This 'Lately I've been watching' is dedicated only to the first 10 episodes of Season 5 of Vikings, which I've just watched over 3 days.
Loved it, as always, though I felt it's become a little more theatrical this season, and wondered if this was the directors making up for the element it is now lacking, ie, Ragnar Lothbrok.
|The glorious Travis Fimmel as Ragnar (early days!)|
At the very end of last season I was much interested in the inclusion of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Bishop Heahmund; my theory is that he's been put in as one-for-the-ladies, now that the glorious Travis Fimmel is no longer with us. A nice bit of stuff though JRM undoubtedly is, I find his brand of actorish-acting more suited to the Hollywoodised romp type historical drama of The Tudors than the previously more authentic-feeling Vikings; for instance, his exchanges with Ivar the Boneless lacked the subtlety and depth of those between Ragnar and Athelstan.
I was, however, most pleased to see him get together with Lagertha at the end, and it was good to see Lagertha back with her shield maiden hairdo and warpaint ~ is this the 21st century ideal of femininity? If so, I'm all for it.
It's brother against brother once more, then, in the tradition of Ragnar and Rollo, as Ivar persuades the not-so-intelligent one whose name I had to look up because a) he is so insignificant and b) I could never hear it properly (Hvitserk), to side with him against the mighty Bjorn Ironside and the honorable Ubbe, who is the only one who actually looks like Ragnar, albeit a watered down version.
Then there is Harald Finehair and the adventurer Halfdan (another favourite of mine), whose loyalty to Bjorn was cemented when they dined on a Sicilian in the desert. I was so sad to see Halfdan killed in the last episode, and wanted Valhalla to be real for him. Less so Astrid, who got on my nerves. Poor Harald; how long must it have taken to grow that plait? When all the time the father of Astrid's child might have been any one of group of four whalers; like Harald's plait, I felt this storyline was chopped off prematurely. Then again, he did kill Halfdan, in direct contrast with Ubbe, who, when the shields were down, could not kill his own brother. Shame that Halfdan was far more worthy of life than Hvitserk.
|Harald and Halfdan enjoy a cool 99 in Valhalla|
And let us not forget Alfred and Aethelred.... I expect to see Alfred become a major character loved by a Viking leader as Ecbert was by Ragnar. Though maybe not Ivar, who has shaped up so well as the pantomime villain with the occasional weakness, though one never knows; does he just show this to keep others such as Hvitserk on his side? He is a master war statistician, but will he meet his match in Alfred? And will Rollo sort the little tinker out, now he's back, in his designer robes? Has he stopped throwing his toys out of the pram and learned to do what is right?
Love the Floki in Iceland sideshow ~ I took it that he had not only thought he had seen the gods in his starving, delirious state, but also the land as lush and verdant. I expect he'll be dissuaded from sacrificing himself, and will, at some point, be able to show them the mountain that breathes fire, thus proving that he was right all along about it being a magical land.
And so to the next ten episodes....
- Will mad-as-a-box-of-frogs Margrethe kill Torvi or her children?
- Will Lagertha have her highlights redone, or will she stay shocked-silver, following her reluctant murder of Astrid?
- Will Alfred follow in the wise footsteps of his grandfather, but this time manage not to murder a bunch of Norse farmers?
- Has Rollo arrived to side with Ivar or Bjorn?
- Which one of Ragnar's sons will decide to chuck it all up and open an international cab firm instead?