touch upon the fantastic writing and other aspects of production. This is a very well written piece of television. The characters are developed well, the dialogue is often sizzling, it is extremely funny and also deeply touching. It has an honesty and heart about it and this pervades the whole show. The cinematography is fabulous and the setting very much figures visually. The sound design is outstanding! If you can watch this with decent headphones or a sound system do it, you will not regret it. The music, both the original score and the soundtrack, is used very effectively and intelligently, always enhancing, never intruding, distracting, spoiling or breaking the moment.
I unhesitatingly loved Ragnarok season 2! This is one classy production with creative integrity and is full of fabulous performances. The storyline whilst being about gods and frost giants and the end of times is always relatable to real-life troubles and concerns, conflicts and passions… I unreservedly recommend watching this TV show on Netflix.