Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Brave, The Wise, The Mad and The Brutal... #Vikings, Season 5

I've just binge-watched Season 5 of Vikings, waiting for the end until I watched the whole thing; ah, but it's hard to watch without being nostalgic for the early days of Ragnar, isn't it?  Each of his sons embodies a side of him: Bjorn his fearlessness and adventure, Ubbe his patience, honour and understanding of human nature, Ivar his intelligence and ruthlessness, and Hvitserk - well, I'm sure we are yet to see the best of him.  But the great man is still so sadly missed; yes, Lagertha, I too long for the days when you were both on your farm!

Anyway, I loved it, though missing other greats like Athelstan and Ecbert, too.  The battles are edge-of-your-seat thrilling, the scenery is fabulous, the drama is outstanding as ever, and it was good to see some Ragnar flashbacks - hope there will be more!  I've read that Season 6 will be the last, though the writers are going to do a 'continuation' series, with a new cast.

For other addicts, here are a few thoughts on where the main characters are now.

The Ramsay Bolton (ref: Game of Thrones) of Vikings, whose psychopathic tendencies grow ever darker - the burning alive of subjects who don't actively support him, the murders of Sigurd, Freydis, his own son, and any other random person who meets him on a bad day - but still with an occasional sweet vulnerability and well-placed wit that makes him an 'I shouldn't really like him but I kind of do' character.  Maybe Negan rather than Ramsay Bolton?  All his issues about being disabled and paternal rejection have turned into the anger that fuels his ambition - and he knows this about himself.  Kattegat has not seen the last of him...

One of my favourites, I was gutted when he died!  I loved that he got away from the domineering Harald and followed his heart, to live life to the full, in all its intensity, and see the world, rather than seek personal fame and glory.  He was he only one of the main men without that rage inside him, or the desire for power.  And he was cute and funny 😉.

....but I did like him, too, despite him killing lovely Halfdan.  Harald was the Viking's Viking; total alpha male, hard drinking, fearless fighting, brutal wife-claiming (I bet a lot of women, though, will see, as I did, why he had such bad luck with them - he played all his cards straight away).  What he lacked in cunning foresight he made up for with that macho confidence that inspired followers.  Love that the last thing he did was save Bjorn's life.... now there's a ticket to the Great Hall of Valhalla!

The wonderful Alfred, with the wisdom and far sight of his father and grandfather, rather than the black and while, blinkered outlook of bulldog stepfather Aethelwulf.  I do hope we get to see more visions of Athelstan, and also that he grows his hair back and gets rid of that fluff on his face; he's gone from potential rock star to accountant.  Three cheers to mum Judith who made it all happen....

....yes, the Saxon woman who must have eaten her ten-a-day and used the full Tropics Skin Care range on a nightly basis, for she didn't age a day from the time she first shagged Athelstan, to her deathbed, on which she wore mascara.  Judith rocked, though, and probably wished she could have lived the lives of Lagertha or Torvi, so she could do all the stuff she wanted and needed to, without shame.

I always felt a bit sorry for him, though he didn't do himself any favours, carrying his Middle Child Syndrome around like a shield.  But getting off Ubbe's boat was not the wrong decision after all.  Yes, it was his one stand at not being the 'younger brother' forever, little realising that his own younger brother would tower over him in a way that Ubbe never tried to - but his anger at Ivar turned the boy into a man; in his proposal to Olaf he showed a strength and daring we had not seen before.

Now, I always thought he was the 'Happy Shopper' Ragnar.  He looks the most like him, but you could pass him by in a crowd.  He has the older brother thing going on, but didn't feel like a leader.  He's honorable, but until the last few episodes of S5 it hadn't got him very far (the Ned Stark of Vikings?).  Then, suddenly - whooosh.  He became truly the son of Ragnar.  Pretending to accept the Christian faith to get what he wanted, negotiating peace twixt Saxon and Dane - he was the one who realised Ragnar's dream.  Hopefully in S6 we will see more of the great hero he has become, and he will give Hvitserk more than a cursory nod of greeting :)

Bishop Heahmund
Ah yes, the lusty Bishop, to whom Christianity meant whatever he wanted it to mean on that precise day.  Jonathan Rhys-Meyers seemed determined to out-act everyone else in the cast, with every scene a display of his dramatic acting skills, every conversation a celebration of epic emotion.  He was fun, though, and added much to the series - and it was good to see Lagertha still getting her rocks off with hunks!!!

Never a favourite character of mine; he's always so angry, isn't he?  But I LOVED that final triumph over Ivar, when, even though his, Harald, Hvitserk and Olaf's army was defeated, he still won, by appealing to the true spirit of the people of Kattegat.  It totally came from the heart, which is probably why it worked.  I am sure we all love to see the town back in its rightful hands - but I'm rather disappointed that he believed in the story of Magnus, who I think was an imposter.  No matter, now. 

He wasn't a favourite of mine, either, but what a sad ending for him - ironic, too, that his great search for his gods, and his belief that Iceland was Asgard, ended with the discovery of a Christian cross. The portrayal of his slow descent into a strange insanity that was sometimes so astute, was terrific.  I don't think he ever got over the death of Ragnar; that, even more than the death of Helga.

After TWD's Michonne, my TV heroine.  However many triumphs she has, however many new loves, none ever compare to Ragnar; there is a lingering sadness about her, all the time.  Still beautiful, even though she must surely be in her late 50s by now; I am sure there is still room for some more adventures and happiness in her long and eventful life - aren't you?




  1. I love of my favourite programmes. I'll be gutted when it ends.

    Have you watched the Last Kingdom?

    1. Me too - I hear there is going to be one more season with the people we know, then a spin-off series.

      I watched the first season of TLK, but started to watch the 2nd and didn't carry on - it seemed less 'real', and for some reason they'd given the main character a Ragnar Lothbrok type accent that he didn't have before!

  2. Ah yes...I have to say TLK got better as it went on but I'm afraid Travel Fimmel's Ragnar has spoilt me for any other

    (It's Andrea by the way...user of many blog names) x