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Tara Ariano

S02.E07: Blood Eagle

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Ragnar and King Horik clash over how to dispense justice to Jarl Borg; King Aelle arrives in Wessex; King Ecbert has an eye on a new alliance.

 

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So is Floki now Kattegat's Fundamental Extremist Viking?  

Last season, Ragnar, Rollo, and Floki were the Viking equivalent of The Three Musketeers.  Then, after Rollo decided to be all palsy-walsy with Jarl Borg (I always want to chirp "Bork bork bork!" after saying his name :o ), three became two, with Ragnar and Floki turning into the Dynamic Duo.  

Ragnar/Horik's and Jarl Borg/Rollo's Beach Blanket Bingo was no doubt a rather dark place for all of them, but while Ragnar, Horik, and Rollo were ostensibly able to move past that nightmare, Floki remained stewing in the Bitter Broth.  By the time they raided Wessex, his attitude and resentment of Athelstan and, in turn, his treatment of him grew darker and more extreme and disturbing, but I was willing to give that crazy Swede the benefit of the doubt.  No more, though -- I am majorly bummed with the direction his character went tonight.

I can't believe he snubbed Ragnar WRT his nuptuals!  I missed about 15 minutes right in the middle of the episode -- did they expound on why Floki was at first so upset and saddened when Helga announced she was preggers?  He's always been so fond of Bjorn, so I was surprised at how he reacted to the news.  Has he officially broken off the bromance with Ragnar, or does he have something new and dark up his sleeve?

Blood Eagle - bleah.  I'm glad they didn't go overboard with gratuitous violence and gore during that scene; I already had plenty of imagery in my noggin' from the battles and the torture/execution scenes in Braveheart, so no need to add more --  the director here got the point across just fine without spelling out each and every little detail/shriek/splash/etc.

Lagertha's back.  Hopefully for good this time.

They should never have King Frumpy of Northumbria do another scene with Linus Roache.  All that did was highlight the former's shortcomings and the latter's er, assets.  Whenever King Frumpy was in a scene, I kept picturing Dom DeLuise in that role, brandishing a chicken leg instead of a sword. 

Edited by OriginalCyn
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Getting the Blood Eagle totally sucks!  I actually felt bad for Jarl Borg, despite what he did.  The Vikings really did not mess around back then.

Hell yeah, Earl Lagertha!  Looking forward to seeing her join the raid parties and kick some major ass.  Although, I hope she gets a moment to advise Bjorn on his current situation, because I'm not quite sure Floki and Rollo are the best people to be giving him romantic advice.

Floki going against Ragnar was something.  Especially since Siggy found out and told Horik.  Not sure what Floki is going to do, but I think it would be a bad idea to switch sides.  Horik really isn't a trustworthy guy, and I could see him easily using Floki, and then just tossing him aside like garbage.

Meanwhile, overseas, King Ecbert is getting his Tywin Lannister on with the political, arraigned marriages!  Linus Roache continues to be awesome.

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I can't believe he snubbed Ragnar WRT his nuptuals!

This. And I snickered at Siggy taking the "Floki's on the outs with Ragnar" piece as a big secret to Horik, then Floki does a completely public announcement of said secret by not inviting him to the wedding.

Also:  Really? Bjorn didn't know what a blood eagle is? The guy's a teenager, not three years old. (Unless the blood eagle didn't actually exist historically and he's the lone voice of reality...)

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We had foreshadowing of Floki's change primarily through his reactions to the Ragnar/Athelstan bond but also there was that forboding scene when they rushed back home after Borg's invasion.  Floki had jumped out of the ship alone at the coast and his future wife ran up to him to see what was wrong.  He told her about the lost ships and that it meant the Norse gods were displeased with them.  Floki is starting to view Ragnar as the Viking equivalent of an apostate.

Floki has two paths in this show as I see it.  Become Ragnar's Judas perhaps or take the historical Floki's storyline that this character seems to have been inspired by.  To quote a few lines from wikipedia:

"Flóki Vilgerðarson (b. 9th century) was the first Norseman to deliberately sail to Iceland. His story is documented in the Landnámabók manuscript. He heard good news of a new land to the west, then known as Garðarshólmi.  He wanted to settle in this new land and so he took his family and livestock with him. From Western Norway he set sail  ... (me: details skipped) ...  he took three ravens to help him find his way to Iceland, and thus, he was nicknamed Raven-Floki (Norse and Icelandic; Hrafna-Flóki) and he is commonly remembered by that name."

Wonder if the show was inspired to add the raven bit to Ragnar's storyline from the raven stuff from Floki's history.  Anyway Floki's out in the show eventually could be that he grows so disgusted by the abandonment of the old ways that he and his family sail off to the west.  Which I like better then say betraying Ragnar.

Speaking of which does Ragnar's story end at the end of season 2?  We are running out of quasi-historical material with him at this point since his last child is about to pop out any minute.  Think he only has one more raid in him.  Hope they stretch out Ragnar's story into part of season 3 at least.  The actor is so good at bringing the guy to life.

Amazing how the show creator/writer has woven all these real or quasi-real Norsemen into a great historical fiction.  Just the right balance between history while bringing them all together to serve the drama.  Ragnar and his wives and sons all were together.  Rollo and Floki were from other timelines though Floki's is really close to Ragnar's.  Making Ragnar and Rollo brothers serves the drama well by bending but not breaking history.  Bravo, show.

And plenty of material for more seasons for sure.  Rollo's founding of the dynasty that will produce the one and only man to ever successfully both invade and conquer England.  (I'm looking at you, William, though you are a couple of centuries down the road).  In the meantime we have the vengeance-seeking sons of Ragnar (the family that fights together etc etc) leading what the English termed the "Great Heathen Army" to wreck havoc on the Saxons first.

Awesome soundtrack on this show.  The intertwining of the visuals and the music between the two weddings.  The blood eagle music made the scene almost more art then just senseless violence (which it really was in real life).  Writing, scoring, filming, editing and acting ... this show has it all.

Edited by green
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Going to put getting a blood eagle on my to don't list.

I'm a little concerned that Ecbert went one episode without going in the bath.

Green: if you like the historic fiction here, may I recommend the book Roma? It's the account of Rome from wilderness to Augustus told through the lives of the owners of a talisman passed from generation to generation. Really neat read.

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Thanks for head's up on Roma.  Sounds like my kind of read.

Man I cannot get the main titles (song by Fever Ray) out of my head.  Show had me with that opening montage alone last season.

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Also:  Really? Bjorn didn't know what a blood eagle is? The guy's a teenager, not three years old. (Unless the blood eagle didn't actually exist historically and he's the lone voice of reality...)

There's some debate over whether the blood eagle actually existed or is something embellished.  Even so, it would actually be a quick death.  The person would pass out and die from shock and blood loss fairly fast, and even in the extremely unlikely event they're still alive when they get to the lungs they'd die from suffocation since you need the diaphragm and intercostal muscles to breathe.

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I loved the scene with Lagertha and Ragnar. They were so flirting. They're still in lurrrrve.

Comcast sucks! What did Aslaug say to Ragnar? Something about how she'd ditch Ragner for Lagertha? Right there with ya.

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I loved the scene with Lagertha and Ragnar. They were so flirting. They're still in lurrrrve.

That scene with Ragnar circling Earl Lagertha was beautifully shot & yes they were totally flirting.

I may have ben moew squicked out by the explanation of the Blood Eagle than the actual scene. I liked the way that scene was shot as well. Minimal gore with the implied torture & cruelty of the act. The fainting was a nice touch. Of course my girl Lagertha stood there strong without flinching.

I have no idea were they are going with this Floki story line. Horik better make sure he's not trying to screw over Lagertha because she's definitely not Earl Borg.

Aslaug wants to be like Lagertha. My thought was "who doesn't"?

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Great info Green on the history weaving.  I  can't find anything out about the snake in the newborn's eye and what it signifies.  Was that a curse?

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The scene with Ragnar riding his horse around Earl Lagertha was one of the sexiest scenes I've seen in a loooong time.  I got all hot and bothered and wishing I was on a horse while my man rode around me.  Plus, Travis Fimmel and those eyes.  Damn.  No wonder Lagertha keeps coming back.

My next favorite scene was Ragnar hanging back in the shadows, just watching people and taking their measure. 

I thought the blood eagle scene was beautifully shot, and Borg took it as well as can be, I guess.  It was nice of Bjorn to give him some food before it all went down.

Bad move on Floki's part for not inviting Ragnar to the wedding.  Ragnar won't forget that.  Also, Siggy is unknowingly playing with fire, fucking with the dangerous triumvirate of Ragnar, Horik, and Rollo.  She is out of her element and I wonder what will happen to her.

I cringe every time I see King Aella and I get a little sad, knowing that he threw Ragnar in the snake pit.  I wonder if History Channel will follow history or change it up, letting Ragnar live and the king die.

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Man do Lagertha & Ragnar have some kind of chemistry. I don't want them getting back together though. She's too damn good for him.

I might actually like Floki if he turns against Ragnar. I'm sick of Ragnar being the most specialist snowflake evah!

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It was pretty rich of Ragnar to tell Bjorn to quit thinking with his dick!

I just love this show. Have fun in Valhalla, Jarl Borg!

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I cringe every time I see King Aella and I get a little sad, knowing that he threw Ragnar in the snake pit.  I wonder if History Channel will follow history or change it up, letting Ragnar live and the king die.

Yeah it's not the heroic death Ragnar would want.  OTOH, this episode had cutaways not just to Ragnar's raven a lot but, for the first time, to a snake.  Suppose to symbolize treachery no doubt (Siggy, I'm looking at you) but could be first foreshadowing of Ragnar's fate as well.  Or how the treachery may lead to the demise?

Hope all this doesn't take place until Season 3 though.  The Ragnar actor has too big a screen presence to disappear too early in this series.  And we still have the Ragnar/Athelstan relationship to work out.  Athelstan can't keep mentally serving two masters and will have to choose between Ragnar and Ecbert eventually.

And King Aella is out of his league dealing with both Ragnar and Ecbert.  Ecbert has him right where he wants him now.  First Mercia and kill off some of Aella's army in the process so Wessex's army doesn't take all the causalities.  Then on to Northumbria.  Maybe enlist some "special ops" warriors along the way in the form of, oh  I don't know, maybe a wandering Viking raiding party looking for work?  Have them and Aella bloody each other then ride in for the victory.  I mean his son will need to do something and why not give him the now new "sub" kingdom of Northumbria he married into to administer?  Ecbert for the win!

Edited by green
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The chemistry between Ragnar and Lagertha... wow. They are still a hot couple.

Some really well-directed and acted scenes in this episode: Ragnar meeting his new earl ally, Ragnar "the gods must be laughing at me today," Floki's wedding intercut with the England wedding, and the blood eagle scene. I really was not looking forward to seeing a ton of blood but it was shot beautifully and got the point across. It still made me uncomfortable. I thought it was interesting to see Bjorn checking out Jarl Borg before the execution and I'm wondering what he wanted to gain from that. King Horik seemed like he gave Jarl Borg some false hope but maybe he didn't want to risk his alliance with Ragnar at this time. I hope he feels like shit because this entire situation was his fault because idiot didn't want to bring Jarl Borg on their England raid.

Siggy! Sleeping with King Horik has done absolutely nothing to help her situation. She shouldn't have done it in the first place, especially without a clear quid pro quo. This is really BS that she is doing it all for Rollo, as she says. She doesn't have any useful info to share with Horik. I had thought at one point that her goal was to get pregnant by Horik and then their baby would be someone with status, but it doesn't seem like it is going in that direction, just Siggy trying to play the game (poorly).

Edited by corgi shieldmaiden
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Ragnar's situation with Aslaug/Lagertha will never not be funny, he is so powerless and it's regress to a little boy whenever Lagertha is around and then he tries to get his ego back a bit whenever he interacts with Aslaug. Man, indeed the Gods are toying with him and I enjoy it, he can't have a smart hand on everything haha!

King Horik is one hell of a turncoat. He doesn't care about anyone getting slaughtered as long as he has his interests protected. Must be nice to have everyone doing the dirty job for you once you sit on the throne eh...

Siggy's a$$ must go. Immediately. End of.

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Just watched the blood eagling tonight. On to "Hannibal" later. Good times!

I think Jarl Borg thought he was escaping at first. What a "oh, damn!" moment for him when he saw all those torches. I thought maybe Bjorn was giving him poisoned bread so he could just go ahead and die. Was that JB's wife at the execution, the one that fainted? I figured Lagertha would be the ally. Awesome! Also awesome was getting to see Rollo's hot body!

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Did you all notice that Lagertha was the only woman who didn't look away? She rocks.

I know there isn't much verified info on Ragnar, but how old was he supposed to have been when he was killed?  The boys are still little kids, there could be plenty of story left to tell.  He still has another marriage on the horizon too.

I checked up on Aethelwulf since I knew he was father of Alfred the Great, but Judith was not Aethelwulf's first wife nor Alfred's mom.  It was strange for Ecbert to talk about allying with Aelle since their kingdoms were so far apart... until oh yeah, wanna split up Mercia while we're at it?

Edited by Haleth

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Quibble time: neither bride would have been dressed in white. I can't hate on it too much, though: Floki's white tunic set off his eyeliner/facepaint.

I'm beginning to wish that more of the action took place outside in daytime. So many scenes in the dark!

I'm a little concerned that Ecbert went one episode without going in the bath.

Concerned? Disappointed! I'm thisclose to naming my rubber ducky Ecbert!

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It rains so much they have a difficult time even shooting the scenes that do take place outside!

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Man I cannot get the main titles (song by Fever Ray) out of my head.  Show had me with that opening montage alone last season.

My husband and I turn it up every time, it's just such a haunting song - combined with the imagery for the credits, we were hooked. 

 

I think Jarl Borg thought he was escaping at first. What a "oh, damn!" moment for him when he saw all those torches. 

I think so too. I'm sure he had a little flicker of hope that Horik was helping him escape after all. "Oh damn" indeed!

I liked the juxtaposition of the two weddings. Somber, impersonal (have we met? I'm your spouse!), cold, dark, political...in contrast to light, airy, flowers-in-the-hair, in looooove, etc. Too bad Floki is turning into a bit of a wiener. 

Missing Athelstan. And I'm not the only one… sounds like Ragnar might want to go pick up his buddy and bring him back "home". 

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The scene with Ragnar riding his horse around Earl Lagertha was one of the sexiest scenes I've seen in a loooong time.  I got all hot and bothered and wishing I was on a horse while my man rode around me.  Plus, Travis Fimmel and those eyes.  Damn.  No wonder Lagertha keeps coming back.

My next favorite scene was Ragnar hanging back in the shadows, just watching people and taking their measure. 

I thought the blood eagle scene was beautifully shot, and Borg took it as well as can be, I guess.  It was nice of Bjorn to give him some food before it all went down.

Bad move on Floki's part for not inviting Ragnar to the wedding.  Ragnar won't forget that.  Also, Siggy is unknowingly playing with fire, fucking with the dangerous triumvirate of Ragnar, Horik, and Rollo.  She is out of her element and I wonder what will happen to her.

I cringe every time I see King Aella and I get a little sad, knowing that he threw Ragnar in the snake pit.  I wonder if History Channel will follow history or change it up, letting Ragnar live and the king die.

All of this! 

Watching Ragnar circling Lagertha was such a simple but seductive act!  They still love and admire each other so I can see them sneaking off into the bushes at some point.

TF's eyes had me at the first scene with him. Can't believe he used to be a simple underwear model. Oh wait...watching him slid into the bath with Linus Roache was pretty hot too. 

I wouldn't be surprised if Rollo doesn't kill Siggy at some point. She is playing too many people against each other and no one likes a rat for long. 

Floki is the dangerous one. He feels forgotten in the crowd around Ragnar and is very jealous of his affection for Athelstan. Plus he comes across as being a bit mentally unstable so he could explode. 

According to the site I found about the blood eagle, this was a tortured reserved for special occasions, such as payment for killing someone's father. Seems that at some point later in time,one of Ragnar's sons captures Aelle and kills him via this torture.

I'll add my praise for Roma. I love history in general and yet I devour historical fiction. Even when I know the actual facts, the veering from truth doesn't bother me if it's done well and seems plausible.

Edited by PatsyandEddie
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Quibble time: neither bride would have been dressed in white. I can't hate on it too much, though: Floki's white tunic set off his eyeliner/facepaint.

I'm beginning to wish that more of the action took place outside in daytime. So many scenes in the dark!

Concerned? Disappointed! I'm thisclose to naming my rubber ducky Ecbert!

I noticed Ragnar received visitors in his bath in the episode too. And I agree these last two episodes have been very dimly lit--hard to see what is going on for me.

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I read an interview with the show runners, in which they explained Horik's motivation-- that he had no intention of freeing Borg; instead, that he held out hope so that Borg would suffer more ('people who have hope tend to suffer more when that is denied than people who have no hope at all'). Maybe so, but the actor covered it too well and the scene was weaker for it.

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TF's eyes had me at the first scene with him. Can't believe he used to be a simple underwear model.

 

Actually, he was a pretty amazing underwear model.  lol

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I read an interview with the show runners, in which they explained Horik's motivation-- that he had no intention of freeing Borg; instead, that he held out hope so that Borg would suffer more ('people who have hope tend to suffer more when that is denied than people who have no hope at all'). Maybe so, but the actor covered it too well and the scene was weaker for it.

I didn't see this in the scene either, but now that I think back, I'm sure Horik is still pissed that Jarl Borg didn't just roll over and give him that disputed land, so I can see how he would have wanted him to suffer more.

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Very Happy to see Lagertha back in a position of power and equality was great, in spite of the stupidly gratuitous "I like your ex-wife" speech by the eternally vapid Asluag. She REALLY needs to go - any female character who is there for the sole purpose of being a broodmare disgusts me and this character has given NOTHING to the story line other than a few vague 'prophecies' and is simply not worth watching.

Floki, Floki, Floki - I have SUCH a difficult time understanding a possible shift of belief in/loyalty to Ragnar change to Horik because Horik (at least that's who I thought he meant) has be better vision of the gods and what they want from humans? Kinda destroys the whole purpose of the 'court jester' persona that this character has been put in...but, whatever...I did find Floki's dislike of Athleson a bit of a reach - perhaps it really is jealousy deteriorating into a feeling of betrayal and an easy step from that  to defection - kinda hope not...but there IS the limilarity between the names Floki and Loki....

I'm really hoping this storyline has Ecbert (kinda like the dude - and hope his son is at least somewhat happy with his marriage which seems to have been Aelle's plan from the start -) simply outmaneuvering Aelle ( who I have no use for  (but then I also don't really check up on what the exact historical account of this time & these people is/was) - and that Ragnar's demise is quite a bit into the future, I tknow he dies young - (40's  I believe) - at least one season as I think I read something that the series has been renewed for the 3rd.  I do think Travis Flimmel has really captured the essence of a man who believes himself the actual, physical son of a god, combined with that Peter Pan quality of having never grown up...I have noted that Ragnar is very fluid in his movements, never static or stolid, more flowing than standing stiffly to stem the tide of what comes at him...at times I like him, at times he really pisses me off - more credit to the actor for his delineation of character.

As much as I disliked Jarl Borg, I must admit to some admiration for his character in the acceptance of his death by blood eagle - the scene where Ragnar comes in front of Jarl to  replace Jarl's hand back on the sidepost it had fallen from was near perfection - two enemies, each on an unavoidable path, yet in that one moment, with NO stupid dialogue to interfere, conveyed understanding, acceptance AND respect..I had a very hard time watching that scene (as I do most of the really bloody ones, but I do as that IS how it was, so why try to deny it)- I had earlier read exactly what the whole blood eagle thing was about and decided I would stay with it - as did Lagertha who I think was nearly alone in that among the main female characters.  Don't know what Siggy did then ,don't care  as her character has really deteriorated into a whorish confusion of love/duty/ambition - but maybe that's the point.. That scene was such a perfect definition of Lagertha's character - the life of a shield maiden in that time in that place - it was well done.

I have a lot of sympathy for Athelson - caught between two worlds and, understandably a bit mentally imbalanced after having been crucified...I can see his desperate re-acceptance of the 'church' and 'god save england' yammerings as the manic proclamations of a man who fears the possibility of a second crucifiction...but I kinda hope he ends up with the Vikings....And I am hoping they don't end the series until Ragnar gets at least as far as France - if I'm not mistaken that's where the name Normandy comes from...

All in all, it is a captivating series - and MUCH better than any of the other offering on  prime time TV these days.

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That scene with Ragnar circling Earl Lagertha was beautifully shot & yes they were totally flirting.

I may have ben moew squicked out by the explanation of the Blood Eagle than the actual scene. I liked the way that scene was shot as well. Minimal gore with the implied torture & cruelty of the act. The fainting was a nice touch. Of course my girl Lagertha stood there strong without flinching.

I have no idea were they are going with this Floki story line. Horik better make sure he's not trying to screw over Lagertha because she's definitely not Earl Borg.

Aslaug wants to be like Lagertha. My thought was "who doesn't"?

No way IN HELL could idiot Aslaug EVER be in the same league as Lagertha!  One look at a sword coming in her directin and Aslaug would faint dead away! The woman has NO stones. Gimme Lagertha ANYday

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Actually I thought the actor playing Jarl Borg did a great job of showing great fear when he first figured out what was really going on but then his pride took over and he put on his "game" face.  

IA that the absence of dialogue during some of these more intense scenes is a great technique. The actors need to work harder to to emote and both were fantastic.

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Floki has two paths in this show as I see it.  Become Ragnar's Judas perhaps or take the historical Floki's storyline that this character seems to have been inspired by.  To quote a few lines from wikipedia:

"Flóki Vilgerðarson (b. 9th century) was the first Norseman to deliberately sail to Iceland. His story is documented in the Landnámabók manuscript. He heard good news of a new land to the west, then known as Garðarshólmi.  He wanted to settle in this new land and so he took his family and livestock with him. From Western Norway he set sail  ... (me: details skipped) ...  he took three ravens to help him find his way to Iceland, and thus, he was nicknamed Raven-Floki (Norse and Icelandic; Hrafna-Flóki) and he is commonly remembered by that name."

Wonder if the show was inspired to add the raven bit to Ragnar's storyline from the raven stuff from Floki's history.  Anyway Floki's out in the show eventually could be that he grows so disgusted by the abandonment of the old ways that he and his family sail off to the west.  Which I like better then say betraying Ragnar.

That's actually been my theory, that Floki is Raven-Floki.  I could see him pulling away and going off on his own before he would betray Ragnar.

Loved seeing Earl Lagertha, and I also noticed she was the only woman who did not look away during the Blood Eagle.  She rocks so hard!

I actually knew about the Blood Eagle before this show, but that scene was beautifully shot.  I actually came to respect Jarl Borg for that.  Although I wonder was the eagle real (They don't tend to come out at night) and I first thought it was Jarl Borg's vision, but then it looked like Ragnar saw it too.

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... (skipping some nice stuff to reply to two things here) ...

Floki, Floki, Floki - I have SUCH a difficult time understanding a possible shift of belief in/loyalty to Ragnar change to Horik because Horik (at least that's who I thought he meant) has be better vision of the gods and what they want from humans? Kinda destroys the whole purpose of the 'court jester' persona that this character has been put in...but, whatever...I did find Floki's dislike of Athleson a bit of a reach - perhaps it really is jealousy deteriorating into a feeling of betrayal and an easy step from that  to defection - kinda hope not...but there IS the limilarity between the names Floki and Loki....

...

I have a lot of sympathy for Athelson - caught between two worlds and, understandably a bit mentally imbalanced after having been crucified...I can see his desperate re-acceptance of the 'church' and 'god save england' yammerings as the manic proclamations of a man who fears the possibility of a second crucifiction...but I kinda hope he ends up with the Vikings....And I am hoping they don't end the series until Ragnar gets at least as far as France - if I'm not mistaken that's where the name Normandy comes from...

I thought it was Floki speaking too but I came across the previews again when channel surfing tonight and it looked like it was another guy saying this to Floki.  Like trying to convince Floki to join their side.  I might be wrong but maybe the previews are up online somewhere to check?

I don't think Athelstan is pretending when he was shouting out "God save England."   I think he feels guilty -- as well he should -- for betraying his people when he went all Viking in that raid.  He killed soldiers who weren't out invading Viking lands but simply trying to defend peaceful people in their land. 

Then he kills the young, unarmed monk who was only trying to save scriptures from someone he took to be a Viking about to destroy them.  In that act he basically re-enacted what he was doing when he was first captured.  Trying to save his beloved at the time Gospel of John.  But Ragnar, who had no belief in Athelstan's religion, respected that act and lets Athelstan live.  Yet Athelstan, who always held on to some of his Christian faith, instead kills this young monk who is basically himself five years earlier..  He is motivated by fear, yes.  But also by guilt.  And guilt that is totally deserved.

Now he has developed friendships -- as much as you can be a "friend" to someone holding life and death power over you -- with both Ragnar and Ecbert.  Two very similar ruthlessly ambitious yet charming men with curious minds about each others ways and religion.  Athelstan is walking the razor's edge at this point.  That is one painful and scary walk.

Edited by green
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Are we to assume that the Seer's missing eye is in the eye of the raven that was spying on Athelstan?

I like the idea that his knowledge comes from sending his eyes out in the shape of ravens, but if the gods truly speak to him then he may not need to. Odin used two ravens to spy on the world every day and report events to him. (Hence Athelstan's look when a raven appeared at his broken window.)

Athelstan has had such a journey in these two seasons. It'll be interesting to see where he settles by the end of the series (if he survives). In England he is intellectually stimulated but I'm not sure if it's enough. Poor guy.

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It struck me as strange that Horick said he wanted revenge on King Ecbert. Revenge? Dude, you invaded his country and raped, murdered, and pillaged his people. He was entirely justified in attacking you invaders. Nothing treacherous about that.

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He's pissed that his son got killed. But I agree. When you go a'raiding, especially as a Viking, it's kill or be killed and he shouldn't take the death of his son so personally.

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IA Yeldarbe. The Viking culture was very much take your kid to work every day so when you were on a raid/invasion, you had to know that shit was going to happen.

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The Viking culture was very much take your kid to work every day...

Hee, thank you for that. So the next two episodes just landed here at PTV West HQ so... bye! :)

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After a second watching of this episode, I get the impression that Horik asked Floki to free Jarl Borg. He asked Floki because Siggy told him that Floki and Ragnar were having issues. Then, Floki went back on his "ok" to King Horik and didn't free Jarl Borg because his true loyalty is to Ragnar. The look of shock/guilt that Horik gave to Jarl Borg before the blood eagle made that clear to me. And now Floki knows that Horik was going to do stuff behind Ragnar's back and probably told Ragnar about it. Therefore, I think King Horik is next on the chopping block.

Why didn't Floki want Ragnar at the wedding? Maybe he and Ragnar talked about muting their close relationship in public as a way to throw off enemies/spies. Not inviting him to the wedding seems like a convenient way to telegraph that to the community. Floki is no fool - he took the opportunity that Helga gave him and ran with it. Ragnar saw Siggy talk to King Horik - so now that he knows Siggy can't be trusted, she's next after they get rid of Horik. Rollo's questioning of Siggy's intentions with Horik confirmed that she has been disloyal to Ragnar.   

I also have a theory that the slave girl Bjorn is in lust is the princess that he is predicted to marry. Could she be a captured member of Viking royalty? A long lost princess?

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I hated Jarl Borg, but I had to respect his bravery at the end.  That was a beautifully well done death scene.  What happens to his poor wife now?  She becomes a servant?

Floki's attitude toward Ragnar seemed to come out of nowhere.  Is this jealousy over Ragnar's rise to power?  And Siggy's wish for return to power is bringing her down a very dangerous path.  I must confess I have little sympathy for her.  She was an earl's wife, her time has come and gone.  Her husband brought their downfall upon them both.

I much prefer Lagertha and Aslaug respecting each other rather than fighting over Ragnar.    

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   First I want to third the recommendation for "Roma" I have not read the two books that follow though.

I found the Blood Eagling very difficult to watch even without the gore. WOW! That was brilliantly done.

I almost thought Bjorn was going to free Jarl Borg. I really feel like I can sit and enjoy this show from so many angles. The acting is terrific, and the actors are not hard on the eye by the way. The settings and scenery are beautiful. it is just beautiful to watch....when they are not fighting.

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Floki's attitude toward Ragnar seemed to come out of nowhere.  Is this jealousy over Ragnar's rise to power? 

I wrote about what I thought were the roots of it above in this thread or in last week's episode.  Some other people have too.  I think there has been constant foreshadowing going back to season one and that it doesn't come out of nowhere.  It's been building to this point for over a season now. 

In brief my main points don't include jealousy over a rise to power.  They do involve jealousy over Floki finding himself replaced by Athelstan as Ragner's closest friend and confident.  That hurts period but by a Christian is rubbing salt in the wounds.  In the feast scene after Borg's defeat when Ragnar's main thought is to  asks Horik about Athelstan and Horik says he doesn't know what happened to him but hopes he is dead?  Well remember Floki jumps in to second that in an extremely strong and hateful way.  So hateful that even Bjorn is moved to stand up for Athelstan at that point. 

Floki is a true religious orthodox when it comes to the Norse gods.  He is the most religious Viking we have seen on the show.  We saw how upset he was with Rollo's "fake" baptism last season.  Ragner asking Athelstan all sorts of questions about miracles etc is pretty heretical to Floki's mind. 

Then on the episode that Ragnar sailed back to take on Jarl Borg we see Floki hop ship and crawl ashore on the coastline.  Helga runs up to ask what is wrong and he tells her about the loss of the ships in the storm and how the gods are now displeased with them.  This combination of jealousy and hate toward Ragnar's relationship with the "priest" as Floki has always referred to Athelstan and his strong Norse gods fundamentalism has been leading up to this point for a long time I believe.  The loss of the ships kind of sealed the deal because a major omen like this is a sure sign of the gods disfavor to a religious Norseman.

Edited by green
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Powerful episode.  I have a thing for interlaced montages, so the two weddings scene was great to watch.  Stories where two different religions and cultures are juxtaposed always draw me in (maybe because I grew up in a mixed household).  What is interesting is not just the differences in tone (one political, one personal), but also the similarities - rings, for example - just rearranged and used differently.

The execution scene was done so well.  In fact, all of these types of scenes - like the sacrifices last season - manage to balance grimness, enough blood to make it visceral, but most of all, reverence for death.  For all the vikings in the show love to brawl and engage in acts of excessive violence (drunk Ragnar shooting arrows at his friend), when weighty events like sacrifices and executions happen, it's srsbzns face for everyone. 

In a way, this wasn't vengeance via killing; it was a trial/ordeal of Jarl Borg.  Even though what he did was terrible and everyone there hated him, they were giving him a chance to enter Valhalla if he only could muster up enough strength of will.  I don't know how historically accurate it is, but it is interesting to make us reflect on the reasons and intentions we have when we punish people - what are we really trying to accomplish?  In this case, it is certainly a harder way to get to Valhalla than the standard "get stabbed on the battlefield," but it is still a way for a warrior in this culture to redeem himself. I'm just going to pretend that's what Lagertha was thinking as she was standing there so awesomely.

Edited by Zalyn
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I'm WAY late to the party but Amazon Prime just put Vikings series 2 up for free so I'm catching up.

 

I have liked Athelstan the entire series and I believe, Zalyn, that he is being used by the show to do pretty much what your post above observes.  He is the blending between the two religions by a "true believer" of both.  In series 2, back in England, he is trying desperately to get a sign from the Trinity that the Norse pantheon are either real or not real.  I haven't finished the episodes yet but I'm interested to see where they go with it.

 

ETA:  That's the fascinating "grown up" part of this series.  They are also devolving into easy plot points and ill-explained drah-mah.  I consider that pandering to their teenage audience but it's okay.  This show is good for the whole family.  LOL  (Ie, the whole "Bjorn falling in love with a slave girl" which appears to be a non-event -- then why bring it up? -- and Floki's inexplicable resentment of Ragnar explained by a weird camera shot overhead and "My dark gods tell me to."  Yeah, whatever Floki.  I never liked you.  Ever.)

Edited by Captanne

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For me, this signature death scene shows how different Vikings is from GOT.

So much intimacy between the actors, loved how Travis gently touched his hair.

And put his arm back up,when it fell.

Really will miss the actor, loved his look and he has great screen presence.

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Also:  Really? Bjorn didn't know what a blood eagle is? The guy's a teenager, not three years old. (Unless the blood eagle didn't actually exist historically and he's the lone voice of reality...)

Blood Eagle if it was done was only done on people who had really pissed off the Vikings. So it wasn't a common thing to do if they did it. We know of it from the Saga about Ragnar and his sons. 

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Thanks for head's up on Roma.  Sounds like my kind of read.

Man I cannot get the main titles (song by Fever Ray) out of my head.  Show had me with that opening montage alone last season.

Every time I hear it I picture Jesse Pinkman on the go-kart screaming and then coming home to crazy junkies and just wanting to forget his pain. God I miss Breaking Bad.

Ragnar scared me this episode. He seemed to get a lot of pleasure out of the blood eagle which didn't seem to fit with his character.

I felt sick to my stomach during that scene. Agreed it was believably filmed but it was still tough to watch. Truly felt bad for jarl burg.

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Phew, I thought Jarl Borg was going to escape for another day. I'm glad that wasn't the case, although I did expect someone to attack Ragnar at some point.

I feel like I missed something with Floki and Horik... when did he approach Floki about Jarl Borg?

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