Netflix’s Ragnarok, Season 2…

Netflix’s Ragnarok has been renewed. Yay! ‘Course that means I’ll have to renew my Netflix sub 😛 But, I’ve got time — Ragnarok Season 2 won’t be out until sometime in 2021.

The available promo pics suggest that the four kids will again be the main characters. The shadows obviously hint at who they’ll be (are), but for Saxa and Fjor a spear and axe don’t really narrow the possibilities as to which Jotunn they might be. Warriors, sure, but who?

I thought it’d be interesting to share a bit of what I’m hoping for in S2 as well as what character developments might occur. This post will spoil Season 1, so you’ve been warned. Also, see my review/explication of the references to Norse myth in S1 of the series.

Avoid teh /meh

First up, I hope S2 has less teen angst. I get it, it’s gotta be there (target market, I guess?), but please dial it down. Second, don’t try to make a STATEMENT. The story in S1 kinda hung on “evil Jutul wreck environment,” but it felt clunky and ham-fisted. For me, it was the least original and therefore the least interesting part of S1.

Who’s yer daddy

I suspect that Laurits is Vidar’s son:

  1. Turid and Vidar very obviously had something going on
  2. There’s a greater physical similarity between Vidar and Laurits than Laurits and Magne. That casting has to be deliberate.
  3. WTF was up with that weird leaping, contortionist dance Saxa, Fjor and Laurits engaged in. Some primal Jutul/Jotunn thing? Laurits seemed drawn to it while the other students stood around and watched. Was Laurits drawn to it b/c he was interested in Fjor or for some other reason (ie, he’s half-Jotunn/Jutul). Or both.

(It occurs to me that I don’t remember the show explicitly saying that Saxa and Fjor were the “by-blood” daughter and son of Ran and Vidar, though the physical similarities suggest that they are. But, they could just be acting the parts. Anyone remember?)

It’s not him, it’s me

Snorri refers to Vidar as “the silent god,” which is just cool. Snorri gives him other names, too. And in Grimnismol, Vithar’s land is “filled with growing trees | and high-standing grass….” Padraic Colum plays off of these names (here).

Vidar was my initial inspiration when I started writing these Norse myth-influenced books, mostly b/c of the imagery cited above. As Colum tells it, he is the only god in whom Odin confides his secrets. And, Vidar’s main role (as we know it) is to avenge Odin’s death. Vidar also makes it through Ragnarok.

I took this all and, in my story, planned for Vidar to become the new Odin. Not that he’d be the same as Odin was, but he’d be his father’s son in the way Thor was not. To become that, Vidar would have to have a transformational journey which I could return to either as individual stories or as parts of others.

My second series does (will do?) just that; Vidar acts as a patron deity. A least as it’s written now. That may change just as in DGtS and my forthcoming third book, Vidar lost his POV status b/c the story required it.

So, anyway, I had plans for Vidar…which is partly why I find Vidar being the “big bad” so annoying. The other reason is that the writers/producers of Netflix’s Ragnarok must know Norse myth better than I do, so why would they choose such an important name for the bad guy? There are so many other cool Jotunn names to choose.

(Note: It’s not necessarily the case that Aesir = good and Jotunn = bad. It’s more accurate to say Aesir = order and Jotunn = chaos, but even that’s not quite right. In my books I’m trying to make Aesir & Jotunn both conventionally as good and as bad as my meager talents allow…while also incorporating the mythic roots.)

BUT!

Is there a compelling reason why the writers & producers of the show chose the name Vidar?

Was there a mighty duel (Princess Bride fans rejoice) between father and son? Was that why the big battle happened?

Is that why Odin’s in a motorized wheelchair/scooter? (I wonder if it’s named Sleipnir.)

I’d be okay with a falling out between Odin and Vidar (not that my opinion matters) because the writers/producers would be putting their own twist on the myths rather than appearing to use such a key name out of ignorance.

/end rant

In other names…

I still think that Iman will be the Sif figure. In the myths, Sif is Thor’s wife. Loki cuts off Sif’s black hair. Thor gets angry and makes Loki replace it. Loki goes to the “Sons of Ivaldi” and not only replaces Sif’s hair with tresses of gold, but he brings back other goodies for the Aesir.

In Lokasenna, Loki also says that he and Sif had an affair. But, he said that to most of the women present. Who knows if he was talking sh!t, being truthful and/or saying, obliquely, that he tricked them b/c he’s a shapeshifter.

If Iman is Sif, then alluding to the above or somehow using it could provide some good conflict between the (half) brothers.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Any speculation from other fans of the show?

If you missed my first post on Netflix’s Ragnarok, check it out here. And here’s a more detailed look at who survives Ragnarok, according to the myths.

Stay sanitary; stay healthy.

Finished Netflix’s Ragnarok

One of Netflix’s new (teen) dramas is Ragnarok, set in Edda, Norway. First up, the views of the mountains and fjords are amazing. Second, the series is enjoyable, but gets a little slow and is full of teen angst. It’s watchable, though. And fun.

In this post I focus on the Norse myth stuff I caught while watching — and I will be spoiling the show, so you’ve been warned.

Myth references

All right, here we go. this is from my (crap) memory so when I miss stuff, lemme know! And, btw, there’s definitely some Marvel comics/movies influence going on in the show (imo). Which is fine.

Magne

Magne / Magni is the son of Thor in the myths. At the end of the show — SPOILERS — Magne fights Vidar. Magne brings down the lightning (finally) and blows them both up. It’s unclear whether or not they both die, neither die or only Vidar dies. I don’t know why lightning would kill Magne when he survived getting run over by a snow plow but w/e.

Magne being the SON of Thor is important b/c at the end of the show Wenche (more on her) says something along the lines of “most believe Ragnarok is the end, but it’s actually where it all starts.” There were other references by the Jotunn (the Jutul family) throughout the show to the old gods dying in a big war, maybe some survived b/c the battlefield was chaotic, etc.

Magni (Wrath) and his brother Modi (Mighty) live through Ragnarok. So, Magne’s name makes sense in that context. And it makes sense that he is not Thor. (Thor also had a daughter named Thrud. Will Modi and Thrud make an appearance somehow next season?)

BTW, I SO wanted one of the hammers Magne chucked to come flying back at him.

And, when Magne fights (and kills) the dog Tryme (sp?) — which is possibly a Garm (or Fenrir?) reference — Magne kills the dog by pulling its jaws apart. Which is one of the ways Vidar kills Fenrir. The other way is stabbing thru the mouth with a mighty sword.

Laurits

This is the Loki figure. But here’s where the Marvel comics/movies influence comes in. In the myths, Loki is Thor’s uncle (kinda). In the comics, he’s Thor’s adopted brother.

Laurits in the show appears to be gay (which Magne knows b/c he makes a reference to Laurits being interested in Fjor (Vidar’s son). Laurits does some cross-dressing, goes heavy on the eye-liner and is most definitely a trickster type. Particularly at the end.

Vidar

In the myths, Vidar is Odin’s son by the Jotunn Grid. So, he’s half Jotunn (like most of the Aesir). I was annoyed by the big bad being named Vidar. It’s just not who he is in the myths. Oh well.

Or, is there some other reason why the name Vidar was used that the show will make clear in S2?

Ran

In the myths, Rán is a mysterious goddess of death associated with the sinister aspects of the sea. Her husband in the myths is Aegir who is associated with the life-giving aspects of the ocean. (In my books, Rán and Aegir are the gods revered by my characters. Aegir more by the Aesir; Rán more by the Jotunn.) Cool character.

Jutul

Obviously a reference to the Jotunn. In the show, the Jutuls say they used to be worshipped by humans. The characters in the show have been around for 3,000 years (I think Saxa said that). Saxa at one point asked Vidar if he’d gone “berserk.” It’s a little unclear what “powers” the Jutuls have except for strutting around, flexing and super strength. Their eyes go feral when they channel their Jutul powers or w/e. Weird.

There is a scene — which was fantastic — when the Jutuls have Magne and Laurits over to their house for dinner. It had elements of the Utgarda-Loki myth. Just a great scene. Anyway, Magne arm-wrestled Ran. In his drunken state, Magne saw Ran as (perhaps) she truly is — some old, wrinkly hag thing. And he saw himself as a blood-smeared warrior.

Also, there’s a mummified head laying on the shelf in Vidar’s office. A reference to Mimir?

Fjor & Saxa

Meh. The bullying rich kids. I’m not clear on whether they’re actually the kids of Vidar and Ran or if they’re just pretending to be. And if they are, being 16 for 3K years would suck big time especially if your dad is “old fashioned” and beats you.

And, why haven’t they aged? Saxa could believably not be in high school, but Fjor looks like a punk.

In Old Norse, Saxa means “to cut, chop with a small knife.” She’s aptly named at least — lotta knifeplay from her.

Wenche

I’m not certain if she’s meant to be a chain smoking seer (a vólva), a valkyrie or Frigg. Wenche apparently means something like “friend” in Norwegian. At the end of the show she appears to transform into a raven, which suggests she’s associated with Odin.

My guess is she’s probably a valkyrie. Few reasons:

  1. she’s first seen with Odin (more on him)
  2. she “chooses” Magne by awakening his powers. I’m not clear if she could have awoken Thor-power in anyone or if Magne was the only one who could receive Thor power.
  3. The valkyries were the “choosers of the slain” — the heroes who were taken to Valhol to become the Einherjar. Did Magne die in his fight with Vidar? Is he now an Einherjar? Was he just knocked unconscious? /shrug
  4. Ravens are associated with Odin, as mentioned above.

Old guy in an electric scooter

When Magne et al arrive in Edda, he hops out of the car to help the old dude with an eyepatch in an electric scooter across the road. (Odin has one eye.) Wenche is chain smoking nearby. Great stuff.

Other stuff

There’s a scene where the new girl, Iman, sits down next to Magne out on the field. The scene sticks out for two reasons.

First, it parallels how Isolde and Magne met almost exactly, so it must be deliberate. Second, Iman says: she’s such a fake (referring to Saxa) and then says something like “maybe you and I can make Edda better.”

Is this girl going to be a Sif character? Sif had black hair before Loki cut it off. Sif was Thor’s wife…will this girl be Magne’s love interest in season 2?

Turid is the mother of Magne & Laurits. According to babynames, Turid is derived from Thor which means ‘thunder, thunder god’ ; fridr ‘peace, beautiful, fair’

Turid seems to have had a fling with Vidar way back in the day. Is the implication that Magne is Vidar’s kid? Or Laurits?

Why were Magne and Laurits cast to be so physically dissimilar? Conscious choice, I assume, but why? Different fathers in the show? A nod toward the Marvel comics depictions of Thor and Loki?

Erik, Isolde’s father, is several times shown wearing a shirt with “Parsifal” on it. Why? Isolde is primarily from Tristan & Isolde. Parsifal is a German spelling of Percival and refers to that knight. Why were those names used? Is Erik just a dirtbag? Did the costume change person fall down on the job? Continuity errors? Dunno.

Finally, Old Norse is spoken multiple times in the show by the Jutuls. It’s not translated, which I assume means that the language is also strange to the people in the show. Hopefully that’s the idea. Also, each show quotes the myths and/or provides some explication regarding mythic figures. Cool to show the roots like that.

That’s all I’ve got for now. What did I miss?

Would you yet know more? See my recent post on what mythic references may lie in wait for us in Season 2 of Netflix’s Ragnarok (it’ll be out sometime in 2021).

Links!

Click here to buy Kinsmen Die, book one (of three) in my series.

Click here to pre-order Dark Grows the Sun, book two (of three) in my series that brings you into the minds of the gods of Norse Myths.

Less Random Thoughts on Infinity Wars

Stormbreaker belongs to Beta Ray Bill! If he’d had it, then he wouldn’t have been a face on the Grandmaster’s tower!

*ahem* Spoilers.

Full disclosure: I saw all of the following in my first go-round with the movie but elected not to write about them. I thought that maybe I was being hyper-critical. But on the 2nd go-round I was just as annoyed as during the first viewing.

So, here goes.

Thanos

Thanos’s plan is still stupid. In talking to Gamora he says something along the lines of: twenty years ago, I murdered half your planet’s people. Now it’s a paradise.

His next line should be: And I’ll be going back to wipe out another 50% when they start consuming too many resources again.

Or maybe: When I get the 6th McGuffin, I will wipe out 50% of those who remain on your planet which means I won’t have to go back there for a much longer period of time. Gosh, I hope I’m still alive by then!

Or, wait, is Thanos immortal? Gamora should ask: So, Daddy, just how many resources have YOU consumed in your long life? Hmm? What about the planet of the Groot you wiped out to make all that quilty smooth Charmin? We’ll send that old dude from those ancient commercials after you….

And why is it half? Why not kill 80%? 90%? Burn ’em down to minimum viable population? Presumably any of those options would preserve still more resources. But, I guess 50% just rolls off the tongue better.

Gamora and Thanos

Thanos has a spaceship. And a cool teleport power. Why didn’t he and Gamora just teleport to the top of the mountain where the soulstone was kept by Tantalus? Er, Red Skull.

I don’t mind the “must sacrifice something you love” trope, only how dense Gamora was in the moment. For such a savvy character, why didn’t she see it coming?

I get that she doesn’t think Thanos loves anyone so what happens in the movie makes sense from that perspective, but we also know that she loves (and hates) Thanos.

Consider that Tantalus said that to gain the soulstone you had to sacrifice something you love. (Or maybe Tantalus said “what you love most?” I don’t recall exactly.)

Since Gamora loves Thanos and b/c she’s so savvy, what if she was just slightly quicker on the uptake than Thanos and uses that microsecond to try shoving him over the edge? And let’s say she almost gets him, but he uses the power of the McGuffins to screw with reality thus gaining the upper hand and realizing his goal.

Does that rob the scene of weepy Thanos? Or does he remain sad/grieving because he loves Gamora all the more for fighting so damn hard. She is a firecracker, right?

I don’t know if my scenario would’ve worked better or not, but imo its truer to her character than what does transpire. A little tinkering with the prior scenes could’ve set up all of the above.

Thor

As enjoyable as his scenes with the rabbit were, I’m annoyed that he survives the blast of a neutron star but gets his ass kicked by Thanos. Does that mean Thanos is as powerful as a neutron star? Or is the plot convenience more powerful still?

And when the heck did Thor get *that* strong? He got pounded by the Hulk like 5 seconds ago…and Hela….

And did Thanos really leave Thor to die in the purple fire? Really? Why didn’t he wring his neck like Loki? (Who died in a really dumb way.) Moreover, you’re telling me that Thor doesn’t know the difference between a rabbit and raccoon? Really?

And when Thor takes Beta Ray Bill’s rightful weapon, plot-point-dropping Eitri says that the weapon oh-so-conveniently incorporates the power of the Bifrost.

(Many sentences start with “and.”)

So…why does Thor go to Wakanda to battle the zerglings? And, for that matter, how did Thor know to go there?

And if he knew to go to Wakanda, why didn’t he also know to go to Titan to fight Thanos? If he’d gone there, he could’ve gotten the glove off.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seemed like those two fights were happening at roughly the same time.

The Fight on Titan

Starlord’s “loss of control” when Gamora’s death was revealed to him felt forced either b/c of the acting or the writing or both or b/c the business plan required Thanos to not lose in the first movie.

Wouldn’t it have been cooler if, sure, Starlord goes ballistic but instead says: “Let me help you get that effing glove off so I can kick his ass man to scrotum-chin.”

But b/c Mothra is tickling Thanos’s memories the Mad Titan realizes what’s happening thanks to his grief being so powerful. So Thanos bellows, “Get out of my mind!”, regains his control and beats the piss out of everyone.

But when he says “get out of my mind” he has to say it in the exact same way as the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother says it to Paul Muad’dib in Dune (the movie).

IMO, you get the same result with my half-assed scenario above w/o the “er, what?” record stop noise.

The Fight in the Blue Bubble of Stargate: Atlantis

And, to wrap up my Negative Nancy-ness, the whole battle scene in Wakanda was just dumb.

They make a big show of forming up ranks only to raggedly charge a force that greatly outnumbers them? That makes no sense to me.

Sure it allows the heroes to have some individual moments but those are yawningly predictable. Guess what, they win!

Why not have the bad guys break the shield wall and the heroes rally the troops to reform the wall. And…spoiler…why didn’t the bad guys just pummel Wakanda from orbit with very small rocks a la The Expanse (and Monty Python).

And, sure, Thor looks cool being the lightning and wielding his now over-sized hammer (Freud much?) but his actions on the battlefield are literally sound and fury signifying…nothing.

Someday, somehow, I will write a book with equally glaring errors and make a similar amount of cash as Infinity War.

Or, maybe I’m just being hyper-critical. After all, the movie was, on the whole, enjoyable.

Thoughts?

Random Thoughts on: Extinction

I’m of course referring to the Netflix movie Extinction not species extinction. But, both are bad.

And I’ve apparently turned into a movie “reviewer” since I stopped writing (again) b/c my family and I moved into a new house. Last. Time. Ever.

What follows might spoil the movie so, if you care, move along…or, because I like Michael Peña, “back it up, just back it up.”

 

Last warning. 🙂

 

So, Extinction was “meh.” The first ~30 minutes were brutally heavy-handed and boring. I contemplated giving up on it, but I literally had nothing better to do and I was hoping that Michael Peña might take it up a notch. But, maybe the script just wasn’t there? Or the directing? I dunno. Either way…. “boh-ring,” as Homer Simpson might say.

Also, Luke Cage was a totally wasted opportunity. Speaking of…I should “review” Season 2 of Luke Cage, which I never finished, because I got bored and tired of all the stupidity in that show. I bailed on Ep 13 (the final episode) b/c I just didn’t care anymore. But, I really like that actor (Mike Colter) so I gritted my teeth for 12 episodes and I suppose I’ll watch #13 eventually. If those Marvel/Netflix shows had fewer episodes I don’t think they’d bog down quite as much.

With respect to Extinction, I was glad I stuck it out b/c of the twist about halfway through. I didn’t see it coming, either because the Hammer of Boring had flattened my brain or (more likely) they successfully pulled a fast one on me. Kudos.

After that twist, I was a little annoyed at some of the trickery that had been used up till that point. Specifically, the cracked space helmet, the way one of the bad guys moved and the look of the space suits themselves.

It was the look of the space suits themselves that I think was most annoying. Felt cheap. And I didn’t buy the (lame) explanation for it.

But, that twist was the movie’s bright spot. And it’s worth thinking about how foreshadowing and twists/reveals can be similarly executed in my own writing. But better, natch. 😉

Random Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp

Now that was a fun movie! I took my kids to see it and we were all laughing. Great action sequences, good acting, fast-paced, clever touches. The animations for the shrinking and growing was impressive. As was how smartly and cleverly Ant-Man and the Wasp use their tech.

NO spoilers ahead.

If at first you don’t succeed…

First off, even though my writer’s block is hanging around smokin cigs and flicking them at me, the writerly part of my brain really appreciated the movie’s use of:

  • try-fail cycles
  • the “yes, but; no, and” technique.

If you don’t know what those are, here’s a good summary. I don’t use either of those techniques half as well as I should. The movie gave me some really concrete examples of how to do it.

As an aside, Ant-Man and the Wasp sounds like an Agatha Christie book…or that Doctor Who episode with Agatha Christie.

Quite the Sting

I enjoyed Evangeline Lily’s performance (I’m not a huge fan, typically). Kudos to her acting and the script. No “damsels in a dress” going on there.

As my daughter put it: “You don’t mess with the girl!”

A Ghost of a Villain

Really interesting how the Ghost played out, at least to my writerly brain. Any guesses as to why?

Also, the decision made by a buddy of the Ghost threw me out of the movie for a bit. But, hey, it was kinda minor.

And as with all Marvel movies, make sure to stick around for at least the first credit scene. The second one…meh.

 

The image is a red panda yawning. I did say my thoughts would be random.