The sun grows black,

the earth sinks into the sea.

The bright stars

vanish from the heavens.

Steam surges up

and fire rages

Heat reaches high

against heaven itself.

Ragnarok is the name given to the Norse Apocalypse as portrayed in the Icelandic saga The Edda.

On 22nd February 2014 the finale of the York Viking Festival was an enactment of Ragnarok complete with ice giants, fire serpent, spectacular battle and fireworks.  Below are some of the photographs I took.

So what is Ragnarok?  Very briefly it’s the final battle between the Aesir led by Odin with the other Norse gods and the fallen heroes from Valhalla and the sons of Muspell from Hel led by Loki, the trickster god, with the aid of Fenrir the wolf and the serpent Midgard. The event is presaged by three severe winters when everything freezes over and when wolves come to swallow the sun and the moon.  One of the harbingers of the end of the world is that the sea will surge onto the land (a bit scary if you’ve seen the south of the uk this winter!) allowing the serpent to come onto the land.  In the final battle the Aesir and all the gods are killed (oops, sorry for the spoiler!).  Then there is the regeneration bit as the land of Misgard is reborn and taken up by men.

So, it’s an awesome piece of story telling told brilliantly by the York Viking Festival enactment.  My photos try to follow it in images.  Hope you enjoy!

Goddess Freyja looks on from a safe distance as the Aesir fight to the death in the last battle.

The Ygdrassil Tree, the Norse world tree and centre of their worlds.

The ice giants freeze the world over three severe winters.

Midgard the serpent

Midgard the serpent

Lining up waiting for the final battle to begin.

Battle commences.

Hand to hand combat.

The fallen Aesir.


Fireworks on Clifford Tower

Fireworks on Clifford Tower

Goddess Freyja with some of the Aesir

Goddess Freyja in battle with Thor.

Goddess Freyja and Thor make-up