Ragnarok lets Gods clash with Giants, symbols of injustice and climate change.
Ragnarok is a new Norwegian Netflix Original, a supernatural young adult drama that tackles climate change, social issues, injustice and abuse of power. However not in a preachy way, like some series or films tend to do. It puts the finger on the sore spot without judging humankind, but uses instead mythology to symbolize power, injustice and the battle for justice and nature. The story intertwines the personal story of a young man with important contemporary issues that concern us all.
This season consists of 6 episodes with a duration of 39-48 minutes. It’s therefore an ideal show for binge-watching. The appealing style and storytelling adds to this binge-watch material. It’s strongly recommended to watch this series with the original Norwegian audio and subtitles in your own language, if possible, for an ultimate watch.
Magne moves with his mother Turid and brother Laurits back to his former hometown Edda. On arrival something strange starts happening to Magne, he’s stronger, controls the weather, but he discovers that there’s also something strange going on in Edda, especially with the climate which is messed-up. He’s set on a mission to expose those responsible and to resolve the death of his new friend Isolde. This sets in motion the ancient battle between Gods and Giants, order and chaos, called Ragnarok, starting the end of the world.
Why you should watch it
Many modern series are bound to get in on current social issues, climate change, gender issues, feminism, racism, abuse of power, injustice, but not all of them get the tone right. Mostly it’s done in a preachy way or harsh way that points the finger to all of us,destroying humankind, the earth, making us all feel small and evil. Nobody likes to be confronted with what he/she is doing wrong, especially when we don’t always have the means or power to change anything. It gets the message across in a wrong way, antagonizing people, and in doing so, turning them away from doing good.
But Ragnarok approaches climate change in a different way. It uses the Norse mythology of Ragnarok, the battle between the Gods and Giants, who symbolize the fighters for justice, nature, and equality against those giant multinationals who are in control of power and refuse to take responsibility. Although the message may be not very subtle, it’s not done in a condescending manner.
Those metaphors work very well, mainly because the story about the young people of Edda is not forgotten. The story is key and gets the main attention. The focus is on Magne, his lonely battle for justice, those who believe he is crazy, those who support him, those who oppose him and others who start to doubt their ways.
Ragnarok is therefore a young adult drama with an important message which uses the supernatural to fortify the story and make it more interesting, always lingering in the background. But there is room for a light tone as well, with some small comical moments, which bring in some welcome humor.
This series really connects with the new generation who’s aware of what’s going on and that change is needed. This is subtly set into the series as well, as Turid mainly stuffs herself with meat, junkfood and candy, not giving a damn, only caring about her kids in the here and now.
The series has a great setting, for Norway is beautiful, and the cinematography is nicely done and the music fits the scenes very well. It has a pleasant pace, some mystery, likable characters who are interesting, an intriguing setup and a fierce clash in the final episode.
My favorite part
As the story progresses and Magne asks more and more questions about the people in power, he’s suppressed by people who should protect him, believe him or support him. Parents, family, school and friends turn against him, afraid to speak up, or because they think it’s fine the way things are going.
It’s not only an example of how people who are concerned with the big issues in life are treated, but it is relatable for many people in a more personal way, when you are different than others. Step in line, act normal, don’t asks difficult questions, or otherwise you get set aside, out of your peer group or society or you’re being treated with medication to keep you in line, to be normal.
It’s not only hard on Magne, but also hard to watch. It’s sad and upsetting. I think it’s a powerful message within a good story that speaks to the new generation. Especially when he gets support from friends and supposed enemies. It’s powerful and gives the story an epic feel.
Drama factor: ★★★☆☆
Entertainment factor: ★★★★☆
Cast and crew
Ragnarok is created by Adam Price. It stars David Stakston (Magne), Jonas Strand Gravli (Laurits), Herman Tømmeraas (Fjor), Theresa Frostad Eggesbø (Saxa), Emma Bones (Gry), Henriette Steenstrup (Turid), Gísli Örn Garðarsson (Vidar), Synnøve Macody Lund (San), Odd-Magnus Williamson (Erik) and Ylva Njørkaas Thedin (Isolde).
Music: Halfdan E. Cinematography: Philippe Kress. Production company: SAM Productions. Original network: Netflix.