Ragnarok season 2 needs to avoid the "Bury Your Gays" trope

David Opie

From Digital Spy

Netflix's Ragnarok season 2 is happening. Yep, despite the show revolving around the apocalypse, it looks like the show itself isn't ending just yet.

Not only did season one's finale tease a number of unresolved plot threads, Netflix's Norwegian original has also struck a chord with fans online.

Ragnarok sounds intriguing on paper, reworking Norse Mythology into a cross between Thor and Skam, but this electric combo lacks voltage in a number of key areas.

Still, it doesn't take the sight of Odin to see that Ragnarok is destined to return for a second season, regardless of whether you actually want it to or not.

Photo credit: Netflix

If we're right, that will give the writers a chance to hone in on the show's environmental message more while also expanding the roles of other key characters like Laurits (Jonas Strand Gravli).

Given Ragnarok's fantastical nature, there's a chance future episodes could even do justice by another breakout character who ended up dying in the very first episode.

Upon arriving in the town of Edda, Magne (David Stakston) quickly learns that things aren't what they seem, and this realisation comes via Isolde (Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin), a student activist who reveals there's poisonous levels of cadmium in the town's water system.

A rich family known as the Jutuls are to blame, but what Isolde doesn't know is that they're actually (mini) giants who murder people (and deer!). When she uncovers their conspiracy, the Jutuls kill her off, but make it look like an accident.

On a fantasy show like Ragnarok, murder isn't such a big deal, even when the person in question paraglides into electrified power-lines.

However, the way this was handled feeds directly into harmful tropes which are even more ancient than the Norse gods of old.

OK, they're not that old, but ever since LGBTQ+ people were first represented on screen, queer characters have been punished or even killed simply because of who they love.

While things are improving overall, negative forms of representation can still be found in the shows and films we watch.

Enter Ragnarok. After the pilot takes time and effort to establish Isolde's character, she ends up dying at the end of the very first episode, right after she comes out as gay.

Not only is the timing extremely unfortunate, but Isolde's death occurs solely as a means to further the male hero's storyline.

This is the most blatant example of "bury your gays" we've seen in some time, and the worst thing of all is that it only took one episode for the show to get there.

Don't get us wrong. Queer characters shouldn't avoid death on screen entirely. That would create a different, yet still harmful stereotype that serves to 'other' the LGBTQ+ community in an unrealistic way.

However, when the only queer character dies on a show right after revealing their sexuality, it's hard not to read between the lines.

Photo credit: Netflix

It wasn't so long ago that Star Trek: Discovery made a similar mistake, introducing the franchise's first gay officers only to kill one off just a few episodes in.

Discovery eventually rectified this mistake, bringing Culber back via some magical science-y stuff, and there's no reason why Ragnarok couldn't do the same.

Isolde was easily one of the show's most interesting characters, and it wouldn't take much for one of the gods to use some magic and bring her back to life in season two.

If the writers think they can get away with naked deer scenes and ridiculously bad dance sequences, it's not so crazy to imagine people coming back to life on this show too.

Ragnarok is streaming now on Netflix.

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