During the second world war Antonia Byatt was given a book of Norse myths by her father. She read it and reread it but there was one myth she was drawn to in particular and which has continued to hold her under its spell - the Myth of Ragnarok. The ...
Ragnarok myth, otherwise known as the Twilight of the Gods, plays out the endgame of Norse mythology. It is the myth in which the gods Odin, Freya and Thor die, the sun and moon are swallowed by the wolf Fenrir, the serpent Midgard eats his own tale as he crushes the world and the seas boil with poison. It is only after such monstrous death and destruction that the world can begin anew. This epic struggle provided the fitting climax to Wagner's Ring Cycle and just as Wagner was inspired by Norse myth (it was also Hitler's favourite myth!) so Byatt has taken this remarkable finale and used it as the underpinning of this highly personal and politically charged retelling.