This post contains spoilers for Vikings Season 3 episode 1, Mercenary. If you have not watched it yet and do not want spoilers, please avoid this post until you have watched it, or do not complain that I did not advise you ahead of time!
Have you ever experienced a long, cold winter trapped in close quarters with nowhere to go for relief from the voices and the troubles of others? Well, if you have been through these winters, you will understand me when I say that after some months of the bitter cold, the dreary days of little sunlight, and the never ending snow, everyone becomes restless. Their nerves are frayed, they are on edge for little or no reason, they are restless, bored and irritated with the company of even their closest allies and loved ones? That is how we have spent this winter of much distress and discontent. We were ambushed and attacked in our own home by our own King…and that was just the start of our longest winter! Before I go on with our coming voyage, I must quickly share what happened that fateful winter night when King Horik decided that he trusted no one of Ragnar’s family and that they all must die.
He supposedly came in peace, even brought with him his entire family to celebrate a new beginning, an alliance between all of us. What he really did though was set a trap to lure us into, to use us as his means of doing away with Ragnar and his family whom he felt held too much power?
While he spoke of peace and celebration, he was trapping ones such as Siggy and Floki into carrying out his plans of death. I did warn Siggy more than once that this dangerous game she involved herself in could come to no good end?
Rollo had learned of her actions, and felt wholly betrayed by her even though she had done her deeds with his future rise in mind. That made it worse as far as he was concerned for it felt to him like she did not trust him to fight his own battles? There was much tension, anger and resentment between them when he was returned to us near death. They were both filled with bitterness and said things they probably should not have…
Floki was embroiled in his own treacherous game with Horik. In attempt to gain Horik’s trust, he was ordered to kill someone who mattered?
Horik plotted and planned with his family- his wife and his son, and with his army to ambush and destroy us in the night…
They sought to bring the war right into our home but in the end they failed because of the loyalties that all felt to Ragnar Lothbrok. His plot was known about and he was defeated. Those two, Siggy and Floki did not betray but brought their information to Ragnar so that we could be prepared for the fight.
In the end, Horik was surrounded and put to death by Ragnar. Horik’s one last request was that Ragnar let his son live? I am not so sure this was such a wise idea but Ragnar did grant it.
At the end, it was his own dagger that he was killed with, and Siggy had the final revenge of watching him die!
The sword of Kings was in Ragnar’s possession now and Bjorn held it as if feeling his own future destiny.
So, King Horik and his family were no more and now Ragnar is King. Being King does not make life any better or easier, and it does not make a man any happier about his life? All of the problems and messes that were in his life are still there for him to deal with. He suffers no less from the winter, the restlessness and the discontent than the rest of us!
Now, winter is leaving us soon and we are more than ready for spring to arrive! Ragnar has announced that come Spring, we shall sail to England and claim that land which King Ecbert promised us. Many are more than ready, are anxious to take the voyage… they all have their own reasons?
Ragnar is as restless as everyone else. He does love his sons, but their Mother… not so much! He loves the son Ivar, but can do nothing to help the child and feels pain at being around him I think? Aslaug feels that same pain as well, but she is a Mother above all else and will endure that heart ache for her son.
She knows that Ragnar does not love her but she continues on with a brave front and a cold attitude to others. And, she watches her husband and Lagertha leave with great suspicion, she is sure no good will come of this?
Rollo, he must leave because his heart hurts too much to stay right now. He can not forgive Siggy for her sleeping with Horik even if was done in some attempt to help him…
Rollo is not happy, neither is Siggy but they are both too proud to admit their wrongs to each other…
Much later Rollo will think on Siggy, admit what was in his heart for her and still feel the bitterness… but at least he would come to smile again!
Floki, he would leave because he felt trapped by his marriage to Helga and his new family? Floki feared happiness!
I think Floki feared the impending responsibilities of being husband and Father? He looked at his family and all he saw was the looming responsibilities, and the fear that something might happen to them? Better then, not to be so attached to them should that happiness be taken away by the Gods…
In Floki’s words, Helga was so horribly good that he couldn’t stand it and he must get away! Helga would not fight or argue, she simply said, “Go then, perhaps you will feel different when you return?”
Athelstan, why did he feel such need to go back to England?
Athelstan was torn in his thoughts and his decisions, but he felt that he needed to follow Ragnar? Ragnar felt much the same in that he must follow Athelstan… Athelstan must go back to that place, and his God. He must face his inner demons and hauntings to be clear in his mind and heart of what he should do with his life.
Athelstan is marked by his god for some higher purpose and he must seek out that purpose.
Athelstan is torn not only by his faith but in his friendships. Ecbert awaits his return to him and to their God’s calling.
And, what of Lagertha in Hedeby, why did she feel need to go on this voyage when other troubles were brewing upon her doorstep?
Lagertha killed her abusive husband to become Earl of Hedeby… there are those that are not so happy about this and feel that she has usurped the title from it’s rightful inheritors. Is Hedeby truly hers? When it comes right down to it, no not really… some who she trusts well right now will seek to betray her and regain that title. But, that does not come into her thoughts on this journey because she does not know of this treachery, so why then does she choose to take this voyage with us when she should be content and happy with her new role as Earl? I believe she takes this journey because she ready for adventure. Her son is grown now, on his own, she has no ties or restrictions of Motherhood on her, she is a free woman for now. Though she knows she must probably marry again at some point for alliances she is not ready for that quite yet? She still yearns for the adventure. I do not believe it really has anything to do with thoughts of being with Ragnar again. She has a new life to embark on, and she would make the most of what ever comes her way.
She does not know it but the treachery and betrayal will come from the one she trusts most at Hedeby…
So, she takes time to embark on this voyage with her family, such as it is… and she finds herself in a new situation with a new man who is infatuated with her!
Ahhhhh and then there is our friend Torstein…. why is he so anxious and excited to go on this voyage that he can not wait for spring to arrive and would be willing to go in a snow storm if need be? Well, Torstein’s reason is a bit different than the others. While one would assume that his reason is that he can not wait to raid and fight, that is not his main reason for wanting our ships to sail so quickly?
As I did mention, it has been a long cold winter and Torstein spent it warming a few too many blankets? This should be a good lesson and reason to listen to those who preach moderation in all things, even sex!
Really, No one is so happy to see our boats finally as Torstein is!
There are many others excited about this voyage as well. Usually, the voyages are looked on with some great sadness by much of the village as we must watch our men and our shield maidens leave for battles and fear for their safety until they return to us. This time is different though. This voyage will take many families across the sea to this new place of England. It is with much excitement, and yet a heavy heart that I will sail as well! I will go on this voyage to England to see Wessex, but I have promised Siggy that I will return to her. I would never think to so totally abandon her here in Kattegat and I feel immense sorrow that she would not join me in this journey. I do understand, though, such as the way things are with her and Rollo for now. It breaks my heart to leave her, but we have talked it over and it was she who suggested that I take this chance to travel. I think she will feel some better knowing that one of us is with Rollo, watching out for him? Rollo was reluctant about my coming at first. He suggested that perhaps it would be best if I stayed here with Siggy? I know that while he refuses to admit it, he still cares for her and worries about her welfare. I have made assurance to him that she will be fine, and it is better this way. She needs time and space from all of us for now.
This is part one of a two part review. The next part will continue with our arrival in Wessex!