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1001 Ragnarok Guiseppe Mondi
Added on 09th August 2020

Oral Tradition Norse myth

Myths and legends

The dramatic story of the great battle at the end of the world.


Ragnarok is the story of the events leading to the end of the world, the great battle between gods and giants.

Why we chose it

Ragnorok brings the great Norse cycle of myths to a dramatic finish.

Where it came from

The poems and myths which tell the stories of the Norse gods and giants were told orally by poets and storytellers for many centuries before they were first written down in the 13th century in one of two manuscripts. The first, known as the Prose Edda, was written by Snorri Sturluson. He wrote to preserve the stories of the Icelandic skalds (or court poets). A section of it tells the story of Gyfli the king of the Swedes who visits Asgard, home of the gods, where the gods tell him tales about the beginning of the world, the adventures of the gods and what will happen when the world ends. The second manuscript, known as the Poetic Edda, is a collection of poems by unknown authors, which date back earlier than the skaldic poetry (to 800-1100AD) and are generally dramatic mythological poems.

Ragnarok appears in both the Poetic and Prose Edda.

Where it went next

The various Norse myths have influenced literature, TV, and film. Marvel comics named a cyborg supervillain clone of Thor, Ragnarok in the Dark Avengers series. In the film Thor: Ragnarok Thor battles to stop Ragnarok happening.

Associated stories

The Norse myths are a great linked cycle of stories which begin with the creation of the world and finish with Ragnarok. In between are stories of god and giants, men and dwarves, shape shifters, tricksters, monsters. They are stories that show how the Norsemen saw the world.

Our 1001 also includes How the World Began, The Treasures of the Gods, Thor Loses His Hammer and Thor and Utgard Loki. Other popular Norse stories include Three Monstrous Children, The Death of Balder, Thor goes fishing, and The Apples of Immortality.

There are many retelling of the Norse myths and legends including most recently Norse Myths, Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley Holland, with illustrations by Jeffrey Alan Love and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

The story of Hel, Goddess of the Dead and one of the three monstrous children of Loki is told in A Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon who imagines Hel as a teenage girl.

Added on 09th August 2020

Oral Tradition Norse myth

Myths and legends