Noob Reviews: Ragnarok (Season 01)
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Ragnarok?
Released for the first time as a Netflix original series, earlier this year, Ragnarok is a Norwegian show that sees the Seier family (Magne, his brother Laurtis and mum Turid) return to their hometown of Edda. Which is a fictional town located in Hordaland, Western Norway. After having left a few years previously when their father (and husband) died in a tragic accident.
However, after a brief, mysterious encounter with a resident (Wenche), Magne begins to undergo changes as he has dormant gifts within him unlocked - superhuman strength, speed and near invulnerability. Not to mention a curious ability to summon lightning and bend it to his will when his emotions run high. Luckily for Magne, these gifts will not be wasted as Edda is also home to a family of Jötunn (frost giants). Who have been working behind the scenes for many a century, building their influence, embedding themselves in the community. And poisoning the very lands on which the town is built - with no concern for the lives of the human populace. Causing numerous deaths and severe medical afflictions to befall many of those that live in Edda.
It is not long before our newfound hero, yet to discover the limits of his powers. Comes head to head with the Jötunn and must fight not only for the safety of his family and friends but to secure the very soul of Edda and protect its innocent locals from the schemes of the Jötunn.
What is the first season about?
The first season of Ragnarok introduces us to the Seier family, and the Jötunn, who live among the humans as the highly respected Jutul family. A family who own the fifth most powerful business empire in Norway and disguise themselves as humans to conceal their true identities.
Unfortunately what already starts as a challenging transition of moving home and starting a new school. Sees Magne befriend a green activist named Isolde who stumbles upon one of the Jutul’s many secrets, buried in the glaciers above Edda, a secret that costs her her life. As Magne’s newfound powers begin to evolve and flourish and he takes up Isolde’s work, becoming a green activist himself. Magne starts to follow in Isolde’s footsteps and soon comes across not only the same secret Isolde discovered but even more sinister schemes too, which puts him firmly in the Jutul’s crosshairs.
Whether it be trials, failed assassination attempts or direct physical threats - Vidar (the Jutul’s father) becomes more and more threatened and insecure about Magne as he studies him. And we find Vidar pushing the family continuously into a state of open war with Magne, rousing the warrior instincts within his daughter (Saxa) to demand the same. Whereas his wife (Ran) and son (Fjor) prefer a more subtle and indirect approach to dealing with Magne. Which puts the two sides of the family at loggerheads with each other on how to confront this unexpected (and ultimately unknown) threat. Who is Magne? What is he truly capable of? And why has he appeared in Edda now?
In addition to the introduction to the two families, friends and supporting cast (such as teachers, local law enforcement and the mysterious Wotan and Wenche). Some of the accompanying subplots include:
A blossoming relationship between Gry and Magne’s rival Fjor.
A blossoming relationship between Magne’s mum Turid and his teacher Erik (Isolde’s father).
A brief look (that will hopefully be explored a lot more thoroughly in seasons to come) at the history of the Jötunn and their war with the Norse gods.
As you can tell, there are many storylines, both with the main plot and subplots - to get your teeth into. And with both an English dubbed version and authentic Norwegian audio version with English subtitles, there are so many ways to enjoy the show.
Do you have a trailer or trailers to show us?
- The official trailer linked from Netflix’s YouTube channel -
Alternatively, you can also find Ragnarok on Netflix here.
When was Ragnarok released?
The first season of Ragnarok was released in January this year (2020).
How many episodes are there?
For the first season, there are a total of six episodes with each having an average run time of around forty-four minutes.
Has a second season been confirmed?
A second season has not only been confirmed but has already begun filming. However, due to the current climate in 2020, the release date is to be confirmed.
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
For a full cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think of Ragnarok?
Ragnarok is admittedly something I have been sleeping on and can not believe I have waited until now to watch as I found it fantastic and was immediately googling to find out when season two may be getting released.
When it comes to the story, it is a fascinating culmination of good versus evil in the modern world, yet the forces fighting are as old as time itself. Magne (who as you may be able to tell is the incarnation of Thor) and the frost giants. One of the fantastic story arcs is seeing the giants who used to be worshipped before the Norse gods came along and made them irrelevant, stopping the people who revered them as gods from worshipping them and carrying out sacrifices in their name. Finding ways to adapt, survive and grow in an era of social media, high school popularity and business superiority. And yet still feel threatened the moment they realise the old gods may be returning to stop them. I really really hope we get to see more Norse gods in the next series as there are already hints of Odin being around town in modern-day Edda and Magne’s brother (Laurits) would make a fantastic Loki.
With regards to the casting, from start to finish the casting was fantastic. Whether it be Magne as the nervous and shy student, green warrior or fledgeling hero realising what must be done to defend Edda. He pulls off his many roles well. The Jutul are also fantastically portrayed on all fronts. And I really did start to love Isolde and her passion for the world around here even though she had a short screen time compared to all of the other actors. This mixed with the delivery of their lines and a thrilling script, really do make the show a lot more immersive and make you actually care about the story arcs and plot points. Which, although you may think you know where they are going, will often surprise you and throw you many curveballs with the apparent answers very rarely being the right ones. For example, the possibility that the death of Magne’s father may not have been as ‘accidental’ as everyone first thought. But I am basing this purely off of a voice line delivered by Vidar in the last episode.
Last but not least, I thoroughly enjoyed Ragnarok for its special effects. Breathtaking outdoor locations. And the complex web of plots and believe this really did up the entertainment value which is not something I say lightly as I often try to pick faults with things from a critic’s point of view and found very few issues with Ragnarok’s first season. And the problems I did have are daft, like Isolde dying, inconsistencies between vocal lines and closed captions and the fact there were only six episodes. I needed more damn it, feed my new addiction!
What rating would you give Ragnarok (Season 01)?
I would rate Ragnarok’s first season as a marvellous 5 out of 5 bananas.
Overall a fantastic watch that only really begins to show its hand towards the end of the season, yet when it does, it answers so many niggling queries. And lays a solid groundwork on which to build the second season. Whether you are looking for a touch of Norse mythology, a well thought out and beautifully scripted story. Wonderous vistas. Or balanced and carefully curated story arcs, Ragnarok has something for everyone. And as I mentioned before, you can enjoy it in many different languages, or in its original Norwegian with subtitles, making it accessible to a wide range of viewers.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in Ragnarok and would like to check the first season out for yourself, to form your own opinion. You can check it out on Netflix here.