It's not actively malevolent, though, since it's kind enough to ensure the reader doesn't remember the more horrifying sections until they really really need to. In the second book of the trilogy, Lirael takes on a job working in the Great Library of the Clayr, which is a bit more like a museum. The books and "exhibits" range from the prosaic to works of great magic, which are kept under lock and key. This has the unfortunate side-effect that if one of said exhibits gets loose somehow, the person responsible has to find a sneaky way of getting at highly protected books if she wants to have any chance at all of stuffing it back into its can.
The protagonist's scholar mother brings home a collection of texts that describe Native American rituals. One of these rituals provides instructions on summoning the titular Ki-Khwan, who are essentially Native American werewolves. The protagonist and his friends, being young and foolish boys, decide to give some of the rituals a shot late at night in the woods for a thrill. To their horror, they succeed in summoning the man-beasts. Just when it seems like they can keep their campfire going long enough to keep the creatures at bay , a rain dance they performed earlier kicks in, putting the fire out.
In the guide book How To Be A Villain , its guide to weapons contains books of evil, which more or less fit this trope perfectly. Written by a mad prophet, it causes mortals who read it to Go Mad from the Revelation , and it is eventually revealed that the book is basically an instruction manual for summoning the undead Storm King back into the world. Notable in that the book doesn't have any inherent mystical power, but the secrets it reveals are too much for a sane mind to accept.
The sequel The Last King Of Osten Ard has Bishop Fortis' Treatise on the Aetheric Whispers , a book which has been banned by the church since the mysterious disappearance of its author, over two hundred years ago. The censors copy is kept apart from other books. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath books works a lot like this, even though it was given to the Kencyr people by their God.
It's not exactly nice, and neither is the book; reading too much of it can drive you mad or kill you, and the Master Runes inside are highly dangerous to use. Oh, and that leather? Human skin, and the Book appears to be alive; dropping it gives it bruises. Filled with dark magics, it corrupted the rebel Druid Brona into becoming The Warlock Lord , transformed his followers into the Skull Bearers, and later transforms a new group of people into the Mord Wraiths.
Destroying it serves as the main plot in The Wishsong of Shannara.
Unbeknownst to all, the book is alive, reasoning, and the Big Bad of the entire trilogy. It nearly turns Brin, the main character, into a monster, before her brother brings her to her senses, enabling its destruction. In Ben Counter 's Warhammer 40, Horus Heresy novel Galaxy In Flames , Loken runs across a book that changes languages and alphabets under his gaze, gives him horrific visions, and convinces him that the Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions view of the Empire is wrong. One tome, Home Workshop Nanotech by a "Dr. Frank N Stein" published some years before the events of the book explained in straightforward terms how to make replicating nanotech using a simple computer, some household chemicals and a tunnelling electron microscope.
Sci-fi to be sure; but a mysterious ancient book containing world-shattering knowledge of things man was not meant to meddle with? Sounds pretty eldritch to me. In The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio the hero buys a mysterious book in a market and finds that it contains not only tales of old but a treasure map. The description implies that the book is a Shout-Out to the Arabian Nights. Yes, all of it. Among all that poetry is a summoning rite meant to bring the Erlking and the Hunt into the world.
Otherwise subverted, though; the White Council actually encourages the spread of books of dark rituals, since they only have a limited amount of power to go around and mass-publications tend to dilute them into uselessness. Except in some cases, as Thomas tells us, that perfectly sensible strategy backfires when just the knowledge that the rituals exist, and therefore so does the thing they're meant to summon, is enough to keep the thing in question on this plane of existence.
The bibliophile protagonist trades a priceless 14th-century Bible for a mysterious book in an unknown language that has no beginning, no end, pages that are out of order, and never allows the reader to see the same page twice it is implied that the number of pages is infinite. Over time, he loses what few friends he actually had, and spends his every waking minute fanatically obsessing over a book he cannot read, copying pages and illustrations before they vanish forever.
Un like most such stories, this one appears to end relatively well—the protagonist recognizes the evil of the book, and disposes of it in a place where neither he nor anyone else will likely ever find it by tucking it into a random, dusty shelf among the National Library's , books he first considered burning it, but feared that the burning of an infinite book might be infinite itself and cover the world with smoke. It seems to be implied that he was better off with his good old-fashioned Bibles. The Grimmerie from the novel of Wicked is implied to be one of these, but no Ozian can actually read the thing.
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Elphaba can make out bits and pieces, but that's because she turns out to be only half-Ozian. It's also revealed that the Wizard's entire despotic reign is a mere Evil Plan to get his hands on it! These are apparently pretty commonplace in Harry Potter : Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class has a Tome of Eldritch Lore as required reading specifically, The Monster Book of Monsters , which tries to bite you until you pet it along the spine to soothe it.
And books dealing with The Dark Arts probably aren't particularly remarkable either, considering that the only precaution taken with them is putting them in the restricted section of the Hogwarts library instead of the main section. One of these books actually screams when it's opened. It contains various spells and other magical advice on a higher level than the average student should deal with, written into the margins by Severus Snape.
Harry Potter also contains a number of cursed tomes. Ron warns Harry about books that burn people's eyes out, books that make them speak in limericks for the rest of their lives, and books that you can never, ever stop reading. And those are paltry compared to Tom Riddle's diary , a nigh-indestructible Horcrux containing a Living Memory of a psychopathic sorcerer specifically Voldemort, the series's central villain who can possess you from within the pages.
Secrets of the Darkest Art deals with Horcruxes and other perverse magic. Believe it or not, even that used to be kept in the Hogwarts library, albeit in the restricted section mentioned above, but is that really a deterrent for an aspiring Dark wizard? It was only removed after a young Voldemort started asking teachers about Horcruxes and Dumbledore got suspicious. Hermione also mentions a book called Magick Moste Evile , which apparently does a "ghostly wail" when closed. However, the book only briefly mentions Horcruxes in order to say that they are so terrible they will not be discussed.
The whole thing is an elaborate practical joke. Thoroughly deconstructed and parodied in R. Wilson's The Masks of Illuminati , where a number of people are apparently mailed copies of a book that after only slightest glance sends them to suicidal mania, after first thoroughly destroying the volume. As it turns out, the whole thing was elaborately fabricated for the narrator's benefit.
The real kicker? The book was Mother Goose's Rhymes - and it had even been subtly foreshadowed earlier in the story! Robert E. I could never endure to seclude myself in a golden tower, and spend the long hours staring into a crystal globe, mumbling over incantations written on serpent's skin in the blood of virgins, poring over musty volumes in forgotten languages. Live-Action TV. Agents of S.
Like its comic book counterpart, the book is centuries old and completely indestructible. It is also able to alter its contents according to the skills of the reader, such as changing its text to their first language, and allowing modern-day engineers to create devices far beyond the technology from the book's original time period. It also drives readers insane. When necessity required someone to read the book to save Coulson and Fitz from being trapped between dimensions, the android AIDA volunteered since her processing power would withstand the information overload and she could be rebooted if anything went wrong.
The book even changed its text to binary code for her. She saved the day, but it appears to have given her real emotions , overwhelming her and sending her off the rails. Except not, as her seemingly erratic actions were at the order of her creator Dr. Radcliffe , who was corrupted by merely glimpsing the book's contents. In the season finale, it's explained that the Darkhold is able to defy all laws of physics and reality because it's from a different dimension of The Multiverse.
The Grimoire in Blood Ties is used several times to summon demons. Henry has his own copy, "confiscated" from a bunch of Medieval cultists, and uses it to sabotage summoning rituals. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer , Giles had whole bookcases filled with these. This was lampshaded once, with the principal doing a search of the library and questioning whether it was appropriate to have in a high school library filled with tomes instructing on the uses of dark magic - despite being asked during a period of demonic-inspired moral panic against magic, this was actually quite a reasonable question, considering.
Notice that Snyder confiscated the books, but in succeeding episodes Giles has them again. Apparently, Snyder returned these books to Giles afterwards, no matter how out of character that might seem. Or maybe some of Giles's friends and associates Snyder to give them back. Or maybe he made him forget the whole thing, and took them back himself.
This IS the guy who introduced the freaky-cool ninja dude to his wife, in the fake-evil-Angel-to-fool-Faith episode. Giles explained in an early episode that he did it because the students never come into the library. It's the perfect place for a Watcher to put a collection of books so no one will ever read them. Remember that in a previous episode Giles physically threatened Snyder so he would reinstate Buffy. Besides, the books were probably kept by the anti-supernatural mob and would probably return it to him since it was his "personal collection".
And then at the end of season 6, Willow absorbs all the knowledge from these books and actually does set off to destroy the world. In Charmed , there is the Grimoire, which is the demon equivalent of the Book of Shadows. Doctor Who : "Extremis" features The Veritas , a short book kept in the Vatican's secret library of blasphemy, the contents of which cause everyone who reads it to kill themselves.
Because it reveals the "world" is a computer simulation created by hostile aliens as preparation for their planned invasion of Earth, and thus no one in it is real. The Master himself is said to have a copy of none other than the infamous Necronomicon itself among many other horrible and sanity destroying pieces of literature. The Book of Changes from Ghost Whisperer. Tellingly, our heroes found it answering a Distress Call from a ship whose crew had been wiped out be an unnamed monster.
It might not be inherently evil, but it has the power to open a portal to the titular Lost Galaxy, a pocket dimension full of deadly space pirates. It also contains the history and location of other creatures and weapons that are nearly as dangerous. Its dark magic and science corrupts those around it. Sleepy Hollow : Season 1, Episode 4, revolves around the heroes stopping a group of Hessians from retrieving the Lesser Key of Solomon an ancient text capable of opening a portal to Hell and unleashing the 72 demons sealed there by King Solomon.
Several episodes near the end of Season 2 involve the Grand Grimoire , a collection of extremely powerful dark magic gathered by John Dee notably, not to be used, but so he could better understand and combat it. Among other things, it can open portals into the past , or awaken latent magical powers in otherwise normal people. The fact that its pages remained blank until splattered with the blood of a murdered man really should have been a hint that the ritual it was going to be used for was not a good idea.
As one would expect, Necronomicon is centered on the famous tome from the Cthulhu Mythos. The Magnus Archives has a story arc about the library of Jurgen Leitner, which consisted of particularly nasty examples of this trope. The mention of his name in a statement is enough to make the usually-sceptical archivist immediately believe every word of the subject's story. Tabletop Games. If one is of a magical turn of thought, caution should be taken when putting pen to paper. The most notable and persistent of these tomes is the Book of Vile Darkness , which is so evil that reading it can damage a good person's mind, and will exist As Long as There is Evil.
The publishers of the game actually produced a sourcebook on evil by this name later on. A few inversions also exist: the Book of Exalted Deeds , a book of pure goodness , also Defictionalized and the Libram of Gainful Conjuration , its wizardly cousin , and the Libram of Silver Magic , which can only be read if you don't side with either good or evil.
How bad is it? For starters, it's the size of a small room. Also, it has infinite pages, literally. Just opening it can reduce you to a small pile of ashes. If you aren't killed, you can use the book to achieve near-perfect power over reality Legend says that in the Dictionary of Pain , the entry for the Codex of the Infinite Planes appears between the sharp sting of discovery and the salted wounds of failure. The Tome of the Stilled Tongue, sacred to Vecna, deserves its own mention.
This is the kind of book which a can only be safely used by those worshipping an evil lich-god of scheming and dark magic and b comes with a free human tongue nailed to the front as an example of why you shouldn't blab the secrets of the Maimed God. Another is the Codex of Betrayal , which is a collection of four books, each with several dozen chapters, totaling multiple thousands of pages, written by the last follower of the God that was murdered and over thrown by Asmodeus.
It chronicles the history of the god, the war in heaven, and the creation of devils, serving a similar function for devils as the Demonomicon of Iggwilv serves for their Chaotic Evil adversaries. The Book of Keeping is not truly a magical tome, but still a dangerous one. This book contains information on summoning powerful yugoloths, even giving the true names of a few of them. No-one knows who wrote it - given that he would likely be the yugoloths' most hated enemy, he may no longer be alive.
At least four copies of the Book exist, although some say as many as seven, and their owners tend to change frequently. In the Forgotten Realms setting, one of the most powerful if not the most powerful artifact are The Nether Scrolls, 2 sets of 50 scrolls made of gold or platinum sheets.
They are completely harmless by themselves, but they contain near-limitless amount of magical knowledge; No matter how many times the scrolls have been perused, there is always new information to be gained. In fact, the Netherese grew to be the most dominant magical empire ever known simply by the power of this artifact. The Cyrinishad is a book written by the god Cyric , full of craps explaining how Cyric is the most awesome god ever and why you should worship him. Once you start, you can't stop voluntarily and you will become a devout worshiper of Cyric.
That and alone isn't that dangerous by itself One of the reasons Cyric was a Mad God for a long time was because he read the book himself immediately after he finished writing it. Its angelic author, Tabris, wanted to have as accurate an account as possible, so what did he do?
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He corrupted a part of himself and put it into the tome so it would always update with the most recent information. This act got Tabris barred from Heaven as a result. Fortunately, Tabris also wrote a good tome as well which chronicled the histories of the good-aligned forces called Chronicles of the Righteous. He also wrote a supposedly neutral tome called Concordance of Rivals. Exalted has numerous examples, but the most infamous might be The Broken-Winged Crane. It isn't even written yet; all the copies that exist are reverse engineered from the perfect version that comes into existence the day the world ends.
This has not stopped the imperfect copies from appearing well before the book is written. And seeing as the only canon character to have read the book is implied to have been abducted and mind raped by archdemons, there's a very good chance the book causes it.
As befits its tone, Deadlands has a few of these tucked away in its pages and pages of Splatbooks. Shrub don't ask in the front pages—contains margin notes on how to perform all manner of dark arts. The irony of profaning a Holy Bible is not lost on the misanthropic family. Player Character Whateleys, while assumed to be a moral cut above their NPC brethren and cousins and uncles, some of which are the same people , can get a "pocket sized" version, which contains less forbidden lore and can cause panic in anyone attempting to translate it Mage: The Awakening has numerous books called grimoires, where a mage inscribes all their knowledge of a spell literally; it leaves their mind forever so that others can learn it more easily.
Needless to say, some grimoires are less than wholesome, including: the book of the life of an Atlantean prophet that turns those who study it enough into a psychic clone of said prophet; a bestiary on Abyssal beings that leads the mage who reads it enough to believe that he's uncovered an important secret and that all his friends have turned on him; and the book that contains both normal spells and spells that draw upon the Abyss but doesn't tell you which are which.
Grimoire of Grimoires is an entire sourcebook dedicated to these. The first is a seemingly-sentient spell that teaches you how to summon reversed forms of Goetia symbolizing reversed Virtues into your enemies' minds, which are actually Abyssal entities who will escape. The second is an Abyssal creature in the form of a Tome of Eldritch Lore, which actually takes that form to lure power-hungry mages so it can eat their souls. The third is also a gulmoth, but the tempting devil to the Codex's Honey Trap , teaching its readers inherently Abyss-tainted versions of incredibly destructive magic designed specifically for them to have talent with, and when the mage is fully corrupted summons a different gulmoth to continue their education.
The last is the heart of an Annunaki , one of the living alternate universes that compose the Abyss, that takes the form of , pages detailing a twisted alternate history for the world, which will then proceed to become real— the catch is that it's not fully written or put together.
Interesting subversion: The Ialdabaoth Codex , besides being incredibly hard to spell , seems like it at first, being an Abyssal bestiary that gradually drives its readers to paranoia and the summoning of its contents It's actually a prison for the various Eldritch Abominations it describes it scours the mind of its new prisoners and writes an entry based on its findings , and the madness is the result of them trying to get out.
The writers of the book were actually pretty nice people, and a story hook presented involves reconstructing their Legacy. Not quite as bad as the others, but still quite thoroughly horrid, is the Hildebrandt Recording, a recording of a seance that contacted an entity of the Abyss. The disc is sometimes described as feeling tacky and unclean, the spells it can teach are profoundly disturbing at best, it brings misfortune to its holders, is actively sought out by profoundly vile individuals whom it seems to actively influence , and on top of everything else, it should not exist.
Hildebrandt should not have been able to even contact the entity, his equipment should not have been able to record its sounds, and for the recording to become a grimoire is just not possible, explicitly stated as such. It violates every principle of reality just by existing. Magic: The Gathering While most of them don't literally involve books and conversely not all book-related cards in the game suffer from this, either , the game features its share of cards that play on the 'forbidden knowledge' theme by providing access to additional cards for a modest sacrifice in life points or cards already in hand or in play.
Geth's Grimoire deserves a mention for both being a book of evil knowledge in this card's setting Geth is a powerful Black-aligned character, and for housing a conscious spirit that is in constant torturous agony due to said evil knowledge. The flavor text states that save for when the book is opened and presumably being read, the book is always shrieking, and mechanically the card activates off of an opponent discarding, which Black can force on others.
With the release of the Innistrad set, based on gothic horror, it has an archetypal example: Grimoire of the Dead , whose playtest name was, in fact, "Necronomicon". These are one of the types of artifacts that can be found throughout the galaxy in Warhammer 40, They often draw the attention of treasure hunters, Inquisitors puritanical and radical , and military forces trying to seize control of these artifacts for good or ill, and it's conceivable, even probable that battles or even wars broke out for control of these.
However, it's more often that covert operatives are used to avoid drawing too much attention when someone makes a grab for one. One of the most notable books is the Book Of Lorgar, penned by the Primarch Lorgar when he turned to Chaos and started laying the groundwork for the Horus Heresy , the Imperium's first and largest civil war. It's essentially a Bible of Evil, though it's implied to hold quite a bit of practical information, particularly on daemonology. Another of the most notable books is the Book of Magnus, penned by Lorgar's brother, the Primarch Magnus.
Where Lorgar was a preacher, Magnus was a scholar and a wizard, so the Book of Magnus is a compendium of knowledge of Chaos, psychic mechanics, and sorcery. Then in true 40k fashion, it goes overboard with the Black Library: an entire extradimensional stronghold full of forbidden lore, guarded by space elf ninja clowns who worship a god that managed to trick other gods into eating each other. Named the Laughing God of course.
Pyramid magazine had an article detailing Clay Bricks of Eldritch Lore which fit pretty much every aspect of this trope unreadable, evil, drive you crazy except that they're not actually books being from before bound books were invented, or from cultures that never did. And by a few additions we mean an entire sourcebook filled with half to two page descriptions of books both taken from other Mythos sources and invented outright. The major works generally include an Apocalyptic Log hinting at what has happened to characters who came into contact with the book, a history of the book and the explicit effects both skimming and reading it have.
Guess what the sourcebook is called CthulhuTech The game has a Tome of Eldritch Lore that was used to develop the setting's Magitek , but all the scientists that worked on the project were driven stark raving mad. The World Government actually produces and distributes copies of these in the black market. Because the ones they do are mostly neutered and have the really bad stuff in them taken out.
When someone finds a non-neutered copy or an original copy with things that even the later edition didn't dare put in. Reading it slowly corrupts the reader to the power of the Wyrm. An expansion book, Warriors of the Apocalypse , includes a Bane character named Tsannik. His human host summoned him using an ill-gotten book of sorcery. Appropriately, the Necronomicon features as a usable by Professors only item in the Munchkin expansion "Munchkin Cthulhu.
The originals were destroyed but there are some copies still lying around. Games Workshop also released a book called Liber Chaotica the Book of Chaos , a guide to all things Chaotic in the the Warhammer world, with occasional referances to Warhammer 40k. As a different take on this trope, the writer was not trying to support Chaos, but was ordered by the Cult of Sigmar to compile it to help fight Chaos.
Naturally the study of such subjects has a less than stellar effect on his mental health. The Black Book of Ibn Naggazar in Storm of Magic games is such a powerful repository of dark magic that its bearer will become the most talented Death and Shadow mage on the field, capable of turning two power dice into an apocalyptic display It's very popular with Necromancers, Skaven mages and goblins. You generally burn movement points to read the tome, make a Lore check, and gain spells, skills, or some other benefit at the cost of sanity.
Earthdawn Any book about the Horrors can potentially have bad effects on the person who reads it including the Horrors source book , but probably the straightest example of a Tome of Eldritch Lore is the Book of Scales. According to legend, a group of powerful Horrors captured a dragon and forced it to write a history of the Horrors, using the dragon's own scales as pages and its own blood as ink.
The dragon then scattered the scales as far apart as possible to minimize the damage. The Book of Scales allegedly contains valuable information that can be used to battle the Horror, but is so tainted that carrying around a single scale not even reading it, mind you, just carrying it will eventually drive a person mad. The Back Story mentions the six Books of Harrow, which tell of the existence and powers of the Horrors.
The first man to study them was found dying after ripping out his own eyes and holding them in the fire. Thus far, only one was fully translated; perhaps coincidentally, the Scouring happened a few hundred years later. A flavor text in the Nobilis Third Edition rulebook says that A Philosophy of Treason , a book detailing the case for serving the Excrucians, has many fake copies that will remove the eyes of any who read and fill their eye sockets with worms.
Oh, and the genuine article is almost as bad. Video Games. Referred to as "Fragments of Creation," the Scrolls are of unknown origin and number which simultaneously record past, present, and future events irrefutably; what did happen, what could have happened, what might yet happen. Even the falsehoods in them are true. Especially the falsehoods, as is pointed out several times in the series. To the untrained eye, the Scrolls will yield an odd chart that looks like it has constellations on it with odd glyphs printed over or under it.
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A knowledgeable reader will be able to interpret the Scrolls to a degree, but incompletely, and will be irrevocably struck blind. A well-trained reader, such as a member of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, will glean much more from the Scroll and will even recover their eyesight In all of these cases, reading the Scrolls tends to lead to madness for the user. Even those who merely study the Scrolls, never actually using or even handling them, are driven to complete madness with alarming regularity.
The power of the Elder Scrolls is so great, their truths so irrefutable, that not even the machinations of a Daedric Prince can overcome them; that's how the curse on the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal is broken in the Oblivion Thieves' Guild questline. In Skyrim , you get to read one yourself to gain knowledge of a Thu'um shout lost to time; it turns out you don't read the scroll, you see events happen as if the scroll was a window to another possibly alternate time. Even the dragons like Paarthurnax and Alduin himself fear the Elder Scrolls' power. Turns out that they don't just reveal events, they can alter reality as well; with no recourse left, the ancient Nordic heroes who faced Alduin invoked the power of an Elder Scroll to "cast Alduin out of time", postponing his reckoning until the age where Skyrim the game, not the province takes place.
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Under the Influence. In a Tight Situation. Beyond Redemption. The Broken Platoon. Zombie Apocalypse. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The title should be at least 4 characters long. Your display name should be at least 2 characters long. At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information.
You submitted the following rating and review. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Continue shopping. Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout. Remove FREE. Unavailable for purchase. Odin will anxiously consult the head of Mimir , the wisest of all beings, for counsel. The gods will decide to go to battle, even though they know what the prophecies have foretold concerning the outcome of this clash. Odin will fight Fenrir, and by his side will be the einherjar , the host of his chosen human warriors whom he has kept in Valhalla for just this moment.
Odin and the champions of men will fight more valiantly than anyone has ever fought before. But it will not be enough.
Fenrir will swallow Odin and his men. Another wolf, Garm , and the god Tyr will slay each other. The god Freyr and the giant Surt will also be the end of each other. Thor and Jormungand, those age-old foes, will both finally have their chance to kill the other. Thor will succeed in felling the great snake with the blows of his hammer. But the serpent will have covered him in so much venom that he will not be able to stand for much longer; he will take nine paces before falling dead himself and adding his blood to the already-saturated soil of Vigrid.
Then the remains of the world will sink into the sea, and there will be nothing left but the void. Creation and all that has occurred since will be completely undone, as if it had never happened. Some say that that is the end of the tale — and of all tales, for that matter. But others hold that a new world, green and beautiful, will arise out of the waters. A new sun, the daughter of the previous one, will rise in the sky. And all of this will be presided over by a new, almighty ruler. As the above implies, two versions of the myth of Ragnarok seem to be present in the Norse sources.
In one of them, Ragnarok is the final end of the cosmos, and no rebirth follows it. In the other, there is a rebirth.