Archive | April 2015

Were the Vikings Dirty?

No, our Vikings were not dirty! In fact we were cleaner than most of those nasty and smelly people that we raided… excepting perhaps, King Ecbert, because we all know his fondness for bathing!

Author C.J. Adrien

Hagar_bathing_Viking

A skaldic verse from Egill Skallagrimson paints the picture of what once was considered the perfect Viking; created impatient from birth, presumptuous, and with a burning desire for a far-off adventure:
“My mother promised me, and soon she will buy me, a vessel and oars, to leave to distant lands with the Vikings…and to strike and fight.”

These early explorers are today remembered as brave, rustic men with long beards and flowing hair.  As historians of the 19th century would have it, the Vikings were uncivilized in their pre-Christian culture, thus making them unclean.  The notion of the Romantic Savage prevailed until well into the latter half of the 20th century, and arguably remains part of popular culture’s view of the Vikings.  What most people do not know, however, is that grooming was a central feature in Viking Age Scandinavian culture.

The Arab chronicler Ibn Fadlan, who encountered the Rus…

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Vikings Dead: Fifty Shades of Odo…

First of all, I want to thank all of my followers for joining me on this trip through time to the Viking age! Our raiding season has come to an end for this year but that does not mean that we are finished with our visit with these Vikings! As I have mentioned previously, I will be remaining on here in Paris for the time being- I need a bit of a vacation and while the present company tends to be rather stuffy, snotty and at times somewhat perverse, the accommodations are far more comfortable and luxurious than those of a long boat ride and another stay in Kattegat. The food is excellent as well… now, if I could just find way to rid myself of Charles and a few others residing here, my vacation would be almost perfect!

gisla asks a rational question so what are we to do  charles waves the servants away before he answers

I don’t mind if Gisla stays… Yes, she can be a bit much to deal with at times- but I have a feeling she will be quite pre-occupied and busy with her upcoming nuptials and her future husband.

I will tell of that story later, as well as the story of what happened with our Viking group. I am quite sure most of you are already aware by now that our illustrious leader, Ragnar did not die but rose up to accomplish his goal of conquering the city- at least for a few hours! He has now departed for the trip home to Kattegat and we will tell that story later.  Right now, I want to discuss the one other person who has caused such a stir and controversy within the walls of Paris. That would be Count Odo, of whom rumors and gossip are running rampant now.  I have now spent some time at this court and heard many of the women, men whispering of him behind his back.  Never would anyone voice these thoughts openly around him. But, there are indeed rumors floating around about his personal life… and about how he may react to the news of Gisla being given to the Northman, Rollo instead of him?

Odo is this a cruel and vicious man

With all of that in mind, perhaps we should take a closer look at Odo and the recent event that has caused such controversy.  Before we proceed with this discussion, I do need to warn and advise that the following discussion will contain adult subject matter, some sexual content and some nudity. If any of this causes you discomfort, then please do not read further. I would also have to say that if you are uncomfortable with this subject, then I am reasonably certain the recent event that took place with Odo and a willing participant caused you a great deal of discomfort! It was probably even more disturbing and discomforting for you because it was cut and edited in such a way for American viewers that you may not have understood the full context or reason for the scene?  The reasoning for this scenario is still up for debate even among those who had the benefit of viewing it in it’s entirety. It did seem somewhat out of context and un-necessary at first. But, after thinking much about it and doing some additional research on this particular character, I can see where it may be coming from on a number of different levels.

Before we get into the discussion of it, let us look at exactly what happened!  Count Odo was once again put off by Gisla and immediately after that he was approached by an unknown, un-named as yet, young Noblewoman. This young woman was open about her desire to show her gratitude to Odo for saving their city, even if Gisla would not. She showed an interest in spending more personal time with him. Odo, to his credit, did not just immediately take her up on it, but spent some moment thinking this over before giving her a hopeful answer in his response of, “Perhaps later”

Odo approaches Gisla about that marriage proposal

Odo approaches Gisla about that marriage proposal

gisla's response to odo this is neither the time nor place for this discussion

gisla’s response to odo this is neither the time nor place for this discussion

This young woman searches Odo out, approaches him and is quite forward in her advances toward him. Odo did not go in search of her, nor did he do anything that would be of questionable conduct or behavior on his part.  This is extremely important to remember later. This young woman purposefully set her sights and attentions on Odo and offered herself to him. He did seem hesitant about agreeing to her proposal.

nameless woman  You saved our city I am grateful and would show you that gratitude if she won't

Odo has to think for a moment on this woman's offer the young woman is rewarded with an answer of perhaps later

In considering his hesitation over this and what takes place later, we now have to wonder about the other unknown woman that Odo seemed to have some relationship with at an earlier time?

Odo and the new mysterious woman seem to be in agreement on something

Odo and the new mysterious woman seem to be in agreement on something

Who is this other unknown woman… what role does she play in his life, both personal and professional? She does bear a resemblance to our more recent young woman, and at first I thought perhaps they were one and the same? But, I don’t think so… this woman appears to be older, more experienced and seems to already have some connection with Odo? How does she fit into what we are learning about Odo and the French court? I can only assume that this will all unravel for us in the next season!

Odo's attention is on this woman.

Odo’s attention is on this woman.

For now, let us just focus on what took place later between Odo and this unknown young woman.

They did meet later in Odo’s chambers, where once again, she made it clear what she was offering. She made comments about how she was sure that Gisla was boring, so good, so pious and would not hold Odo’s interest for long. Odo brought up the subject of this woman’s husband and she responded that he was probably already so drunk as not care or notice where she was or what she was doing. So, we now know that this woman is married and is willing to enter into some arrangement with Odo despite that state. As a note- this was not at all uncommon then- we will discuss that later!

the woman's thoughts on gisla  she seems very boring

the woman’s thoughts on gisla she seems very boring

you would soon tire of her believe me

you would soon tire of her believe me

When the woman comments on her husband, Odo’s response shows he is well aware of her intent and her game, and he is letting her know it.

 

the woman  my husband will be too drunk to even care  Odo I almost believe you

the woman my husband will be too drunk to even care Odo I almost believe you

In Odo’s response to her about Gisla, we get a clue as to what the future could possibly hold for Gisla if she should end up married to him… or if the marriage event does not go his way and he would choose to extract some personal vengeance upon Gisla for it?

Odo perhaps but then again breaking her could be interesting

Odo perhaps but then again breaking her could be interesting

Please remember that this woman is willing and eager to enter into some arrangement with Odo. She suggests that perhaps she could hold his interest far longer than Gisla ever could. Odo responds with we shall see…

the young woman is eager and willing

the young woman is eager and willing

is there a way that I could keep your interest

is there a way that I could keep your interest

Odo: Come come with me and we shall see if you are up to the challenge?

Odo: Come come with me and we shall see if you are up to the challenge?

The young woman then follows Odo down a dim hallway to what one would suppose to be a much more private and less known about dungeon like space…

Odo leads her down a dark passage

Odo leads her down a dark passage

This is obviously not a space that Odo shares with the general public or more casual acquaintances…

Odo's private play room

Odo’s private play room

she seems to be having second thoughts as she observes the dungeon room filled with torture devices

she seems to be having second thoughts as she observes the dungeon room filled with torture devices

Well this was certainly not what she was expecting  she has to rethink this for a moment

Well this was certainly not what she was expecting she has to rethink this for a moment

This is where we discover Odo’s more personal and private preferences. Apparently, no other woman at court has thought to possibly warn this young woman ahead of time of just what type of sexual proclivities, deviations or acts Odo may be fond of practicing. I am certain that there are probably other women who know of this, who have experienced this with him, but for what ever reason they have kept such information to themselves- a much guarded secret? Perhaps they have been well rewarded for their silences on this matter…or perhaps they are in fear of any retribution on Odo’s part if he should find they have been sharing this secret… possibly, it’s a bit of both. In any case, this woman is rattled by this place and it takes her some time to regain any composure. The key to this is that, she does regain her composure, she does go ahead with this experience even after being warned and cautioned by him to choose carefully.  The other part to remember here is that Odo is not looking at this as abuse. He is well versed and well trained in this art of BDSM and is giving her free choice as to continue or to walk away. If she chooses to continue, he is willing to guide her through this experience.

What we see is this young woman having second thoughts, weighing the choice in her mind and probably the benefits of continuing on as well… this is entirely new for her, and she battles to overcome some fear and possible distaste for the idea in thought of what the eventual reward might be for her.  She has obviously set her sights on an arrangement with Odo for some reasons that most likely have little to do with sexual gratification- though that would be an added side bonus- but more to do with advancing her and or her husband’s status at court. This was the most general reason for women entering into such affairs, and often they had their husband’s agreements on such an activity. One could look at it as a career opportunity for young women at court. We will delve into that a bit closer after we view the rest of this experience.

Odo shows off his collection of whips

Odo gives her his explanation and his offer… If you would submit to being chained and whipped, we might come to some arrangement. The key here is that he is giving her choice and she is free to decline is she so chooses.

If you would submit to being chained up and whipped we might come to some arrangement

If you would submit to being chained up and whipped we might come to some arrangement

Odo of course I would allow you to choose the whip

Odo of course I would allow you to choose the whip

do not show fear what ever you do do not show fear just suck it up and hope he pays you well for this choose your whip carefully  some are more severe than others

you will always be able to call halt  though I would prefer to decide that for myself.

you will always be able to call halt though I would prefer to decide that for myself.

preparing herself and summoning her courage

preparing herself and summoning her courage

odo watches as she tests the chains

odo watches as she tests the chains

I can not stress or emphasize enough that this experience, this act is not in and of itself abuse or torture. Odo is a trained expert in this form of sexual practice and they are both consenting adults on this experience. He is giving her fair warning, free choice in the matter and no one is forcing her into this experience. While it may be disturbing to watch, and it may not be to your personal taste, sensibilities or morals, it is not abuse. As I said, he will guide her through it and will give her choice as to when to strike or when to halt. The final choice is now left up to her and she makes her decision…. What a portion of this choice comes down to is that of what a person might be  willing to do for status, fame, power or control. I will not say love at this point because in this particular situation, love or obsession has nothing to do with her motives or his. There may be, though a willingness on her part too, to experience it for curiousness of this act?

the things a woman will do for power

the woman readies herself for this experience Odo: will you keep my interest  undoubtedly

What follows is this young woman’s initiation into the sexual practice of BDSM with guidance from Odo, her Master in this experience. Odo allows her to choose when…

say strike when you are ready

say strike when you are ready

tell me when to strike

After a moment of preparing herself, she is ready

the experience begins say strike

what much of the viewing audience missed was the rest of the act…

Ode to Odo and fifty shades of gray by Ines Jager at Vikings Aftermath facebook group

Ode to Odo and fifty shades of gray by Ines Jager at Vikings Aftermath facebook group

We did not see any further sexual conclusion to this initial act so we really have no idea if she truly embraced the experience and enjoyed it or not. We can assume that is was pleasurable for Odo, and that as such a well trained master in this practice, he would have enlightened her as to the basic premise that there is a fine line between pain and pleasure. This premise is the basis for much of the practice of BDSM.  What we do see at a later point is that she does seem to have elevated her status at court somewhat by being at Odo’s side at an important Court function, Ragnar’s supposed funeral. This small detail may be easy to overlook but it is extremely important in the context of this experience and what her benefit or reward might have been!

and what have we here  is this our young woman who played odo's game and is now elevated in her level of status

and what have we here is this our young woman who played odo’s game and is now elevated in her level of status

 

Now that we have looked at the experience, let us look at those other pieces of the puzzle…

First of all, we need to look at the character of Odo and where this part of his character may have originated. I know we have looked at him and his part in history previously but let’s look one more time because this seems to be a new side of him that his original history did not necessarily prepare us for? Of course, this particular preference or practice may not be one that would be so well known or documented through history!

We have previously gone on the assumption that he is a representation of Count Odo of France, but there are couple of Count Odos during this time period. I believe that our Odo is most likely another of those combinations of historical figures. While he certainly is most likely partially a representation of Odo of France as basically described here:

King of Western Francia
Coronation of King Odo.jpg

The Coronation of Odo, from the Grandes Chroniques de France
Reign 888–898
Coronation February 888, Compiègne
Predecessor Charles the Fat
Successor Charles III
House Robertian
Father Robert the Strong
Mother Adelaide of Tours
Born c.852
Died 1 January 898
La Fère, France

Odo (or Eudes) (c. 852 – 1 January 898) was a King of Western Francia, reigning from 888 to 898. He was a son of Robert the Strong, count of Anjou, whose branch of the family is known as the Robertians. Odo is also known as the Duke of France and Count of Paris.

For his skill and bravery in resisting the attacks of the Vikings at the Siege of Paris, Odo was chosen by the western Franks to be their king following the removal of emperor Charles the Fat. He was crowned at Compiègne in February 888 by Walter, Archbishop of Sens.  Odo continued to battle against the Vikings and defeated them at Montfaucon, but he was soon involved in a struggle with powerful nobles who supported the claim of Charles the Simple to the Frankish throne.

In 889 and 890 Odo granted special privileges to the County of Manresa in Osona. Because of its position on the front line against Moorish aggression, Manresa was given the right to build towers of defence known as manresanas or manresanes. This privilege was responsible for giving Manresa its unique character, distinct from the rest of Osona, for the next two centuries.  To gain prestige and support, Odo paid homage to the Eastern Frankish King Arnulf of Carinthia. But in 894 Arnulf declared his support for Charles, and after a conflict which lasted three years, Odo was compelled to come to terms with his rival and surrender a district north of the Seine to him.

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

He is most likely also a portrayal and representation of  Odo I, Count of Blois. Odo, Count of Blois and Touraine, was a French nobleman of the tenth century. He is described as a vicious, cruel man who lost his left arm in a sword-fight. 

http://www.renefiles.com/odohist.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odo_I,_Count_of_Blois

This link is to a short peview of a book called Odo Count of Champagne and Tyrant of Burgundy

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/546450?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21106624154483

Odo count of Champagne

For our purposes, we have not yet seen our Count Odo as overly cruel or vicious… He seems to be a well capable man in charge of defending his City and making far more rational, sound decisions than King Charles! What we can see of him is a desire for added power and fame, which the marriage to Gisla would bring him. So far, he has really done nothing else to warrant our suspicions and speculations upon his character, his morals or his supposed cruel streak. He is in a high position of power and presents himself with that level of confidence and authority for the most part.  At this point, his personal proclivities, preferences or fetishes are just that- his personal business, and he as yet not let them carry over into his professional life. We can not pass judgement on him for that yet. He has made mention that it might be interesting or enjoyable to break or tame the lady Gisla… but right now, there are countless other men who probably feel similarly in that respect… namely, our Rollo! But, that is a separate story from our current topic!

rollo Haaaaaa I understood every word I think you owe me even more money and land for taking her

 

As to our unknown young woman’s motives, ambitions and loose morals… We need to look at the idea and the role of mistresses in the context of Royalty and history. As I mentioned earlier, this was not really uncommon and not really looked down upon. For young women living at Royal Courts it was often expected that they would use their assets wisely to benefit themselves and their families. Many families sent their young women to court specifically for that reason- to use their feminine assets in order to develop alliances and connections that would help all of the family move up in status and wealth. Just because they were perceived as religious and pious people does not mean that they were all pure, good and devout in their beliefs and their actions. This was a cut throat world and their intent was to survive and thrive by any means necessary. Women in this time had just as much desire for status, wealth, power and control as men did. They just went about achieving their goals in a slightly different type of warfare!

We know next to nothing about this woman, her husband or her family so we can not be sure exactly of all her reasonings and motives for seeking out this arrangement with the high level Count Odo. She may have been put up to it by family members seeking to increase their status via her relationship with such a powerful man, or it may be her own ambition pushing her on in this endeavor. That all remains to be seen in the future!

A brief look at Mistresses in history:

A mistress is a relatively long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner, especially when her partner is married. Generally, the relationship is stable and at least semi-permanent, but the couple does not live together openly and the relationship is usually, but not always, secret. There is often also the implication (if not the fact) that the mistress is “kept” – i.e. that her lover is paying for some (and sometimes all) of her living expenses.

The historically best known and most-researched mistresses are the royal mistresses of European monarchs, for example, Agnès Sorel, Diane de Poitiers, Barbara Villiers, Nell Gwyn and Madame de Pompadour. The keeping of a mistress in Europe was not confined to royalty and nobility but permeated down through the social ranks, essentially to any man who could afford to do so. Any man who could afford a mistress could have one (or more), regardless of social position. A wealthy merchant or a young noble might have a kept woman. Being a mistress was typically an occupation for a younger woman who, if she were fortunate, might go on to marry her lover or another man of rank.

The ballad “The Three Ravens” (published in 1611, but possibly older) extolls the loyal mistress of a slain knight, who buries her dead lover and then dies of the exertion, as she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy. It is noteworthy that the ballad-maker assigned this role to the knight’s mistress (“leman” was the term common at the time) rather than to his wife. In the courts of Europe, particularly Versailles and Whitehall in the 17th and 18th centuries, a mistress often wielded great power and influence. A king might have numerous mistresses but have a single “favourite mistress” or “official mistress” (in French, “maîtresse en titre”), as with Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. The mistresses of both Louis XV (especially Madame de Pompadour) and Charles II were often considered to exert great influence over their lovers, the relationships being open secrets. Other than wealthy merchants and kings, Alexander VI is but one example of a Pope who kept mistresses.  While the extremely wealthy might keep a mistress for life (as George II of England did with “Mrs Howard“, even after they were no longer romantically linked), such was not the case for most kept women.

In 1736, when George II was newly ascendant, Henry Fielding (in Pasquin) has his Lord Place say, “…but, miss, every one now keeps and is kept; there are no such things as marriages now-a-days, unless merely Smithfield contracts, and that for the support of families; but then the husband and wife both take into keeping within a fortnight.”

Occasionally the mistress is in a superior position both financially and socially to her lover. As a widow, Catherine the Great was known to have been involved with several successive men during her reign; but, like many powerful women of her era, in spite of being a widow free to marry, she chose not to share her power with a husband, preferring to maintain absolute power alone.

Mistresses were a common part of Royal and Noble life throughout history. In fact in history, the Charlamagne that Charles is so fond of reminding people of, had a number of mistresses.

Charlemagne

  • Gersuinda of the Saxons
  • Amaltrud of Vienne
  • Ethelind
  • Sigrade
  • Madelgard
  • Regina
  • Landrade des Herbages
  • Adelindus

And, if we use Charles the Simple as part of our role model for our Charles, he had a few himself!

Charles the Simple

  • Edgiva of Kent
  • Frederuna von Ringleheim

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

While Count Odo is not Royalty, he is close and in history, he would be king for a time. So, this would put him in the category of Royalty for a young woman determined to advance herself and her family.

A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or an heir apparent. Some mistresses have had considerable power. These powerful mistresses have been commonly referred to as the “power behind the throne“. The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space for the monarch’s personal preferences in the choice of a mate.

In European history the children of mistresses were not normally included in the line of succession, except perhaps when secret marriages were alleged. Hence the Monmouth Rebellion when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth claimed the thrones of England and Scotland on the grounds that his mother had been the wife, rather than a mistress, of Charles II.

 

The last portion of this discussion is a brief, basic explanation and history of Odo’s personal sexual practices, BDSM. I am not going to go into any lengthy detailed discussion of it as it is not really pertinent here and it is a very personal choice and lifestyle which each person has different levels of accepting or believing in. I would not pass judgement on anyone for their personal tastes in such areas as long as it does not cross boundaries set by either consenting party. That is the most important thing to remember about any type of relationship.

BDSM is a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to a lifestyle.

 

The BDSM initialism

The term BDSM is first dated from 1969.  The term BDSM was formed by joining the term B&D (bondage and discipline) with S&M (sadomasochism, or sadism and masochism). (It is sometimes believed to contain within it, as well, the compound D&S (dominance and submission) but that is not historically correct, and an example of folk etymology). BDSM is used today (2015) as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures. BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers, extreme body modification enthusiasts, animal players, latex or rubber aficionados, and others.

Unlike the usual “power neutral” relationships and play styles commonly followed by couples, activities and relationships within a BDSM context are often characterized by the participants’ taking on complementary, but unequal roles; thus, the idea of informed consent of both the partners becomes essential. Participants who exert sexual dominance over their partners are known as dominants or tops, while participants who take the passive, receiving, or obedient role are known as submissives or bottoms.

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

The Historical Origins of BDSM

 The historical origins of BDSM are obscure. During the ninth century BC, ritual flagellations were performed in Artemis Orthia, one of the most important religious areas of ancient Sparta, where the Cult of Orthia, a preolympic religion, was practiced. Here ritual flagellation called diamastigosis took place on a regular basis. One of the oldest graphical proofs of sadomasochistic activities is found in an Etruscan burial site in Tarquinia. Inside the Tomba della Fustigazione (Flogging grave), in the latter sixth century b.c., two men are portrayed flagellating a woman with a cane and a hand during an erotic situation. Another reference related to flagellation is to be found in the sixth book of the Satires of the ancient Roman Poet Juvenal (1st–2nd century A.D.), further reference can be found in Petronius’s Satyricon where a delinquent is whipped for sexual arousal. Anecdotal narratives related to humans who have had themselves voluntary bound, flagellated or whipped as a substitute for sex or as part of foreplay reach back to the third and fourth century.

The Kama Sutra describes four different kinds of hitting during lovemaking, the allowed regions of the human body to target and different kinds of joyful “cries of pain” practiced by bottoms. The collection of historic texts related to sensuous experiences explicitly emphasizes that impact play, biting and pinching during sexual activities should only be performed consensually since only some women consider such behavior to be joyful. From this perspective the Kama Sutra can be considered as one of the first written resources dealing with sadomasochistic activities and safety rules. Further texts with sadomasochistic connotation appear worldwide during the following centuries on a regular basis.

 

http://www.asubmissivesjourney.com/history_bdsm.html

 

aethelwulf practices self flagulation and punishes himself for what ever sins he can think of

aethelwulf practices self flagulation and punishes himself for what ever sins he can think of

 

The final thought that I need to address here is one that some people have brought up in various discussions of this scene. Some people have compared Count Odo’s behavior to that of Aethelwulf’s self flagellation. I do not believe that Aethelwulf’s self flagellation has anything to do with eroticism but more to do with the religious context of it.

The Flagellation refers in a Christian context to the Flagellation of Christ, an episode in the Passion of Christ prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. The practice of mortification of the flesh for religious purposes was utilized by some Christians throughout most of Christian history, especially in Catholic monasteries and convents.

In the 13th century, a group of Roman Catholics, known as the Flagellants, took this practice to its extreme ends. The Flagellants were later condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as a cult in the 14th century because the established church had no other control over the practice than excommunication.  Self-flagellation remains common in the Philippines, Mexico, and one convent in Peru.

Some members of strict monastic orders, and some members of the Catholic lay organization Opus Dei, practice mild self-flagellation using an instrument called a “discipline”, a cattail whip usually made of knotted cords, which is flung over the shoulders repeatedly during private prayer.  Pope John Paul II took the discipline regularly.

St. Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun of late 19th-century France who has now been declared a Doctor of the Church, is an influential example of a Catholic Saint who questioned prevailing attitudes toward physical penance. Her view was that loving acceptance of the many sufferings of daily life was pleasing to God, and fostered loving relationships with other people, more than taking upon oneself extraneous sufferings through instruments of penance. However as a Carmelite nun, she practiced voluntary corporal mortification.

Because practices such as starvation, sleep denial and flagellation are known to induce altered states, flagellation may be used by religious ecstatics and mystics as part of ritualistic practices or ceremonies to achieve unusual states of mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-flagellation

 

I hope this answers any questions, confusion or puzzles you may have concerning Odo, his personal practices, his history, and the young woman’s possible reasons or motives for entering into this arrangement. Hopefully it will give you some insight as how and why this scene fits into the context of the story. I can do nothing about your personal feelings, judgements or discomfort regarding all of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings Dead: My first thoughts

 

OMG! Ok, I do not have much time right now to go in depth about this final epic event that will leave all of us tearing our hair out and drinking far too much mead for the foreseeable future as we try to return to our normal lives for the next months as we wait for the next raiding season. I just want to give my first thoughts on it. I will have a full review on Sunday or Monday… Damn real life things like work keep interfering with my fantasy life!

 I just finished watching the finale and am now torn between wanting to give Mr. Hirst my undying gratitude for putting Rollo’s story in high gear, and also wanting to put him at the top of my hate/hit list for leaving so much hanging, so many questions and puzzles with no answers until next year! I want to grab Lagertha’s stealth maidens- well who ever is left of them- and go on a covert mission into Hirst’s computer and find my answers cause it’s going to drive me nuts! And, if he thinks that meager little teaser of Bjorn and the Bear is going to appease me, he is sooo wrong!

Thanks and credit to the wonderful group of friends at Vikings Aftermath on facebook for this screen art and the following one of Mr. Michael Hirst!

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

Rollo salud by aftermath crew

Rollo salud by aftermath crew

First of all, My undying gratitude to you Mr. Hirst for giving us Rollo’s story and his future. Because of you, more people have taken an interest in the real history of Rollo and that always makes me happy!  Of course, I must add my thanks and greatest fan appreciation of Mr. Clive Standen who has brought the character to life for us! History tells us various stories about the man, Rollo but, Clive Standen has managed to put a face (and, as a fan, I must add, a very handsome one at that!), and heart rending emotion to the Character of Rollo. I know that as with all  historical fiction, Mr. Hirst has to continually play with time lines, events and characters in order to fit the scope of the story he is telling. What I appreciate so much is that within all of those twists and bends of history, Hirst does always run a thread of truth through the story. He has not failed me with his coming interpretation of Rollo’s destiny as founder of Normandy! For more insight on what the future will hold, here are a few previews and interviews with Michael Hirst regarding the future!

Rollo watching the ships leave him in france

This was a transformative season for Rollo. One of the standout scenes was his conversation with the seer. At the time, he was a man who seemed to have nothing left. But now, in Paris, his legend seems even larger than Ragnar’s. Can you talk about where his journey will take him, going forward?
The conversation with the seer was critical and vital. It’s also one of the best moments for Clive [Standen] in the entire show. We happened to have a great female director [Helen Shaver] at the time, and I think she encouraged him to give a really emotional, deeply felt performance. And he was saying: “I’m worthless. I’ll always be in Ragnar’s shadow. It’s not worth me being alive, frankly.” And the seer told him: “If you know what I knew, you’d be dancing naked on the beach.”

So Rollo’s been on a private journey to work out what the f— that actually meant. For a long time, he can’t figure it. The raid is so disastrous. So many things go wrong. He has a glimpse of the Frankish princess. For some reason, he’s drawn to her. And when they come to him with this offer, I think that the pieces start to fall into place. He thinks that this is why he should dance naked on the sand. He is being given the opportunity to be his own man.

What he said to Ragnar in the coffin was: “I’m surprised that you went first. And I’m sure you are, too. We all thought the gods favored you, and not me.” Here, it looks to him—reading into what the seer said—that the gods, at last, are favoring him. He’s come out of that in a totally extraordinary way. He is on the verge of a big, huge change in his life.

Which is a good setup for the new season. And of course [laughs] if anyone wants to read the history books, they can find out how important Count Rollo was in French history.

Earlier this season, it felt to me as if, after many years of turmoil between them, Rollo and Ragnar were very much united. Could he once again turn on his brother?
I think he knows that that is what his part of the bargain is. It’s costing the French Emperor a lot of money. But it’s a very clever move. How do you beat a Viking? You hire another Viking to do it.

As far as the brothers are concerned, Rollo has confessed to what he thought was a dead Ragnar that he’s never got over his jealousy. So Ragnar knows. And remember, it wasn’t Ragnar who let Rollo stay. He was too sick to make that decision. It was Bjorn. Ragnar, I don’t think, would have ever allowed Rollo to stay. And I don’t think that Ragnar ever forgave Rollo. He just let him go because he was blood. I really don’t think that Ragnar felt able to forgive Rollo.

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/23/vikings-season-finale-michael-hirst

Here is another article dealing with the finale!

http://www.tvguide.com/news/the-vikings-finale-just-pulled-off-the-most-epic-bait-and-switch/

Although Micahel Hirst is the undisputed genius creator behind this Vikings saga, he does have some incredible help in putting all of this history into context.

Meet the man who makes sure Vikings is historically accurate: interview with Justin Pollard!

Justin Pollard is an archaeologist, author, screenwriter, and consultant who has worked as a historical consultant on a large number of movies and popular television programs, including the History Channel’s Vikings. In this short interview we discuss how he got into this line of work, his research, and the mythological and historic roots of Vikings.

First things first: Among other things, you’re a historical consultant on a variety of great television shows. I’m envious! How did you get into this line of work?

I started out after Cambridge as a field archaeologist working for the Museum of London on Thomas Becket’s old monastery at Merton. After a year there the unit rather abruptly folded due to lack of funding and, combines with a tragedy in the family, I was left wondering what to do next really. I thought about going back into academe but I didn’t want to have to narrow down my frankly dilettante interests to one period or subject so I needed to invent a job for myself. This was the mid 1990s and a lot of US companies were starting to commission historical documentaries from London TV production houses so I started writing to lots of them offering my services as a historical consultant/ researcher/ writer. After a lot of polite refusals one company took me up on the offer and I’ve been fairly consistently employed ever since.

How did you become attached to Vikings?

That’s all thanks to Michael Hirst the writer and show-runner. I had my ‘break’ into movies in 1997/8 when I was asked to advise on a movie called Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett. The writer was Michael and we got along so well that we’ve been working together ever since. It was working on The Tudors that Michael mentioned he wanted to write about the Vikings. I had written a biography of Alfred the Great, who we’d previously talked about making a movie of, and mentioned the somewhat obscure history of Ragnar and his sons. Michael took it from there.

What kinds of preparation do you make when you’re going to start consulting on a program? Do you do field research, reach out to historians, visit the library?

The research process has changed dramatically since I started. When I began you’d go to the British Library for a month and call up book after book, searching for those little individual nuggets of information that inform a scene – those small details that make it instantly believable but still strange and wonderful. These days much more is online. From my study in Dorset I have access to very large reference collections, the whole of JSTOR for academic papers as well as the usual online academic sources. Not only has having these available online reduced the need for library work but the search-ability of online sources has radically changed the time it takes to find things out. Failing inline sources I can now order a book over the net in minutes and have it delivered from just about anywhere in the world in a matter of days. I have a very eclectic library! The face to face work comes these days mainly from visiting museums and academics. I keep in touch with lots of great academics from around the world who are unfailingly helpful withe everything from small queries about 16th century etiquette to how to swear in Old Low Franconian.

For more of the interview go here!  http://suvudu.com/2015/04/meet-the-man-who-makes-sure-vikings-is-historically-accurate.html

 

 

Now, as to my personal thought on the idea of Rollo betraying Ragnar again. I do not see it that way and I hope that it really does not come down to that… although, that may be the way Ragnar will perceive it.  In my opinion, Rollo is just doing what he feels he needs to do for himself now. He realizes that he and Ragnar will never see things the same way and in his mind, Ragnar has done his own share of betraying their people. I will go more into this when I post the rest of my thoughts along with the in depth review.

Now, on to the second half of my thoughts right now… the ones where I wish to recruit who ever is left of Lagertha’s elite stealth maidens and make a covert hit on Michael Hirst’s private notes to answer those puzzles and questions that will drive me nuts while I wait for next season!

lagertha's group under the bridge

Just a few of the nagging unanswered questions I will spend the next months trying to figure out on my own… Where the hell did Porunn go, and will we ever see her again? I’m sure we will, but will we even recognize her when she shows up again? What’s going on in Wessex… and what is so damn important about baby Magnus in the future? I hope that Kweni finds a somewhat rational and sane nursemaid for him or we could see a truly berserker future ruler of Mercia- even more so than Kweni herself… now that’s a scary thought! Does Judith manage to find a way out of this nasty web that Ecbert has her caught in? I hope she does not become a dead victim cause I do like her.  Then, there is the whole puzzle of Kalf… Ohhhh Kalf, Please do not turn out to be another evil, devious villain… we have more than enough of those already! What about slimely little scum Erlandeur, Why, ohhh Why is that boy still alive even now and would someone please kill him quickly next season!  for all of those questions you have left us with Mr. Hirst, I must agree with this thought!

hirst hit list by ines jagger at aftermath

hirst hit list by ines jagger at aftermath

Ahhhhh and one last thought today for you Mr. Hirst… if you think this tiny snippet preview of next season is going to appease me, Please think again!

 

Vikings: What does the future hold for Rollo and Gisla?

 

 

Ok, I have a meeting with the Seer and am going to quickly give my guess and prediction for the fated couple…

Seer as counselor  What do you think

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Gisla is showing her more petulant and pouting spoiled Princess side.

gisla is still a young girl wanting her own way

We have also been made aware of the fact that Rollo has achieved some great recognition and reputation as the Crazed Bear, so I think we can safely assume that Rollo is the Bear that the Seer speaks of and Gisla is the Princess…

sintric  he fights like a crazed bear

sintric he fights like a crazed bear

There was definitely some interest shown by both of them upon seeing each other….but I do think that Rollo will have some personal affront and issue with the fact that she was up on the wall in the first place and the sight of her caused him to nearly kill himself? I also think that Gisla, while she may be somewhat interested in this warrior, is not going to be quite so willing to be married off to him?

gisla watching the battle sees Rollo fighting gisla watching rollo intently rollo's first sight of gisla rollo makes the mistake glancing up from his battel to see gisla watching him

Gisla may have some curious fascination with this wild man, but she is quite vocal and blunt as to how she feels about those Heathens. It was she in fact who was insistent on Odo bringing her Sigfrid’s head if he cared at all for her? Poor Sigfrid’s death was just an attempt to appease her pouting arrogant high handed demands… and she certainly was not above pouting when it did not go quite the way she had envisioned!

Sigfrid listens as Sintric tries to talk his way out of this mess for them

Sigfrid has the last laugh

Sigfrid has the last laugh

gisla is not amused

gisla is not amused

What we need to look at is what else was going on during the “trial” of Sigfrid and Sinric… Odo was so impressed with Rollo’s actions and warrior quality that he insisted on knowing more about this great warrior that fought like a crazed bear and managed to stop their siege machine bare handed!

odo: this man sintric will be of use to us  gisla and this earl

odo: this man sintric will be of use to us gisla and this earl

Rollo is not about to let some machine stop him this time rollo conquering the machine Rollo's Fuck you moment  I said I was going to get in and I meant it

Now, throughout this discussion, Odo tried to get the King’s opinion and decision on what to do… but Charles seemed to engrossed in his own thoughts.

Odo waits for Charles to come up with any form of intelligent decision.

Odo waits for Charles to come up with any form of intelligent decision.

while odo questions  Sinric, charles is thinking on something else

while odo questions Sinric, charles is thinking on something else

Just what is Charles thinking of besides, When is this going be over, this is all so beneath me… Well, here is what he may have been thinking, “What the Devil do I do with this spoiled daughter of mine, she’s starting to get on my nerves.” Then his thoughts wander to the over all predicament they are in and this talk of a Wild Warrior Viking… Charles is tired of all this constant fighting, it’s so annoying and interrupts his naps and his prayer, much like his daughter does on occasion. Hmmm, how to solve this so that I come out looking good? I can not afford to keep paying off these Vikings for very long. And because I am paying off them off all over the country and our coffers are close to empty, I can’t afford to keep this Princess in long dresses let alone pay a dowry for her either… His thoughts ramble on to Odo… if he thinks he is going to marry my daughter and reach even higher in station, he should think again.  He is only here to make me look good! Everyone assumes that Charles is spineless and a bit dimwitted… well, he probably is a bit of both, but he does have some thoughts in his mind. Charles goes on thinking to himself while they debate the fate of these prisoners. He keeps going back to that Warrior Viking and how impressed everyone seems to be with the man? Suddenly, a plan enters his brain on how to solve all of it and not spend too much more gold… Pay this Viking off in land, we have plenty of excess land around here! Perhaps I can convince this Viking Warrior to take some land, some coastal land to be exact. If he is such a ferocious Warrior, then he could guard his own damn land and ours as well? That’s it! I’ll offer this man coastal land, which he will then have to protect from the rest of those Heathens trying to rob him blind… See how he likes it then!  In the middle of his perfect scheme, he hears his daughter’s demanding voice and winces. She’s giving me another headache… I know she means well, but I have simply had enough of her and Odo! what to do, what to do about her? Ahhhh, I know! I’ll throw her into the deal as a wife for him. In fact, I will insist that he take her or the whole deal is off! Yes, Yes… this will all work out perfectly if Odo does not mess it up for me!

King Charles has his own secret plan

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.

According to legend, when required to kiss the foot of King Charles, as a condition of the treaty, he refused to perform so great a humiliation, and when Charles extended his foot to Rollo, Rollo ordered one of his warriors to do so in his place. His warrior then lifted Charles’ foot up to his mouth causing the king to fall to the ground.

After 911, Rollo stayed true to his word of defending the shores of the Seine river in accordance to the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. However, he also continued attacks on Flanders.

After Charles was deposed by Robert I in 922, Rollo considered his oath to the King of France at an end. It started a period of expansion westwards. Negotiations with French barons ended with Rollo being given Le Mans and Bayeux and continued with the seizure of Bessin in 924. The following year the Normans attacked Picardy.

Rollo began to divide the land between the Epte and Risle rivers among his chieftains and settled there with a de facto capital in Rouen. Over time, Rollo’s men intermarried with the local women, and became more settled into French Catholic culture as Normans.

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

Of course, plans do not always go quite as one imagines them in one’s mind, so I am sure that there will be a few changes to this genius plan inside Charles’ wandering mind. One thing he does do is remind both Odo and Gisla of just who is King, and who makes the final decisions… well, him and God, but you get my point! At their most recent meeting before sending Odo off on his mission to pay the Vikings off, he makes it fairly clear to Gisla that while her ideas might have some merit and value, it is not for her to decide. None of these things are really for you to decide, dear girl, we only let you play at it and have your way when it benefits us… as you will soon see!

gisla you will bring me his head gisla is not impressed with her father's thought that Sintric might be of any help

gisla: otherwise we will have failed.

gisla: otherwise we will have failed.

 

Given Gisla’s distaste and downright hatred of these Barbarians, I do not imagine that she will initially be too excited about the prospect of marrying one of them… even if it is Rollo! She may be willing to do her duty for God, Country and her Father but, really this carrying things a bit too far, don’t you think Daddy? You could not honestly be serious about this idea! I am reasonably sure that Rollo may not be too happy about this initially either, depending on how he is conned into it… But, he may be keeping the Seer’s prophecy in mind and convincing himself that this really is a good thing even as she throws her first tantrum at not getting her way. These two may be fascinated with each other and attracted to each other but I have a feeling this partnership is going to test both of them. 

I envision a rather rocky start to this relationship in which Gisla must learn that she can not always have her way and that pouting will not cut it with Rollo! I have a thought that Rollo will go by the time tested adage of “If you choose to act like a child, then I shall treat you as one.” Now, normally, I am not an advocate of corporal punishment, but in this instance, I am of the opinion that a good spanking may be in Gisla’s future if she continues to be demanding and pouting with our Rollo… Ummmm, actually, I would love to see this scenario played out on screen instead of just in my head!  This punishment would not have been remiss, uncalled for or unheard of back in their time, though it most surely would not sit well with Gisla?  The action would however, tie into a small bit of  limited information that we do have historically for Gisla.

Gisela of France, also called Gisella or Giséle (fl. 911), was traditionally a French princess and the consort of King Rollo.

According to tradition, Rollo was betrothed to Gisela, daughter to the king of West Francia, Charles the Simple, after his conversion to Christianity upon his ascension as ruler of Normandy in 911. Legend says that Rollo treated Gisela with cruelty. Her father sent her two knights to act as her support in Normandy, but they were both executed by hanging on the order of Rollo. Gisela had no children.

The marriage and the existence of Gisela are not confirmed. It has been suggested that, if she really did exist, she may have been a natural daughter of Charles.

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

My personal thought on this… Gisla gets spanked by Rollo then tries to run home to Daddy accusing the man of violence and cruelty towards her. Charles’ response to this is to send her right back with a message for Rollo, “She is your problem now, deal with her as you see fit… Why do you think I let you marry her!”

Now, of course, the Seer and I could be completely off base here… it’s been known to happen, we have on occasion been wrong? But, in this preview clip, we do see what could be a wedding, and the Princess Gisla does not look too happy about it, then again no one else looks too happy either so I guess the dancing naked on the beach will have to wait a bit… I do have to say, Our Rollo certainly looks fine in his formal attire for such an occasion!

Rollo dressed up

So, there you have my thoughts and guesses as to the rocky start of wedded bliss for Rollo and Gisla… Will the bear tame the pouting princess or will the princess tame the wild bear? Perhaps it will be a bit of both, but I can not wait to see how it all plays out!

 

 

 

 

Vikings: Breaking Point

First of all, I do apologize for the delay in my post and review of last week’s events. It’s been a bit hectic and chaotic here in Paris! Our visit is not going as well as planned and everyone, including me, is at their breaking point!  Our people are wounded, sick and dying faster than we can care for them or count the dead. I do have to admit right now that while I will be sad at this season ending, especially in such loss to all of us… I am mentally and emotionally exhausted and am in desperate need of a real vacation after this! Somewhere warm, quiet and filled with luxury will do me just fine at this point! I also apologize for the extreme length of this post! I usually try to break them up but am running behind this week and did want to make sure I got it all posted!

Vikings disneyland paris from Athelstan's facebook  page

Vikings disneyland paris from Athelstan’s facebook page

Another attempt was made to get inside Paris… this time it was planned and executed by Lagertha and Rollo. I do want to say that even though it too ended in complete and utter disaster, it could be looked on as success in some ways. They did get inside this time, and Rollo did end up making a name and great reputation for himself as a result of the attack. In fact, the Franks were so impressed with his actions that they wanted to know more about him! I will touch on that later.

What I want to bring up now is the initial portion of the attack in which Lagertha and her shieldmaidens made a covert stealth move to the bridge and eventually made their way inside without notice. The reason I mention this is because when I first heard of the plan for the bridge, I was reminded of part of the actual attacks in history. I should have said something right then and made my own suggestions… but alas I am not in a position to give out tactical advice and be taken seriously.

lagertha's group under the bridge

In the attack of Paris in 885-886, which Rollo was involved in… For two months the Vikings maintained the siege, making trenches and provisioning themselves off the land. In January 886 they tried to fill the river shallows with debris, plant matter, and the bodies of dead animals and dead prisoners to try to get around the tower. They continued this for two days. On the third day they set three ships alight and guided them towards the wooden bridge. The burning ships sank before they could set the bridge on fire, but the wooden construction was nonetheless weakened. On 6 February, rains caused the river (still filled with debris) to overflow and the bridge supports gave way. The bridge gone, the northeast tower was now isolated with only twelve defenders inside. The Vikings asked the twelve to surrender, but they refused, and were all subsequently killed. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Paris_(885%E2%80%9386)

That is of little consequence here and now. They went with Lagertha’s plan to sneak into the city and open the gates for Rollo’s army of warriors. It was not without it’s own hazards and death but Lagertha  held up her end even while watching her shieldmaidens get dowsed with boiling oil. She fought fire with fire, and set the gates flaming so Rollo’s group could enter. My own personal thought is… Ok, now the damn gates are permanently open for quite a while- those gates can’t just be replaced over night! Wouldn’t it be relatively easy for us to swarm through there at a later time? Just a thought… now back to what actually happened!

a covert night mission led by lagertha an unsuspecting Parisian defense Lagertha waiting to make her next move lagertha sees her warrior doused with boiling oil

death by boiling oil

Lagertha chooses to fight fire with fire lagertha sets the gate on fire

The gates were on fire and easily knocked down for our men to enter.

vikings pouring into Paris at night the men make their move to the burning gates

some success the gates are open now

This is where it all once again, started to go so terribly wrong for us!

While the Franks were initially surprised by this attack, they were quick to man their defense which as usual for them included advance war machines.  While Odo set about preparing this defense, a worried Gisla prepared her women and warned them not to be taken alive by these barbaric heathens.

Parisian defense once again kicks in immediately

gisla passes out daggers and instructions to her maids

inside Paris the alarms have rang again and the women are in fear

inside Paris the alarms have rang again and the women are in fear

gisla's instructions make sure they do not capture you alive

gisla’s instructions make sure they do not capture you alive

As our Viking warriors raced into the hall towards the inner city, they were suddenly met with the Frankish secret weapon… a literal wheel of death!

Odo once again has to contend with the viking raiders Odo prepares to bring out another secret weapon Odo's secret weapon  Erlandeur would be soooo jealous

Erlandeur is jealous of the french machines

This wheel is truly a grisly weapon of mass torture and death as it rolls down the hall over our men who can not out run it fast enough!

bodies stuck to wheel of death

Rollo was not deterred by it though, he was determined to get into this city and some machine was not going to stop him!

Rollo is not about to let some machine stop him this time rollo climbs over dead bodies to the top of machine rollo conquering the machine Rollo's Fuck you moment  I said I was going to get in and I meant it

While Odo, his army, and yes, Gisla watched in some amazement and even awe, Rollo fought like a mad man… a true berserker against them all!

Odo is amazed at what he is seeing Odo is frustrated again gisla is once again in the middle of the battle watching as Rollo stops their machine with his bare hands rollo in the middle of berserker mode Rollo fights all of the men off like a crazed bear

Eventually even Rollo had to admit defeat, retreat, and haul ass out of there!

rollo fought like a mad man but they could not break through the defenses

rollo fought like a mad man but they could not break through the defenses

During this battle there is something else to note… that would be the true spinelessness of this King Charles.  I actually had some empathy for Odo as he attempted to get Charles to at least go down and show his face to his troops as a way of inspiring them to fight. Count Odo begged the King to make an appearance for the sake of the Holy Mother. He even tried to spur Charles on with a reference to Charlamaigne, his Grandfather, how Charlamaigne would have put on his armor and fought with his men. Charles replied to these requests first by stating that if the Holy Mother was on their side protecting them, then what did they need of him? His response to the comment about Charlamaigne was, “I am not him, I am not my Grandfather Charlamaigne” I’m sure that Odo’s thought at the time was one of, No unfortunately for all of us, you are not… you are a worthless and spineless imitation of any King and we are stuck with you!”

Odo begs the king to come to their aid

Charles  What you want me to do what You want me to go out there  surely you jest?

Charles What you want me to do what You want me to go out there surely you jest?

Charles reprimands Odo and tells him not to speak for the Holy Mother to him in such a way

Charles reprimands Odo and tells him not to speak for the Holy Mother to him in such a way

the king would rather rely on the holy mother to come to their aid

the king would rather rely on the holy mother to come to their aid

Odo tries to make Charles see reason Charles  Alas for you Count Odo I am not my Grandfather I am not Charlamagne

Now back to Rollo and his retreat for self preservation in order fight another day… As I mentioned earlier, this was actually a success for him in some ways. His actions during this fight brought him fame, attention and even some respect in the eyes of the Franks, and his retreat ensured that he would still be alive to appreciate it later!

During the battle, our warrior Sigfrid and our wanderer Sinric were captured and brought before the court where their fate would be decided, not so much by Charles- for he stayed mostly silent during this event, his mind thinking of other things- but by Odo and by Gisla… it is here that we find out the thoughts these people were having about our Rollo. There was much discussion about what to do with these prisoners, whether they were of any value or not?

Sinric offers fashion and cosmetic tips

while odo questions  Sinric, charles is thinking on something else

while odo questions Sinric, charles is thinking on something else

odo this man sintric will be of use to us  gisla and this earl

odo this man sinric will be of use to us gisla and this earl

 

odo about sigfrid  perhaps he could be bartered if he is so important

odo about sigfrid perhaps he could be bartered if he is so important

Sigfrid listens as Sintric tries to talk his way out of this mess for them

Odo waits for Charles to come up with any form of intelligent decision

 

during the discussion, Odo wants to know of the great warrior that managed to take down their machine with his bare hands. Everyone is speaking of this wild and brave warrior? Sinric replies, “That is Rollo, brother to the King Ragnar… he fights like a crazed bear!” And, so Rollo’s fame and reputation have begun… to the Franks he will now ever be known as that wild Viking warrior bear!

sintric  he fights like a crazed bear

sinric: he fights like a crazed bear

Odo decided that Sinric would be of future use to them and so spared his life. To Odo’s credit, he did make some attempt as well to spare Sigfrid’s life by suggesting that he as an earl might be worth bartering for? He was shot down by a now somewhat more petulant Gisla, who demands that Odo bring her his head if he cares anything for her. Now, possibly Gisla was thinking that after such a disaster, her people needed to see themselves in more control of this situation? Perhaps she felt that they were so cowed and awed by the actions of Rollo that they needed to see a different side of these Viking warriors… they needed to see one taken down and conquered by death. Perhaps she felt that her people needed to see a Viking warrior die in front of them to counteract the now legendary fighting of Rollo. What ever she might be attempting to achieve in this situation, the reality was that she came across as the petulant demanding princess that she could probably be quite often. Odo was not exactly in favor of the idea but if it would score him points in Gisla’s favor, he was willing to go along with it. After all, it was just another heathen they were killing… This came down to a sort of compromise between Odo and Gisla. Odo got to keep the different one, Sinric and Gisla got her wish for Sigfrid’s head.

poor sintric realizes this didn't work out so well for Sigfrid

poor sintric realizes this didn’t work out so well for Sigfrid

Sigfrid would eventually lose his head but, he would have the last laugh before it was finished!

in paris sigfrid faces his accusers and his end

in paris sigfrid faces his accusers and his end

but he does face his death with dignity and bravery

but he does face his death with dignity and bravery

sigfrid: but I want someone to hold my hair out of the way so it does not impede a clean blow.

sigfrid: but I want someone to hold my hair out of the way so it does not impede a clean blow.

Odo  what the hell is he saying  Damn I need to learn their language

Odo what the hell is he saying Damn I need to learn their language

someone please hold his hair back out of the way

Odo shows he does have some compassion for a dying man’s last wishes and goes along with Sigrid’s request…

not wanting it said they deny someone of a last wish  they comply and a man holds sigfrid's hair back.

not wanting it said they deny someone of a last wish they comply and a man holds sigfrid’s hair back.

Odo watches and thinks  I will never understand these heathens and their strange ways

Odo watches and thinks I will never understand these heathens and their strange ways

Sigfrid pulled back his head at the last minute and the axe went through the man’s hand…

Sigfrid has the last laugh

Sigfrid has the last laugh

 

these villagers of Paris are stunned and awed by Sigfrid's bravery while Sintric tries to hide a laugh of his own

these villagers of Paris are stunned and awed by Sigfrid’s bravery while Sintric tries to hide a laugh of his own

Needless to say, Odo and  Gisla did not see the humor in it…

Odo has been thwarted again  Damn it this is not funny

Odo has been thwarted again Damn it this is not funny

gisla is not amused

gisla is not amused

Sinric tried to hide his laugh but sigfrid laughed loud at his own last revenge on the Franks, because Damn it was funny, and Odo would probably even admit in private… probably not Gisla right now, because she is showing her more childish pouting side!

sintric  ohhh ooops ummm no it was not funny Sigfrid however finds this last act hilarious

Speaking of Gisla’s more childish pouting side… she showed it again later at a meeting with the King and Odo. Please understand, our siege of Paris may not be completely successful but we are having some profound affect on the city. Our efforts have also been helped by the fact that a serious case of the Plague has arrived in the city as well.  On a historical note, a case of unidentified plague and pestilence were documented during Ragnar Lodbrok’s attack on Paris during 845. In the historic account, the plague entered the Viking camp… which could be the cause of such sickness that is currently overtaking ones such as Ragnar…

The Vikings finally arrived in Paris on either Easter Sunday, 28 March, or Easter Day, 29 March, entered the city and plundered it. During the siege, a plague broke out in their camp. The Norse had been exposed to the Christian religion, and after first praying to the Norse gods, they undertook a fast, acting on the advice of one of their Christian prisoners, and the plague subsided.

We will return to what is going on in our camp later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Paris_(845)

Inside Paris, the plague and lack of food supplies are decimating and demoralizing the population. Odo as a competent commander realized this and was willing to admit that they must end this siege by negotiating with the Northmen. Gisla shows her youth and some lack of understanding of the direness of the situation. She is insistent and determined that they keep fighting at all costs, else they shall have failed themselves and their people. Gisla may be courageous in the face of battle but she as yet lacks the wisdom to accept that sometimes one must retreat or compromise in order to live and fight another day. Odo does understand this and while he is not happy about this defeat and giving into the Northmen, he knows that it must be done.

in the city something else has arrived with the vikings  the plague has arrived as well.

in the city something else has arrived with the vikings the plague has arrived as well.

gisla: otherwise we will have failed.

gisla: otherwise we will have failed.

gisla appears now more as a child a daughter who really has less power than she thinks gisla watches her father as odo contunues about their losses

Odo realizes the disaster facing them and admits defeat he suggests they come to terms with the vikings

Odo realizes the disaster facing them and admits defeat he suggests they come to terms with the vikings

Charles knows what Odo is going to say but asks him anyway  what is your advice

Charles knows what Odo is going to say but asks him anyway what is your advice

Charles is pissed because now he has to actually make a decision

Charles is pissed because now he has to actually make a decision

What is interesting to note here is that in history, it was Odo who opposed the negotiating and giving in to the Northmen.

To the frustration of the Parisians who had fought for a long time to defend the city, Charles stopped short of attacking the Viking besiegers, and instead allowed them to sail further up the Seine to raid Burgundy (which was in revolt), as well as promising a payment of 700 livres (pounds; 257 kg). Odo, highly critical of this, tried his best to defy the promises of Charles, and when Charles died in 888, Odo was elected the first non-Carolingian king of the Franks.

In viewing Odo’s actions thus far, I am not seeing him in nearly such bad light as this pathetic King Charles! Odo is attempting to save his city and it’s people but is willing to concede defeat if need be in order not lose more lives. Gisla is acting from a more youthful, childish belief in the heroics and romanticism of the battle. And, ultimately it comes down to a decision from Charles anyway, which proves and reminds her in some way that she does not have as much power as she thinks. In reality, she is still just a young girl under the power and authority of her Father, no matter how brave or adult like she tries to act. In the end we see a young girl put in her place by her Father, the King… who whether they like it or not, is the one who has the last say! In the Viking camp, Ragnar will soon make this clear to all of his people as well!
gisla appears now more as a child a daughter who really has less power than she thinks gisla is still a young girl wanting her own way
The siege is taking it’s toll on everyone and our Viking group is disheartened, depressed and disgruntled. The weather is awful, our attempts at conquest are failing, our people are beginning to turn on each other and our esteemed King is off in the woods puking up blood and having strange visions. Yeah, we’re pretty much falling apart here!
nasty weather and disinheartened disgruntled warriors
Let us look at Ragnar’s condition and those strange visions he is having? He has not recovered at all from the fall he took earlier…
ragnar's fall from the wall Ragnar falls not into the water to be reborn anew no he lands on top of all his dead men
He has been suffering ever since, wandering around camp watching everyone, while occasionally stopping to piss or puke up blood. It’s obvious that he has suffered some serious internal injury and could easily be succumbing to the plague as well? What ever it is, the man is Gods awful sick but he’s still managing to survive and maintain some sort of rulership…
ragnar pissing blood and in bad shape Ragnar is having a tough time of it right now ragnar's not falling for Floki's attempts ragnar wandering through the camp
He can not go on the middle of the night raid because, well because he can barely stand let alone fight right now! At one point he wanders out to the woods, presumably for quiet private suffering where no one will see him in such agony…
Why did Ragnar not join the raid  Well Ragnar is king and ragnar is busy puking his guts out

Why did Ragnar not join the raid Well Ragnar is king and ragnar is busy puking his guts out

Ragnar seems to be fading fast Ragnar is having a tough time of it right now ragnar in the throes of his vision
Ragnar gives into his pain and at first it does appear that he might just be giving into death calling upon him? He begins to have hallucinations or visions… Athelstan comes to him
ragnar's vision continues Athelstan appears
Athelstan reaches out to Ragnar and Ragnar starts to reach back to his friend…
ragnar reaches back to athelstan
But, before their hands can touch, Odin appears as well!
ragnar suddenly aware of odin's prescence
Odin comes between Athelstan and Ragnar
Athelstan fades away and is replaced by a vision of the Christ God…
the christ god appears
during part of this vision, Ragnar begs, “Do not abandon me” Now, it might seem that he is speaking specifically to Athelstan but I think he is speaking more in general terms asking of all the Gods, “Do not abandon me” He is begging the Gods, all of the Gods save him.
For a time, he is left on the ground in a pool of his own blood while the Gods determine his fate.
ragnar waits for the gods to decide and intervine
Is this a battle between the Gods for his eternal soul? Is this his penance and retribution for going against his Father God Odin, whom he claims to be descended from? Is it a final renunciation of his old beliefs to turn against Odin and be claimed and welcomed by the Christ God in heaven?
Or is it more of a waiting and watching over him by both Gods as he fights his inner battle for survival and must make some choice…
Gods wait not for batte but for choice
Ragnar has always believed that we have choice in all things, all actions and decisions, so then must we also have choice in that Gods to follow. I think that Ragnar looks upon the Christ God as another of the many Gods so he would call upon him as well, knowing how strongly Athelstan believed in him. For Ragnar right now, this is not a battle of  which God to follow, or choice of which one to believe in… this is a battle and a choice of life or death for him. The Gods, all of the Gods will watch over him as he fights this battle. As to Athelstan’s leaving, it was more of a way of his Christ God taking his place and in a way saying, “Athelstan, you can step aside now, I will take over this watch.”
ragnar curled up while the gods debate his fate

ragnar curled up while the gods debate his fate

Don't abandon me and then ragnar rises

Don’t abandon me and then ragnar rises

The Gods do not abandon Ragnar and while he is far from well by any means, he rise with some clarity and renewed inner strength to go on. I believe what both Gods were telling him was, “It’s not your time to come with either of us yet, but rest assured that when your time does come, we will be here waiting for you and it will be your choice which resting place to choose.”

After the disastrous latest siege attempt, as I mentioned, our camp was at odds with each other on how to proceed next, especially after the Franks showed up with an offer of  gold and silver to end the siege. They  brought Sinric along as their prisoner translator and I did feel quite bad for him coming back into camp tied to a rope such as he was! Ragnar could do little more than listen from his bed on the side while Bjorn stepped up and took control of the meeting.

the French arrive in camp with a treaty offer The french have brought Sinric and their translator bjorn is in charge

ragnar listens from the side unable to do much more than that

ragnar listens from the side unable to do much more than that

Everyone stood by and let Bjorn take charge of the meeting, but at the end, Rollo stepped forward to rescue our Sinric!

Rollo steps in to add his voice to the discussion as the french prepare to leave Rollo cuts Sinric loose Rollo  like I said don't piss me off  I'm not in a good mood right now rollo cuts sinric loose of his tie

 

It was after this meeting that the bickering got out of hand and it was rather apparent that we were falling apart as a team?

Lagertha is disgusted  Why should we negotiate with them

Lagertha is disgusted Why should we negotiate with them

Bjorn responds with because 1000 men are dead and many more injured or sick, and soon it will be winter and we will starve…is that not reason enough?

 

Rollo points out Why do they offer terms if they're so sure we can not breach the city

Rollo points out Why do they offer terms if they’re so sure we can not breach the city

Kalf is realistic in his appraisal of the situation  They have probably run out of food

Kalf is realistic in his appraisal of the situation They have probably run out of food

 

Erlandeur voices his own whiney dissent  then we should let them starve

Erlandeur voices his own whiney dissent then we should let them starve

As I said, the arguing and bickering were getting us nowhere except mad at each other!

The discussion quickly turns to arguing over what to do

Ragnar listened to it from his bed and finally could take it no longer. He dragged himself up and decided to put an end to the discussion once and for all… if they wanted to be mad at someone, let it be him… at least they would be united on one front then!

ragnar trying to ignore his condition and act like the ruler he is

Ragnar has to put them all in their place and shut them up!

Ragnar has to put them all in their place and shut them up!

Ragnar  as a ruler I have the last say Lagertha is not amused with Ragnar's speech to her

ragnar I did not become king out of ambition but once again I had no choice

ragnar I did not become king out of ambition but once again I had no choice

Ragnar points out everyone in his admonishment of I lead not you not you and not you

Ragnar points out everyone in his admonishment of I lead not you not you and not you

ragnar to erlandeur I had no choice as a result of other people's actions

ragnar to erlandeur I had no choice as a result of other people’s actions

Rollo just stays out of this he knows Ragnar's mood

Rollo just stays out of this he knows Ragnar’s mood

The only two who made effort not to be phased and remain calm, besides Bjorn, were Rollo and Kalf… who were both wise enough not to show fear or agitate Ragnar any more than he already was!

Kalf tries to remain unphased and calm through Ragnar's tirade

Ragnar’s question to Bjorn, “What does a King do?”  Bjorn answered with, “He rules”

What does a King do Bjorn   He rules   Yes that is exactly what he does

What does a King do Bjorn He rules Yes that is exactly what he does

ragnar  You've all had your ideas and they have all failed

ragnar: You’ve all had your ideas and they have all failed

Ahhhh, he probably would have went on much longer with this tirade against everyone but he was interrupted by a sudden inconvenient attack…

Ragnar Damn I was on such a roll too2

This put a bit of damper on his speech as everyone watched in some concern for their King who was now puking up blood in front of them…

Ragnar can not finish his speech as he must stop to puke again

Ragnar can not finish his speech as he must stop to puke again

 

ragnar: ummm forget you saw that Now there is no more discussion about this we do it my way

ragnar: ummm forget you saw that Now there is no more discussion about this we do it my way

Ragnar regained his composure and took Sinric off for a more private meeting.

Ragnar takes sinric off for a more private discussion

Rollo says nothing but you can see the concern for his brother on his face

Rollo says nothing but you can see the concern for his brother on his face

All Bjorn could do was shake his head at his Father’s tirade, his audacity to rub failure in everyone’s faces and laugh in some resignation at Ragnar’s actions which would be par for the course with his Father! He is so used to his Father’s behaviors that even this does not surprise him.

bjorn can't help but shake his head and laugh at Ragnar's tirade and his intent

 

Ragnar has managed to put them all down, remind them of their failure and let them know that now they would do it his way. He would meet with this Odo and decide for himself whether to negotiate terms with them. The next morning, he did just that. He left early, taking no one with him but Sinric as his translator and met privately with Odo.

I do have to add here that after seeing Rollo and Sigfrid, I am thinking that Odo’s reaction to seeing a bruised, battered and ailing Ragnar was more one of  this is your King??? But, he did not let on to that thought and made every attempt to bargain with Ragnar.

ragnar leaves the others behind and meets with Odo on his own

ragnar leaves the others behind and meets with Odo on his own

odo offers a price of 5000 lbs of silver and gold

odo offers a price of 5000 lbs of silver and gold

ragnar: tell him I know there are no reinforcements coming

ragnar: tell him I know there are no reinforcements coming

ragnar to odo: No one is coming to save you and the offer is not enough

ragnar to odo: No one is coming to save you and the offer is not enough

Why is the 5000 lbs not enough? Well, because in history they offered 5670 lbs… why short yourself when you have a feeling you could get a little more out of them!

The Siege of Paris and the Sack of Paris of 845 was the culmination of a Viking invasion of the kingdom of the West Franks. The Viking forces were led by a Danish chieftain named “Reginherus”, or Ragnar, who traditionally has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok. Ragnar’s fleet of 120 Viking ships, carrying thousands of men, entered the Seine in March and proceeded sailing up the river. The West Frankish king Charles the Bald assembled a smaller army in response, but as the Vikings defeated one division, comprising half of the army, the remaining forces retreated. The Vikings reached Paris at the end of the month, during Easter. After plundering and occupying the city, the Vikings finally withdrew after receiving a ransom payment of 7,000 French livres (2,570 kilograms or 5,670 pounds) of silver and gold from Charles the Bald.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Paris_(845)

There was also a small matter of something else Ragnar wanted in addition to the money…  Ragnar stated that he wanted to baptized!

ragnar: I am a dying man and when I die I want to be reunited with my friend who is christian

ragnar: I am a dying man and when I die I want to be reunited with my friend who is Christian

Of course, the Bishop takes issue with this request and tells Ragnar the only place he will be going is to Hell and not Heaven!

the bishop takes issue with this request

Ragnar has his own response to the Bishop, possibly resulting from his earlier vision and meeting with both Gods. Ragnar tells the Bishop, “That is not your decision to make!”

ragnar to the bishop that is not your decision to make

When the bishop tries to put off the baptism, Ragnar shows his understanding of the religion and the significance of the symbolism in baptism. “This is a man of God and this is water so you will do it here and you will do it now!”

this is a man of god and this is water  you will do it here and you will do it now

this is a man of god and this is water you will do it here and you will do it now

The bishop has little choice but to baptize Ragnar on the spot with all of the Frankish men watching.

with no other choice the bishop baptizes ragnar

Now comes the most difficult part to understand or make sense of. Has Ragnar truly converted to Christianity? Has he indeed foresworn his Pagan Gods and beliefs for this Christian belief? Is he truly dying and hoping desperately to reunite with Athelstan in that Christian Heaven?

First of all, let’s look at the fact that he has carried this out in secret, not wanting his Viking followers to know about this act. Is this because he is ashamed of his act, his denial of the Pagan Gods and he knows that his group would not understand or accept his decision? Well, that could be a remote possibility, but my thought is that he’s done it in secret because, no his group would not understand, but not for the reasons we would assume. He’s doing it in secret so the Frankish men will all see it and believe it wholeheartedly- that is who he needs to convince with this act. They need to firmly believe that he is a changed and converted man. If he told anyone in his group about this, one of them would surely blow this whole thing! They would not understand how, even if he doesn’t believe in it, he could take this act of denial of their Gods so lightly.  This is an ultimate act of blasphemy on both the Christian and the Pagan side so how could he commit this act.  Well, if one looks at it from Ragnar’s perspective, it really isn’t such a betrayal because he does have some belief in both Gods. As I mentioned earlier, I think Ragnar looks at the Christ God as another one of the many Gods. If baptism is what this one God requests as an act of faith, he doesn’t have a problem with it. He does know though that everyone else would or will have a problem with it and he doesn’t have time to deal with all of these arguments right now! What he needs to do right now is prove to himself, to others and to Athelstan that he can get into the city… that his plan will work better than theirs.  In order to do that, he needs to have everyone believe he is truly dying and he has converted to Christianity!

they look on in some confusion at ragnar's baptism the others arrive to see ragnar being baptized

floki is furious at this betrayal of their gods on Ragnar's part

floki is furious at this betrayal of their gods on Ragnar’s part

In order to understand this possible plan of Ragnar’s you need some background history. In history, it was Bjorn Ironside who accomplished this successful plan at the town of Luna, Italy.  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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bj%C3%B6rn_Ironside

Now, realistically, even Ragnar can not pull this off on his own. He has to have help from someone he trusts completely. He puts his life and his trust in his son, Bjorn to help him accomplish this plan!

So, in answer to the questions, Does Ragnar die, does Ragnar convert to Christianity… My personal predictions are,  No Ragnar does not die anytime soon- he still has some matters to attend to in England in case anyone has forgotten about that! As far as converting, Ragnar will see no need to convert as the Gods have already spoken to him. He has already seen both Gods and he believes that both can exist.

Now, before we finish this book of epic length proportion, I might as well add a few other last thoughts. Is Floki still in danger… well, yes probably at some time in the future. Ragnar has not forgotten about his betrayal. But, as for Floki’s loss of Helga… Helga is still watching out for him from a distance so maybe there is hope there yet?

ragnar wandering through the camp floki hiding in his tower floki in his tower cage or prison of his mind Helga has not quite given up on floki  she's keeping an eye on him helga watching floki

In Kattegat, Aslaug is taking her responsibilities and duties as Queen far more seriously.  And, this time I agree with her treatment of this misguided, ignorant, martyr type missionary who wandered into their village attempting to convert them by insulting them, calling them names and deriding their religion. Obviously this man failed every class he might have taken in how to win friends, influence people and properly guide people into conversion. In my personal opinion, he deserved everything he got for his arrogance and his refusal to think outside the box when dealing with other cultures. A poor pathetic excuse of a missionary he was, Athelstan himself would have been hard pressed not to show this man the error of his ways.  Aslaug did give him opportunity to come to some compromise and ease his way out of the situation and their village. He refused, and assumed that his God would over come, his God would rule mightily and make him a hero in the eyes of these people… His God would perform such a miracle that the villagers would be awestruck and immediately converted. What he forgot was that one can not use miracles like this else they would not be so special, would they? His God and Aslaug showed him the error of his ways!

in kattegat

This ridiculous fool is certainly no Athelstan

This ridiculous fool is certainly no Athelstan

to her credit Aslaug allows him to speak and to thus seal his fate.

to her credit Aslaug allows him to speak and to thus seal his fate.

aslaug I may admit your christ is a god but even so our gods are greater

Aslaug has offered some compromise some way for him to get himself out of this but the young man refuses to compromise his belief

Aslaug has offered some compromise some way for him to get himself out of this but the young man refuses to compromise his belief

The missionary envisions a great miracle….

the trial begins and the young man envisions great success vision of success2

the missionary's vision of success everyone will be in awe of such a feat by his god

What he gets is a heated dose of reality!

aslaug and son look down at the missionary in his ignorant failure

aslaug and son look down at the missionary in his ignorant failure

the reality rather than the vision

the reality rather than the vision

the villagers are not in awe but in hysterics at his stupidity

the villagers are not in awe but in hysterics at his stupidity

his god has not interceded on his behalf

his god has not interceded on his behalf

aslaug:  So what was that about you god being greater

aslaug: So what was that about you god being greater?

Later that evening, Aslaug takes a moment from care of her children to calmly  condemn the missionary to death.

 

 Aslaug takes a moment from her care of Ivar to answer the guard's question of what to do with the christian  Kill him

Aslaug takes a moment from her care of Ivar to answer the guard’s question of what to do with the christian Kill him

 

Ok, I shall end our book here and we shall look at Wessex in a separate post… because I am quite sure you are now as exhausted as I am!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: Lagertha… a Warrior Goddess worth dying for!

Ok, there is one situation in Paris that we have not talked about yet? I think we should look at it before we see Ragnar’s upcoming wrath… because if you’ve viewed the previous promo clip from my last post, you will be well aware that a portion of  his anger is directed at Lagertha for some reason. Perhaps he’s annoyed with her recent alliance with Kalf? Yes, as much as she professes to hate Kalf, she has proven that while she may hate him, she is not immune to his better qualities!

Now, I know that we make much of the Viking men around us and often end up leaving the women out… I am going to remedy that a bit today with a little tribute to our own Viking Goddess, Lagertha! It seems the only one not enamored of her lately is her ex-husband, Ragnar! Ragnar is often downright rude to her and seems to constantly find ways to cut at her with his remarks and his disregard for her feelings. If he has some inner desire to get her back, I believe he is going about it in the wrong way! Well, fortunately for Lagertha, as I said, other men seem to appreciate her assets. Rollo knows things are long over between him and this feisty shield maiden but he continues to hold a spot for her in his heart. Ecbert of Wessex was extremely fond of her, comparing her to one of those ancient Roman Goddesses. And, Kalf has made it abundantly clear that no matter what their other issues are, he desires her more than anything, he stated in the past that he thinks their fates are twined together… And, quite recently he set out to prove just that!

Lagertha Our lives are stories: Fan art by Jul Sanchez at facebook group, Vikings the Aftermath

Lagertha Our lives are stories: Fan art by Jul Sanchez at facebook group, Vikings the Aftermath

lagertha must leave because Oh Lagertha in some things you are so wise  in others you are so naive  Rollo states the obvious All men are ambitious2 Lagertha the free woman the pagan goddes nobody's pawn

lagertha's thought... ummm no this isn't wrong in fact I think it's going pretty well

lagertha’s thought… ummm no this isn’t wrong in fact I think it’s going pretty well

rollo and lagertha

lagertha the goddess

lagertha the goddess

kalf admits I did yes I did even though all the while I was desiring you.

kalf admits I did yes I did even though all the while I was desiring you.

I am not going to go over her entire life history here, we all know of it already. She is a strong independent and stubborn woman, a shield maiden, a Mother, a wife spurned for a younger woman by one husband and abused by another husband. She handled both of those situations and is even stronger from those experiences. She makes her share of mistakes, sometimes she is far too trusting, other times she is far too stubborn and refuses to give up even when she might not be right. She is also now a Grandmother who is far from ready to sit at home and knit… if she even knows how to knit?

Here is a little of Lagertha’s story in real history:

Lagertha’s tale is recorded in passages in the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum, a 12th-century work of Danish history by Saxo Grammaticus. According to the Gesta (¶ 9.4.1–9.4.11), Lagertha’s career as a warrior began when Frø, king of Sweden, invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king Siward. Frø put the women of the dead king’s family into a brothel for public humiliation. Hearing of this, Ragnar Lodbrok came with an army to avenge his grandfather Siward. Many of the women Frø had ordered abused dressed themselves in men’s clothing and fought on Ragnar’s side. Chief among them, and key to Ragnar’s victory, was Lagertha. Saxo recounts:

Ladgerda, a skilled Amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marvelled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.

Impressed with her courage, Ragnar courted her from afar. Lagertha feigned interest and Ragnar arrived to seek her hand, bidding his companions wait in the Gaular valley. He was set upon by a bear and a great hound which Lagertha had guarding her home, but killed the bear with his spear and choked the hound to death. Thus he won the hand of Lagertha in marriage. According to Saxo, Ragnar had a son with her, Fridleif, as well as two daughters, whose names are not recorded.

After returning to Denmark to fight a civil war, Ragnar (who, according to Saxo, was still annoyed that Lagertha had set beasts against him) divorced Lagertha in order to marry Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr, daughter of King Herrauðr of Sweden.He won the hand of his new love after numerous adventures, but upon returning to Denmark was again faced with a civil war. Ragnar sent to Norway for support, and Lagertha, who still loved him, came to his aid with 120 ships, according to Saxo. When at the height of the battle, Ragnar’s son Siward was wounded, Lagertha saved the day for Ragnar with a counterattack:

Ladgerda, who had a matchless spirit though a delicate frame, covered by her splendid bravery the inclination of the soldiers to waver. For she made a sally about, and flew round to the rear of the enemy, taking them unawares, and thus turned the panic of her friends into the camp of the enemy.

Upon returning to Norway, she quarreled with her husband, and slew him with a spearhead she concealed in her gown. Saxo concludes that she then “usurped the whole of his name and sovereignty; for this most presumptuous dame thought it pleasanter to rule without her husband than to share the throne with him”.

According to Judith Jesch, the rich variety of tales in the first nine books of Saxo’s Gesta, which include the tale of Lagertha, are “generally considered to be largely fictional”.In portraying the several warrior women in these tales, Saxo drew on the legend of the Amazons from classical antiquity, but also on a variety of Old Norse (particularly Icelandic) sources, which have not been clearly identified. Saxo’s depiction of women warriors is also colored by misogyny: Like most churchmen of the time, Saxo thought of women only as sexual beings. To him, the Viking shieldmaidens who refused this role were an example of the disorder in old heathen Denmark that was later cured by the Church and a stable monarchy.

A woman called Hlaðgerðr, who rules the Hlaðeyjar, also appears in the sagas of the 6th century Scylding king Halfdan. She gives him twenty ships to help defeat his enemies.Hilda Ellis Davidson, in her commentary on the Gesta, also notes suggestions in the literature that the name was used by the Franks, for instance by Luitgarde of Vermandois (c. 914–978), and that the tale of Lagertha could have originated in Frankish tradition.

When Saxo describes Lagertha as “flying round” (circumvolare) to the rear of the enemy, he ascribes to her the power of flight, according to Jesch, indicating a kinship with the valkyries. The tale notably recalls that of Kára, the valkyrie lover of Helgi Haddingjaskati, who flies above Helgi in battle as a swan, casting spells in his support.

Davidson deems it possible, as Nora K. Chadwick considered very probable, that Lagertha is identical with Þorgerðr Hölgabrúðr (Thorgerd), a goddess reflected in several stories.

Thorgerd was worshipped by, and sometimes said to be wed to, the Norwegian ruler Haakon (c. 937–995), who lived at Hlaðir (Lade). This may be the origin of the name Hlaðgerðr Gaulardal, the Gaular valley – where Lagertha lived according to Saxo – lies nearby and was the center of Thorgerd’s cult. It was also, according to Snorri, the abode of Haakon’s wife Thora.  Finally, the description of Lagertha coming to Ragnar’s aid with flying hair is similar to how the Flateyjarbók describes Thorgerd and her sister Irpa assisting Haakon.

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

So, Ecbert was not misguided in his assumption of Lagertha being a Goddess!

lagertha is awestruck

lagertha is awestruck

All of the men in her life, as well as the rest of us, have seen her at her very worst but are still fascinated and drawn to her.  There is something about her inner spirit, and strength that draws people to her…. much like a Goddess to hold belief in.

104,_Lagertha_et_al lagertha must tell Ragnar what has happened lagertha leads her family Stay strong be ready siggy tries to comfort lagertha Farmer Lagertha agrees to visit Ecbert's home what is up with Laggie it looks like she's been sleepin in the barn rolling in dirt and hay Kalf tries to warn lagertha and keep her safe

The other thing that sets her apart from others is her sense of honor, her basic human goodness, which even in her mistakes, she never waivers from. She may be a shield maiden, a warrior killer when she needs to be, but she does not kill unjustly and she will fight for those being abused whether they are her people or not.  For her, there is a difference between killing in battle for what you believe in or a battle against other warriors and killing for other less honorable reasons. Lagertha is a woman with a conscience, trying to keep her battle side and her personal side separate. Sometimes, she achieves that, other times not so much. She is also a woman trying to succeed and achieve her own reputation, which is so important to the Vikings, in a male dominated career field.  She is not so much different than women today! She knows that she has to prove herself among the men in order to be taken seriously.

In this recent battle for the Gates of Paris, we saw her struggle with this physically and emotionally. We also saw her ongoing struggle for power with Kalf. Ever since Kalf usurped her title of Earl of Hedeby, the two have been in a personal battle of wills over this issue.  I know that Kalf is not a favorite of many people who see him as the evil conniving wrong doer to Lagertha… well that and his sudden friendship with the sleazy Erlandeur to whom he has vowed to bring down the entire Lothbrok clan.  That is a separate issue and even I can not take a venture as to what is really going on there?  In the situation of who should be Earl, Ragnar did tell Kalf it was a personal matter for him and Lagertha to work out… Kalf was willing to work something out with her because as he stated, even through all of it, he desired her… and he did state that he believes the matter is far from over, that their lives are fated to be twined together. Well, let’s just say that he made a good start at that twining together in the aftermath of this battle!

The battle went badly, we all know it. It was really no one’s fault and none of these fine warrior should blame themselves for their loss.  During the battle at the gates, Lagertha struggled to keep her leadership intact, but Kalf  stepped in when he saw problems arise. He could not help it, he is a warrior as well and sometimes people need to admit when their plan is not working so well… Lagertha must work on this!

Lagertha takes a moment to think things through

Lagertha takes a moment to think things through

lagertha's a little stressed this is taking too long is it time for a mead break yet

lagertha’s a little stressed this is taking too long is it time for a mead break yet

Kalf being patient letting Lagertha lead but....

Kalf being patient letting Lagertha lead but….

at the gates Kalf has taken over much to lagertha's annoyance

at the gates Kalf has taken over much to lagertha’s annoyance

Once they did manage to get inside, it was Kalf who quickly realized it was a trap and their lives were in danger. Lagertha, being her stubborn self, did not want to listen to Kalf so he took matters into his own hands

Kalf realizes there is something wrong with this empty hall Kalf quickly realizes their dangerous situation Kalf tries to warn lagertha and keep her safe Lagertha her stubborn self will not listen so Kalf does what he has to and drags her back out of the way.

Kalf saved her life during that battle. They both survived to deal with the aftermath of it.  Once they returned to camp, Lagertha had to deal with the fact that her son, Bjorn was nearly killed. Needless to say, she was not having a good day!

lagertha and Rollo hover over Bjorn

lagertha and Rollo hover over Bjorn

Instead of easing her worries or offering any comfort, Ragnar chides her and Rollo for their worries over Bjorn.

Lagertha asks what happened and ragnar answers he was proving that he is a leader of men without the title

Lagertha asks what happened and ragnar answers he was proving that he is a leader of men without the title

Later that evening as she tries to recover and pull herself together, the one to seek her out and offer comfort is Kalf!

Lagertha tries to recover from the disaster Kalf asks How are you  her only reply Alive

Of course, initially that just causes her more aggrevation and annoyance, but Kalf does not give in. He calmly lets her vent her frustration sets about comforting her anyway. Now, we begin to see how Lagertha truly feels about him… as much as she professes to hate him, she does not stop him or pull away as he continues.

kalf shows his concern and care for lagertha

kalf shows his concern and care for lagertha

Kalf says nothing but picks up the sponge to comfort lagertha in some way

Kalf says nothing but picks up the sponge to comfort lagertha in some way

Kalf: I know that I desire you with all my heart

Kalf: I know that I desire you with all my heart

 

Kalf:  you want to hate me but you can not for you desire me as much as I desire you.

Kalf: you want to hate me but you can not for you desire me as much as I desire you.

Kalf to Lagertha I want to be with you

Kalf is honest and open with her about their feelings. Lagertha could have slapped him, or done any other violence to him and kicked him out of her room. She did none of that, she let him go on and asked him why she should trust or believe him. His answer is simply, “I could have just let you die.”  Lagertha goes on to put forth another question, “What if I accept what you have to say? What if I choose to be with you, go with you but…”

Kalf : I could have let you die  Lagertha asks what if I accept what you have to say?

Kalf : I could have let you die Lagertha asks what if I accept what you have to say?

lagertha but I will never forgive you and one day I will kill you

lagertha but I will never forgive you and one day I will kill you

Lagerthalagertha but I will never forgive you and one day I will kill you

but I will never forgive you and one day I will kill you

Lagertha’s words that while she might agree to be with him but one day she will kill him cause a moment of concern for Kalf.  He must decide whether she is deadly serious, and whether time spent enjoying her company is worth that future possibility?

 

Lagertha's threat causes a moment of concern for Kalf

Lagertha has put her threat out there for him, warned him of her deepest feeling and waits for his response.

Lagertha if you accept that condition then let us be together and enjoy each other

if you accept that condition then let us be together and enjoy each other

Kalf has decided that what ever time he can spend in Lagertha’s embrace are worth any threat to his life in the future.  Now, that is the power of a Goddess!

Lagertha gives into her desire for Kalf

Lagertha gives into her desire for Kalf

I will be with you

So, Kalf and Lagertha have made their own rather unique alliance, are on their way to working out their personal differences in some way… Only the Seer knows how this will all turn out!

 

One last thought on Lagertha’s Warrior Goddess status… if she is truly an incarnation of a Goddess, the question begging to be answered is, What form would she take in today’s world? Because as we know, the Goddess is eternal. She never dies, she lives on in all women. She simply takes different form…

Ahhhhh yes, Katheryn Winnick, you do indeed embody the spirit of Lagertha the Goddess!

Lagertha and Kathryne together Katheryne Winnick

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: To the Gates from the French side

 

 

Before we head back to the gates of Paris, a few general items of interest!  First is an excellent interview with Clive Standen on his role as Rollo and his insights on the show in general! It’s a great interview and he points out some of the same things that I try to make clear here.

Clive Standen4

Clive Standen4

rollo in fur

Rollo

 

Here is an excerpt from the interview where he discusses dealing with limited, sometimes boring historical facts and weaving them into an interesting story as it applies to Rollo’s history and story. 

The Vikings were very oral culture so much of the history of them was written by a lot of the cultures that they came into contact with and, in many cases, conquered, and was written long after that contact. So since they didn’t really document their society in the way we normally expect, any show or any kind of narrative that portrays them has to fill in some pretty big gaps, and I was just wondering if you give me some insight into how that happens on this series. Is that something that Hirst talks to you guys about, how he chooses to flesh the history out and how aware are you of when something is more strictly historical versus when he’s using narrative license?

Sometimes you get the best stories from the sagas. This is a time when there was no TV, and entertainment was based around stories and some of the sagas are larger-than-life. But you can base a story on a saga which gives you something that was written about the time or if not, very close to the time.

But the thing is that Michael–and we are all the same page with this—just as the Vikings didn’t really write much down, as you said, and the history was written by the invaded, there are a lot of historians that have got different agendas as well. Just looking at Rollo: there are four or five different people writing on Rollo. Dudo of St Quentin was one of the biggest writers of the history of Rollo. He was writing 400 years after the events; he was also writing for the (then) Duke of Normandy who he was trying to write a lineage for and protect that lineage and somehow conveniently talks—or glides over– certain aspects of Viking society. Dudo has an agenda to try to make Rollo an impressive historical figure.

So sometimes what we can take from history is we can take the actual events and the things that make this figure famous in history and the things they actually accomplished but the real person, for an actor and a script writer, you’ve got to dissect that and flesh it out. So you have to take some sort of artistic license in the character. But you know it is fascinating to think that we know where someone ended up and the big plot points of how they got there from the history books, but as an actor and writer–it’s very hard to explain—you have the A and the Z but you have to fill in the B and C and D, everything in between. It’s up to the actor to fill in the middle and to make it a full story where you can actually take everybody’s different accounts and try to build on that.

I don’t know if I making any sense at this point. I’m just trying to make the point that you can’t just read Wikipedia, read a little bit about Rollo, and then go “That’s not the Rollo history because I read it on Wikipedia. There’s a greater thing happening when you start to get all of the stories and documentation together and then you yourself have to pick apart what was the propaganda what someone’s agenda and look more deeply is. Which is what we should do on social media as well when people start reading people’s posts and likes and you assume something is true because someone has posted it without thinking what someone’s agenda was in posting it. It’s no different when you start researching history.

http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/vikings/245382/vikings-season-3-interview-clive-standen

If you follow along this theory and line of thinking, it would apply to the character of Gisla as well. When you looker further and deeper into the limited information about this Gisela, you have to think to yourself, Why is there not more information on this woman? Who made the decision way back in the past to basically erase her from history and leave doubt as to whether she even existed. Some have suggested that Michael Hirst should have went with the story of Poppa, Rollo’s concubine or Dane wife- that she would be more interesting and closer to historical facts. I disagree. I think the story of Gisla and what might have or could have happened with her makes for a far more interesting story. Gisla also gives Hirst the tie in to Paris and to Charles. I think we need to look at Gisla as a combination of Poppa and Gisela.  Personally, I can’t wait to see Hirst’s version of hers and Rollo’s story!

 

Our next bit of  interest is the preview for this week’s episode in which Ragnar makes his status clear to everyone. Also for those who might be concerned about Floki, he is still around! Obviously, a few people have pissed Ragnar off by possibly questioning his decisions or his authority. 

If you watch the beginning of the video, you see a group swimming under the bridge of Paris… in a historical account of Ragnar Lodbrok’s siege of Paris, there is mention of how they did eventually set a bridge on fire by burning boats underneath it!

If anyone thought that this siege would be simple or quick and that our Vikings would easily win, they will be sadly mistaken. The sieges of Paris were well documented and they were long drawn out battles with neither side truly being able to claim victory. Yes, Ragnar’s group did manage to get into the city and even occupy it for a time so I suppose you could consider that a victory of sorts. The Vikings eventually withdrew from the city after being paid off by the Franks. I have already covered much about the historical attacks on Paris and their results in a previous post on the Importance of Rollo. You can read that here:

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/vikings-the-importance-of-rollo/

Now on to our current topic, The gates of Paris and beyond. I say beyond because as usual, there is so much else going besides the truly epic battle! I did cover much of the lead up to this battle and the wall portion of it in the last post concerning Floki’s bout with hopefully temporary madness… https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/vikings-the-madness-of-floki/

As I mentioned in the last post, you really need to watch the episode to truly appreciate the entire battle. My assorted pictures and recaps do not even begin do it the credit it so well deserves. It was a massive undertaking on all parts!

inside Paris

Let’s look at how the people of Paris reacted and survived,  from the lowliest of poor serfs to the one sitting at the top one his throne the entire time while his daughter fought his battle for him! First of all, when Count Odo and his minions announce closing time for the City, they are deadly serious! If you were out there milking your cow, weeding your garden, doing your laundry or what ever else you might have been so concerned about that you didn’t bother to pay attention and run like hell for those gates, so sorry for you…Cause no matter how hard you bang on that gate you’re not getting in! We’ll say some nice prayers in your name after the siege is over…

Count Odo giving last orders to his men

Closing time at the gates of Paris

Closing time at the gates of Paris

Noooooooooooooo don't leave us out here to be slaughtered people begging for mercy to be let in

The gates were firmly closed and we can only hope that maybe those poor stragglers found somewhere to hide out of the way. Because, really our main intent is to get into the city, not worry about poor defenseless serfs… unless they make the mistake of getting in our way! If any of them are left alive after the battle, we’ll pick them up on our way out- but only if they’re young women and children- sorry but those are who bring the most gold on the slave market.

the city of Paris behind it's walls and gates  where are those poor stragglers!

the city of Paris behind it’s walls and gates where are those poor stragglers!

What was going on inside the city? As one could easily imagine, all out panic was taking over for most of the residents. They all gathered in the church for protection and prayer…

they arrive prepare yourselves inside the city chaos reigns as well among the citizens

the masses have gathered in the church for protection and prayer

the masses have gathered in the church for protection and prayer

Where was their mighty ruler during the entire time of the raid? Ahhhh yes, that supreme ruler of all was in his great hall, sitting alone on his throne hiding behind that bizarre mask again. Those damn masks are beginning to bug me. They seem to be a recurring item of some importance but I can find no detail, description or explanation of such a ritual anywhere? If anyone figures it out, please let me know so it doesn’t end up driving me nuts! Anyway, this time I think he is literally hiding behind the mask so if anyone wanders in, they won’t see him shaking and crying like a baby!

while terror reigns outside the king sits on his throne alone the king in his strange mask

The question has to be asked here. Is this man really as pathetic as he’s looking so far? Well, he does have the one thing going for him… he is the King, even if he is turning out to be a milk toast, puppet type King.  As far as who he is in history, he seems to be a combination of Charles the Fat, Charles the Bald and Charles the Simple. It should be pretty clear from their various nicknames, how their citizens felt about them by this point in history. This was towards the end of their particular dynasty, the Carolingian dynasty and frankly the people were a little tired of  all of them. I believe our King Charles is portraying some of the characteristics given to Charles the Fat who was described as spineless and incompetent. It really makes not much difference, by this time in history they were all similarly regarded and could have been interchangeable! As I said, he is the King and even if he is generally a puppet being used by others, if he should come up with his own lame idea in the future and decide to implement, no one can really stop him. And, he most likely will come up with his lame plan to pay the Vikings off to get rid of them.  For the moment though, he is sitting on his throne cowering while his daughter Gisla takes charge!

Gisla watched the Vikings arrive but would not stand by idly waiting for their destruction.

gisla watches the pagans come gisla watches in fear gisla sees the boats arrive

Gisla knows her people need a leader and they need inspiration. They’re certainly not going to get it from her Father, and I think she has a thought in her mind to show Odo up as well… She goes to the one place that she knows her people will take guidance and inspiration from. She goes to the church because her people are devoutly religious and they will be inspired by their faith. During this time, the Christians were devoted to their relics of faith. They firmly believed in the miraculous powers of such relics, despite the fact that most of said relics were fakes that the church approved of and even encouraged at times for the amounts of followers and wealth they brought to the church. Very rarely there might be some actual documented proof of a miracle or divine vision surrounding such articles, and really all it took was for one person to suddenly recover from illness, win a losing battle or such to inspire people to believe in the miracles of Christ and his Saints.

Gisla has one such relic close at hand… she has the Sacred Banner of St. Denis, the Oriflamme!

the sacred banner of saint Denis in the church Gisla resorts to her own inspiration for her people

Just what is the Oriflamme, the Banner of St. Denis and why would her people be so willing and ready to fight for it?

100px-Oriflamme_svg

Battle_of_Poitiers oriflamme

Battle_of_Poitiers oriflamme

The Oriflamme (from Latin aurea flamma, “golden flame”) was the battle standard of the King of France in the Middle Ages. It was originally the sacred banner of the Abbey of St. Denis, a monastery near Paris.  In French, the term “oriflamme” has come to mean any banner with pointed ends; by association with the form of the original.

The Oriflamme was mentioned in the eleventh-century ballad the Chanson de Roland (vv. 3093-5) as a royal banner, first called Romaine and then Montjoie.  According to legend, Charlemagne carried it to the Holy Land in response to a prophecy regarding a knight possessing a golden lance, from which flames would burn and drive out the Saracens.  This suggests that the lance was originally the important object, with the banner simply a decoration, but this changed over time.

When the Oriflamme was displayed on the battlefield it indicated that no quarter was to be given, its red colour being symbolic of cruelty and ferocity.

Although the azure ground (from the blue cope of St. Martin of Tours) strewn with gold fleur-de-lis remained the symbol of royalty until the 15th century, the Oriflamme became the royal battle standard of the King of France, and it was carried at the head of the king’s forces when they met another army in battle. In the fifteenth century, the fleur-de-lis on the white flag of Joan of Arc became the new royal standard replacing both the symbol of royalty and the Oriflamme on the battle field.

Gisla heard the story of how the banner was sacred because it presumably had been dipped in the blood of St. Denis…

Paris Cathédrale_Notre-Dame Portail de la_Vierge. St. Denis

Paris Cathédrale_Notre-Dame Portail de la_Vierge. St. Denis

According to Christian tradition, Saint Denis  is a Christian martyr and saint. In the third century, he was Bishop of Paris. He was martyred, with his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, in connection with the Decian persecution of Christians, shortly after 250 AD. Denis is said to have picked his head up after being decapitated, walked ten kilometres (six miles), while preaching a sermon of repentance the entire way, making him one of many cephalophores in hagiology. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as patron of Paris, France, and as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

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

The medieval Christians believed and practiced  mysticism and what they considered Holy magic or miracles just as firmly and as passionately as the Norse did with their Pagan religion. To them, yes there might be only one true God but there were any number of Holiest Saints whom they believed held almost as much power as their God. So, it really was not all that different from the Norse belief in many Gods for different purposes. If they all could have seen it in this way, things would have been so much easier!

Now, back to Gisla and her plan…

Gisla kind of backed the Bishop into a corner and forced him to bless her Banner in front of all of the citizens in the church so they would know the importance of it. Really, how was he going to say no to such a blessing with all of those people waiting?

not wanting to risk a riot in his church the bishop goes along with gisla's request

Then she did the most courageous thing that proved her worthy of leading and eventually caught the attention of one Rollo… She took that blessed banner and marched to the top of the wall where the fighting was at it’s worst and bloodiest. She spoke to the men, encouraged them and raised the Banner of St. Denis over them to remind them of what they fought for and why. This young woman was not a milk toast whiny woman, in her own way she was a warrior! She believed in her people, in her country and she would stand with her men and face the battle whether others agreed or not, such as Count Odo…

When Gisla arrived on the wall, I have a feeling that Odo’s thoughts were probably, “Ohhhh Great, WTF is she doing up here! If she gets herself killed, it will be my fault and if she survives, she looks like the hero instead of me!”

Odo is shocked and pissed at the sight of gisla climbing up to the top of the walls

Odo is shocked and pissed at the sight of gisla climbing up to the top of the walls

Gisla will not let fear stand in the way of what she feels she needs to do

gisla raises the banner and reminds the men of what they fight for

gisla raises the banner and reminds the men of what they fight for

these men are as inspired by her courage and her speech as the vikings are by speeches of Odin

these men are as inspired by her courage and her speech as the vikings are by speeches of Odin

Gisla did not back down and run to hide behind a mask. She stayed up there on that wall yelling her encouragement and watching the entire battle. She may not have fought with a weapon but she fought with what she had, her words! The men drew strength and courage from her  brave presence there.

Show no mercy fight on fight on for Paris

Show no mercy fight on fight on for Paris

Fight to the Death

Fight to the Death

As I said, she stood up there and watched the whole battle, yelling her encouragement the whole time… her presence did not go un-noticed by the Vikings either. At least one Viking became so thoroughly distracted by the sight of her that he forgot to pay attention to the job at hand.

Gisla has inspired the men to fight with a new vengeance rollo's first sight of gisla

Yes, unfortunately our Rollo was the one completely distracted by the sight of Gisla on the wall…  Gisla was also watching him.

gisla watching rollo intently

rollo makes the mistake glancing up from his battel to see gisla watching him

rollo distracted by sight of gisla

That momentary distraction almost cost Rollo his life… I am pretty sure he will be a little pissed at himself and her for it?

rollo's distraction2

the result of rollo's distraction... he and his ladder are pushed away from the wall rollo's fall rollo's plunge into the water rollo's near death experience so similar to Siggy's demise

No need for anyone to worry… he did survive the fall and I am sure he will be having some words with Gisla about all of this at some later point!

As for the overall battle, we do have to give Count Odo credit. He was in charge and led a well organized and prepared defensive campaign whether we like him or not. He did his job and supervised both the battle at the gates and on the walls. While we are speaking of Odo, let us just have a very quick refresher on who he is in history?

Odo was the eldest son of Robert the Strong, Duke of the Franks and Marquis of Neustria, belonging to the branch known as the Robertians. After his father’s death in 866, Odo inherited his father’s title of Marquis of Neustria. Odo lost this title in 868 when King Charles the Bald appointed Hugh the Abbot to the title, but regained it following the death of Hugh in 886. After 882, he held the post of Count of Paris. Odo was also the lay abbot of St. Martin of Tours.

Odo married Théodrate of Troyes and had two known sons, Arnulf (born probably about 885) and Guy (born probably about 888), neither of whom lived past the age of fifteen.

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

Historically, Odo was in charge of the defense of Paris during the siege of Paris that took place in 885-886 and involved the Vikings, Sigfred, Sinric and Rollo.

With hundreds of ships, and possibly tens of thousands of men, the Vikings arrived outside Paris in late November 885, at first demanding tribute. This was denied by Odo, Count of Paris, despite the fact that he only could assemble a couple of hundred soldiers to defend the city. The Vikings attacked with a variety of siege engines, but failed to break through the city walls after some days of intense attacks. The siege was upheld after the initial attacks, but without any significant offence for months thereafter. As the siege went on, most of the Vikings left Paris to pillage further upriver. The Vikings made a final unsuccessful attempt to take the city during the summer, and in October, Charles the Fat arrived with his army.

To the frustration of the Parisians who had fought for a long time to defend the city, Charles stopped short of attacking the Viking besiegers, and instead allowed them to sail further up the Seine to raid Burgundy (which was in revolt), as well as promising a payment of 700 livres (pounds; 257 kg). Odo, highly critical of this, tried his best to defy the promises of Charles, and when Charles died in 888, Odo was elected the first non-Carolingian king of the Franks.

 

Odo  What in Heaven's name is all that other racket out there

We have not really discussed the charge of the gates yet but it went much like the battle at the wall. No blame or accusations here against Lagertha and her group. They fought exceptionally well considering the circumstances and had a good plan. They did succeed in getting through the gates with the help of some interesting inventions of slimey Erlandeur’s along with  the additional muscle and horse power of Sigfrid! They were just unprepared for the surprise counter attack planned by Odo’s forces inside the inner gate. There was a great slaughter there when the Viking group became trapped within the hall.

Erlandeur the inventor

back at the gates  why is this scum still standing

back at the gates why is this scum still standing

Sigfrid the giant initializes the next stage of drill bit operation

Sigfrid the giant initializes the next stage of drill bit operation

Sigfrid the extra horsepower

Sigfrid the extra horsepower

 

Ahhh I know we are talking about this mainly from the French perspective but I do feel a need here to point out that one Sigfred was indeed a real historical player in a siege of Paris.  I know I have included some of this information previously but it bears repeating as it does deal with Odo, as well as with Rollo!

Danish Vikings under Sigfred and Sinric  sailed towards West Francia again in 885, having raided the north-eastern parts of the country before. Sigfred demanded a bribe from Charles, but was refused, and promptly led 700 ships up the Seine, carrying perhaps as many as 30,000 or 40,000 men.  The number, the largest ever recorded for a Viking fleet in contemporary sources, originates from Abbo Cenuus. Although an eyewitness, there is general agreement among historians that Abbo’s numbers are “a gross exaggeration,”[8] with Abbo being “in a class of his own as an exaggerator.” Historian C. W. Previté-Orton has instead put the number of ships at 300,  and John Norris at “some 300.”  Although the Franks tried to block the Vikings from sailing up the Seine, the Vikings eventually managed to reach Paris.  Paris at this time was a town on an island, known today as Île de la Cité. Its strategic importance came from the ability to block ships’ passage with its two low-lying foot bridges, one of wood and one of stone. Not even the shallow Viking ships could pass Paris because of the bridges.  Odo, Count of Paris prepared for the arrival of the Vikings by fortifying the bridgehead with two towers guarding each bridge. He was low on men, having no more than 200 men-at-arms available (also according to Abbo Cenuus),  but led a joint defence with Gozlin, Bishop of Paris  (the first “fighting bishop” in medieval literature), and had the aid of his brother, Robert, two counts and a marquis.

The Vikings arrived in Paris on 24 or 25 November 885, initially asking for tribute from the Franks. When this was denied, they began a siege. On 26 November the Danes attacked the northeast tower with ballistae, mangonels, and catapults. They were repulsed by a mixture of hot wax and pitch. All Viking attacks that day were repulsed, and during the night the Parisians constructed another storey on the tower.[17][18] On 27 November the Viking attack included mining, battering rams, and fire, but to no avail. Bishop Gozlin entered the fray with a bow and an axe. He planted a cross on the outer defences and exhorted the people. His brother Ebles also joined the fighting.[17] The Vikings withdrew after the failed initial attacks and built a camp on the right side of the river bank, using stone as construction material. While preparing for new attacks, the Vikings also started constructing additional siege engines.[19] In a renewed assault, they shot a thousand grenades against the city, sent a ship for the bridge, and made a land attack with three groups. The forces surrounded the bridgehead tower, possibly mainly aiming to bring down the river obstacle. While they tried setting fire to the bridge, they also attacked the city itself with siege engines.

Map of Paris in the 9th century (on Île de la Cité)

For two months the Vikings maintained the siege, making trenches and provisioning themselves off the land. In January 886 they tried to fill the river shallows with debris, plant matter, and the bodies of dead animals and dead prisoners to try to get around the tower. They continued this for two days. On the third day they set three ships alight and guided them towards the wooden bridge. The burning ships sank before they could set the bridge on fire, but the wooden construction was nonetheless weakened.  On 6 February, rains caused the river (still filled with debris) to overflow and the bridge supports gave way. The bridge gone, the northeast tower was now isolated with only twelve defenders inside. The Vikings asked the twelve to surrender, but they refused, and were all subsequently killed.

The Vikings left a force around Paris, but many ventured further to pillage Le Mans, Chartres,  Evreux and into the Loire.  Odo successfully slipped some men through Norse lines to go to Italy and plead with Charles to come to their aid. Henry, Count of Saxony, Charles’ chief man in Germany, marched to Paris.  Weakened by marching during the winter, Henry’s soldiers made only one abortive attack in February before retreating. The besieged forces sallied forth and to obtain supplies. Morale of the besiegers was low and Sigfred asked for sixty pounds of silver. He left the siege in April. Another Viking leader, Rollo, stayed behind with his men.  In May, disease began to spread in the Parisian ranks and Gozlin died. Odo then slipped through Viking-controlled territory to petition Charles for support; Charles consented. Odo fought his way back into Paris and Charles and Henry of Saxony marched northward.  Henry died after he fell into the Viking ditches, where he was captured and killed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Paris_(885%E2%80%9386)

As I mentioned, things went badly at the gates. The few who survived were lucky to have gotten out of there alive. Lagertha’s survival was due to Kalf’s quick thinking and realizing that it was a trap. He dragged her out of there, while sleazy Erlandeur made his own dash for the back of the crowd!

Lagertha's group realizing they're trapped Lagertha her stubborn self will not listen so Kalf does what he has to and drags her back out of the way. Sleazy erlandeur sees the danger and runs to the back

The Viking group eventually realized they were defeated and chose to retreat in order to fight another day. Inside the walls of Paris, Charles and Odo inspected the remaining carnage left behind. Charles showed his truest distain and his disgust…

King Charles finally leaves his throne after the battle is finished to view the results

King Charles finally leaves his throne after the battle is finished to view the results

 Now that I see them up close they do not appear so threatening why they seem almost human.

Now that I see them up close they do not appear so threatening why they seem almost human.

Count Odo is pleased with himself and of course both he and the King consider this a great success…little do they realize that the Vikings are more determined now than ever-or at least two of them, Ragnar and Rollo are. Both men commented later that they were determined to conquer Paris! Rollo mentioned in discussion with Ragnar about what to do next. Rollo is determined to get back inside that city… perhaps his idea of plunder is flesh rather than gold, flesh as in that of one Gisla?  Ragnar mentioned it in his conversation with his beloved and departed Athelstan!  “I wish you were here.  Paris is every bit as beautiful as you said. I am determined to conquer it now!”

Ohhhhh Damn! I did just mention that Rollo is determined to get back inside that city, didn’t I? Here is new preview of the next episode!

http://www.tvguide.com/news/vikings-rollo-paris-raid/#ooid=RvZDRqdDqWZMk5QQ8Ilxlr_FveB9xvys

 

 

 today we came so close  next time we will not make the same mistakes!

today we came so close next time we will not make the same mistakes!

ragnar to athelstan I wish you were here Paris is every bit as beautiful as you said.  I am determined to conquer it now

ragnar to athelstan I wish you were here Paris is every bit as beautiful as you said. I am determined to conquer it now

 

For the moment though, the Parisians are celebrating their victory. Naturally, Charles and Odo take full credit for this defeat of the Pagans. Charles looks good in his people’s eyes even if he did nothing but hide for the entire duration of the battle. And, if Charles looks good then Odo should reap the benefits of this… or that is his plan anyway. 

charles and Odo take all of the credit for the defeat of the pagans

charles and Odo take all of the credit for the defeat of the pagans

Gisla arrives at the celebration with her sacred banner, then proceeds to congratulate her Father on his great success. Though, when she is paying him such tribute, she seems a bit sarcastic about it… probably knowing full well that he was cowering in the corner while she was out there leading and encouraging his men!

gisla enters with her sacred banner

gisla enters with her sacred banner

gisla is a bit sarcastic in her congratulations of her Father's success

gisla is a bit sarcastic in her congratulations of her Father’s success

gisla encourages the people to give charles his due credit

gisla encourages the people to give charles his due credit

Something else is going on here behind the scenes and I am thinking that Gisla should probably be a little concerned about her future or her fate? Realistically, Gisla is a princess, and  while she is strong willed and determined, she is not in complete control of her future. Her Father, as weak willed as he is, still has the final say in her destiny… Much like Ragnar Lothbrok states in the future, “I am King and I have the final say!”  Odo has already stated openly that he expects to marry Gisla as his reward for this defeat. Charles is wishy washy and now owes Odo big time for this success…

Odo is up to something. He has some other agenda and plan going on behind some backs. While Count Odo is paying lip service and adding his voice to the praise of his King, he seems focused on something or someone else.

odo adds his voice to the tribute but seems focused on something else

odo adds his voice to the tribute but seems focused on something else

Who is this woman? And what does she have going on with Count Odo…

Odo's attention is on this woman.

Odo’s attention is on this woman.

What ever their secret is, they seem to be in agreement on something!

Odo and the new mysterious woman seem to be in agreement on something

Odo and the new mysterious woman seem to be in agreement on something

Ahhhhh if you think the Vikings or the Saxons  are full of intrigue, secret agendas, deceptions and sins, they have nothing on the French! These people may be devoutly holy on the surface but their devious plotting and exploits exceed anything that Ecbert or Ragnar could think of! Personally, I am looking forward to seeing a bit more of their less than holy behaviors in the future!  I know many of you are only concerned about the Viking side of things, but in order for the Viking groups to survive in the future, they will need to know how to maneuver their way through all of these other mazes of  ruling dynasties. Attack, plunder and run only work for so long… then you need to settle down someplace and defend yourself against those new raiders and pillagers who take your place.  As our Vikings have just discovered, they have a lot yet to learn about other places and people. And, as Ragnar says, “It is good to follow Odin but it is better with knowledge!”

 

Now, I have just one last thought for the night and it does not concern France at all. There is one other thing that has happened while we’ve all been in Paris. As most of us know, Porunn has been suffering great difficulties in adjusting to her injury and to her new Motherhood. She has been struggling, trying to hold things together in her mind and heart for some time now. My personal thought is that her struggle has been going for far longer than any of us may realize or comprehend. Perhaps it is due to her years a slave. We do not know what she may have endured during those years that would leave a mark on her mind. In fact, we know very little about her at all other than that she was a slave. Bjorn met her as a teen. Who really knows how long she was a slave, where she came from, who she was before? Does she have a hidden past that she remembers and it ever haunts her? All we know is that as a teen, Bjorn chose her, wanted her, thought he loved her. Maybe he did, but that was young untried love, they have both grown some and I think she knows he doesn’t love her. She may not even truly love him… We don’t really know, what we do know is that she is not coping well with Motherhood. She has finally reached her personal breaking point and left Kattegat without baby Siggy.  She left in the middle of the night with no word to anyone. Aslaug awoke in the morning to a crying Siggy and no Porunn.

in Kattegat someone is wandering

Porunn is wandering on her own somewhat unstable path Porunn takes a last look at the village of Kattegat

Aslaug was puzzled at first and then realized what had happened.  Baby Siggy is now in the care of Aslaug. I think she will be safe and well cared for, and perhaps it is fitting for the child to now be raised by Aslaug. The baby was named after Siggy, who died trying to save the other children of Aslaug.  I hope that Aslaug will care for this little girl with love and realize the significance of this gift the Gods have suddenly given her.

aslaug awakes to a crying baby Siggy aslaug seems to realize what Porunn has done

I do worry and pray for the fate and the destiny of Porunn, who has now become a wanderer.