I promised earlier to take a closer, more in depth look at the season 4 preview released at Comi-con. I spent much of yesterday doing just that. It’s amazing how long it can take to watch and re-watch a 1 minute trailer. It’s also amazing how much you can pull out of it when you slow it down, pay close attention and manage to catch somewhat hidden flashes! I believe that I have accomplished that and will share some of those half hidden bits with you here.
Before we get into the trailer, it’s content and what it all might mean, I want to remind everyone of a few very important things pertaining to this and other promo trailers. First and foremost, as I have mentioned previously, these trailers are a collection of various scenes and events splice together- often in random order- to pique your interest and grab you attention. If you watch closely, you will see that those events and scenes have been taken apart and re-inserted at random perhaps not so random… but more pivotal moments that will cause you to start guessing and making your own assumptions as to what is happening or will happen. A promo trailer is designed to do just that, to immediately draw you in and create those doubts in your mind so that you want to watch the future episodes to find out if your assumptions and guesses were correct! You also need to be aware that episodes and scenes are not shot consecutively or in any linear fashion. Scenes and events are shot according to things such as location availability and cost effectiveness as far as shooting as many scenes as possible at one place and time with as many cast members as possible in a given location at the same time. So, while the production may have just begun recently, that does not mean that all of these clips are necessarily from just the beginning episodes. Lastly, please remember that I am presenting my personal thoughts on the preview. I was as confused, baffled and curious about what all of this means as the rest of you probably are. This is my attempt to sort through it and make some sense of it for myself and hopefully others of you who are just as confused!
If you missed the trailer, here it is again. If you’ve already watched it, it never hurts to watch again and refresh your memory or your thoughts on it as we begin our discussion of it!
The entire preview was a bit eerie for me and threw me from the very beginning, listening to Athelstan’s narration of it. Here are his words
“Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher. Vanity of vanities. Who is vanity? What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away,
and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”
After listening to his words throughout the preview, we were then presented with a flash of one who resembles him so much that it becomes one of those curious wtf moments…
Please note that I have stated that this is a flash of one who closely resembles Athelstan… we all know that Athelstan is dead. So, short of resurrecting him, I can only assume that this either a vision, or it is one in the future who will bear a great resemblance to him? I am not even going to guess on this one because I really have no clue! Some have put forth the idea that this may be a glimpse of the future when all of the sons are grown and perhaps this is Athelstan’s son Alfred? I do think that with the number of episodes set now at somewhere between 16 and 20, that there could possibly be more than one time jump to get the story to a point where the next generation fully takes over. Hirst has confirmed at least one time jump of a few years, but that would not put the children as old enough to take over on their own. My own thought is that at some later point in the season, perhaps as next season reaches it’s finale there will be that other time jump to all of the children as adults ready to begin that next stage of the Viking era.
Now that we have that first curious and mysterious overall feeling out of the way, the biggest WTF moment for most people was of course Floki’s situation! It has left many with conflicted thoughts on it. Even those who have come to hate Floki and want him to receive his justly deserved punishment seem to be a bit unsettled by these scenes of his arrest, his punishment and his possible demise. I have watched the trailer more than a few times and still confused by these scenes of Floki, and Bjorn’s announcement of his arrest. There is just something about the situation and how these clips present it that lead me to wonder about all of it. First of all throughout the trailer, we do see other scenes of Floki, alive and well, fighting with the others. My immediate thought on that is, Ok- do those scenes take place before or after this arrest and his torture? The initial thought would be that they must take place prior to this event, while they are making their way home… which Hirst does say will take a good deal of time- almost two years. So, during that two years, they say nothing of Floki’s betrayal, allowing him to spend that entire time waiting, wondering when the axe will drop on his head…
They finally reach home where a number of things await Ragnar’s attention besides Floki’s past betrayal… it would seem that while they were gone so long Aslaug was contemplating her own thoughts of power and reign over Kattegat. Now, realistically, why would she not? If they were gone such a length of time and she had no idea whether they were alive or dead, why would she not think about such a thing. She was in control of the kingdom while Ragnar was gone and the people probably accepted her reign. She went so far as to seek the Seer out for his thoughts on such an event as woman ruling Kattegat. His answer was cryptic as usual but he did say that one day a woman would rule Kattegat. As to whether she would be that woman was left unsaid…
It was unsettling to see that the Seer ventured out of his hut into daylight sunshine for once… he should be more careful though, it looks like he may have been out there too long… his skin was probably not used to such exposure and unfortunately, there was no such thing as sunscreen back then!
So, Ragnar finally makes it home to find that his people may be having second thoughts about who their ruler is… Bjorn must set them all straight on that count. Aslaug does not look too happy about this?
These boys, whom we later recognize as Ragnar’s sons, are quite vocal in their allegiance and praise of their King and father…
Another couple who do not look quite as enthusiastic about it are Floki and Helga..
Perhaps that is because the next clip we see is Bjorn ordering the arrest of Floki for the murder of Athelstan…
We then see the result of Floki’s arrest and what appears to be his torture… which has a great resemblance to some parallel or symbolism related to Athelstan? We would assume this to be Floki tortured and hanging in some cave at a later point.
What we see in between Floki’s arrest and his later torture is Ragnar’s comments to Floki.
What we see later are two things that speak of some serious change in Ragnar’s character. We know that his thoughts and his actions are turning more to the dark side…so could these two action be predictions of that darker side? We see what appears to be his very physical reprimand or treatment of Aslaug- something he has never resorted to previously.
And, then we see this treatment of Floki…
My own personal thought on this scene of Floki being tortured is that I do wonder whether this is out of context to throw us off and assume that it is Ragnar’s doing and that Floki meets his end here. I could see this being Ragnar’s personal revenge upon Floki, especially seeing how his mind is now working. I could also see Ragnar doing this act to show the villagers of Kattegat just who is in charge, and using Floki as an example to show his force and his power. What I can not see or understand is Bjorn and the other villagers completely going along with this act. In their minds, Floki killing a Christian would not have warranted such a punishment and torture as this. Bjorn was Floki’s friend from childhood, he even agreed with Floki on the matter of the Christians and their religion. For Ragnar to make such a public display and example of Floki in this way would not draw these people to remain loyal to him out of trust and belief in him but more out of fear of him and his reprisals… in this way he is becoming more and more like those he fought against- Earl Haraldson and King Horik! If this is truly the path he going down, then his people would most likely looking for some way out from under his control… What I could more easily envision is if Ragnar did do this to show his supreme authority, then others might be willing to secretly rescue him from this fate and send him on his way to some exile with warnings to never return to face Ragnar’s wrath… I could even see Bjorn going along with something such as this if he comes to realize his Father’s darker path. If Bjorn were to aid in such an act and others knew of it, then it would set Bjorn up as a better leader to follow than Ragnar…
Perhaps an act such as this is part of why Bjorn sets off on a solitary journey or quest to clear his mind and his heart. In the Comi-con discussion, it was revealed that on learning of Porunn’s departure, Bjorn leaves on this quest to find himself and his true destiny or fate… during which he has the fateful and already famous encounter with the bear.
At some point Bjorn does find time to bond with his young half brothers… interestingly, it’s Bjorn’s bonding we see and not Ragnar’s!
Another event has set many on edge and to the point of taking sides is of course, the matter of Rollo and his ultimate betrayal of Ragnar and his own blood- his own people. We all knew that it would come down to this and surely Rollo knew that it have to happen eventually as well. Some have noted rightly, that had Ragnar been well enough to make the decision, he would never have left Rollo there in the first place knowing full well what the Seer’s prophecy was. This decision by Bjorn could foreseeably put him and his Father at odds in the future. What ever the case, Rollo had to follow his own fate, his own heart and his destiny knowing fully that he would have to side with the Franks in any future battles against the Vikings. These are the decisions and choices that men, and women must make in their quests for their own power, fame or reputation. Hirst has given fair warning and confirmation that Rollo’s future path will follow closely to that of the real Rollo of history. In that historical context, Rollo pledged his alliance and allegiance to Charles, and he held himself to that oath for as long as Charles was alive. After Charles died, however, all oaths were off the table and Rollo was on good terms with his Viking blood.
The preview trailer naturally plays up this ultimate betrayal of his own people, but what we do not know yet is what the reason or context is surrounding this battle and betrayal. What we do see is Rollo coming into his own power within the Frankish dynasty. I personally have no issue with any of this… I have been waiting for three seasons to see Rollo step up and take his own power, his own destiny. I am anxiously awaiting the story of Rollo and his battle for a foothold, a new dynasty in this place that will come to be Normandy, land of Northmen! Three long seasons, I have been by his side in the filth and muck that was his previous life and now finally am rewarded with his upswing, his conquest of both Normandy and Gisla! It appears that we will indeed get to see at least a glimpse of a Royal Wedding, even though neither the Bride or Groom looks all that happy about it. The Bride’s father seems to be the only one remotely happy about it?
We also see a glimpse of the unhappy and still rather childish Gisla attempting to take matters of the wedded bliss into her own hands and make herself a widow by morning…
As to what Rollo’s reaction will be at awaking to find a dagger at his throat remains to be seen…. I have a hunch that what ever his reaction, Gisla will not be allowed to play with sharp objects any time soon!
Yes, there is indeed some sort of battle that ensues between the Franks with Rollo included, and a force of Vikings. We do not know who this group of Vikings are or what their reason is for being in France. Nor do we know when this takes place… we would assume that it takes places some time after that two years of Ragnar’s travel home but we can not be certain of that either. All we know for now is that yes there is a battle and Rollo fights with the Franks, thereby as the wounded warrior states, betraying his own blood and people. We do not even know for sure who this wounded warrior is, whether he is one of Rollo’s men or a warrior from the other side. Now, when Rollo signed his oath of allegiance, his men would have sworn along with him and profited along with him from that decision. Rollo along with his men profited a great deal from this allegiance and would have received land grants in return. That is how Normandy was founded, through those land grants. Perhaps this warrior was a disgruntled man of Rollo’s. I am sure that were would have been some who were not in so much agreement on this decision, or some who might not have taken into consideration everything that the agreement would entail. The initial reward may have been appealing to them but then at some later time such as this, some of them would realize just what this bargain really involved. It also could have been an opposing warrior who is giving the warning that Ragnar will hear of this, he will come to revenge us… We shall have to wait to see what this battle is actually all about!
We shall also have to wait to see what this person’s part in the battle is and what if any importance they might be?
We do see the return of another rather mysterious character who has as yet not had any real significance in the story… could that be changing though, will we see more of Roland’s story?
As to the news that Ragnar is on his way… Rollo knew that fact would be inevitable and this time he will present a much different face and force than in the past. This time, Rollo has come into his own power, his own right and destiny. This time, Rollo is fighting with the entire force of the Franks on his side. He is also fighting now as a Landowner defending what is his. He should not be taken so lightly this time!
With that all in mind, it would appear that Ragnar does eventually come…
We see a voyage to somewhere that includes at least one of Ragnar’s young sons… We can’t be certain of where this particular journey is to because Hirst makes mention of a number of places this next season. In looking these pictures though, it does not really look like the landscape of France but I could be mistaken!
In a few other less obvious and more hidden glimpses, we see someone who looks much like Torvi in her own difficulties once again…
Torvi’s difficulties bring us to her current husband, Erlandeur who for no good reason to me, still seems to be alive and well! His appearance is linked to the events surrounding Lagertha and Kalf. Lagertha seems to be having some difficulties as well but has not killed off Kalf yet as previously threatened. She and Kalf remain together for the time being and Kalf gives off an appearance of being in some control and continuing to display a calm form of leadership. What we see of Lagertha seems to be of two separate events, one being some sort of interrupted celebration in which she ruins that beautiful dress with the usual blood stains that seem to follow her! It’s hard to see or know what the interrupted event was or what set her off…
The other event involves that earlier traitor, Einar, whom she has apparently finally caught up with after these few years of travel.
It also perhaps involves Kalf, and yes even sleazy Erlandeur is involved as a bystander…
She and Kalf seem to be on somewhat good terms with each other… as I said, at least she has not killed him off yet?
It would appear that Einar may not be so lucky?
Now, in watching these scenes and deciphering some of them by looking at their attire in the separate clips… that does give a clue as to putting things together, there is something else going one in the following scenes that has Lagertha concerned, puzzled or even a bit fearful. It’s difficult to know for sure whether this takes place before or after her treatment of Einar.
Her revenge of Einar, with Kalf looking on calmly and seemingly giving some approval? Ohhhh yes, and Sleazy Erlandeur is here watching as well…
Last but certainly not least by any means, there is Wessex and England to think about because really, this where the future for the Vikings will be most played out and give them their most talked of fame. This is where the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok will eventually leave their mark and do battle with ones such as that grandson of Ecbert, Alfred the Great.
King Ecbert still holds his power and gives warning that Ragnar Lothbrok could return at any moment.
We do catch a glimpse of Kweni so yes, she is still alive and plotting… but she does appear somewhat rattled or fearful? Interestingly enough, it looks like she’s in a dungeon… and she’s not looking too well if you ask me!
Judith, on the other hand seems to be faring much better? She’s survived some serious difficulties in the past but looks like she finding her way to playing to the power game.
At the end of last season, we saw her making a start at realizing that she might have some chance in this game. I will update her story soon to include this beginning realization. Good for Judith, I can’t wait to see her figure this all out!
One last thing of interest…. we seldom see Ragnar with a look of real fear on his face but something has put this look on him in the next season!