Post Mortem: Vikings Creator Discusses 'Cruelest' Death, Lagertha's Agenda, Ragnar Vs. [Spoiler]

Vikings Season 2 RagnarThe following contains major spoilers from this Thursday’s episode of History’s Vikings.

Lest there ever be a shred of doubt, Ragnar of Lothbrok means business.

This Thursday on History’s Vikings, the Jarl of Kattegat followed through on making Jarl Borg pay the piper for his recent actions – and via “the cruelest form of death,” a ritual known as the Blood Eagle (a brutal punishment that actually figures into the historical Ragnar’s story).

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Vikings creator Michael Hirst — whose show has already been renewed for Season 3 — spoke with TVLine about the driving force behind Ragnar’s act of vengeance, as well as weighed in on other new story points.

TVLINE | As you see it, what is the significance is of Ragnar (played by Travis Fimmel) following through with the execution of Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr)?
Ragnar has never forgiven Jarl Borg for threatening his family. For Ragnar, his family, his sons are everything, and anyone who comes between him and his sons is going to suffer. So he pretended to go along with King Horik (Donal Logue), but he never was going to forgive Jarl Borg. Instead, he ultimately was going to subject him to the cruelest form of death known to the Vikings. If you saw Episode 8 of the first season, where they did the human sacrifices in Uppsala, this episode is the equivalent of that, because it gets you very close to the deep, dark hearts of the Viking experience. But the amazing thing is that Jarl Borg knows that he’s going to be Blood Eagled, but if he screams in pain, he won’t go to Valhalla. And if he suffers it, he has a chance of going to Valhalla. I think there was an article published in an American newspaper saying that Vikings is the only network show that takes religious belief seriously, and I think that’s true.

TVLINE | King Horik had a difficult decision there, and I wouldn’t have faulted him for going either way. Why did he ultimately not spring Jarl Borg?
We’d shot a scene, which isn’t in there in the end, where someone asked him, “Why did you say that you would save him?” and Horik says, “I never would have saved him.” [Horik] once said, “Unless someone has hope, they don’t really suffer,” so he went in to give him this false hope, and I liked that scene. He made Jarl Borg believe for a moment that he was going to get out of there.

TVLINE | Because ultimately, wanting to do away with Jarl Borg was more important than the perceived threat that Ragnar might ultimately prove to be?
Yes. I think probably Horik felt that he should deal with Jarl Borg first, and then he should deal with Ragnar afterwards — and the rest of Season 2 is, in a sense, about Horik trying to deal with Ragnar.

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TVLINE | What should we make of Floki’s (Gustaf Skarsgård) wavering affinity for Ragnar?
Well, that’s interesting… That becomes a huge issue through the rest of the season. I can’t tell you [what’s ahead], but it does all come to a climax — “Who is loyal to Ragnar?”

TVLINE | What do you want to sayVikings_Earl_Lagertha about Lagertha’s status as Jarl?
The wonderful thing about Lagertha, for me, is that I never anticipated how big that role would become. I have to be honest about that. [The historical figure] was Ragnar’s wife, and she was a shield maiden, she had kids and everything. And when we were casting, we had lots of possibilities, lots of beautiful young actresses, and I said, “We have to have someone who’s tough and looks convincing.” Katheryn [Winnick] came on board pretty late in the day and she said to me, “You know, I’m a black belt,” and that was fantastic and sexy, so I cast her. And then she started to define the role and now she’s as famous as Ragnar. The thing about Season 2 is she became, as you know, involved in an abusive relationship, and Katheryn said, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to, because I’ve established a reputation out there as a tough woman and warrior and everything.” And I said, “Look, if you think you’ve got a big female following now, wait until they see how you deal with being bullied!”’

TVLINE | Does Lagertha have any hidden agenda in offering to be Ragnar’s ally?
No. No. The important thing for Lagertha is her son Bjorn, like for most mothers. She’s going to make sure that he is treated properly and becomes the inheritor of whatever it is that Ragnar achieves. That’s her thing, and now she can help Ragnar in a physical, military way.

TVLINE | And lastly, are we getting to the battle against King Ecbert this season or…?
Oh, god, yes, we are. In Episode 9, there’s this huge battle. And the important thing to know is that because King Ecbert has studied the military techniques of Caesar, he knows how to defeat the Vikings. So, it’s a wonderful battle sequence, it really, really it is. It’s exciting.

Want more scoop on Vikings, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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110 Comments
  1. jasie says:

    Another great episode. Season 2 has been stellar.

    • we're still here says:

      Though Ragnar is doomed to be cast into a snake pit; Lets start a write in campaign to have him become one with Oden and watch over his descendants in future episodes.

      • Leslie says:

        Ragnaar must stay in power and in the core of Vikings even if the historical snake pit thing is in the plot. He MUST transcend immediately into a very present spiritual force. No Ragnar no show. He is the face heart and core.

  2. WTactualF says:

    Loved Floki’s wedding, and as always I love Lagertha. The death scene was, though brutal as hell, beautiful at the same time. The music was perfect for that scene.

    • Tracey Martin says:

      Jarl Borg was not misled by THE SEER when he said that his future was in “the eagle” but somehow we never thought it would come to THE BLOOD EAGLE especially after King Horik’s false claims. Still, the scene was rather suggestive. We never saw Borg’s back. except from a birdseye view (ho clever!) I feel sorry for his wife, though! Will she be spared or what?

      • He didnt cry out, so in the eyes of Vikings he did reclaim part of his honor no? i was thinking he was the right kind of crazy to not scream too.

        loove this show.

      • B. says:

        I find it likely that Jarl Borg’s will be spared–not only because of past indications throughout the series, but because of the scene a couple episodes ago when Athelstan helped the woman who had been accused of adultery. I think that was more deliberately placed than we realized at the time, and their inclusion of it and emphasizing how “the pagans” would treat a woman makes me believe that scene was partly supposed to lead into how Jarl Borg’s wife would be treated. I don’t imagine she’ll have any sort of high position, mind you, but I can’t see them punishing her for her husband’s misdeeds.

        Now, if she takes any problematic actions from hereon out…that might be an issue.

      • Christine says:

        Tracey, I also feel sorry for Jarl Borg’s wife, but I have a prediction. I believe she will end up with Rollo. First, Rollo basically saved her from being killed in the scene where they barged into the room to get Jarl Borg (and beat him senseless). Second, remember when Rollo convinced Jarl Borg to come to Kattegat under false pretenses? He seemed concerned about her feelings when Jarl Borg was proclaiming his love for his deceased wife. Rollo asked Jarl how his wife felt about him lavishing all that attention on his dead wife’s skull. Finally, the timing would be right. It looks like Ragner is on to Ziggy and her sneaky ways concerning King Horik. Additionally, Rollo is pretty mad with her as well because of she has been sleeping around on him. He darn near choked the life out of her in last night’s episode. I believe it’s only a matter of time before Ziggy and Rollo’s relationship ends. Enter: Jarl Borg’s widow!

      • Leslie says:

        Borg’s wife was already living in the shadow of Borg’s first wife’s skull and memory. Being free of that would be good for her.

    • Lorraine says:

      The music that went along with the “Blood Eagle” ceremony could not have been better. As Ragner was doing his part, his eyes drew me into what he was doing. The music almost mesmorized me. I felt every inch of movement of the weapon as it was drawn across the back of its victim. As much as I wanted to look away from the screen, I could not. Even though I had the urge to vomit, I could not move. I was frozen in place, my eyes moving with Ragners. When I went to bed it took me an hour to release myself from what I had witnessed.

      Lagertha, she has become such a force. I hope to see her reunite with Ragner, not only as a warrior.

      This series is great. As much as it is not all fact, the reality of the Viking Invasion is brought to life in such a way that one feels they are a part of these magnificent people. Being English and coming from the north, I can visualize the Vikings coming across the North Sea, making land at Holy Island and invading with the brutality they did.

  3. christine says:

    The “blood eagle” made my sk8n crawl. I actually had to turn the channel. I love love love Largetha!

    • Susan says:

      Ditto…I muted the volume, minimized the picture by pulling up the cable guide. I just couldn’t bear watching that scene on a full 51″ TV screen, even though you didn’t really see much, if anything, in detail…just the thought of it. My Lord…even the women in the crowd were turning away!

      • B. says:

        There wasn’t any real sound; it was muted/music, no dialogue or other noises from the characters. I felt like that made it a bit easier to watch.

  4. MM says:

    Don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but cutting the blood eagle is most likely a 19th century invention based on misinterpretation of Old Norse literature. The references which appear to refer to cutting the blood eagle are all written in Old Icelandic and were composed centuries after the end of the Viking Age by Christians who were at pains to emphasize the barbarity of their pagan ancestors and who were influenced by narratives of the torture of martyred saints. Old Icelandic literary style is very elliptical and metaphorical, and nineteenth century readers took the various medieval accounts literally and concocted horrific stories of tortures that never actually took place. The distinguished scholar Roberta Frank lays out in the evidence for the lack of historicity of “cutting the blood eagle”: Roberta Frank. “Viking Atrocity and Skaldic Verse: The Rite of the Blood-Eagle”. The English Historical Review. Vol. 99, No. 391, April 1984. Despite its appearance on the History Channel, Vikings should not be taken as anything more than an entertainment. The producers make some effort to characterizing the show as being something of an accurate historical account, but it isn’t. Ragnar himself is quasi-historical, and to the extent that he may have existed, he could not possibly be the brother of Rollo (Hrolf gangr), the conqueror of Normandy and ancestor of William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy and Conqueror of Anglo-Saxon England. Vikings is a lot of fun, but it’s got precious little to do with history.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Totally agree. When this show first started its pre-premier press i was excited cause they preached it as a accurate depiction of the Vikings. Lots of “this story really happened, these were real people and this is their story”…but as you point out, quite quickly some professionals in the field of Vikings have come out saying what you just said and more. I remember reading after the first few episodes that the show was getting the Earl / his people part wrong…that the Earl was making all these dictator/king like decisions…but in reality the Vikings were a VERY democratic people. So i take all this as a fun “Vikings” adventure…pure entertainment but i take nothing to be based in truth unless i read from professionals it is, then im shockingly surprised.

      I also find it funny in other TV shows, a character gets shot in the torso (not the heart) and instantly falls to the ground quietly dead….the Earl gets his back cut open to the bone, his ribs broken with an axe and splayed open, and his lunches taken out of his chest cavity and placed on his shoulders….all not only while hes alive, but CONSENSUS….lol. Medically insane.

    • ? says:

      Yeah, and they change things like punishing crimes with execution instead of the exile option, no assemblies (Things), etc. Also the gods (Norse and Christian) seem to be actually real on the show. Sometimes it sticks out, but regardless, it’s still really entertaining.

    • Rusty says:

      Personally, I think the producers are going for shock value rather accuracy. Medically, I would think it would be impossible for a human to survive the procedure. The body and the mind would shut down. It reminds me of a term I heard called ‘snuff porn’. I also couldn’t watch the scene. Changed channels until it was over. Was not needed for the storyline and I hope that the producers do not resort to this type on gore in future episodes. The fact that the show originally didn’t maximize the gore factor was why I started to watch it. I am going to rethink that if this type of ‘shock gore’ is to be a common. A good story line doesn’t need it for it to be entertaining.
      This also reminds me of a interview with the producers of Bones, where they admitted that they try and outdo each other in grisly deaths and remains scenes.

      • Tracey Martin says:

        I agree. Jarl Borg would have went into SHOCK.

      • Sandy says:

        I too am reassessing whether to continue to follow this series after the disturbing “blood eagle”. A shame since I have been enthusiastically enjoying it up to now.

      • lovetravis says:

        I agree !!! I hated the fact that Ragnar actually performed the blood eagle, it changed the way many of us feel about Ragnar and the series ive lost some of the respect I had for the character of Ragnar

        • B. says:

          I find it really sad that Ragnar doing exactly what he should have, from a leader’s perspective, is causing people to “lose respect for him.” I’m not really sure what would draw people to a show like this in the first place if their idea of how the leader should act is “letting people walk all over him.”

        • Jon says:

          Indeed, Ragnar needed to set a strong example. “This is what happens when you try to invade my territory”. Otherwise, what’s to stop some other ambitious Jarl from trying when they go raiding again.

        • Tracey says:

          It doesn’t change my perception at all about Ragnar or the show . I love the show and haven’t missed an episode yet . I will continue to watch even if the nay sayers want to point out how this or that did or didn’t happen . Who cares ! It’s a television series for entertainment , people ! Get over the nit picking . Good grief.. there are more important things going on in the world to stress over . Looked at what’s going on with the country and it’s government these days ?

          • rogerdodger says:

            There was no need to display in detail such evil depravity. That such executions took play is true (the blood eagle not so much) but to go for outright shock value over the storyline completely ruined the show for me. There was no need for it. For an entire season and a half, the producers relied heavily on few characters with indepth development and it’s what placed the show ahead and apart from ‘other’ shows with 100 characters in a 40 min episode lol.

            I’ll now just wait to hear from others if the show returned where it started and then just download the torrents.

    • I am the Grandson of Norwegian immigrants and a ritual similar to that of the “Blood Eagle was told to me often and it is just as gruesome and hard to imagine. A warrior who was cowardly in battle or committed an unforgivable crime but still wanted to assure his place in Valhalla would stand next to a pole placed in the ground about 10 feet tall and take off his shirt. Another warrior or whoever was in charge of the execution would make a slit in his stomach and pull a small part of his intestine and nail it to the pole. The disgraced warrior then had to walk around the pole until all of his bowls had come out. If he did this without making a sound he would be forgiven of his cowardice or crime and be allowed into Valhalla. Hearing this as a child made the “Blood Eagle” easy to watch but I will admit I was drawn in because of the music and the look on Ragnar’s face while wearing all white. Best show on TV!

  5. M3rc Nate says:

    So it wasnt made totally clear to me….Lagertha using a fake name as an Earl…was that just to get Ragnar to meet with her? Or is there a certain level of her having to pretend to be a man cause a woman cant be Earl? It hasnt been made clear to me that a woman can rule/be Earl in this Vikings TV show.

    Overall enjoyed the episode, i like Ragnar and Lagertha together, but not when hes all wondering eye Ragnar…so if he ever does get more serious (less egotistical) and they end up together again i will be happy. So far the only thing im like “hmmmm” about is the Monk…i was loving him becoming a Viking and looking/acting badass…then he gets captured and hes gone spineless again, going back to his old god now and doing what it takes to survive. I dont want him dead but now i dont know who’s side hes on…what he actually believes. Comes off as spineless.

    • Carla Krae says:

      Lagertha said I wasn’t sure you would come if I gave you my real name. She wanted to be respected as an equal from the start……and play with him a bit.

    • Carla Krae says:

      You do get that they’ve obviously shown that Athelstan is a man that isn’t sure what he believes now, right? He’s having a crisis of faith. But he’s also a scholar, so he’s very excited about exploring the Roman treasures. At the same time, he owes King Ecbert his life and freedom. England was a very different society, and what the king said went. Everyone’s life was in the king’s hands. The Vikings are more democratic and believe more in freedom, so their leaders don’t rule like absolute tyrants.

    • cindy-in-tx says:

      Spineless? I think Athelstan is a survivor and a scholar, never a fighting man. He’s too merciful to be a viking, but I think he loves Ragnar like family. I’m very interested to see what happens with his character.

      • M3rc Nate says:

        Not a fighting man? Did you see him going all awesome viking on people when they first got attacked in England (pre capture)? I know hes doing what he needs to too survive…but i still just get a bad taste in my mouth when i watch him cheering with the english and totally going over to their side..just like he did the first time when captured by the vikings. Im hoping when he gets saving (assumption) he vocally tells Ragnar what hes been thinking and what he really believes and what he really wants to be (christian or Viking etc).

        • JULIO FERRER says:

          Well: He never go totally to the other side. He is a learn man and understand the positive values in both cultures and the inherent barbay found in every religion: Wikins was near to offer him killing him like a kow, but the Christian retarded priest wih punish him cruxifixing him, The choice between both executions is obvious for every intelligent person. I thing He do in all circumstances the best for him searching the Truth -which oonly exist in our harth,,..

    • Tracey says:

      Totally agree with you, M3rc Nate !

  6. tv2day says:

    Lahertha looks like ScarJo’s sister. As far as being historically accurate to the written word, “written by men”. I’d rather be entertained. Its not a documentary.

  7. Pati says:

    Loved the episode. The death scene was very brutal, they way the shot it was was very good. Even thou we didn’t see much it was still hard to watch. I loved Floki’s wedding and I hope he doesn’t turn on Ragner, Even thou he is becoming a douche. Love Lagertha I wonder if she will find another love interest or if she will get together with Ragnar. She is too good for him. His wife the princess sucks, I didn’t know she was pregnant again. The show started slow for me but now is one of my favorites.

    • cindy-in-tx says:

      I wonder if the princess’ confession that her pregnancy hurts is a portent of her dying in childbirth so Ragnar and Lagertha can get back together. She said she’d turn into a monster if he forced himself on her. Was that a prediction of illness or something else? She’s proven to be a pretty good seer. She knew her child would have a snake in the eye.

    • Tracey Martin says:

      Jarl Lagertha said she looked forward to fighting alongside Ragnar in the West (Northumbria/England). I suspect Jarl Lagertha will repay Princess Aslaug the favor and lay with her ex-Ragnar and become pregnant! Whilst Princess Aslaug birth a MONSTER BABY! (Aslaug did tell sleazy Siggy that her current pregnancy is painful and she told Rags if he slept with her within the 3 days after she gave birth to the last son, she would birth him a “monster.” Oh ALLFATHER!

      • JB says:

        Historically Ragnar is said to have three wives so I dont see him getting back with Lagertha. You may be correct regarding the Monster baby. One of Ragnars sons was Ivar…Ivar the Boneless.

        • Jon says:

          And since the next episode is called “Boneless” I think we have a pretty good idea of the monster Aslaug is carrying.

          • B. says:

            Interesting…I would have put more money on it being Halfdan, who was pretty widely known as being exceedingly cruel. The next episode being named “Boneless” certainly lends your theory more credibility, although I imagine by calling it that, we aren’t going to get a healthy infant that grows up to be a berserker. I wonder how Ragnar will deal with another wife losing one of his sons.

  8. Dave from the trailer says:

    So far the second season has been really good. I just hope it doesn’t turn into ‘SOA Dark Ages’. Whereby plot it sacraficed for action and over the top violence. I get that we are talking about a show about a marauding band of warriors but last night kind of felt like an episode of SOA at it’s most over the top worst.

    • B. says:

      I think the show does a pretty good job of moderating that. We get plenty of plot and characters and battles; it seems to have something for all of us, no matter why we’re watching.

  9. Sam says:

    As I am reading Bernard Cornwell’s “The Pagan Lord”, that deals with the time of Mercia,Northumberland,Norsemen, Saxons,Jarls, and Kings…about the same time frame of the Vikings, I found last nights episode fascinating. The execution scene was a little difficult to watch, but accomplished it’s mission. To show the brutality of the time, without us seeing anything really icky. I doubt anyone could remain conscious through something like that, but this is television. I’m glad the series has been renewed. Whether it’s historically correct or not, it’s very well done.

    • JB says:

      Love Cornwells works, and really love the Saxon seriers. I am hoping that since that series revolves around the same time and even has some of the same characters (Uba and Ivar, Ragnars sons) that we will see them made into a show.

      • Sam says:

        That would be terrific. With all the interest in the “Vikings” , I think it would do well. I’m a Cornwell fan, too.

  10. dewidjalal says:

    I really love this movie, and can’t wait for the next episode. Lagertha is really inspiring woman.

  11. janet says:

    I didn’t mind the blood eagle scene… it was the rat scene in the beginning of the episode that made me wince… poor lil thing xx

    • Christine says:

      Oh, how true Janet! I was thinking the same thing. It was more difficult for me to way that disgusting rat scene than the “blood eagle.”

  12. derek says:

    I hope floki doesnt betray ragnar

  13. ggny says:

    Floki is on the outs with Ragnar because of Athelstan right? Or did i miss something

    • B. says:

      I don’t think it’s just that. Floki’s freak-out when Helga told him she was pregnant makes me think there’s something else going on with him as well, inner-turmoil wise.

  14. Tracey Martin says:

    Siggy wishes the Gods to smile on her once more….after last night, will she somehow maneuver such that Rollo becomes Jarl (Earl) and she once again ascends to Jarless? I also see that courtesy of Floki, Rollo knows full well about Siggy’s bed hopping and Mata Hari act (Ragnar, too from the looks of it.) Siggy really gets around.

  15. joanne says:

    So how many of us turned off the torture scene? What does that tell us? It tells me it was over the top. It took too long!!!!! It took the quality of the show down at least three notches.. I was disappointed. There were so many other things to explore.

    • Bingham says:

      Violence has been a part of this show since day one. There have been graphic fight scenes and we even saw a man hoisted into the air by Rollo after being impaled on a spear. Yet it is an execution scene that was LESS visually graphic that has freaked people out. You guys can handle spewing blood and decapitation but not an artistic and tastefully done death scene? Sounds like you just want something to bitch about.

      • metallisa says:

        Someone finally has sense about this scene. Poor One Eye gets hoisted in the air by someone who was once a close friend and yet this bothered people? This scene sets the tone that Ragnar will not tolerate someone jeopardizing his family. Jarl Borg was disrespectful of the relationship between brothers, antagonized the rest of his family by making them flee a hostile takeover of Kattegat, and was not even respectful of his own wife by consulting the skull of his dead wife rather than his new living wife.

      • Tracey says:

        Aren’t there warnings of violence at the beginning of each show ? I thought the episode was amazingly well done and tasteful . I still think Ragnar’s hot and you won’t find me changing the channel or looking away !

    • B. says:

      It tells me that some people should have read the disclaimers before they started watching the show.

      If that scene bothered you, that’s fine and I respect that. But it was not “over the top” or “too long,” and it did not take “the quality of the show down at least three notches.” It was necessary and a vital part of the storytelling.

  16. Mari says:

    Yes…the scene was very brutal…but very powerful and amazing…I never watched any television series…But Vikings i count the days til thursday…I think its silly for people to say that they won’t watch the show anymore due to the blood eagle scene…The human sacrifice scene in season 1 was just as powerful and brutal…

    I mean seriously…we are watching events based on “Vikings” they didn’t live in a world of rainbows and butterflies…They were very fearless and murder and war was a normal lifestyle for them…so obviously there WILL be some scenes that will be brutal…

    But i give this show 5 stars…I have been sad ever since Lagertha and Ragnar split up and i am starting to lose hope that they will ever get back together…I don’t care for the princess…but if there wasn’t any drama…it wouldn’t be as big of a hit as it is now and i understand this *sigh*….

    But i must admit i am getting a little nervous with them introducing his first son and showing him the viking way…and with all Ragnars friend turning foe to him…I am scared they are going towards the story line of killing Ragnar…Because i know the real story is that Ragnar is captured by Northumbria king and executed….and his sons weak revenge and end up taking invading England….

    Now that is something that just might scar me from watching the show again :/ I LOVE THE ACTOR PLAYING RAGNAR! I forgot his name…but he plays the part WELL…

    So i hope they don’t kill him off this season :/ i at least need 1 more season….

    • Johan says:

      I think saying murder was normal for Vikings was ‘normal’ is a little inaccurate. Committing murder was hardly something people did all the time in medieval Scandinavia. If you committed murder you had to go before a kind of trial, and often the punishment was compensation rather than execution. I agree that this scene was just too far, it was rather sickening and I felt unnessesary, also makes Ragnar look a little depraved, after all, he deals this punishment to a guy who MIGHT have harmed his family? Calm down, man! Jarl Borg needed horsewhipping, not vivisectioning. But I like the show and do appreciate a little Hollywood mixed in with history.

      • Jon says:

        Ragnar needed to make an example of Jarl Borg. As in “This is what happens to those who invade my territory”. Otherwise what’s to stop some other ambitious Earl from trying when they go raiding again.

  17. Chante says:

    I’m so glad Lagertha is a Earl because at this point I feel she’s the only one Ragnar can trust. I mean Ragnar has Bjorn so I feel Lagertha will do what’s best. I loved how Aslaug mentioned how she wishes she could be formidable like Lagertha. I don’t like this rift between Ragnar and Floki. And from the previews for next week I have a feeling Horik is not all to pleased about Lagertha being an ally or he’s just gonna try and manipulate her. I’d ßay

  18. Samantha says:

    Look, some here are saying they may not watch the show because of the blood eagle bit because of the show’s lack of accuracy or because they’ve lost respect for Ragnar. Please remember this is a show on the legend of Ragnar rather than a show on the accuracies of the dark ages. Here is a show about the essence of the legends about a man that we know little of. Furthermore, times were different and people lived by a different code. Was it gory to watch…of course. But should we really except less of a Viking Earl who almost lost his family to the man he killed…no. What do you think Jarl would have done to his family…he would have slaughtered his boys and finish the bloodline…you`d be angry too. There would be no mercy in those times – Jarl caused the death of many of Ragnar`s people. And you`ve got to realize you`re watching a Viking character who doesn`t like to be messed with – making him nice enough to exile or even give Jarl a quick death would have been so ridiculous. I am glad they showed Ragnar’s cruel side because it would get boring if he was a cardboard cut out. Watch the show like you’d read a graphic novel or comic book and you’ll realize they did exactly what they should have done with these characters. Also, for the record, Lagertha rules!

    • Samantha says:

      accept less…not except :)

    • B. says:

      I’m super confused by all the people complaining about the historical inaccuracy of a show that’s centered around a guy who we’re not sure even existed at all.

      And I’m relieved to see someone else pointing out that Jarl Borg deliberately attacked Ragnar’s people knowing that Ragnar had taken all the fighting men, knowing that Rollo wasn’t going to just take that but that he and the people would fight back. Jarl Borg killed women and children and old men, knowing that would be all the fighting force could consist of, in order to prove he was “better” than Ragnar. He placed a bounty on Ragnar’s head and hunted for Ragnar’s family–what do people think Jarl Borg was going to do if he got hold of Aslaug and Ubbe and Hvitserk? Throw them a party? No, he’d have executed them. Did anyone else notice how jubilant Ragnar’s people were when Ragnar took the village back? I’m fairly certain Jarl Borg wasn’t showing much more mercy to the survivors than he showed to the people he slaughtered to claim Kattegat.

      What Ragnar did was what Ragnar SHOULD have done. It was the right decision. I’m absolutely baffled by people don’t understand this.

  19. FreeRyde says:

    The baby will be Ivar the Boneless

  20. In the legends/histories, Lagertha does become Jarl on her own merit. She does come to Ragnar’s aid. And, I think, she never marries again. Like Queen Elizabeth I, she maintains her independence and equality. Viking Pagans, moreover, respected women more than their Christian counterparts. And they were democratic. Viking Scots and Viking Normans were among the Lords who demanded the Magna Carta. We own much of our democracies to our Viking forebears.

  21. Thorulf says:

    What is Michael Hirst talking about? “Ecbert read Caesar so he knows how to defeat the Vikings”?! Rome never conquered Scandinavia and were sent packing every time they tried to.

    • ragnar says:

      which is exactly how he knows to defeat them.. learn from mistakes

      • Thorulf says:

        Good point Ragnar, but historically speaking, early on anyways the Vikings stomped the English which eventually lead to the Danelaw which was half of England under Viking control for a century or more.

    • Maze says:

      Knows how to break through a shield wall, which as it is shown in the show (however accurate a depiction of viking military formations as that may be) is basically not very different from a hoplete phalanx, the Legions’ triple battle line was superior to the hoplete phalanx in pitched battles. That’s just fact. Caesar never tried to invade Scandinavia. He did invade Gaul. He was successful. He was generally pretty successful. That’s why he was Caesar. Home we bring our bald *#@*% *&%$#*, Romans lock your wives away. Ave Imperator.

  22. rogerdodger says:

    There was no need to display in detail such evil depravity. That such executions took play is true (the blood eagle not so much) but to go for outright shock value over the storyline completely ruined the show for me. There was no need for it. For an entire season and a half, the producers relied heavily on few characters with indepth development and it’s what placed the show ahead and apart from ‘other’ shows with 100 characters in a 40 min episode lol.

    I’ll now just wait to hear from others if the show returned where it started and then just download the torrents.

  23. Stephanie says:

    For God’s sake people, the Blood Eagle scene was nothing! You see more violence and brutality on other shows, such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and all the others. I am pretty sure the DVD set will show much more blood and gore from that scene. But what were The Vikings and what did they do? Pagens and they raided and pillaged, and weren’t very nice about it.

    The show depicts what myself and all the other fans want to see which is violence and blood, albeit fake, but it still makes for a great show. If you wimps can’t take it, then dont watch it. Leave it for us true fans who enjoy every moment of the show.

    Besides the fact the blood eagle scene was tame compared to the human sacrifice scene, people’s heads getting chopped off, the priest who was tied up and became a practice target for the men to shoot their arrows at, or the crucifixtion scene with Althostan. Weren’t those worse?

    I’ll continue to watch and enjoy the show. Travis Fimmel, who used to be a Calvin Klein underwear model, is freaking gorgeous as is Clive Davis who plays Rollo. I would love to win a spot to walk on as a character….but I would highly demand a major love scene possibly with Ragnar or Rollo. I am thrilled it has been renewed for a 3rd season, and hopefully many more.

  24. Thorulf says:

    And to all the people bitchin and moaning about the gore, don’t watch a show about Vikings. Obviously you can’t handle it. If the show is true to the saga this is only the first blood eagle because Bjorn gives Aella a blood eagle for killing Ragnar. The best sources of information on this era in Scandinavian history are the sagas and the blood eagle shows up in multiple sagas so the evidence does suggest that this was an actual form of execution, most likely not wide spread but something performed non the less. People are blood thirsty through out all eras of human history, in my mind crucifixion is a far more cruel form of execution as it took people days and in some cases weeks to die from exposure, suffocation and/or dehydration. I highly doubt that a person would live through the blood eagle to completion or at the very least they would pass out from shock and blood loss. While being gruesome it’s a much more humane form of execution than Roman/Christian favored method as one will die very quickly.

    • Christine says:

      I agree, Thorulf. In some of these posts folks want to deny that the “blood eagle” was ever really carried out as a form of execution. It’s like you say, there are other forms of execution that are just as brutal (if not more) that have been carried out throughout history, and even today. Take for example “Qussa.” The condemned has his head sawed off with a knife. Many times it’s not even very sharp. No anesthetic or nothing! What makes it even more brutal is the way in which the Taliban will have four or five people lined up, and the poor souls must watch in horror as the hacking is carried out on the others, knowing full well that they are next. What about disembowelment.? Burning at the stake? The list goes on and on. If you can think of it, it’s been done.

  25. Liam says:

    I was actually turned down by the lack of gore in a blood eagle scene. I expected a scene that would make the red wedding look like a petty scene. The show is still quite good, and it could be way better if the scenes were more graphic. The blood eagle is a traitor’s death, and that is the least that should be done to traitors.

  26. Deb says:

    So,I had read in an earlier interview with Michael Hirst that he had written the most compelling dialog between two spouses, and that it would air near the end of episode 7. He said it was so heartfelt and revealing that people actually told him not to include it. So here I am waiting to hear either Ragnar pour his heart out to Lagertha, or Aslung tell Ragnar she’s taking her row boat and rowing back home. I don’t know something BIG. It wasn’t until like several minutes after Aslung admitted that she liked Lagertha and envied her that I realized ” this was the Big Diaglog” I waited all that time for that! So Aslung has a girl crush on Lagertha….So What! We all do! As far as Aslung’s future, I think it might be iffy. Remember a couple of episodes ago when Lagertha decided not to stay with Ragnar and as she was leaving, Aslung thanked her and Lagertha said something like ” live every moment”. Maybe she doesn’t have many moments left, and now she’s having a painful pregnancy.
    If she dies, I think that Ragnar will go on to a third wife not back to Lagertha. But, if they take away all of the flirting and off the chart chemistry between Lagertha and Ragnar that would be a mistake. I would enjoy watching Ragnar get jealous over Lagertha!! That would be interesting to see the tables turned.
    As far as the Floki/Ragnar thing-I think it started when they hit that horrible storm coming back from England and Floki got off the ship so terrified. He mentioned something about the “Gods anger” and I think he is afraid that with Ragnar’s treatment of and obbession with Athelstan “a Christian “and making a mistake by leaving Katttacutt undefended against Borg.Ragnar reacted to Borg by seeking a Blood Eagle because he threatened his family. Floki see’s the bigger picture of that mistake which is they are ALL eating rats. He’s afraid that Ragnar isn’t listening to the Gods and he is losing their favor. In that scene I’ll be watching you ” que up the old Police song” Ragnar is behind a screen watching the goings on and Floki is off in a corner the only one who is watching Ragnar watch. He seems to see right through Ragnar. Nothing has yet to be said about Ragnar’s invite to the wedding getting lost in the mail, but you know that hasn’t been lost on a Ragnar.

    • Christine says:

      Deb; I was wondering why we didn’t get to see Ragnar’s reaction to not being included in Floki’s wedding. I suppose there will be more about it this week. Obviously, Ragnar was preoccupied with other matters. I think your assessments in regard to Floki’s attitude toward Ragnar make a lot of sense. I was just kind of thinking Floki may be losing it. I don’t know, maybe it was the way that he told his girl, upon receiving news of the pregnancy, that he felt bad that the child had to have him for a father. Then, he seemed a little out of sorts when he went to get the sword that was buried with that skeleton. However, your theory makes sense. Floki has had a big attitude concerning Ragnar’s friendship with Athelstan. I did do a little research on whatever background I could find on the real Vikings portrayed in the series, and it seems that the real Ragnar and Lagertha never did get back together. One other thing I took notice of in the last episode was that during Jarl Borg’s execution, there were the images of an eagle and a snake. I wonder if that is indicative of Ragnar’s future execution. From all of the sources that I read about the real Ragnar & Co., he will be executed by King Aella via being thrown into a snake pit. Eventually, one of his son’s does a “blood eagle” on King Aella to avenge Ragnar’s death. I LOVE THIS SERIES!

      • Deb says:

        Yes, Thursday night is my must see TV night! I also checked into some of the history, specifically Lagertha’s, and as of now her future is all in the hands of the writer. There wasn’t much to begin with… Shield maiden marries Ragnar has daughters(plural) and a son, divorce, marries Earl Sigvard ” he dies” she becomes Earl doesn’t remarry. Nothing about how or when she dies or if she lives with another guy -her possibilities are endless. I hope they give her a great exciting story line and not just become Ragnar’s helper. She is so popular they could do a spin off series for her:)..onward to Thursday night!

  27. Paul says:

    The show would be far better if it were historically accurate. In the episode “Blood Eagle,” they present a young Aethelwulf marrying Judith, daughter of the King of Northumbria. In their website commentary “Behind the Scenes” for episode “Blood Eagle,” the narrator even refers to her as the mother of Alfred the Great.

    That’s a nice fantasy, but it’s not accurate: According to Asser, Alfred’s biographer, Aethelwulf married Osburh, a noblewoman of the Court of Wessex. Osburh was the mother of Alfred, and also his older siblings. Alfred was born in 849; in 856, Aethelwulf married Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald — King of the Franks, not Northumbria — and Alfred would have been seven old when this took place, presumably after Osburh had died.

    It would in no way detract from the drama or value of the show were History Channel were to teach correct history in its episodes; much the contrary, it would add to it.

    King Egbert was a clever man, and the truth of how he acquired Mercia is a far better story than the fiction they have created. But it was left to his son Alfred to unite Mercia, Wessex, and Northumbria under one banner — and that is an even better story to be told with accuracy.

    Another significant inaccuracy occurs in this article: “And the important thing to know is that because King Ecbert has studied the military techniques of Caesar, he knows how to defeat the Vikings. So, it’s a wonderful battle sequence, it really, really it is. It’s exciting.”

    Again, this is not so, and it is not as exciting as the truth: According to Asser, Egbert studied in the Court of Charlemagne, where he would have learned the techniques used by the Franks in repelling Viking incursions on mainland European soil.

    Unfortunately, telling the truth is not politically correct in today’s media culture — even if it means a better storyline with even more drama.

  28. Siri says:

    First: It’s not a documentary. Second: The Blood Eagle scene was magnificent. I dislike slasher movies intensely and refuse to watch them but this scene was executed brilliantly. Yes, of course the subject matter was jarring to anyone who is not a psychopath. But odd that so many people chose to focus on what was going on “back there”. Redirect your focus. The imagery was horrifically beautiful. Hauntingly quiet, the movements were almost poetic. And most of it was implied! Aside from the occasional blood splatter we saw nothing. Even the bird’s eye view was at just the right angle for us to see… nothing. It was left to our imagination.

  29. sandy says:

    I think Ragnar and Floki are still tight. Im thinking they are finfing out who is loyal to Ragnar or who is not. After Floki found Siggy wasnt loyal, they needed to kno how far and deep her games run. If there is plans to over take Ragnar, he needs to know and Floki is his most trusted. But, i may be wrong. As for the blood eagle, yes was hard to see, but unlike most, i was drawn to Borg and the way he faced the ordeal and used all he had to gain the favor of the Gods and men with a show of strength and determination. I think it was done with great taste and dignty. Ragnar did what he had to do. I love the show and dont care if its more fact or fiction.

  30. shelley says:

    Siri and Sandy, I couldn’t agree with you more. I detest super gory viewing but I love this show and find violence a necessary aspect of it. Sometimes I look away but the blood eagle scene was well executed. Thorbjorn Harr is an EXCELLENT actor. Jarl Borg was one of my fave characters (just as hot as Rollo) I hate to see him go.

  31. david says:

    Will someone tell me what was wrong with the newborn baby last night? I couldn’t really see it..?

  32. LuvthatCinema says:

    I believe that the episode did exactly what it was supposed to; make us realize that they person we root for is a person in the situation he was in. That is, the vikings were a brutal ppl in many ways and that if they made Ragnar the one who by will or by accident avoided the situation, it would seem cheap like old movies that have the protagonist ‘prevented’ from saving someone. It makes it easier to stay ‘on his side’ when we believe that bad things happen only when he absolutely cannot do anything about it. It is far more interesting to see a man we think is a good man, make choices that are brutal and face the consequences of those choices both good and bad. It is a credit to the writers and the actor that everyone who has commented that thet want to turn off the show due to this scene, still WANTS to believe and root for Ragnar !!!

    A great show should make us feel these feeling about the characters we care about – not just put our protagonist in event after event where he can just prove his best qualities…

  33. Helen says:

    The baby has no bones in ts legs.

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  35. Aolani08 says:

    I found my replacement for True Blood, I love this show. I will not hold my breath for a Ragnar and Lagertha reunion but I’m happy that they still love one another after Aslung’s trickery. I’m glad she is realizing that although he is doing the right thing by her he’s still a big flirt. I guess she wasn’t so special after all magic or no magic and I hate how she cursed their last baby. His sacrifice of sparing the babies life showed he is more than we know.

  36. Adam Wharton says:

    I just spent 45minutes expressing my view admoration , thoughts etc. And because the stupid site said wrong e-mail address I lost it all frak , frak grrrrrr

  37. Nancy says:

    One Question – Was Ragnar’s family killed? It was ordered and the others hiding with them were allowed to leave. It was such a quick shot that I’m left wondering.

    • Nancy says:

      I missed an “O” in my email address. So I’m correcting it. I’d really like to know if Ragnar’s young family was killed.

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  45. JULIO FERRER says:

    I am 71 years old and Ph D in Etnology. The serie Wikings is one of the most impactive and beautiful series I have seen -every episode is a great film! As a whole the episodes are a heavy historical document of the Life and Death of this fascinating people. An inconmensurable work of research, artistic manufactures and handwork do the succesive episodes a masterwork from every point of view. Congratulations!