Archive | March 2015

Vikings Reborn: Judith’s story

 

Before we talk of Judith’s recent terror, let us look closer at Judith and her history- both real and imagined.  In our world, Judith is the daughter of King Aelle of Northumbria.

In actual history, not a lot is known about Aelle other than the fact that he was partially responsible for the Great Heathen armies of the Vikings descending on England for a long and bloody war.  A war which would set Aethelwulf’s son, Alfred the Great against the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, first in revenge for their Father’s death, then in fights for land all over England.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ælla_of_Northumbria

Ælla became king after Osberht was deposed. This is traditionally dated to 862 or 863, but may have been as late as 866.  Almost nothing is known of Ælla’s reign. Symeon of Durham states that Ælla had seized lands at Billingham, Ileclif, Wigeclif, and Crece, which belonged to the church. While Ælla is described in most sources as a tyrant, and not a rightful king, one source states that he was Osberht’s brother.

The Great Heathen Army marched on Northumbria in the late summer of 866, seizing York on 21 November 866.  Symeon of Durham, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Asser, and Æthelweard all recount substantially the same version of events in varying detail. Symeon’s Historia Regum Anglorum gives this account of the battle on 21 March 867 where Osberht and Ælla met their deaths at the hands of the Vikings:

In those days, the nation of the Northumbrians had violently expelled from the kingdom the rightful king of their nation, Osbryht by name, and had placed at the head of the kingdom a certain tyrant, named Alla. When the pagans came upon the kingdom, the dissension was allayed by divine counsel and the aid of the nobles. King Osbryht and Alla, having united their forces and formed an army, came to the city of York; on their approach the multitude of the shipmen immediately took flight. The Christians, perceiving their flight and terror, found that they themselves were the stronger party. They fought upon each side with much ferocity, and both kings fell. The rest who escaped made peace with the Danes.

Ragnarssona þáttr (The Tale of Ragnar’s sons) adds a great deal of colour to accounts of the Viking conquest of York. This associates the semi-legendary king of Sweden Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons, Hvitserk, Björn Ironside, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Ivar the Boneless, and Ubba. According to the stories, Ragnar was killed by Ælla, and the army which seized York in 866 was led by Ragnar’s sons who avenged his death by subjecting Ælla to the blood eagle.  Earlier English sources record that both Ælla and Osberht died in battle, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle stating that “both the kings were slain on the spot”.  The main figure in the revenge tales is Ivar, who is sometimes associated with the Viking leader Ímar, brother of Amlaíb Conung, found in the Irish annals. Dorothy Whitelock notes that “it is by no means certain that he should be identified with the son of Ragnar, for the name is not uncommon”.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not name the leaders in Northumbria, but it does state that “Hingwar and Hubba” slew King Edmund of East Anglia (Saint Edmund) some years later.  Hubba is named as a leader of the army in Northumbria by Abbo of Fleury, and by the Historia de Sancto Cuthberto. Symeon of Durham lists the leaders of the Viking army as “Halfdene, Inguar, Hubba, Beicsecg, Guthrun, Oscytell, Amund, Sidroc and another duke of the same name, Osbern, Frana, and Harold.

 

King Aella of Northumbria

Aelle and his wife, Ealhswith

Aelle and his lovely wife

Aelle with the rest of the family while attending the baptism of Rollo.

Aelle and family attend  yes his son is named ecbert

King Aelle traded Judith to Ecbert as part of a peace agreement and alliance between the two countries. Young Judith became what was known as a peace weaver or peace cow in her marriage to Ecbert’s son Aethelwulf.  She did not seem overly displeased about the arrangement. Why should she… she knew her place and duty as a Noble Royal daughter, it was getting her away from the disagreeable and disgusting King Aelle, and as far as husbands went- Aethelwulf would seem to be a decent match. He was at least young and not bad looking, he was a Prince in line to a throne, and his household was probably much more friendly and comfortable than her Fathers. What was there to disagree about in this arrangement! She was herself, a rather pious and devoted to God young woman so Aethelwulf’s initial devotion to his religion would have probably set well with her.

 

Judith traveling to Wessex with Aelle.

Judith traveling to Wessex with Aelle.

 

Judith's wedding

Judith’s wedding

The marriage for all appearances, seemed to be going well. She quickly proved her breeding ability and provided a son as was her main duty in life. After this accomplishment, Judith could rest somewhat easily in her new household, though she really should at some point put efforts toward providing additional sons… It was unwise to rely on just one heir back then as children could die so easily. And, even once they reached adulthood, a King’s life was filled with dangers- there really should be at least one or two back up heirs in case of some tragedy.  But, for the time being, Judith was comfortable in her position and could relax.  She was well liked by her husband’s family- King Ecbert and much of the time, it appeared that she served as the Lady of his court.  She was present at various family events and functions, both with and without her husband in attendance. Judith got along well with King Ecbert, which would serve to her benefit in the future tragedy to come.

When Ragnar and his group arrived in Wessex, Aethelwulf and Judith were both present at their arrival and later at the feasting in their honor.

aethelwulf watching the arrival

aethelwulf watching the arrival

aethelwulf and judith listen and watch the meeting.

aethelwulf and judith listen and watch the meeting.

aethelwulf volunteers to fight along side these pagans

aethelwulf volunteers to fight along side these pagans

Later, after the warriors- including her husband prepared to do battle, Judith was left on her own at court with King Ecbert as her company. As I have mentioned, they seemed to get along well, were quite friendly with each other, and Judith was included in the various visits with the Pagans… whether she wanted to be there or not- as was the case in a few instances.  It was during this time that she first met the Priest who would so fascinate her and forever change her life. She had heard many rumors about this Holy man, Athelstan from Ecbert and from church members.  Most of the talk was indeed positive and glowing, among the dissenters though, was her husband Aethelwulf. Aethelwulf could not get his mind past the fact that Athelstan lived among the Pagans and so must be a traitor to the true God, the true religion of Christianity.  Aethelwulf is so devout in his beliefs that any dissent from the Christian way is to be viewed with suspicion, contempt and mistrust. He is truly intolerant of any other way of thinking. This will not bode well for Judith in the future.

aethelwulf and athelstan aethelwulf vikings2

Judith was insistant and determined to meet this priest. After her first meeting, she was completely infatuated and entranced with Athelstan.

lady Judith enters and makes her play for Athelstan in a chastely religious manner

now judith will be enraptured with this saintly man marked by god

now judith will be enraptured with this saintly man marked by god

Judith can't resist grabbing his hand to see such a religious sign

Judith can’t resist grabbing his hand to see such a religious sign

judith is in extacy, awe and religious fervor could set in at any moment

Judith I am fascinated by these Northmen

Judith I am fascinated by these Northmen

judith hangs on every word he speaks

judith hangs on every word he speaks

Athelstan was a bit smitten by her as well…

Is Athelstan blushing  I think he is

King Ecbert had an idea what was beginning to happen between the two…

ecbert waits anxiously for Athelstan's answer

Judith went so far as to visit Athelstan in his private quarters…a highly inappropriate and risky action on her part.

judith comes to call

judith comes to call

judith pays athelstan a visit

King Ecbert did warn Judith that she should be careful of those she chooses to be fascinated with… she is playing a very dangerous game.

be careful Judith who you choose to be fascinated by

be careful Judith who you choose to be fascinated by

judith plays a dangerous game

judith plays a dangerous game

Despite Ecbert’s warnings, Judith continued to be fascinated with Athelstan and continuously put herself in his close company. She did however, hold on to her virtue and her pious religious upbringing for the most part. There were times when Ecbert’s more enlightened ways caused her much stress and undue embarrassment but she made every attempt to go along with activities. One such example was the visit to the Roman bath… Poor Judith was much out of here element and comfort zone in this situation but tried hard to participate in it.  It was probably overwhelming and shocking to her, but in some part of her being, it was also too tempting to pass up.  She was religious but not to such an extent as her husband, and she was learning to be more open minded about life and other cultures from Ecbert as well as Athelstan and the other Pagans she encountered such as Lagertha. Judith’s eyes and heart were opening to the bigger world and it was causing her to question all of her so strongly held beliefs.

judith gulps at ecbert's suggestion for them to join him

thoughts in judith's head  no no no euwwwww I can't watch this

thoughts in judith’s head no no no euwwwww I can’t watch this

a quick stare at Judith getting out of the tub

judith's thought omg maybe if I drink enough this will be easier!

judith’s thought omg maybe if I drink enough this will be easier!

Judith's a little uncomfortable here judith makes her escape

After the event in the tub, Judith was torn and at her breaking point. She pours out her heart to Athelstan in a few simple words… I am so tired, tired of everything.

judith admits her tiredness of trying to be good

Athelstan made attempt to comfort her, he was as heart weary as her and understood her words well.

Judith the daughter Judith the wife Judith the pawn

Judith did confess the sin in heart, her deepest feelings for Athelstan… the sin was not hers alone because Athelstan held the same feelings for her.

The sin in Judith's heart is for Athelstan Judith confesses the sin in her heart

hearing Judith's confession

hearing Judith’s confession

Eventually the feelings were too much for them to ignore and they gave in to their desire for each other

Athelstan and Judith ignore their responsibilities and give in to their own desires Judith in the aftermath of pleasure there it's done

It was a bittersweet short lived affair and it was not so secret as they might have assumed that it was. I am quite sure that Ecbert had his suspicions about it even though he did not come outright with it. He did make references to their feelings for each other and their relationship when he was attempting later to get Athelstan to remain with them in Wessex.

 

The men returned from battle victorious over Mercia. This brought the affair to an end as it brought Aethelwulf home, full of crowning glory for feats that he did not accomplish. It also brought Judith’s Father King Aelle to visit and check up on his daughter.  Judith was suffering much anguish at this time as well as possibly some other ailments.  Her Father’s harsh comments and concern only pertained to her not doing her duty as wife of a Noble conquering hero returning home. His concern was not for her happiness or her health, it was for his own personal issues. He was more concerned that her behavior would cause them to look bad and it would affect their so far steady treaty with Wessex. He was not a loving or forgiving Father or ruler for that matter… if she had done anything to affect this peace agreement, she would find no sympathy or forgiving sanctuary from this man!

Aelle and judith What is your problem

Aelle and judith What is your problem

I hear there's a nunnery down the road

I hear there’s a nunnery down the road

King Ecbert  was determined to dissuade any thought or rumor of Judith’s possible indiscretions. As in any small community, there were always rumors and gossip concerning the Nobles and their personal behaviors. Ecbert most probably knew full well of Judith’s affair with Athelstan and possibly even the result of it… But, at this point he needed her to present a loving and devoted wifely attitude towards her husband, Ecbert’s son. This was not a time for womanly hysterics or fits of stubbornness. This was a time to present a united front to all that were watching.

she has missed you beyond endurance she has spent countless hours praying in the chapel for your safe return

she has missed you beyond endurance she has spent countless hours praying in the chapel for your safe return

ecbert throws judith at aethelwulf  your wife has missed you

ecbert throws judith at aethelwulf your wife has missed you

judith is the pawn again

Judith was able to pull herself together and maintain her false pretense until she glimpsed her Athelstan watching from a distance.

 

Judith fakes her welcome of Aethelwulf while eying athelstan

a pensive athelstan in the middle of the feast an uncomfortable Athelstan looks on

During later events of that evening Ecbert used the relationship between Judith and Athelstan in attempt to get his beloved friend to remain with him in Wessex.

perhaps athelstan will stay   Will you  ohhh please say yes don't leave me this way

perhaps athelstan will stay Will you ohhh please say yes don’t leave me this way

When Athelstan mentioned his indecision, Ecbert hinted as to the ongoing relationship… he talked of how he knew that Judith spent much time with Athelstan, held him so dear to her heart and even used him as her personal confessor.  He also asked Athelstan if he had discussed this decision with Judith?

ecbert's response to athestan  Or with Judith

Athelstan’s decision to leave brought panic and fear along with heartbreak from Judith…

I gave myself to you please don't leave me

they say you will go home with ragnar  ohhh please stay don't leave me here by myself not now

they say you will go home with ragnar ohhh please stay don’t leave me here by myself not now

His decision brought a different but equally somber response from Ecbert. Ecbert was disappointed, told him it was the wrong decision and also left him with a final disturbing message…”You have made the wrong decision, your future lies here in Wessex.” Was that just Ecbert’s frustration speaking, or did he know more than he was willing to say.

 I've made up my mind  I will go back with ragnar

I’ve made up my mind I will go back with ragnar

ecbert to athelstan  I think that is the wrong decision.

ecbert to athelstan I think that is the wrong decision.

ecbert is disappointed with athelstan's decision

ecbert is disappointed with athelstan’s decision

In any event, all of their heart wrenching personal discussions and feelings were overshadowed by the final event of that evening… the death of Kwentirith’s brother. That event seemed to unsettle Judith even more.

judith's personal thought when is this going to be over I think I'm going to be sick

It was not until after Ragnar’s group, including Athelstan, departed back to Kattegat that the real consequence of Judith’s affair and her distress were revealed. Judith spent more and more time by herself, avoiding Aethelwulf and instead devoting her attentions to prayer and to God.

judith and her cross 2 lady judith

judith's cross to bear

judith’s cross to bear

judith's cross2

Eventually Aethelwulf inquired of what was bothering her… then demanded to know what her problem was as her husband it was his right to know.

facing aethelwulf

facing aethelwulf

 

silence as judith tries to find courage to tell aethelwulf her condition

silence as judith tries to find courage to tell aethelwulf her condition

Judith finally told Aethelwulf of what was bothering her…

I am with child   What I did not hear you correctly

I am with child. What I did not hear you correctly?

it is true I am with child

it is true I am with child

To say that Aethelwulf did not take the news well would be an understatement! He had not slept with Judith since the birth of their son… this child could not be his! He was beyond words, he was filled with uncontrollable rage, then with sheer terror and panic. There was his rage at his wife’s unfaithfulness and desire to abuse her brutally, but then there was his panic and his fear as well. His fear of his own anger, his fear of  God’s punishment upon them both for this act.

Well that's impossible we have not slept together since the birth of our son.

Well that’s impossible we have not slept together since the birth of our son.

Who's child it answer me

panic and fear in aethelwulf along with humiliation

panic and fear in aethelwulf along with humiliation

 

aethelwulf's anger and frustration

aethelwulf’s anger and frustration

His anger and bitterness at Judith’s betrayal were set aside temporarily when Ecbert employed him to go the North Settlement and end the disputes going on there. There was much betrayal in that act- the betrayal was between Ecbert and Ragnar, as well as in Ecbert and his own son… Ecbert used his own son to carry out the horrific act, but that story does not have a part in Judith’s personal story, other than the fact that in the act Aethelwulf showed his own brutality, his own berserker qualities and his growing extremism with his Christian faith. He would later use those qualities in his treatment of Judith. As to the most violent act that he bestowed on the settlement, I think that some of it involved his venting his rage at Judith.

Aethelwulf casts judith an evil look  I'll deal with you later

Aethelwulf casts judith an evil look I’ll deal with you later

Judith watches her husband leave

Judith watches her husband leave

judith trying to remain calm

What ever retribution or revenge that Aethelwulf would want to extract upon Judith for her adultery and her betrayal could not be implemented while she was with child. While his Christian church and faith would allow for many atrocities, even they would not condone or sanction killing a pregnant Noblewoman and her unborn child. No, that was just not acceptable in any of their Church guided laws. Really, even killing her after a birth would not be truly acceptable. There were other ways of punishing such a woman for her sins, ones which would ensure that she would go through life marked with her sin for all to see. Of far greater importance in this matter would be what to do with the child of such sin? Of course, realistically child birth was such high risk back then that very often a Mother and or her child did not survive it anyway. That would end the whole situation very easily and they could be done with this mess… 

Judith did not follow along that most easy plan of dealing with her. She and her child survived the ordeal of childbirth.  She gave birth to what we would initially assume to be a healthy son. (I say, assume here because from what is know about this child’s later life, he was not really so healthy.) 

in wessex judith has given birth to a son

baby alfred

So, Judith gave birth and with both her and child having survived it, Aethelwulf did show up if only for proper appearance’s sake. No need to cause such scandal quite yet… perhaps Mother and child were at death’s door and he could put the mess behind him. No, it did appear that they were both healthy and not about ease his problems by dying any time soon.

this father is not filled with joy.

this father is not filled with joy.

aethelwulf barely pays glance at this child this child's birth is not so well recieved

He stayed only long enough to assure himself that they would live… It was then that Judith’s real terror and nightmare began.

She asked for her child so she could hold him, but before that could happen the group of women were interrupted by soldiers and churchmen.

I want my baby give me my baby

she was interrupted before she could hold her new son

she was interrupted before she could hold her new son

The priest said he was acting on the King’s orders, and he probably was. But, I do think in part it was more due to Aethelwulf’s demands and insistence. Aethelwulf would have felt so betrayed and enraged by Judith’s act that he would have insisted on this punishment by the Church… especially with the child being a boy. This is the most important matter in this whole event. Judith had just given birth to a son, an imposter, a usurper of a son who, by being born within the confines of marriage would be looked at as a legitimate heir to the throne! This would have cause Aethelwulf even more inner rage than he already had and he would have been determined to see things set right.  If it had been a girl, he may have been able to contend himself with keeping quiet, and then found reason to ship both Judith and said daughter off to a nunnery. But, a boy… No a boy changed the situation entirely. Now, Judith must be convicted of adultery if for no other reason than to disinherit this child from any chance at the throne.  Even King Ecbert may have seen the need, the justification for such an act seeing as Judith has never admitted to them as yet who the Father may be.  Ecbert could have all the suspicions he chose, but until Judith admitted it publically, he had no choice but to go along with some trial and punishment to be on the safe side…. because, really, what if he was wrong, what if she had been with someone else, someone who she did not him to know about?  No, he could not take that chance when the matter of future kingship was at stake.

You must come with us now on the King's orders.

You must come with us now on the King’s orders.

what place what are you talking about what is this

what place what are you talking about what is this

Judith had no idea what was taking place, what was happening to her or why… She was in a true panic and feared for her life.

what is happening where are we going my children need me

what is happening where are we going my children need me

The terror that Judith was put through on this day was so horrific and brutal.  In Judith’s own words it was barbaric and not an act that her God or Jesus Christ would ever condone. I am quite sure that the event will remain forever in Judith’s mind and heart. Aside from any physical reminder, it will color and affect the way that she looks at life and the Church in the future!

Judith was left to the judgement and punishment of the Church on that day. She was tied to a stake and put on public trial for all to witness her punishment for the sin of adultery.

judith's terror begins2 judith tied to the stake 

No, she would not be killed, only tortured, maimed and scarred for life as well as being disavowed, disowned and publically humiliated by everyone in attendance. This public trial and humiliation would scar and mark her for life as an adultery in the eyes of everyone who would see her in the future. If she survived the injuries, she would have no other choice but to hide herself in some nunnery and repent for her sins the rest of her life. And, most likely her baby would not be killed but abandoned to the fate of being a bastard child of an adultering Mother.

The church’s Bishop presided over the trial and the given punishment.

you must face god for forgiveness

you must face god for forgiveness

the punishment as told by the holy book that your ears and nose be cut off

the punishment as told by the holy book that your ears and nose be cut off

Judith’s heartfelt response was “My Lord Jesus Christ never advocated such punishments”

My Lord Jesus never advocated such wrongful punishments

My Lord Jesus never advocated such wrongful punishments

she pleads with Ecbert and Aethelwulf  What is this what are you doing to me

It was barbaric, brutal and horrifying. Judith endured it and staunchly refused to confess who the Father of her child was.  All the while, Aethelwulf watched with no remorse or guilt, on disgust and anger towards her.

aethelwulf watches his wife torture with disgust a very angry aethelwulf

Ecbert watched with some grim determination

ecbert watches with grim determination

as judith faces her torture ecbert finally steps in

as judith faces her torture ecbert finally steps in

Ecbert pleaded with her to tell them the name of the man.

Judith will you not give us the name of this man

Judith staunchly refused to tell the name, perhaps in some desperate act of trying to protect Athelstan from any future retribution… little did she realize there was no point in this. For one thing he had  gone with the Vikings- that had already sealed his fate in some eyes such as Aethelwulf’s. For another, he had already suffered his own fatal consequences. But, she was determined to keep the secret and gave up an ear in the attempt…

judith refuses to name the father and gives up an ear for it ecbert listens and watches. he can do nothing to stop this unless she admits in public who is the father

Damn it Judith why must you be so stubborn if you had just said the name we could be done with this

Finally, in shock, Judith could take no more and uttered a small whisper of Athelstan…

judith can not take any more pain and utters the word Athelstan

judith can not take any more pain and utters the word Athelstan

athelstan is the father of my child

athelstan is the father of my child

This was the admission that Ecbert needed in order to ensure her safety. She needed to admit it publically before he could attempt to do any damage control in this situation. He immediately called a halt to the proceedings.

Hold Stop now

Aethelwulf looked as if he had been the tortured one on hearing her admission… Oh My Dear God, she slept with the Priest!

aethelwulf looks like he has been the tortured one

Ecbert quickly took control of the event and used his powers of persuasion to convince his son that this was really a miracle, an event touched and blessed by God. Aethelwulf was so devout and rigid in his thinking about his faith that this story actually began to have impact on him. He showed that where matters of religion and faith were concerned, he could be as easily swayed and as gullible as many others were.  Ecbert told Aethelwulf that Athelstan was indeed a very holy man, blessed by God and this was a special child, chosen by God. In his own thought, perhaps Ecbert felt that if he could not have Athelstan near to him, then he could at least have his child to raise up as a holy Christian… against the Pagans who had stolen away the heart and soul of his beloved friend Athelstan.

how can we punish a woman who like the blessed virgin gave birth to a holy child

how can we punish a woman who like the blessed virgin gave birth to a holy child

 

so you think that god had a hand in this conception?

so you think that god had a hand in this conception?

I do I do my son

I do I do my son

a dazed and confused Aethelwulf on hearing his wife has been chosen by god

a dazed and confused Aethelwulf on hearing his wife has been chosen by god

Judith and her son were saved by Ecbert and he vowed that there would be a christening of the child.

and the boy's name will be Alfred

and the boy’s name will be Alfred

his name is Alfred He shall be great

Athelstan has after all left a legacy, a child who will be raised as a devout and holy Christian. A child who will become a King that works tirelessly to unite the Kingdoms of England and stop the advance on their lands by the Heathen armies, the Vikings. A child who will become one called Alfred the Great and fight against the sons of Ragnar Lothbrock. But, that is all in the distant future of this infant.  What now might be in store for the child’s mother who fought so hard to keep him safe, who almost lost her life because of religious zealots such as her husband and power brokers such as King Ecbert.  The only thing we can be certain of for now is that she is alive and she is now deeply in Ecbert’s debt… which is not always such a good place to be. Ecbert want this son of Athelstan’s so the boy will be safe, well cared for and well raised despite any possible objections from Aethelwulf. Will Ecbert continue to show the same care for Judith? That does remain to be seen, but I believe that being so much in Ecbert’s debt, this makes her an even greater pawn for him to use to his advantage.

Now, as to Judith in real history… because there was a Judith, wife of Aethelwulf in history. In real and accurate history, she was Judith of Flanders. She was no relation nor had any connection to Aelle of Northumbria.

Judith of Flanders

Judith in history

Judith of Flanders (or Judith of France) (c. 843 – c. 870)  was the eldest daughter of the West Frankish King and later Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Bald and his wife Ermentrude of Orléans. Through her marriages to two Kings of Wessex, Æthelwulf and Æthelbald, she was twice a queen. Her first two marriages were childless, but through her third marriage to Baldwin, she became the first Countess of Flanders and an ancestress of later Counts of Flanders. One of her sons by Baldwin married Ælfthryth, a daughter of Æthelbald’s brother, Alfred the Great. She was also an ancestress of Matilda of Flanders, the consort of William the Conqueror, and thus of later monarchs of England.

In 855 King Æthelwulf of Wessex made a pilgrimage to Rome, and on his way back in 856 he stayed at the court of the West Frankish king, Charles the Bald. In July Æthelwulf became engaged to Charles’s daughter, Judith, who was no more than fourteen, while Æthelwulf was about fifty years old, and on 1 October 856 they were married at Verberie in northern France. The marriage was a diplomatic alliance. Both men were suffering from Viking attacks, and for Æthelwulf the marriage had the advantage of associating him with Carolingian prestige. In Wessex it was not customary for kings’ wives to be queens, but Charles insisted that his daughter be crowned queen.

The marriage provoked a rebellion by Æthelwulf’s eldest surviving son, Æthelbald, probably because he feared displacement by a higher born half brother. However father and son negotiated a compromise under which Æthelwulf received the eastern districts of the kingdom and Æthelbald the western. It is not known whether this meant that Æthelwulf took Kent and Æthelbald Wessex, or whether Wessex itself was divided.

Judith had no children by Æthelwulf, who died on 13 January 858. He was succeeded by Æthelbald, who married Judith, his step-mother, probably to enhance his status because she was the daughter of the West Frankish king. The marriage was condemned by Asser in his Life of Alfred the Great:

Once King Æthelwulf was dead, Æthelbald, his son, against God’s prohibition and Christian dignity, and also contrary to the practice of all pagans, took over his father’s marriage-bed and married Judith, daughter of Charles, king of the Franks, incurring great disgrace from all who heard of it.

Judith was still childless when Æthelbald died in 860 after a reign of two and a half years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_of_Flanders

In true history, Aethelwulf was married prior to Judith and it was this wife who bore him all of his children, including young Alfred.

Queen_Osburga_reads_for_her_son,_Alfred

Osburh or Osburga (died before 856) was the first wife of King Æthelwulf of Wessex and mother of Alfred the Great. Alfred’s biographer, Asser, described her as “a most religious woman, noble in character and noble by birth”.

Osburh’s existence is known only from Asser‘s Life of King Alfred. She is not named as witness to any charters, nor is her death reported in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. So far as is known, she was the mother of all Æthelwulf’s children, his five sons Æthelstan, Æthelbald, Æthelberht, Æthelred and Alfred the Great, and his daughter Æthelswith, wife of King Burgred of Mercia. Osburh presumably died before 856 when her husband married the Carolingian princess Judith.

She is best known for Asser’s story about a book of Saxon songs which she showed to Alfred and his brothers, offering to give the book to whoever could first memorise it, a challenge which Alfred took up and won. This exhibits the interest of high status ninth-century women in books, and their role in educating their children.

Osburh was the daughter of Oslac (who is also only known from Asser’s Life), King Æthelwulf’s pincerna (butler), an important figure in the royal court and household. Oslac is described as a descendant of King Cerdic‘s Jutish nephews, Stuf and Wihtgar, who conquered the Isle of Wight,  and, by this, is also ascribed Geatish/Gothic ancestry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osburh

One last note of interest… Michael Hirst, creator of the Vikings has confirmed that this baby is indeed the Alfred that grows up to be called Alfred the Great so we can rest assured that this baby will remain safely cared for no matter what might befall Judith in the future.  There is also an interesting thought here on Alfred’s future health ailments… he suffers from ill health all of his life in true history. Perhaps it is due to the religious thought that Aethelwulf would put so much store in… The sins of the Fathers, or Mothers will be passed on to their children? Or in other terms, the children will suffer in some way because of the parent’s sins.

Alfred died on 26 October 899. How he died is unknown, although he suffered throughout his life with a painful and unpleasant illness. His biographer Asser gave a detailed description of Alfred’s symptoms and this has allowed modern doctors to provide a possible diagnosis. It is thought that he either had Crohn’s disease or haemorrhoidal disease.  His grandson King Edred seems to have suffered from a similar illness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_the_Great#Death.2C_burial_and_fate_of_remains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings Reborn: Celebrate and welcome to the world

First of all, before we get into the celebration of life and death, we have something else to celebrate. Thanks to all of you readers, fans and followers, my little blog has hit a huge milestone. Well, it’s huge for me anyway, considering the fact that when I started this blog I thought no one would bother with it but it was a place for me to escape to and live out my childhood fantasy of writing. Now, we have just reached 50,000 views! I must give credit and appreciation to those many followers who support and encourage me on various sites.

Thanks so much to all of my friends at Vikings Aftermath group on facebook! You are all so wonderful, such a great group of people! If you have not checked them out, please visit their page- you will not regret it!

Vikings Aftermath banner

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1549964118584940/

Much appreciation as well to the google communities!

Viking Mythology community

https://plus.google.com/communities/100495374719567622456

Vikings on History Channel community

https://plus.google.com/communities/100681266945249733824

And, although we are deeply entrenched in medieval and Viking history right now… and probably will remain so, I need to thank all of the Outlander fans out there! Especially, the Outlander Series facebook group! Without their initial support and encouragement, I would not have come so far on this path!

outlander series banner

https://www.facebook.com/groups/473400262697246/

Now, the thanks and credit have been mentioned and we can go on to celebrate together  Vikings style!

viking feast viking celebration4 viking celebration3 viking celebration2

Let us feast together, drink together and perhaps enjoy some entertainment together… though I promise that in this particular post party, we shall not have the prerequisite death. We shall save that sad event and the mourning for some other time. Tonight, we shall celebrate in happiness!

For your entertainment, we have managed to secure a special performance by the most popular entertainer in Francia!

mademoiselle LeWanderer

I told you the women in Paris were beautiful2

In addition, the Princess of PeePee, that well known scandalous Kwentirith will provide us with some interpretive dance…

kwentirith shows off her dancing skills

kwentirith shows off her dancing skills

Please save your cup throwing until her performance is finished!

Just a hint here Kwentirith  when everyone throws empty cups at you you may have a few friend problems!

Just a hint here Kwentirith when everyone throws empty cups at you you may have a few friend problems!

Later, we shall enjoy some relaxation in the delightful Roman spa of Wessex…

What is it  This is wrong this is just so wrong

What is it This is wrong this is just so wrong

 

 

lagertha and ecbert are getting quite relaxed with each other

lagertha and ecbert are getting quite relaxed with each other

We did send an ivitation to Harbard the Wandering Story Teller to come regale us with his stories but he is not sure he can make it… he mentioned some prior commitments?  He did also state some concerns that he may not be so welcome right now…

Harbert earning his keep and telling stories of the gods to impress the women

 The highlight of our entertainment will be a moving speech from our own Ragnar Lothbrok!

working the audience getting them all excited about paris Ragnar inspires even the youngest

Tonight is a night for celebration and goodwill between families, friends, nations and religions. We shall set our differences aside and enjoy each other’s company. There shall be no drunken brawls, name calling, other harassment, nor shall there be back stabbing behind the scenes manipulations! I know, you are probably thinking, Well that takes all of the fun out everything… I am sorry, we must all learn to work together and get along, and this is a family event. There will be young ones here so please try to be on your best behavior!

There will be no secret killings either hidden away in back rooms!

ragnar kills the survivor and sends him to his family and the gods.

ragnar kills the survivor and sends him to his family and the gods.

As I said, there will be no harassment, or religious persecution tonight!

where is your arm ring where is it athelstan is harassed by the men of kattegat

That especially applies to you Floki….

floki puts the blame on athelstan

Perhaps we can all become christians why not

And, to you as well Aethelwulf!

so it is a boy congratulations aethelwulf watches his wife torture with disgust

aethewulf has directed the arrow

No drunken brawls or fighting… Are you listening, Rollo?

or well  rollo  he's still having some difficulties Rollo and Bjorn fight for life and for death siggy bluntly revives a drunken rollo

And, Finally no back stabbing behind the scenes schemes and manipulations…

to give birth to a very special child I have to ask you how's the settlement in wessex with this ruse we have rid ourselves of the northerners and all of those nobles who question my rule look at them huddled together  it sickens me kalf is not a fool he may be devious but he is not a fool It's clear that these men do not like her or at least do not want to be ruled by her

you may recall the fate of Ragnar's enemy  Yarl Borg

you may recall the fate of Ragnar’s enemy Yarl Borg

Ok what or who is next on the list2 Now what the hell do we do with her2 Here's to you Sweetheart  just don't get too comfortable cause you won't last long2

 

No, Tonight we all come together in peace and celebration. Let us have this one night of happiness.  For as much as we have great sadness coming, we have great happiness to share! Tonight, we celebrate as well, the birth of a new generation. We have been blessed with two new souls. They are two infants on very different paths…

Welcome to our world,  Siggy and Alfred… Your lives will follow very different destinies and there will be great difficulties ahead for both of you but you are special, you are blessed and you are well loved!

two infants two paths

Welcome little Siggy to the Lothbrok family of Kattegat!  Proud Parents are Bjorn and Porunn, even though they have their personal differences, you are a precious gift to them from the Gods. May your guardian spirit, Siggy guide you along the way and be with you in your heart as you hear of her and carry her name in memory!

welcome little siggy

To you little Alfred of Wessex, we welcome you as well. Never doubt how well you are loved, you also are a gift from God!  No matter how difficult your life has been from it’s precarious beginnings or how hard it will be in the future, rest assured that you too have a guardian, a Father in heaven who will guide your path in an uncertain future.

his name is Alfred He shall be great

So, for tonight let us just join these two families in welcoming their children into the world!

Some first family photos…

it is a girl

it is a girl

I would like to call her Siggy

I would like to call her Siggy

bjorn bonding with his daughter

bjorn bonding with his daughter

bjorn blesses baby Siggy a happy Porunn agrees

family portrait Lagertha bjorn and baby siggy

Unfortunately, due to extremely difficult and extenuating circumstances in Wessex, there are few early photos of family bonding time in that household… We will go into those details later but will assure you that the Lady Judith is presently recovering from a very traumatic child birth episode. All I can say right now is if Porunn wanted to complain about her fears and her situation, she should be very glad that she was not in Judith’s particular situation.

 

baby alfred I want my baby give me my baby in wessex judith has given birth to a son

 

this father is not filled with joy.

this father is not filled with joy.

no he is not overcome with happines at this sight

no he is not overcome with happines at this sight

so it is a boy congratulations

so it is a boy congratulations

what place what are you talking about what is this

what place what are you talking about what is this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: Great news for Vikings Fans!

 

 

Just a quick update to share the awesome and somewhat amazing news that we received today! Yes, it’s official, The Vikings Saga has been renewed for another season. And, on top of that great news, we also received an incredible bonus from the production company and the Powers that be… Instead of the usual 8 or 10 episodes that have become the norm for most shows, it’s been announced that next season will give us 16 episodes! This is extremely rare in this day and age so someone out there is banking on continued great success with this series.  I do think that in getting the 16 episodes, we may end up with a split season. This is fine with me and it may fit in well with Michael Hirst’s plans to transition to the next generation with the stories of Ragnar’s sons.

‘Vikings’ Creator Michael Hirst Already Writing Story For Season 4 Even If There Are Still 5 Episodes Left For Season 3

Read more: http://www.franchiseherald.com/articles/24300/20150325/vikings-season-3-episode.htm#ixzz3VWvAzg2x

vikings-creator-michael-hirst-says-he-is-now-working-on-script-for-fourth-season

http://www.vcpost.com/articles/45322/20150226/vikings-season-4-renewal-entail-ragnar-conquer-paris-king-ecbert.htm

vikings-on-history-channel

 

Michael Hirst will develop new projects for the studio.

 

Michael Hirst - P 2013

 

A+E Studios is locking up its Vikings creator.

Michael Hirst has signed a multiyear first-look overall deal with the studio behind History’s Vikings.

Under the terms of the pact, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer will develop, create and produce original drama programming for A+E networks including A&E, Lifetime and History, as well as outside buyers.

Hirst’s pact marks only the second overall deal for A+E Studios. He joins Bates Motel and The Returned’s Carlton Cuse as having that distinction.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/vikings-creator-inks-deal-a-779156

Ok, I like everyone else am thrilled and excited with today’s news of a guaranteed next season and the amazing bonus of added episodes! I read Michael Hirst’s interview and thought it interesting that he mentions moving on to the next generation with Ragnar’s sons. Another interesting plus is that Michael Hirst has signed a muti-year contract with A/E Entertainment. this of course gives us the notion that his projects are being looked at with respect and that this series is being taken seriously as far as viewers and promotion.
I also find it very interesting, the fact that BBC is currently in production of a similar series now, The Last Kingdom based on books by Bernard Cornwell. This series will focus on the later events and there is much involvement of Ragnar Lodbrok’s sons. One article on Last Kingdom went so far as to reference the Vikings series in it’s description of this upcoming series.
In light of the latest info on our Vikings series, and this info on BBC’s upcoming series, I think it will be interesting to see how both shows deal with this history. I believe that both of the production companies and powers that be may also be betting that each of the shows will bring more interest in both of them?

I have made mention of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series previously, as well as news of the series being taken on by BBC. I can not say enough about how excellent this series is! You can read my book reviews for a glimpse at the ongoing story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom series is currently in production and will most likely have an air date of sometime next winter.

The series will start to shoot in November 2014, and is produced by Carnival Films (Downton Abbey, Whitechapel) for BBC Two and BBC America. Filming is taking place in Hungary and the United Kingdom.

Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation) is co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes

Sweden’s second largest newspaper Aftonbladet reports that Scandinavian actor Mikael Persbrandt (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Academy Award winner In a Better World) was offered the role of Earl Ragnar the Fearless, but he had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with his stage performance of The Dance of Death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Kingdom_(TV-series)

Here is an interesting article that makes reference to the Vikings series in relation to the Last Kingdom series.

http://www.tvrage.com/the-last-kingdom

The BBC and “Downton Abbey” producer Carnival Films have teamed up to produce historical drama series, “The Last Kingdom,” BBC America announced Wednesday.

The eight-episode, hourlong series will be adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling novels, “The Saxon Stories,” by writer Stephen Butchard.

Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great. Against this turbulent backdrop lives “The Last Kingdom’s” hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he — Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.

“Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way,” said executive producer Gareth Neame. “In the hands of Stephen Butchard we believe it will make original and engrossing television drama. In part the epic quest of our hero Uhtred, it is also a fascinating re-telling of the tale of King Alfred the Great and how he united the many separate kingdoms on this island into what would become England.”

Richard De Croce, senior VP Programming for BBC America said, “We couldn’t be more pleased to be working with BBC Two and Carnival Films — a hugely successful British production company that really knows how to create a hit for the US. ‘The Last Kingdom’ is an engrossing story of epic scale that will feed our audience’s appetite for excitement, smart storytelling and compelling characters.”

Ben Stephenson, controller of drama commissioning, BBC, said, “I hope ‘The Last Kingdom’ will expand BBC Two’s distinctive portfolio of drama. It’s an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact.”

Much like History Channel’s “Vikings,” “The Last Kingdom” will combine real historical figures and events with fiction, exploring themes like religion, politics, warfare and the quest for identity.

Butchard, Neame and Nigel Marchant will serve as executive producers with Nick Murphy co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes. Chrissy Skinns will also produce. Stephenson ordered the show for BBC Two, and BBC’s Polly Hill serves as Commissioning Editor. De Croce and Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, will oversee the series for BBC America. (Source: Variety)

Overview of Last Kingdom series and cast so far:

Set in the late ninth century, when what is known as England today was several separate kingdoms. The Anglo-Saxon lands are attacked and in many instances ruled by Viking forces. The kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone under the command of King Alfred the Great. The main protagonist, Uhtred – the orphaned son of a Saxon nobleman, is kidnapped by norsemen and raised as one of them. Forced to choose between a kingdom that shares his ancestry and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested.

Main cast[edit]

The Last Kingdom is being produced for BBC and BBC America which means that BBC America will run the series. This would allow for American viewers to have immediate viewing of the series rather than having to wait a season for us to catch up on it. It also means that the show would be some direct competition for History channel’s Vikings series for those who cable subscriptions to both channels. Because of this, I personally think that both shows will use the other one to possibly draw more viewing and ratings to their own show. Competition in this case is a good thing and I think both companies realize this. This could be a possible reason for the additional promotion and extended season for Vikings on history channel!  When BBC airs Last Kingdom, it will be presenting another version of this era of history that so many people have taken a huge interest in. Personally, I can not wait to see both shows in the future!

Vikings Usurper: Bjorn’s Destiny

 

sword of kings

Well, we arrived back in Kattegat and it went much as I expected. Rollo was devastated by the news of Siggy, just I as feared. I think his devastation and grief went much deeper though, and the loss of Siggy was just the final breaking point for him?

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/vikings-a-long-held-secret-revealed-deleted-scenes/

Just to give you a better understanding and feeling for Rollo’s unsaid feelings about Siggy, you can view this deleted scene in which he expresses his rage when Siggy put distance between herself and him.

/3×01-rollo-siggy-extended-scenehttp://voices-in-the-breezes.tumblr.com/post/111615649799

I believe that Siggy knew in her heart that it was not their fate to be together. Perhaps she was already having premonitions about the future.  Some would say that her treatment of him was cold, harsh and even cruel but I think that she knew his destiny and path would go elsewhere and she wanted him to be strong enough to face it on his own without her. She was one of the few people who could push him to that limit and force him to face himself and his fears. So,  yes he was devastated and broken by her loss, it also caused him to face all of the losses and failures in his life. The question now is, how will he choose to go on with his life. Siggy saw something great within him but he needs to see it himself and stop doubting himself. Ahhhh, he should also probably stop drinking to excess… it is causing him nothing but problems and seriously clouding his judgement!

Rollo and the Seer  I paid you good spit for that advice

Before we go on with everything else that has happened, we should talk about that mysterious advice the Seer gave to Ragnar and Rollo about the future. It was a cryptic message, “Not the living but the dead will conquer Paris and The Bear will be crowned by a Princess” He told Ragnar that this did not bode well for him, but he told Rollo that if he knew the things the God has in store for him he would dance naked on the beach!

ragnar seeks advice and recieves a criptic answer that does not bode well for his future

ragnar seeks advice and recieves a criptic answer that does not bode well for his future

Not living  but the dead will conquer Paris

Not living but the dead will conquer Paris

I tell you as I told Ragnar The bear will marry a princess and you will be there in attendance to see it

I tell you as I told Ragnar The bear will marry a princess and you will be there in attendance to see it

I don lie but sometimes I with hold things for human beings can not bear to much of reality

I don lie but sometimes I with hold things for human beings can not bear to much of reality

As I said, this was a stranger than usual message and many have speculated over it’s possible meanings? Some have pondered on whether this pertains to Rollo himself marrying a Princess… I have it on good authority that he does eventually, but this may not be exactly what the Seer was referring to.  A long time ago, Ragnar asked the Seer about his sons and the Seer foresaw much greatness for one who would travel the seas and become most powerful… I believe that the Seer is again making reference to one of Ragnar’s sons in this most recent message.

Bjorn

In order to understand this message better, we need to know more about the history and the futures in store for some of these men… namely Rollo and Bjorn! I have read a great deal about Rollo’s destiny and have never read any reference to him being referred to or described as a bear. Bjorn, however is a different matter… his name literally means Bear! So, let us look at what the future, or history tells us of Bjorn?

Björn Ironside (Old Norse: Bjǫrn Járnsíða, Icelandic: Björn Járnsíða, Swedish: Björn Järnsida) was a legendary king of Sweden who lived sometime in the 9th century. Björn Ironside is said to have been the first ruler of the Munsö dynasty. In the early 18th century, a barrow, on the island of Munsö was claimed by antiquarians to be Björn Järnsidas hög or Björn Ironside’s grave. Hög, from the Old Norse word haugr, means barrow or mound.

 

Bjorn Ironside's grave site at Munso

Bjorn Ironside’s grave site at Munso

 

The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons (Ragnarssona þáttr) tells that he was the son of the Scandinavian king Ragnar Lodbrok and Aslaug, and that he had the brothers Hvitserk, Ivar the Boneless and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and the half-brothers Fridleif, Eric and Agnar.

 

Later Björn and his brothers pillaged in England, Wales, France, and Italy, until they came to the town Luna in Italy. When they came back to Scandinavia, they divided the kingdom so that Björn Ironside took Uppsala and Sweden.

History of House of Munso:

 House of Munsö
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
The House of Munsö  is one of the names of a protohistoric Swedish dynasty. Its early members of the 8th or 9th century are legendary or semi-legendary, while its later scions of the 10th to 11th centuries are historical.

It is also known as the House of Ivar Vidfamne, the House of Uppsala, or simply the Old Dynasty. Munsö is the island where a barrow has been claimed to be the grave of Björn Ironside, a legendary founding member.

The sagas, such as the Hervarar saga, contain extensive information on this dynasty for as many as 10 generations, but although, some of the 9th-century kings are held to be historical,  modern Swedish historiography begins it with the late 10th-century king, Eric the Victorious. The king Björn, who was the father of Eric the Victorious, according to the sagas, is not accepted as historical by critical historians. Uunlike another 10th-century king named Emund Eriksson who appears in the work of Adam of Bremen.

For easy reference on legendary, semi-legendary and historical members of the dynasty (including some generations before Björn Ironside), the following family tree is based on Hervarar saga, and the uncertain identification of Styrbjörn the Strong and Tyra as the parents of Thorgils Sprakalägg.  The connection with the House of Estridsen which began with Sweyn II of Denmark is consequently uncertain (the Swedish kings are in bold):

            Sigurd Ring
                 |
           Ragnar Lodbrok
                 |
     ------------------------------------------------------
     |           |              |           |             |
  Ivar [9]  Björn Ironside [10] Sigurd [11]  Ubba     Halfdan/Hvitserk
                 |
        ------------------
        |                |
 Erik Björnsson        Refil
         |               |
         |           Erik Refilsson
         |               
       ----------------------
       |                   |
 Björn at Hauge      Anund Uppsale
                           |                     
                    Erik Anundsson
                           |
                   Björn (III) Eriksson                      Gorm "den Gamle (the Old)" King of Denmark
                           |                                                        |         
           --------------------------------                             Harold I "Bluetooth" of Denmark
           |                              |                                    |
   Eric the Victorious             Olof (II) Björnsson                  ---------------  
           |                              |                             |             |
   Olof Skötkonung                 Styrbjörn the Strong    Tyra            |        
           |                              |                             |             |
           -------------------------      -------------------------------             |
           |                       |                     |                            |
   Anund Jacob                Emund the Old       Thorgils Sprakalägg[12]         Sweyn Forkbeard
                                   |                     |                            |
                                   |                     |                            |
                      Anund Emundsson, heir              |                            |
                                                         |                            |
                                                     Ulf Jarl               Estrid Svendsdatter
                                                         |                            | 
                                                         ------------------------------
                                                                        |
                                                                 Sweyn Estridson
                                                                        |
                                                                   Danish kings

Full list of Swedish kings. The names in parentheses are kings who are not mentioned in Hervarar saga, but who are mentioned in other sources:

Aslaug, Ragnar’s wife and the mother of his sons, was the daughter of Sigurd, whose ancestor Sigi was a descendant of Odin. Therefore, the entire house of Munso (and all their descendants) are descended from Odin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Muns%C3%B6

There has been no mention of who Bjorn’s wife ever was, so we can not say for certain who he marries. Does former slave girl turned shieldmaiden, Porunn recover enough from her physical and emotional injuries to marry Bjorn? At this point, unless she is withholding some unknown secret as to her identity and really is a princess, I doubt that this will happen. I think ultimately, Porunn and Bjorn are probably history… even though she does bear him a child. She is suffering emotionally from her injury and I’m just not sure whether their relationship will withstand the pressure and turmoil that she is putting on both of them.

porrun's face in the mirror

porrun’s face in the mirror

porunn how can you help me no one can help me

porunn how can you help me no one can help me

I do not want help from anyone!

I do not want help from anyone!

She has told Bjorn to leave her alone and he takes her at her word, saying she is a grown woman, if she needs my help, she will ask for it. So, Bjorn leaves her alone and goes on with his own plans to head to Paris with his Father.  The proposed attack on Paris brings us to the Seer’s message of “Not the living, but the dead shall conquer Paris”. This message could be referring to an event  that  Bjorn Ironside was involved in.  A powerful Viking chieftain and naval commander, Björn and his brother Hastein conducted many (mostly successful) raids in France in a continuation of the tradition initiated by their father Ragnar Lodbrok. In 860, Björn led a large Viking raid into the Mediterranean. After raiding down the Spanish coast and fighting their way through Gibraltar, Björn and Hastein pillaged the south of France, where his fleet over-wintered, before landing in Italy where they captured the coastal city of Pisa. They proceeded inland to the town of Luna, which they believed to be Rome at the time, but Björn found himself unable to breach the town walls. To gain entry, he sent messengers to the bishop to say that he had died, had a deathbed conversion, and wished to be buried on consecrated ground within their church. He was brought into the chapel with a small honor guard, then amazed the dismayed Italian clerics by leaping from his coffin and hacking his way to the town gates, which he promptly opened, letting his army in. Flush with this victory and others around the Mediterranean (including in Sicily and North Africa) he returned to the Straits of Gibraltar only to find the Saracen navy from Al-Andalus waiting for him. In the desperate battle that followed, Björn lost 40 ships, largely to a form of Greek fire launched from Saracen catapults. The remainder of his fleet managed to return to Scandinavia, however, where he lived out his life as a rich man.

In history, Rollo was also involved in raids on Paris.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollo

In 885, Rollo was one of the lesser leaders of the Viking fleet which besieged Paris under Sigfred. Legend has it that an emissary was sent by the king to find the chieftain and negotiate terms. When he asked for this information, the Vikings replied that they were all chieftains in their own right. In 886, when Sigfred retreated in return for tribute, Rollo stayed behind and was eventually bought off and sent to harry Burgundy.

Later, he returned to the Seine with his followers (known as Danes, or Norsemen). He invaded the area of northern France now known as Normandy. In 911 the Vikings under Rollo again launched an attack on Paris before laying siege to Chartres. The Bishop of Chartres, Joseaume, made an appeal for help which was answered by Robert, Marquis of Neustria, Richard, Duke of Burgundy and Manasses, Count of Dijon. On 20 July 911, at the Battle of Chartres, Frankish forces defeated Rollo despite the absence of many French barons and also the absence of the French King Charles the Simple.   

While Rollo’s historical conquest of Paris ended in defeat, he did end up making an alliance with King Charles. In the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (911) with King Charles, Rollo pledged feudal allegiance to the king, changed his name to the Frankish version, and converted to Christianity, probably with the baptismal name Robert.  In return, King Charles granted Rollo land between the Epte and the sea as well as parts of Brittany and according to Dudo of St. Quentin, the hand of the King’s daughter, Gisela, although this marriage and Gisela herself are unknown to Frankish sources. He was also the titular ruler of Normandy, centered around the city of Rouen. There exists some argument among historians as to whether Rollo was a “duke” (dux) or whether his position was equivalent to that of a “count” under Charles. So, while he may have lost Paris, he gained Normandy and a princess for a wife!  This fact causes us to wonder just which of the two men the Seer is referring to in his prophecy of the Bear and the Princess!

My personal thought is that it has more to do with Bjorn right now, since the Seer made reference to Ragnar that it would not bode so well for him? Of course seeing Rollo best him in this way would not necessarily sit well with him… but there is more the idea that a Father holds jealousy of  sons and fears of his sons achieving more greatness than him. In the Tale of Ragnar’s sons, Ragnar was jealous of his sons.

Ragnar was jealous with his sons’ successes, and set Eysteinn Beli as the jarl of Sweden, telling him to protect Sweden from his sons. He then went east across the Baltic Sea to pillage and to show his own skills.

Ragnar’s sons Eric and Agnar then sailed into Lake Mälaren and sent a message to king Eysteinn that they wanted him to submit to Ragnar’s sons, and Eric said that he wanted Eysteinn’s daughter Borghild as wife. Eysteinn said that he first wanted to consult the Swedish chieftains. The chieftains said no to the offer, and ordered an attack on the rebellious sons. A battle ensued and Eric and Agnar were overwhelmed by the Swedish forces, whereupon Agnar died and Eric was taken prisoner.

Eysteinn offered Eric as much of Uppsala öd as he wanted, and Borghild, in wergild for Agnar. Eric proclaimed that after such a defeat he wanted nothing but to choose the day of his own death. Eric asked to be impaled on spears that raised him above the dead and his wish was granted.

In Zealand, Björn, Aslaug and her son Hvitserk, who had been playing tafl, became upset and sailed to Sweden with a large army. Aslaug, calling herself Randalin, rode with cavalry across the land. In a great battle they killed Eysteinn.

Ragnar was not happy that his sons had taken revenge without his help, and decided to conquer England with only two knarrs. King Ælla of Northumbria defeated Ragnar and threw him into a snake pit where he died.

Björn and his brothers attacked Ælla but were beaten back. Asking for peace and wergild, Ivar the Boneless tricked Ælla into giving him an area large enough to build the town of York. Ivar made himself popular in England and asked his brothers to attack again. During the battle Ivar sided with his brothers and so did many of the English chieftains with their people, in loyalty to Ivar. Ælla was taken captive and in revenge they carved the blood eagle on him.

There is something else, a forgotten event from the past that makes me think this has much to do with Bjorn right now. That has to do with the events of King Horik’s death and his son’s return with new wife Torvi. Before King Horik died, he had a discussion with his son about the importance of the sword? “This is sword of Kings, one day if the Gods will it, it will belong to you.”

this is the sword of kings one day if the gods will it this will belong to you

this is the sword of kings one day if the gods will it this will belong to you

Ragnar of course killed Horik, and the last image we saw of that sword was in Bjorn’s hand.

the sword of kings in bjorn's hand

Bjorn’s destiny….

 

 

Bjorn, the Bear, will eventually be crowned a King… will he marry a princess? Or is the Seer leading us all along and mixing the prophecies just to confuse us more than we already are? And, if he has a destiny to be crowned by a princess or married to a princess, who is that princess.   For historical purposes, let’s clear up a bit more on this prophecy. While Rollo does indeed marry a princess, he is never crowned a King or a prince… He held the title of Duke or Count of Normandy. That would preclude him from being the one crowned. Ragnar is already a King and already has wife so that leaves him out as far as this prophecy goes. The only one remaining would be our Bjorn, so who might he marry? Well, we have already discussed the improbability of Porunn unless as I’ve mentioned, she has a secret past that even she is not aware of. We can not rule that out completely because stranger things have happened! But, if we are talking about secrets, strange twists and the guessing game of possibilities here… my thought is of another one young woman whom we know very little about other than the fact that she has just recently shown back up. That young woman would be the poor victimized Torvi!

I refer to her as victimized because I think she is just another pawn in the ways of men who rule her life. If you recall, Torvi is the widow of  Jarl Borg. When we last saw her, she was enduring life with Jarl Borg and his first wife…

jarl borg and his wives at home jarl borg caressing his wife's skull Jarl borg and his second wife   This is a disgusting place I want to leave here

After Jarl borg’s demise, she disappeared and we knew not what had happened to her and her unborn child. Just recently, she has arrived in Hedeby married to King Horik’s son Erlanduer… Yes, that would be the same young son who is now missing his rightful sword and crown! Erlandeur has come to visit Kalf in some as yet unknown scheme to overthrow all of the Lothbroks. I have no idea what will happen there as Kalf later decides to throw his lot in with Ragnar on the trip to Paris… and brings Erlandeur along?

you may recall the fate of Ragnar's enemy  Yarl Borg

you may recall the fate of Ragnar’s enemy Yarl Borg

we are natural allies against the Lothbroks and all their kith and kin

we are natural allies against the Lothbroks and all their kith and kin

Torvi does not look any happier in this new marriage than she did in her first. Now, though she also has a son and heir to be concerned for. Her son is the heir of Jarl Borg and now at the mercy of any treachery that Erlandeur might be capable of.  Obviously, Erlandeur married Torvi to gain acess and claim Jarl Borg’s land and title, and once he has it, I fear this child and even Torvi could fall victim to some “accidental” death?

meet my wife Torvi

meet my wife Torvi

Jarl Borg's heir apparant

Jarl Borg’s heir apparent

Erlandeur did not appear too excited or happy about Kalf’s comments concerning the baby being the very image of his esteemed father, Jarl Borg…

Ahhh look he is the image of the great jarl borg

Ahhh look he is the image of the great jarl borg

I know that I am far stretching the boundaries of guesses and predictions here but, we know very little of Torvi’s past, or who she is related to. She would most likely have some good ties or connections for Jarl Borg to have married her in the first place, and for Erlandeur to then marry her as well.  Now, my predictions and guesses are just that… I have no in with the Seer and I’m all out of spit to pay him?

Seer as counselor  What do you think

My thoughts and guesses are just where my mind wanders to in the middle of  the night as I wonder about the future! Torvi has some reason or meaning in showing up now with the sleazy little slime Erlandeur… She does not look happy to once again be involved in these power schemes but has little choice in the matter right now.

As I mentioned, Kalf has supposedly set aside his scheming with Erlandeur to accept Ragnar’s  invitation to join the raid on Paris. This whole situation has not set well with Lagertha but that is a whole different story! The Seer and ummm yes, previews have shown that Kalf and Erlandeur head to Paris with Ragnar. Now, Ragnar is no fool, he most likely knows  of these behind his back plots and has his own plans to counteract them.

kalf ready to raid ragnar greets kalf torvi not helga xkalf-brings-erlendur-along-vikings-s3e6_jpg_pagespeed_ic_-CKb7sGodaCSJbPdY55R

So, now here is where I go out on my limb with far fetched guessing and predictions. The powers that be- as in Michael Hirst, the creator, have already stated that Kalf is a long term character. That being stated, he obviously will not meet his demise in Paris… but sleazy weasel, Erlandeur- who Ragnar should have done away with immediately… My humble prediction is that Kalf is working with Ragnar and Erlandeur may meet his timely demise there in Paris. That would leave the widow Torvi a widow once again, and realistically since Erlandeur was once a Prince, wouldn’t that in a way make her a princess? She would have a much better future with Bjorn that with any of her other prospects, and besides if Bjorn marries her in the end, that pretty much puts an end to the land and title squabbles other than the one over Hedeby… Kalf has been told that he will have to work that squabble out with Lagertha as it seems to be a personal matter between them…” And, good luck with that” was Ragnar’s parting comment to Kalf on that subject!

you betrayed me and you planned a long time to do it

you betrayed me and you planned a long time to do it

that is between you and my ex-wife  and I wish you good luck on that one!

that is between you and my ex-wife and I wish you good luck on that one!

you desired me  what am I suppose to do with that

you desired me what am I suppose to do with that

what do you want to do with it

As to the events in England, and the fate of Athelstan, I am so distressed over them that I will deal with them when the fallout hits us this week! I am praying for poor Judith… it does not bode well for her or her child, and in that vein I pray for Athelstan as well. I think he may not survive the continued religious warring that is coming full force.

I do need to add that the most recent events were so terrifying and troublesome, they left me heavy hearted but in all of that darkness, there was one ray of light… Ragnar rallied his villagers to the cause of Paris, worked magic on the crowd for the most part and you could feel hope for the future in the star struck and awe filled face of one little girl as she listened to his speech. If she survives and heads on to the future, I can imagine her filled with this inspiration and passing it down to her own descendants. Who knows what greatness she might instill in them, maybe from this one lasting moment her descendants will be the likes of those such as Leif Erickson!

Ragnar inspires even the youngest

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leif_Erikson

And, out of tragedy come resilience in the form of two women who will be forever tied together by one great fallen Warrior, Torstein. I believe that they will set aside any petty personal squabbles and raise their two children together, honoring their brave Father’s memory!

a look of shared grief from both women the women leave together

Tribute to Torstein

My last lighter thoughts before we head to Paris…  Some new hair for our men! I have to say, Rollo- I am lovin that battle hair you’ve got and I can’t wait to meet you in Paris! And, Kalf… Kalf, I hardly recognized you in your new battle mode-I hope it’s a good omen and you don’t turn out to be such a bad guy after all! cause even though I agree with you partially on the whole Earldom situation with Lagertha, you went about it in all the wrong ways. She did not deserve that and if you’re gonna turn decent now, you got a lot sucking up to do to make up for that!

rollo's new hair do ragnar greets kalf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: A long held secret revealed, deleted scenes…

 

 

Before I get into the deep secret that has come to light, I feel a need to address a very serious concern of mine and of so many other American viewers.  Because of censorship and time constraints due to massive marketing and commercialism, we in the United States and some other countries do not get full uncut versions of the show. I understand some of the reasons for this and have generally accepted the editing process. I am becoming increasingly frustrated though with some of the cuts and editing of scenes that may have importance! It is also difficult to watch at times as it is becoming so obvious that we are missing chunks and pieces of the show! As I said, I accept the cuts when they are due to our lame and outdated censorship guidelines that allow for viewing of  blood baths and violence but not for any sort of sex that someone has deemed inappropriate. I also accept that our gross materialistic society demands that we pay for our viewing with massive commercial time.  My frustration and issue comes when the edits are poorly executed and involve deleting of material that may have important context or meaning to the show! If they are going to edit and cut, then they should try to do it in such ways as not cause the entire show to feel like it’s been chopped up and spliced together. This is the feeling I got when I watched the most recent episode last night. I stuck with it because I am devoted to the overall show and storyline but others, such as my daughter, have given up on trying to continue watching it. I just want to put this out on the table so that any powers that be might see this and understand that this is becoming a major frustration for viewers!  I also want other viewers who may be struggling with the same frustrated feelings to be aware of what is happening and why the show is beginning to feel disjointed!  I will try to fill in the blanks with views of deleted scenes whenever I can from this point on!

Now, on to the scene that so many people missed, but which has such important meanings in understanding Rollo’s character!

During the feast last week, there were a number of serious conversations that took place. One of those most interesting and telling conversations took place between Lagertha and Rollo.

You need to listen closely to this conversation and pay close attention to all of it because it will explain so much about Rollo and Lagertha’s past, and about Rollo’s deep depressions and feelings of failures later when he speaks to the Seer in episode 5! It also explains his resentments of his brother Ragnar more fully.

I have always wondered just what sort of relationship Lagertha and Rollo had previous to her settling with Ragnar? From the beginning there have been hints and comments made about their early relationship but much has been left unsaid about it.  After seeing this private conversation between the two, my suspicion is that clearly there was much more of a relationship than has ever been exposed. To me, this discussion speaks of an unsaid, long held secret that Bjorn is Rollo’s child, not Ragnar’s.  Of course, now my lingering feeling and wondering is of why, why did she then choose Ragnar over Rollo? Was it because at the time, she thought that Ragnar would be the better Father, the better man? She did make this remark early on to Rollo about his honor and his goodness as a man.

you're too great a warrior but perhaps not so great a man

you’re too great a warrior but perhaps not so great a man

Perhaps, in their youth, Lagertha did not trust Rollo to provide for her and a family, did not trust him to treat her well? Obviously at some point there was a competition between Ragnar and Rollo for Lagertha’s affections and Raganr won. This would of course caused Rollo much bitterness and resentment which he held inside himself.  Over the years he has often made known his feelings for Lagertha and that anything he does for his brother, he is really doing for Lagertha.

I didn't do it for him I did it for you

I didn’t do it for him I did it for you

Lagertha, nything to do with you I care about

Lagertha, nything to do with you I care about

In the beginnings, I even wondered at Ragnar’s continuing comments to Lagertha regarding his need for sons… of course it could have just meant that he needed more sons? But, to me there was always this underlying thought of  “Why are you so insistant upon this matter of a son? You have a son, does he count for nothing?” Not that Ragnar was uncaring of Bjorn, he was a good Father! And, if he ever knew a truth or had a suspicion, he did not ever voice it nor did he ever treat Bjorn not as son. No, his difficulties and animosity with Bjorn did not show up until Bjorn grew up.

And, over the years there has always been a deep bond between Rollo and Bjorn that perhaps causes Ragnar his own personal resentments if he has ever held doubts about Bjorn’s parentage. Ragnar may be Bjorn’s Father in name and title, but there has always been a deeper connection between Bjorn and Rollo.

Vikings_Gallery_Rollo_Bjorn-P-610x316 bjornrollo Bjorn-Alexander-Ludwig-and-Rollo-Clive-Standen-bond-on-the-boat bjorn and rollo4 bjorn and rollo3

rollo is left with the task of attempting to help bjorn through this

rollo is left with the task of attempting to help bjorn through this

Rollo has went through life deeply troubled by so many things and they come out in this conversation with Lagerta. They speak around this secret, never come right out and admit it but they both understand what is being acknowledged.

lagertha to rollo you've looked after him as if he was your own...

lagertha to rollo you’ve looked after him as if he was your own…

rollo to lagertha speak on of this

rollo to lagertha speak on of this

rollo and lagertha

In the end there is the understanding between them, Rollo comments that perhaps it is better this way… to leave things as they are?

Perhaps it is better this way?

Perhaps it is better this way?

an agreement to remain silent on this

an agreement to remain silent on this

We might assume this is the end of the discussion, that is in the past, and that they will both go on as they were…  On the return to Kattegat though, we see that Rollo may not have been able to let go and put this in the past where it should remain? I think it haunts him and it adds to his feelings of uselessness and failure that so fill his heart. 

At first it would seem that his grief and his anguish are due just to the loss of Siggy. He is broken by her death and adds it to his list of failings and faults.

a look of confusion and disbelief at news of siggy

a look of confusion and disbelief at news of siggy

and then anger at the news

and then anger at the news

it is my fault

it is my fault. I did not treat her right

It's the truth you all know it  it is because of me

It’s the truth you all know it it is because of me

Later when he tries to drink away his anguish, his much deeper feelings come out.

rollo tries to drink away his anguish

rollo tries to drink away his anguish

the men taunt him and offer more drink

the men taunt him and offer more drink

We have all witnessed Rollo in this drunken pity me state before but this time it is different… This time the mention of  Ragnar’s name sends him into a blinding rage

The mention of Ragnar sends Rollo into a rage

The mention of Ragnar sends Rollo into a rage

He is bent on fighting everyone, not really caring whether he wins or not? He wants a fight this time, a fight to the death… his own death included. Bjorn steps in  attempt to control Rollo and save his life.

I can't let you do this   Get out of my way Bjorn

I can’t let you do this. They will kill you. Get out of my way Bjorn!

I do not want to kill you

I do not want to kill you

let them try   because it is what Rollo really wants right now  to die

let them try because it is what Rollo really wants right now to die.

Rollo and Bjorn fight for life and for death.

Rollo and Bjorn fight for life and for death

Rollo and Bjorn fight for life and for death

This fight becomes one of so much more than just Rollo’s drunken rage. Rollo wants to end his life and for some reason he has decided that is Bjorn’s right to take it? Perhaps he is so filled with guilt, remorse, anguish over his not being man enough to raise Bjorn, filled with such guilt over keeping this secret from Bjorn that in some way he feels that Bjorn should be the one to kill him, to end his life. Bjorn knows nothing of this deeper agony eating at Rollo but he does seem to understand exactly what Rollo wants him to do.

Rollo has no will to fight back.  he wants to die. End this now.

Rollo has no will to fight back. he wants to die. End this now.

bjorn watching his uncle suffer

bjorn watching his uncle suffer

Rollo’s pleas to Bjorn were, Take me, End this now…

rollo clings to bjorn in a last plea for death

Bjorn was filled with sadness at watching Rollo suffer and though he understood what Rollo wanted of him, he could not do such a thing!

bjorn feel his own deep grief at what is happening to rollo a look of grief in bjorn's eyes  he knows what his uncle wants of him

 

 

rollo comes to and realizes what he has put Bjorn through what he has asked of him

now he is filled with even more guilt at what he has just put Bjorn through.

now he is filled with even more guilt at what he has just put Bjorn through.

This event was the breaking point for Rollo. He knew that he needed some kind of help or counsel to go on from all of it.  Of course in Kattegat, when one reaches this lowest point in life, their main means of counseling involved a visit to the Seer.  Ragnar had already paid his own visit to the Seer, but his concerns were not of emotional need or distress. No, he wanted advice on the future from the Seer. He simply wanted the Seer to reassure him and give some approval of what he was already planning on anyway!

Ragnar asked the Seer of Paris… At first the Seer replied with a cryptic message that he saw the gates  Paris already here? Why… because he knew that Ragnar was already planning this- it was already set in Ragnar’s mind and nothing the Seer says is going to change his mind.

ragnar seeks advice and recieves a criptic answer that does not bode well for his future

ragnar seeks advice and recieves a criptic answer that does not bode well for his future

I don lie but sometimes I with hold things for human beings can not bear to much of reality

I don lie but sometimes I with hold things for human beings can not bear to much of reality

Not living  but the dead will conquer Paris

Not living but the dead will conquer Paris

His final comment to Ragnar was a puzzle and he gave a rather bitter and snide laugh when he told it to Ragnar.

I also see that the bear will be crowned by a princess which does not bode too well for you King Ragnar!

I also see that the bear will be crowned by a princess which does not bode too well for you King Ragnar!

 

Rollo, on the other hand, went to the Seer in true emotional turmoil. He sought wisdom and help from the Seer. Rollo was desperate for answers to ease the inner demons that have ate at him for so long. This confessional goes far beyond grief and guilt over Siggy. Rollo speaks of his entire life, of Ragnar always being the chosen one, including being chosen by Lagertha.

Why am I so angry you tell me wise one why am I so filled with this anger and bitterness

Why am I so angry you tell me wise one why am I so filled with this anger and bitterness

Rollo pours his heart out to the Seer  Ragnar is always the chosen one by Mother Father by Lagertha

Rollo pours his heart out to the Seer Ragnar is always the chosen one by Mother Father by Lagertha

I love him he is my brother. He has forgiven me, taken me back and still I am filled with bitterness and resentment of him

I love him he is my brother. He has forgiven me, taken me back and still I am filled with bitterness and resentment of him

I will tell you  it because I am useless hallowed out by failure

I will tell you it because I am useless hallowed out by failure

Nothing good can ever come of my life now

Nothing good can ever come of my life now

 

Rollo is in such pain, such emotional crisis and our hearts break for him… Suddenly the Seer bursts out laughing! Rollo very rightly and indignantly asked the Seer what he found so funny about all of this!

What is so funny what is there to laugh about in this

What is so funny what is there to laugh about in this?

The Seer was far more patient with Rollo than with Ragnar.  He did in fact reassure Rollo that there was good to come in his life!

 

Ohhh Rollo if you truly knew what the Gods have in store for you you would go to the beach and dance naked in joy

Ohhh Rollo if you truly knew what the Gods have in store for you you would go to the beach and dance naked in joy

I tell you as I told Ragnar The bear will marry a princess and you will be there in attendance to see it!

I tell you as I told Ragnar The bear will marry a princess and you will be there in attendance to see it

I tell you as I told Ragnar The bear will marry a princess and you will be there in attendance to see it

Rollo was as confused and puzzled by this message as Ragnar had been.

Rollo is as confused as Ragnar by the Seer's prophecy

Rollo is as confused as Ragnar by the Seer’s prophecy

Hopefully the odd message will be enough to carry Rollo through these hardest times and give him reason to look toward a future that will finally some day hold good things for him!

He will still carry the guilts and the secrets with him but I think his time with the Seer has given him some peace of mind and an ability to put things in their proper perspective.  It remains to be seen if he or Lagertha will ever share this secret with Bjorn?

secrets of the past

It also remains a mystery whether Ragnar does know, or hold his own suspicions of this? Such an inner doubt would account for his less than good treatment at times of Lagertha, Rollo, and even now Bjorn as an adult?

 

My last thought on all of this is, as I mentioned in the beginning, this information is such a key to both the past and the future that I think it is one that should never have been cut from our viewing!

 

 

 

 

Vikings Scarred: It’s not a good party unless someone dies!

I mentioned previously that there was a great feast to welcome the victorious heroes home… I did force myself to attend, and it went the way most of these parties usually do.  What I have come to realize is that the parties of this time are not really so different as ones of the future, other than the type of entertainment that seems to be a requirement of a successful event? There is all of the typical political and business networking going on, the back room under the table deals being made, the not so secret affairs coming to light after a few drinks, the drunken brawls as well as the drunken affections. Then there are the family squabbles and dirty laundry that always seem to get aired? As I said, not really any different than any number of business parties or family functions of the future other than that one small event that always ends up being the highlight of the party. It is just not considered a success or an A list event unless there is a death involved somehow!  This event included all of these and did not fail on the death as entertainment.

a night of glorious feasting and celebration

All of the important A list celebrities of Wessex were there, as well as some visitors from other Kingdoms? When King Aelle showed up for a visit, it was obvious that this was more than just your average run of the mill homecoming celebration… This was indeed more of a business, power broker’s meeting. Of course he could always use the excuse that he was just in the neighborhood and decided to pay his daughter a visit? Yeah, right… nobody really fell for it but it was a convenient excuse.  Judith was not happy to see him. I really can’t say that I blame her? I’m sure that she was probably glad to leave his house for this new family! Anyway, more of them later.

As I mentioned, there were the usual behind the scenes affairs being carried on which made for some discomfort later during the party.  Lagertha was wrapping up her dalliance with Ecbert in preparation to return home to her other responsibilities in Hedeby.

Lagertha shows her independance

Lagertha shows her independence

Ecbert naturally assumed that she would want to stay here with him and she did have to be quite honest with him!

Even though you have made me happy and satisfied  I have come to understand that the only person you truly care for is yourself

Even after her honesty, he still tried…

I've enjoyed your company and the sex has been incredible

I’ve enjoyed your company and the sex has been incredible

what if I asked you personally to stay

Lagertha tried to keep the parting on good terms. She did still need his protection for the settlement after all, it wouldn’t be wise to piss him off completely and then leave their people stranded there!

Athelstan and Judith had been carrying on their own semi-private affair… I put it this way because, really nothing is truly private or secret here!

do you love me  Yes I love you

Then, when the group returned, it came out that Ragnar might have been carrying on his own somewhat dubious and slightly disgusting liason with Princess Kwentirith… my personal thought on that- euwwww, just euwwww Really, Ragnar???

yes she understands  now on to next matter of business

yes she understands now on to next matter of business

how is your wound  ohhh it still hurts you should make it better

how is your wound ohhh it still hurts you should make it better

 

King Ecbert welcomed the victorious heroes home, mainly his son- who will go down in history as the conquering hero of this mission with no mention of any help or assistance he may have had from others such as Danish mercenaries…

My son  No Father could be prouder You will go down in history as a hero for this

the return of a victorious warrior  who gets all the credit

Now, I did mention that Judith was not happy to see her Father, nor was she all that excited to see her heroic husband return. Of course, this return would put a bit of a damper on her relationship with Athelstan. But, then again, she just seemed a bit edgy and unsettled about everything lately? King Aelle of course noticed and was not happy with her attitude or her behavior. He had a lot riding on this marriage of hers and he made it pretty clear that she needed to get her shit together and behave appropriately…

Aelle and judith What is your problem

Aelle and judith What is your problem

I hear there's a nunnery down the road

I hear there’s a nunnery down the road

Yes, that was quite uncomfortable for everyone, including poor Athelstan who had to watch it all from a distance.

she has missed you beyond endurance she has spent countless hours praying in the chapel for your safe return

she has missed you beyond endurance she has spent countless hours praying in the chapel for your safe return

judith is the pawn again Judith fakes her welcome of Aethelwulf while eying athelstan an uncomfortable Athelstan looks on a pensive athelstan in the middle of the feast

There was a huge display of welcome for Kwentirith and her pathetic little brother and we had to endure watching him grovel for forgiveness from Ecbert. Ecbert went along with it all too easily and happily? We should have known something was up right then!

little brother is petrified but gullible

little brother is petrified but gullible

kwentirith leading her brother the lamb to slaughter

kwentirith leading her brother the lamb to slaughter

I'll crown them both you see how they feel about each other it makes sense

I’ll crown them both you see how they feel about each other it makes sense

There were the serious discussions and back room deals being made, along with some debates on corruption? Ragnar and Ecbert agreed they were both corrupt but that did not mean they weren’t good men! They cut some rather shady deals and Ecbert used the new settlement as leverage in getting at least part of what he wanted…

Yep, we're both corrupt and we both know it

Yep, we’re both corrupt and we both know it

you and I we understand each other

you and I we understand each other

I've helped you to establish a settlement in the very heart of my kingdom

I’ve helped you to establish a settlement in the very heart of my kingdom

Of course, after all of the drinking, there was some slightly drunken slobbering, whining and shows of affection… some of them expected, some of them bordering on inappropriate? Leave it to Kwentirith to push those limits of good manners and proper conduct!

(This scene was cut from our American viewing of the show!)

 

Amid these drunken affections, there were also hints of blackmail and “I know more than you think I do’s!”

Stay you must stay here

Stay you must stay here

I'm not sure I've not discussed it with Ragnar yet

I’m not sure I’ve not discussed it with Ragnar yet

Yes… Ecbert knows all about this dalliance with his daughter in law, in fact he may know more than anyone gives him credit for!

ecbert's response to athestan  Or with Judith

There was a more private discussion between Athelstan and Ecbert where Ecbert advised Athelstan that he was making the wrong decision in going with Ragnar because his future lies here in Wessex? Hmmm now, what could he mean by this comment?  Yes, of course we know that he is quite fond of Ahelstan and wants him to stay but I have a feeling that Ecbert may have been eluding to something else with this statement…

ecbert is disappointed with athelstan's decision

Speaking of private conversation and Athelstan… He did have a few other private- or so he thought- discussions during the party.  One of those conversations was with Judith. Now, let me just say that both Athelstan and Judith are novices when it comes to keeping affairs secret.  They had what they thought was a private meeting in the hall… Really, you two- how many times have I advised that there is no such thing as privacy here! If you are going to carry on these illicit affairs, you need to learn discretion! And, Judith- crying, begging and carrying on in public is generally frowned upon as highly inappropriate! You have already made a mess of things, as your Father says, Pull yourself together and quit making a scene! Judith was panic stricken at the thought of Athelstan leaving her.

I gave myself to you please don't leave me

Athelstan had another discussion with Ragnar, asking for his advice on women, and what he should do.

Nobody understands  We're all free to do as we choose Are we still talking about women  we're not are we

 

I must admit that despite my reluctance to attend this function, I did enjoy my time spent wandering around and eavesdropping on everyone. Maybe I could employ myself as a an early version of tabloid reporter? I was however, getting a bit tired and wondering when the entertainment portion would begin? It seemed that they were saving that for the end of the evening…

During the long wait for this entertainment, there were some minor family squabbles, besides those of Judith and her Father.  Ragnar and Lagertha had a few words with each other over her involvement with King Ecbert.  It did not amount to much though as Ragnar really had no leg to stand on with his annoyed accusations of her “sacrifices for the common good!” Lagertha was quick to point this out. She admitted that yes, she did get on well with Ecbert for the sake of all of us. Ragnar made comment that she had sacrificed herself for the common good an she reminded him that he has done the same!

yes we did get on well for the sake of all of us

yes we did get on well for the sake of all of us

mmmm as did you  many times

mmmm as did you many times

Yes as did you Ragnar so shut your face2

Later there was a conversation between Lagertha and Rollo…

Oh Lagertha in some things you are so wise  in others you are so naive  Rollo states the obvious All men are ambitious2

Oh Lagertha in some things you are so wise in others you are so naive Rollo states the obvious All men are ambitious2

Not Kalf never Kalf he would never betray me

Of course Lagertha had no idea what her “loyal” friend Kalf was up to in Hedeby… What was Kalf up to in Hedeby?

No not kalf he is ever faithful and loyal to me

No not kalf he is ever faithful and loyal to me

Well, he was enjoying the benefits of his new Earldom… and he was making new friends out of Lothbrok enemies- all in preparation for Lagertha’s return home. Kalf has invited a guest.  Yes, that would be the son of King Horik, the one that Ragnar could not bring himself to kill. Big mistake there Ragnar- Siggy once pointed out that it is the usual and common practice for a new Earl or ruler to make sure there are no remaining survivors to question or rebel against the new regime! King Horik’s son has grown up and is seeking some retribution… he has also brought along another survivor, his new wife, Torvi!  Torvi is the widow of one Jarl Borg, yeah- that one, the one who Ragnar chose to execute via blood eagle. 

you may recall the fate of Ragnar's enemy  Yarl Borg

you may recall the fate of Ragnar’s enemy Yarl Borg

we are natural allies against the Lothbroks and all their kith and kin

we are natural allies against the Lothbroks and all their kith and kin

meet my wife Torvi

Torvi has a bonus gift… she has the son and heir of the once great Jarl Borg?  I suppose this would be a situation enemies banding together for the mutual and common purpose of retaliating against the enemy of all of them.  The problem with this situation is that it just does not bode well for baby Borg’s future… I can understand Torvi’s need for some protection and needing a new baby Daddy, but this innocent little baby poses a threat in the long run? When it comes right down to the basics, Erlandr wants his Father’s rightful crown and title back, and he is not going to want Jarl Borg’s offspring around feeling entitled to anything!

Ahhh look he is the image of the great jarl borg

Ahhh look he is the image of the great jarl borg

Jarl Borg's heir apparant

Jarl Borg’s heir apparent

This is what Lagertha has to look forward to on her return to Hedeby!

 

Ok, I am getting really tired of the waiting, it’s getting way too hot in the hall so a walk outside for some fresh air is in order… and what do I find but one other family type squabble going on? I say family type because Floki is like a part of the family. Floki chose not to join in all of the festivities but rather spent time outside pouting and thinking of ways to get back at all these Christ lovers who would be the end of life as we know it?

Floki what are you doing out here

Floki what are you doing out here

I came to talk to the gods  they are angry rollo

I came to talk to the gods they are angry rollo

I hate to say this but floki’s ranting is starting get a bit tiresome. We all understand his feelings and his concerns, but really he is getting to the point where he is just as annoying as are the Christian Priests in their ranting about Heathens!

Ohhh not this again Floki just give it up

Floki’s preaching of the Gods and their anger is wearing thin on all of us!

really floki a spit is all you can respond with now you resort to making faces

really floki a spit is all you can respond with now you resort to making faces

 

Finally, just when I was about to give up on any planned entertainment, Ecbert called everyone into the great hall for a special announcement? Have you ever been to a party or event and felt like everyone else but you knew what was going on? Well, that is how I felt about this final event. As I looked around, some people were watching with great expectation that something was about to happen?

we all watched the final act of the feast

we all watched the final act of the feast

It started out nicely enough with Kwentirith and her brother being given seats of honor in front of everyone. They made their little speeches of gratitude and appreciation… Kwentirith as usual, went overboard with her speech, going on and on about how she had learned to forgive the abuses and injustices in her life?

let us celebrate and drink to victory over my abusers

let us celebrate and drink to victory over my abusers

My dear sister you have saved me (that's what you think)

My dear sister you have saved me (that’s what you think)

Birghrid went on and on as well in gushing over his love for his sister… This was just way too uncomfortable to watch!

I've loved you I've always loved you

I’ve loved you I’ve always loved you

I am not the only one who was disgusted and uncomfortable with their displays of affection and their lengthy speeches!

Just drink the damned wine already

Just drink the damned wine already

rollo knows

rollo knows

ecbert watches and thinks ohhh that is so disgusting so wrong in so many ways what a pathetic man he is

ecbert watches and thinks ohhh that is so disgusting so wrong in so many ways what a pathetic man he is

And, Finally the planned entertainment portion of the evening takes place!

kwentirith's moving speech about coming to terms with her past her family and now at last I am finally free

kwentirith’s moving speech about coming to terms with her past her family and now at last I am finally free

Kwentirith gives a sneaky smile as she offers her brother a drink

Kwentirith gives a sneaky smile as she offers her brother a drink

kwentirith fakes it a bit longer and birghrid looks out at everyone like you all knew

A one act realistic theatrical performance of “Death by Wine” starring Princess Kwentirith and brother Birghrid.  Initial reactions to the performance varied from King Aelle’s delight, Ecbert’s impatience, Ragnar’s waiting for more, to poor Judith’s look of extreme discomfort…

Aelle Yes a death  I love a good death it's always the highlight of any good party2

a look over to ragnar  thank god this is almost over

a look over to ragnar thank god this is almost over

birghrid feels the poison kick in

ragnar watches and urges her to go on

ragnar watches and urges her to go on

judith's personal thought when is this going to be over I think I'm going to be sick

Ahhhh actually, it was a two act play… as if the death were not enough entertainment in itself, we were then treated to Judith’s continued theatrics? Now, to be honest, I felt her solo performance was a bit lacking. She seemed a bit nervous and shaky in her proclamation of being the sole remaining ruler of Mercia. And, I think her nerves got the best of her when she invited all to rise and drink to her. Maybe that was due to the unexpected response she got to that invitation!

are you scared Kwentirith why are you shaking do you know you're going to be next2

Rather than toasting her as new queen of Mercia, there was a pause for some thought and debate amongst the guests before they showed her how they really felt.

Yeah and if you think we're drinking any more of this wine you are sadly mistaken2 Well so much for this party2 Now what the hell do we do with her2 Here's to you Sweetheart  just don't get too comfortable cause you won't last long2

Toast her  raise our cups to her  no we don't think so

Toast her raise our cups to her no we don’t think so

yeah what ever to the queen2

I don’t know, I could be wrong as I have not attended a great many of these events in early England, but I don’t think that throwing your cups at the new ruler is necessarily a sign of respect?  I certainly do understand the reaction of pouring one’s wine out after witnessing someone spew blood from drinking it. For those of us who were not privy to exactly what was going to happen, yes that was definitely our first instinct. I am reasonably sure though that a number of people in the room knew exactly what was going to happen and just dumped their wine out as way of covering their involvement in the act.  I believe too that Princess Kwentirith just got played Royally and suddenly realized it when she looked around the room and then saw the cups flying towards her!  For all realistic purposes, she appears to be the  guilty party in this act… no matter what happens next, she will be looked on with suspicion forever more. It should be quite simple now for King Ecbert to sway people to thinking that she is guilty of poisoning her brother?

Just a hint here Kwentirith  when everyone throws empty cups at you you may have a few friend problems!

Just a hint here Kwentirith when everyone throws empty cups at you you may have a few friend problems!

So, let us ask one more time the question of  Are you corrupt?

Now what the hell do we do with her2 Are you corrupt  Why yes we are

In the case of Kwentirith, well yes she’s showed that she is corrupt as well as bat shit crazy, but she is also gullible if she believes that these men really have her best interests at heart, if she thinks that anyone is going to let her rule…  I am just looking forward to seeing how Ecbert deals with this situation? I am pretty sure that Kwenitrith is not going to be staying in Wessex or Mercia for very long? I’ve heard historical rumors that she may seek refuge in Francia and then be banished even from that court!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eadburh

Am I corrupt  Why yes I am kwentirith

Am I corrupt Why yes I am kwentirith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings Scarred: Sacrifice in Kattegat

 

Deep space nebulae

It is late, dark and quiet here… I stand at a window in this Villa of King Ecbert’s and stare out at the night sky. The stars shine so brightly tonight and I am reminded of something I heard as a child? Each of those stars  is a soul, a person departed from this life and now a shining star in the heavens above looking down on us lighting our way and guiding us. It comforted me as a child and it comforts me now as I look up and wonder which of those stars is my friend, Siggy.  My heart is aching, my eyes red from tears that I can not keep back no matter how hard I try.  I suffer my grief alone for now as I can not tell anyone here what has happened. All I can do is urge and plead with my friends to go home, go home quickly for I feel they are needed in Kattegat and in Hedeby. I fear for our safety here now as well… But, as I have said, I can say nothing for to tell them would cast me in a fearful light. Tonight is not a time to put myself in any doubtful position, not after the spectacle that happened at their feasting celebration. My friends here put up with my sometimes odd behaviors and thoughts for the most part. I make every effort to fit in and not call undue attention to myself. I am used to it, I have been living here in the past with these people for many years now have so far managed not to cause doubts or accusations on my sanity or be labeled as a sorceress or seer. I do not want that label at all, nor do I want the label of crazy villager, or worse here in a Christian world- that of witch?

Tonight is one of those rare times when I think about my past… the future and I wonder if I should not just go back to my life there? I really do not know if I am strong enough anymore in my heart to continue with this life in the past.  My mind is filled with doubts and with fears for our future and all I can do is stand here and weep for the loss of good friend. I look down at the parchment in my hands, know that I should burn it but I can not do it. It is all I have left of Siggy, these words, this account of the events that led to her death.  I hold on to the pages, my hands shaking and my tears dripping down to this paper.  My nose is running now as well, and with little thought, I wipe my nose on the sleeve of my dress. I do not care for my appearance at this point, in fact I have cared about little since receiving this message some days ago. I make excuses of illness to everyone here, they give me wide berth and avoid me… if it is something catching, none wants to be too near to me. That is fine with me, I am far better off with this solitary time in which to deal with my sorrow.

we all watched the final act of the feast a night of glorious feasting and celebration

I mentioned that there was a great celebration and feast of sorts tonight in honor of our victory over Mercia. Our warriors have returned home and they celebrate in some fashion, this victory. Whether it is truly a victory remains to be seen. I will speak more of this later.  for now, I must tell of how I came to receive this sad news of Kattegat.  You may recall that in some earlier writings, I mentioned my interest in Wilton Abbey and my desire to visit there. I enlisted the help of Lady Judith in this endeavor but she seemed quite preoccupied with her own personal matters and Athelstan.  I was about to give up hope on this whole idea when a young priest came from there in search of me.  Now, at first I assumed that the young man was mistaken when he insisted that he came with a message for me. He said that he had an urgent message for one Lady Judith… I of course told him that he must have the wrong Judith? I pointed him towards Lady Judith and told him that she was most likely the one he was in search of.  The young priest shook his head and said, “I know who that Lady Judith is! I am in search of you, the one who arrived with the North settlers.”

I was highly puzzled and confused by this. I know of no one outside this small village and our settlement. My concern must have shown on my face and he took some pity on me. He motioned to an alcove where we could speak more privately. Once there, he whispered his explanation.  “Shhhh just listen to me, this is important. We have a traveler there who has just recently arrived from the Dane lands. This traveler has a grave message for you. He said to tell you that Gunnar waits there for your visit.”  The priest held on to me when it appeared I might fall at his feet in a shocked faint. My “brother”, my friend Gunnar is still alive and is searching for me!

We had spoke at one time of Wilton Abbey and the possibility of using it as a meeting place or safe house. One of the first and most important things one learns in training for this time travel is knowing of such places where you might find shelter and safety if becomes necessary.  In our early discussions of this Wessex area, we chose Wilton Abbey as such a place for it’s proximity to Standing Stones… Stonehenge to be exact, and for it’s earliest reputation as a lesser known sanctuary. We also chose it because of it’s connections to Ecbert’s family, thinking it might be a more feasible option than some other places.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/vikings-on-to-wessex-season-premiere-review-part-2-of-3/

judith eying athelstan as usual

The priest made arrangements with Lady Judith, saying that he would gladly take me with him to Wilton… Judith being so pre-occupied with those other matters, happily went along with his suggestion. So, I made the trip to Wilton Abbey and was reunited with my friend Gunnar. It had been years since we saw each other last and frankly, I had assumed him dead! I did have a feeling that besides his news, what ever it might be, was not the only reason he was searching for me.  I was in possession of a rather large amount of treasure that was rightfully his. He had left it with me and told me to care for it, but to use it as I saw fit if he should not return. Ummm well, I guiltily looked at the chest… there was still quite a bit left but I had made use of some of it.  Damn, now I supposed he was going to want it back- so much for my retirement savings!

My worries over such pettiness as wealth were quickly forgotten once I met with Gunnar. We had our heartfelt reunion and he did express his guilt and apologies for having left me there in Kattegat on my own and not returning to see to my welfare. He did admonish and remind me though, that it had been my choice to stay. I could have left with the other travelers when they fled Kattegat during those years of Earl Haraldson’s madness and then the mess with Jarl Borg. He assumed that I had left with the others. When he met up with all of them they told him of my decision to remain with Siggy. He thought that I was safe enough with Siggy, and with Rollo so he continued on with his sea adventures. He had returned to Kattegat recently, now that it was at peace and was told of my leaving for England. Gunnar was in Kattegat to witness the awful events taking place and knew that he must come in search of me to tell me this news himself.  He took time to write it all down so that there is a written account of it for the future. That is what we are suppose to do here… document the various events with no interference or subjective slanting on our parts. We have all come to realize how impossible that task is though after being in the middle of history, meeting these people and becoming friends with them.

Gunnar made two copies of the story, one he will keep safe and send on with messengers to the future. The other copy, he gave to me to keep for myself, for my own memories of my Siggy. I know that I probably should not keep it. It is so risky to keep our journals but I can not part with it. So, I will hold it with my other treasured writings and thoughts… then I will take them out at times such as this, read them and remember my time spent here, remember those that I have come to hold so dear to me and cry my tears in private.  I know that returning to the future is but a fleeting thought in these moments of fear and heart ache. I will find my inner strength and I will go on. There are still others here that need me, such as Rollo. He has made such strides in putting his life together and becoming that man of greatness but I fear that this news of Siggy might cause him undue stress and much heart ache. I can not leave him to bear the brunt of it on his own, I worry that he is not yet strong enough in his convictions and determination to handle this well. No, I must stay on here now for Rollo’s sake. I will continue my path, and keep the promise I made to Siggy when I left her in Kattegat. I promised her that I would follow Rollo and watch over him as much as possible, see him safe and on his path to his own greatness. 

preview of episode 5!

preview of episode 5! Thanks to Ines Jager at Facebook Vikings Aftermath group!

As is often the case with sudden and unexpected tragedies, I am filled with doubts and second guessing as well. Perhaps I should have remained in Kattegat with her… would that have changed this outcome? I knew that she was suffering much guilt and depression over the events that happened with King Horik. She was not herself but she assured me that I should go with Rollo and she would be fine there on her own. I knew too of Aslaug’s disregard of Siggy, and her ill treatment of her but, then Aslaug treated all of us much in the same manner. She has always presumed that she is better than the rest of us, has treated us all as her servants and taken advantage of those with good hearts.

aslaug

Now, as my last honor to my friend Siggy, I will share the story here so that no one shall question the events that took place! Gunnar’s telling was far more objective but I can not be objective in the telling. I lived with these people for so long, I know them well and I know in my heart what that Bitch, Aslaug is capable of. After this, I will have no respect at all left for her and I will be happy to be witness to what ever downfall may come her way.

The problems in Kattegat began before the arrival of a strange wanderer named Harbard. Gunnar was in the village at the time and said that Siggy was not herself even then. He has known Siggy for some time from his days of trading in Kattegat, and he said that she seemed much bothered and unhappy even before the wanderer showed up in the village. There was talk of strange dreams and everyone in Aslaug’s household seemed ill at ease. At the time Gunnar put it down to them having to live with Aslaug, who he referred to as a shrew? He said too, that it must have worn on their nerves, the continuous crying of that baby, Ivar.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/vikings-wanderer-other-strangeness/

Siggy did share that she was bothered by bad dreans and feelings of  unknown fear? She mentioned that she had went so far as to seek help from the Seer, and he was no help at all! In fact, he seemed bothered by his own feelings of impending doom? When Siggy asked him for help, his reply was “No one can help you”

nobody could help you   It's true

nobody could help you It’s true

When this man, Harbard arrived in the village, strange things started happening and Siggy was open in her mistrust and misgivings about him. She was suspicious of him from the beginning. Then when those two boys were found drowned, and Ivar’s pain was temporarily relieved, Siggy became fearful and filled with dread that this strange man was not who he claimed to be. Her premonitions of danger increased, her nerves were on edge and she sank into a dark mood.  Siggy grew irritated and impatient with Aslaug’s attitude and shirking of responsibilities.  Aslaug was infatuated with this Harbard would listen to no warnings against her behaviors with him.  When Siggy tried to remind her of her responsibilities to the village and to her family, Aslaug bluntly told her that it was none of her concern, to mind her place and not speak to her Queen in such a way.

siggy is supsicious of how habard does his magic

Ragnar has left Kattegat in your care! You have responsibilities to this village and to your family.

Ragnar has left Kattegat in your care! You have responsibilities to this village and to your family.

It's not your concern . No it is my concern since you are once again leaving your children behind

It’s not your concern . No it is my concern since you are once again leaving your children behind

If you will not be responible I will do it  I will accept the responsibility for this village

If you will not be responible I will do it I will accept the responsibility for this village

Siggy had been caring for these boys since they were born… Aslaug has ever and always been too busy to pay too much attention to them or care for them. She can easily produce them and bring them into the world but does not seem to have too much concern or patience for the raising of them? In her opinion, I guess she feels that duty is somehow beneath her… The one she does care much for is the infant Ivar, who she insisted on saving from death, only to now have him live in constant suffering and pain.  In some limited defense of her Mothering abilities, maybe she is overwrought by the number of boys she has brought into the world in a rather short time. And, perhaps her feelings for baby Ivar are spurred by some guilt on her part at saving his life but now seeing what he must endure as a result.  Part of her infatuation with Harbard is due to the fact that he is the only one who is able to ease Ivar’s pain!

wanderer takes away the pain

Siggy has been more of a Mother to the boys than Aslaug. She cared deeply for those boys, maybe it was because of losing her own children that she cared for them. Probably too that is much of the reason for her frustration and anger at Aslaug’s inattention to her own children. Aslaug began spending far too much time with Harbard, leaving Siggy to hold the family and the matters of the village together. It caused Siggy to think of her previous life…

siggy wants to know where aslaug is going  can't you pay attention to your family and your duties

siggy wants to know where aslaug is going can’t you pay attention to your family and your duties

 

Siggy watches Aslaug walk out on her responsibilities

Siggy watches Aslaug walk out on her responsibilities

siggy remembers her past

siggy remembers her past

one last time to sit on this throne and think of this village One last thought of the man who used to sit beside her

Everyone wondered about this man, Harbard. Who was he? He claimed to be a wanderer, a story teller, told stories of the Gods and of life in Russia? I asked Gunnar about his thoughts on the man… as Gunnar and I are both travelers from the future, we do have our own thoughts on this strange man. Of course, many firmly believe that he is indeed a some sort of God like figure come to earth or Midgard to either mettle, interfere,  teach us some lesson, or test our faith.

Midgard (an anglicised form of Old Norse Miðgarðr; Old English Middangeard, Swedish Midgård, Old Saxon Middilgard, Old High German Mittilagart, Gothic Midjun-gards; literally “middle enclosure”) is the name for the world (in the sense of oikoumene) inhabited by and known to humans in early Germanic cosmology, and specifically one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midgard

Harbard tells many stories of his homeland, Russia and insists that he is Father to the current Grand Duke of Russia, Olaf.

Now this Olaf is Grand duke of Kiev over all of Russia

Now this Olaf is Grand duke of Kiev over all of Russia

In the future of Russia, there will be another such wanderer, a mystic and a healer of Royal children… and eventually was in part responsible for the downfall of that Royal monarchy. While many would call Harbard a God, perhaps even Odin himself, others might see him as a charleton, a fake and a cult like influence? This is much the way the other “wanderer” of the future was also viewed. No one can be certain of who Harbard is but, for some of us who know the future, he bears some resemblance to the man known as Rasputin.

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (Russian: Григорий Ефимович Распутин; IPA: [ɡrʲɪˈɡorʲɪj jɪˈfʲiməvʲɪtɕ rɐˈsputʲɪn]; 21 January [O.S. 9 January] 1869 – 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916) was a Russian peasant, mystical faith healer and a trusted friend to the Tsar’s family. He became an influential figure in Saint Petersburg, especially after August 1915 when Tsar Nicholas II took command of the army at the front.

There is much uncertainty over Rasputin’s life and the degree of influence he exerted over the shy and irresolute Tsar and the strong-willed Alexandra Feodorovna, his wife. Accounts are often based on dubious memoirs, hearsay and legend.  While his influence and role may have been exaggerated, historians agree that his presence played a significant part in the increasing unpopularity of the Imperial couple and the downfall of the Russian Monarchy. Rasputin was killed as he was seen by both the left and right to be the root cause of Russia’s despair during World War I.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Rasputin

Maybe this Harbard is Odin come to midgard… or perhaps, he is some long distant ancestor of Rasputin? What ever the case, he has some mystical healing abilities along with ability to influence the gullible and willing Aslaug.  His ability to calm the troublesome Ivar is more than enough for Aslaug to feel greatly indebted to him and for her to find some way to repay him? Harbard does have a suggestion on how she could repay him?

she gave birth to a son called Olaf

Me I am not suffering . Yes you are,  your husband is gone and you fear he does not care for you any longer

Me I am not suffering . Yes you are, your husband is gone and you fear he does not care for you any longer

The most important thing to remember about this affair is that Harbard gives Aslaug a choice. He does not force her into anything, he tells her that if she is not willing, she should return to her children. Aslaug’s answer is clear and telling of  where her children fall on her list of priorities. “I do not want to be with my children… I want to be with you.”

Then go back to your children.   I do not want to be with my children

Then go back to your children. I do not want to be with my children

I want to be with you

I want to be with you

Aslaug makes her choice

Aslaug makes her choice

aslaug would ignore her children for a chance to have sex with a stranger

aslaug would ignore her children for a chance to have sex with a stranger

While she involves herself in this affair with Harbard, Siggy as usual is left to care for the children. She is left to keep them out mischief, and answer difficult questions such as “Where is our Mother? Why is she never here?”

where's our Mother  why is she always gone

where’s our Mother why is she always gone

Siggy in her own frustration with the whole situation, did grow a bit impatient… I am sure that she did not mean for her words to come out the way they did and set such a possible tone for future sibling rivalry? “Ivar needs your Mother more than you do”

 

Ivar needs you Mother more than you do   Hmmm way to set up future sibling rivalry siggy

Ivar needs you Mother more than you do Hmmm way to set up future sibling rivalry siggy

Siggy’s maternal instincts and her true caring for these boys takes over as she tries to help them understand. She tried to make excuses for Aslaug and not put the woman in a bad light to her sons.

siggy tries to make excuses for Aslaug  Your Mother goes to Harbard for help with your brother.

siggy tries to make excuses for Aslaug Your Mother goes to Harbard for help with your brother.

Siggy also poured out her heart in her explanation of sacrifices that a Mother makes for her children. As I said, Siggy raised these boys, and in some way I think she felt like they were her own sons. I think too that is part of why she remained so long in that household with Aslaug!

someday you will understand the sacrifices a Mother makes for her children

someday you will understand the sacrifices a Mother makes for her children

The boys were a handful though, curious and mischievous much like their Father. And, besides trying to keep them under control, she also had to deal with baby Ivar and his constant needs.

listening to baby ivar cry

listening to baby ivar cry

Once again, Ivar’s needs took precedence and the older boys saw a chance to escape for adventure.

so much for speeches they're busy with him again let's go

With Aslaug nowhere in sight to help care for the children, Helga and Siggy were stressed to their limits in caring for all of the children. When the boys took off, Helga could not follow as she had other children namely her own child, to watch!

the women have their hands full with little ones and Helga can not follow the boys

the women have their hands full with little ones and Helga can not follow the boys

Siggy’s bond with those boys caused her to feel a Mother’s intuition of when their child is in danger… Something that Aslaug obviously was lacking!

siggy has a premonition of fear for the boys

siggy has a premonition of fear for the boys

Siggy felt an overwhelming fear for the boys and took off in search of them. her search takes her through rocks that ominously resemble the sight where a young boy earlier sacrificed his life for her husband’s greed.

siggy heads out to search for the boys

her search takes her through rocks that ominously resemble the sight where a young boy earlier sacrificed his life for her husband's greed.

her search takes her through rocks that ominously resemble the sight where a young boy earlier sacrificed his life for her husband’s greed.

She also wanders  through woods such as  where her own two  boys might have perished in their own sacrifice.

and through woods where her boys might have perished in their own sacrifices

and through woods where her boys might have perished in their own sacrifices

Finally she arrived at the edge of the frozen lake to see the boys wandering out on to the ice. Panic stricken, she tries to remain calm and calls out to them to stop. They hesitate for a moment…

she arrives at the frozen lake and finds the boys out there they stop for a moment

With no thought of danger to herself, Siggy knew only that she must make a choice to step out on the cracking ice to reach the boys.

with no thought for herself Siggy steps toward her fate

with no thought for herself Siggy steps toward her fate

 

waiting for the ice to settle

waiting for the ice to settle