Review: Season Two of Ragnarok

By John Ruberry

Late last week Season Two of Ragnarok began streaming on Netflix. The Norwegian series presents a modern telling of the ultimate battle, Ragnarök, between the Norse gods and their enemies, the jötunn, evil deities who are usually called giants in English. It is set in the fictional small fjord town of Edda, which is being poisoned by the town’s largest employer, Jutul Industries. The company is run by Vidar Jutul (Gísli Örn Garðarsson), the head of the jötunn quasi-family. His wife, Ran (Synnøve Macody Lund), is the principal of Edda High School, which Magne Seier (David Stakson) and his brother, Laurits (Jonas Strand Gravli), attend. Also students there are two other Jutuls, Saxa (Theresa Frostad Eggesbø) and Fjor (Herman Tømmeraas).

In Season One, my DTG review is here, teenager Magne suspects he is the rebirth of Thor. Yes, he’s another “chosen one.” In the final episode of that season, while Laurits humiliates Ran in a public address, Magne confronts Vidar in a battle. 

The second season picks up where the first ends. Somewhat diminished this season is the teen love anxiety–while the Norse mythology is elevated. There are few scenes at the high school. So there is a bit less of a Twilight feel this time around.

Laurits is a prankster so if you know a little bit about the Norse gods, you should have suspected in the first season that he is a modern representation of Loki, the mischievous god. Reluctantly and by happenstance, as Jake and Elwood did in The Blues Brothers, Magne is “putting the back back together,” and that includes Wotan Wagner (Bjørn Sundquist), Edda’s Odin, and Harry (Benjamin Helstad) as the militaristic god Týr. Edda is multicultural, so it’s not surprising that an immigrant from Sri Lanka, Iman (Danu Sunth), achieves goddess status as Frigg, a clairvoyant.

The powers–and the alliances–of the gods and the jötunn as told in Norse mythology are complicated–as they are here. So are the romances, particularly the one with Fjor and a human, Gry (Emma Bones).

According to the myths Loki was a shape shifter–that is not shown here–and some of those tales of the trickster god involve gender fluidity. Laurits is unsure of his gender–but more certain of his sexuality. Oh, there is also a brief sensual scene with two women.

All through Season Two the government is investigating the environmental devestatation Jutul Industries brings to Edda–as well as the company’s financial improprieties. 

Magne and Laurits’ mother, Turid (Henriette Steenstrup), does her best in keeping the family together while struggling with poverty and of course, raising two teen sons who are conflicted gods. 

The final episode, the sixth–Season One is also consists just six entries–brings forth another climactic confrontation. The door is open for a third season of Ragnarok and I’ll be back if there is. Although to be honest I probably would have lost interest during Season One has their not been a mythological foundation for the series. As of this writing Ragnarok is a Top Ten series on Netflix.

The streaming service gives viewers the option of watching Ragnarok in dubbed English or in Norwegian with English subtitles. There are also some passages, dubbed of course, in Old Norse. 

Season Two of Ragnarok is rated TV-MA because of foul language (and gasp!) smoking. In reality the series is more like a PG-13 movie in regards to possibly objectionable content. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Humor and politics

By Christopher Harper

Dick Tuck was a political operative I met in the 1970s in Washington, D.C., and I later reconnected with him in the 1990s in New York City.

During his years as a campaign aide to the Democratic National Committee, Tuck became Richard Nixon’s nemesis.

In 1962, Tuck worked for Pat Brown in the gubernatorial campaign that Nixon tried to win after losing the presidential race to JFK two years earlier.

At a fundraiser in Chinatown in Los Angeles, Nixon was confused when the guests started to smile during his presentation. Tuck had snuck in fortune cookies that read: “Vote for Pat Brown.” During a whistle-stop campaign, Tuck ordered the train to start moving in the middle of Nixon’s speech. Nixon even complained about Tuck in the infamous Watergate tapes.

Whatever the case, Tuck brought humor to campaigns—a device sadly missing in today’s venomous political scene.

Rand Paul brought back memories of Dick Tuck when the Kentucky senator brought some humor to Washington during a speech about wasteful spending.

To make his points, Paul displayed several poster boards about specific research projects that he said taxpayers would be astounded to know their tax dollars were funding.

Among the projects he highlighted were: $357,000 to study “Cocaine and Risky Sex Habits of Quail” and $1.6 million for researching “Lizards on a Treadmill.”

One poster board featured legendary singer Dolly Parton to highlight that Uncle Sam is spending $250,000 to send “kids in Pakistan to Space Camp and Dollywood.” Another claimed the National Science Foundation spent $700,000 to figure out whether astronaut Neil Armstrong said: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” or “One small step for ‘a’ man.”

Paul said Americans might be alarmed by such frivolous studies, but it happens routinely “because we never vote for less money. It’s always more. Somebody’s got to point out that the waste and abuse of money goes on.”

Paul’s hilarious and poignant rant reminded me of U.S. Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin and his Golden Fleece Award, which he gave to public officials squandering public money in the 1970s and 1980s.

I hope that Paul continues the tradition of humor in politics, which seems far more effective than the vitriol we’ve seen in recent years.

The Indulgence Calendar

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

This is the post I had planned to go up at datechguyblog.com on Monday before everything crashed and burned. I put it up on the backup site “datechguyblog.wordpress.com” but now that I’m back up it’s here

Today I’m launching a Catholic Devotional aid that I mentioned a few days ago on the site called The Indulgence Calendar.

Many people going to Mass weekly and even many who go daily are aware that these indulgences are available and quite a few might already be doing prayers and devotions that carry an indulgences but because they are not declaring their desire and/or intention to earn these indulgences they are not obtained.

The idea is that if you are a daily mass person you can make it a point to earn an indulgence each day for a different departed soul (or multiple souls if you earn multiple indulgences). A weekly mass person can earn indulgences for at least one person a week or if a family unit goes they can cover some of the daily folk that they might miss.

On a local level my goal is to earn an indulgence for every person who has ever died in my parish, particularly those who have been dead for a while and have been forgotten. If you decide to adopt this idea as your own for your own community you can do the same.

Each day on the calendar looks like this:

I will be making such calendars available each month. The one for June which is being used by WQPH 89.3 FM is here and below. For those unsure of the rules on earning an indulgence the 2nd page of the Calendar has the complete norms on indulgences I am repeating it here for those who which to have them handy online:

Indulgence Norms and notes

  1. Communion on the day of an indulgence. This can be applied to any amount of indulgences that day.
  2. Confession within 20 days of the day of an indulgence. Applies to all indulgences during that period
  3. Prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (an Our Father, Hail Mary or any appropriate prayer) once per day of indulgence.
  4. To earn an indulgence you must be in a state of grace (no unconfessed mortal sin) at the time of the indulgenced act.
  5. Indulgences can only be applied to the dead or to the person earning the indulgence. They can not be applied to any other living person.
  6. For a PLENARY indulgence you must have NO attachment to sin. If such an attachment exists the indulgence earned is only partial.
  7. A plenary indulgence can only be earned one a day (expect if death is imminent), there is no limits to partial indulgences daily.
  8. An indulgence attached to a feast day is still valid if the feast day is transferred lawfully.
  9. A specific day’s indulgence requiring a visit to a particular church or oratory can be made from noon the previous day to midnight on the actual day.
  10. No unbaptized person nor any Christian who is currently under the penalty of excommunication may earn an indulgence.
  11. You must ACTIVELY seek and or state your intention to obtain an indulgence for the act or prayer that carries it to be valid.

Prayers & Acts that carry an indulgence (Partial list) All indulgences partial unless BOLD UNDERLINED

Prayers

The Actiones Nostras, Act of faith hope and Love, Any Devout Mental Prayer, Adsumus, Adoro te Devote, Prayer to St. Joseph, Prayer of Thanksgiving, The Angelus, Domine Deus Omnipotens, Spiritual Communion, The Apostles Creed, Angels Dei, The Niceane Creed, The office for the dead, Any approved Litanies, Psalm 130, Iesu Dulcissime Redemptor, Ave Maria Stella, Maria Mater Gratiae, Exaudi Nos, O Sacrum Convivium, Prayer for the Pope, Prayer for the Dead, Psalm 51, Sub tuum praesidium, Prayer for Benefactors, Angel of God Prayer, Te Deum, Public Novenas for Pentecost Christmas or the Feast or the Immaculate Conception, Tantum Ergo, Prayer for Vocations, The Sign of the Cross, Sancta Maria Succurre Miseris, The Magnificat, Vista Quaesumus Domine, Act of Contrition (expect during Sacramental Confession), Prayer to St Michael, Chaplet of St Michael, Come Holy Spirit, Prayer before a Crucifix Plenary if done after communion Friday in Lent, Five decades of the Rosary Plenary if done in a family, religious community or Pious association, The Stations of the Cross Moving from Station to Station (unless physically unable to do so)

Actions that carry an indulgence

  • Making a Pious invocation raising your mind to god while performing the duties of life
  • Devoting yourself or your goods in compassionate service to your brothers in need
  • Voluntarily abstaining from something that is licit & pleasing in the spirit of penitence
  • Adoration of the blessed Sacrament Plenary if done for a half hour or more
  • Reading the scriptures Plenary if done for a half hour or more
  • Teaching Christian Doctrine
  • Visiting a church on All Souls day (Nov 2)
  • Going on a religious retreat for 3 or more days
  • Use a blessed religious object Plenary if blessed by a Pope & used on the Feast of Sts Peter & Paul
  • Visiting a Parish Church on the Feast day of its Saint(s) or on Aug 2nd (say Our Father & Creed)
  • Attending the 1st Mass of a newly ordained priest or his jubilee mass (25th 50th or 60th anniversary)
  • Visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead (Plenary if done from Nov 1st through Nov 8th)

Praying for the dead is not only a spiritual work of mercy but spiritual exercise of this type tend to fortify one’s own soul so I would encourage you to disseminate this far and wide,

Perhaps that’s why everything crashed and burned on my primary site the day this was supposed to go up.