If you’ve been watching Vikings on the History Channel for the last several years then you’ve likely noticed the rise and subsequent fall of Ragnar Lothbrok, a figure in Viking lore that’s said to be more legend than reality, but you’ve also managed to see the tale of his sons, Bjorn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, Ubbe, Hvitserk, and Sigurd. Obviously Sigurd didn’t make it that far as Ivar killed him in a fit of rage, but it’s amazing to see that Hvitserk, who’s been afraid of Ivar’s return for so long, has made it this far. One thing about this show and its historical leanings however is that it’s definitely left the rails a time or two, or more, and done its own thing as much of what has happened in the course of seven years on the small screen has been accurate, but much more has not. In this current and final season of the show Ivar has been seen to be a guest of Prince Oleg the Prophet among the Rus, cousins to the Vikings and descendants of those that ventured further east, conquering and establishing settlements as they went. One very big difference between the Rus and Ivar’s people however is that they abandoned the worship of the old gods such as Odin, Thor, and all the rest, while those that remained in Norway cling to the old ways. While this has been mentioned more than once however it’s definitely not the main theme since conquest has been the goal of those that seek power throughout the history of the show. And for Ivar, power is all that has mattered most times.
In a historical sense many of the characters in Vikings are hard to pinpoint in history since several of them are said to be representative of various individuals throughout history. Bjorn is said to be real, and Ivar has been documented as real, but their eventual feuding appears to be more likely a fabrication of the show than anything. Yet for all that, history kind of dulls in comparison to the far more entertaining aspect of the show, as in season 6, particularly the finale, it as seen that Bjorn is beset on all sides by troubles, not the least of which is his failed kingship, which was given over to King Harald. The notion that the Rus are coming however is just one more problem that Bjorn must deal with as he furiously attempts to figure out how to stifle his brother Ivar and his attempts to take Harald’s capital. Without the support of the other kings in the region however the Rus are simply too powerful and too many to be easily routed and, as one could guess, things get ugly very quickly as the battle begins.
The problem with each brother trying outdo one another is that Bjorn has always had some type of belief that he would come out on top since he was fully believing he was in the right, that he fought for the people, and that he would do anything for them. Britt Lawrence of CinemaBlend has more to say about this matter. There’s no doubt that Bjorn is a man of the people, but in the series his idealism is a little naive at times, whereas Ivar’s belief that he was a god was beyond vainglorious and past any reasonable amount of arrogance. In other words, one brother wanted to fight for the people, the other only for himself. That left Ubbe and Hvitserk kind of lost in the middle, as they would never assume the throne save to keep it warm until their brothers returned. The loss of Lagertha was a serious blow that many felt keenly throughout the show, but the fact that it came at the hands of a less than stable Hvitserk was even worse. Leading up to the finale however it was a fitting end that most believed, especially since she was seen to reunite with Ragnar near the end. To say that this put Bjorn on the fast track to failure was only partly right since he’d already been headed that way after losing the kingship to Harald. Had the Vikings been able to rally and pull together the fight against the Rus might have gone quite differently, and we might not have seen Harald and Bjorn both lying on the ground, bleeding out as the credits began to roll. Whether both will die is hard to say since many would say that of course they will, their enemies have no interest in keeping them alive, particularly Ivar. But until the sixth season returns to offer a conclusion we just won’t know.
As Joseph Baxter and Michael Ahr from Den of Geek! put it, the second half of the season might not air until November, as this has been common in previous seasons. Until that time though the shock of seeing Ivar plunge his blade into Bjorn will no doubt take some time to wear off. What’s in store for the rest of the season, the rest of the show in fact, has yet to be revealed.