Vikings: Warrior's Fate
March 6, 2015 9:56 PM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

King Ecbert visits the developing Viking settlement as the first harvest is sown.

Ecbert:
"I like to experiment between our cultures.
Poughing, fertilizing, and sowing the seeds are the very basis of life."


Lagertha:
"Indeed they are."
posted by porpoise (7 comments total)
 
I was half expecting the prince to betray Ragnar after (or during) the battle when they came to top of the hill. Would have been easy to massacre them. We know Ecbert's going to have to deal with the problem of pagans at some point.
posted by natteringnabob at 10:51 AM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was telling of the writers writing Bjorn as being mostly still just a boy - Bjorn being concerned more about Porunn's face whereas Ragnar is pissed at Bjorn for putting his unborn child, and Ragnar's unborn grandchild, in harm's way.

Kind of makes sense to me; in a culture involved in so much conflict, children would be an tremendous asset and I could see taboos about letting pregnant women fight. Allowing women to be shield maidens attenuates some of the male:female sex imbalances that would otherwise arise, but future fighters would be a priority.

How historically accurate, in sociological terms, is the show?
posted by porpoise at 1:23 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


porpoise, I have no idea how sociologically accurate the show is. But I imagine it must be a lot of conjecture since all we have to go on in terms of interpersonal dynamics and cultural norms are some sagas that were written down either by people who didn't speak the language or who were born long after the sagas were composed.

There may also be some contemporary accounts similar to ibn Fadlan's.

I have wondered the same thing though.
posted by natteringnabob at 7:49 AM on March 10, 2015


How historically accurate, in sociological terms, is the show?

Well, the wardrobing is way off: apparently the old Norse wore really brightly colored clothing, with stripes and the like. Not skin-tight leathers.

I'm pretty sure we don't have any written accounts of rituals, though, so what there is is conjecture.

People mostly lived in clan groups in large long-houses with their animals, not in individual wood-framed huts.

Politically it's way off, as well: earls and kings were elected rather than seizing power, so the situation you see in the first season, where Gabriel Byrne rules with an iron fist, pretty much wouldn't have happened.

And, of course, the chronological stuff is way off: the Vikings wouldn't have gotten to Wessex before hitting the eastern coasts of England first. Aelle & Ecgbert weren't contemporaries. The historical Rollo lived some time after Ragnar.

And so forth. One might say it's loosely based on legend and even more loosely based on history.
posted by suelac at 9:07 PM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was half expecting the prince to betray Ragnar after (or during) the battle when they came to top of the hill. Would have been easy to massacre them. We know Ecbert's going to have to deal with the problem of pagans at some point.

This underlying tension is part of what I'm really enjoying about the show right now, but also what's slowly driving me crazy. It's a will they/won't they relationship between two cultures with dynamically opposing views of each other. The role of Scully will be played by the Saxons in tonight's episode...

It was telling of the writers writing Bjorn as being mostly still just a boy - Bjorn being concerned more about Porunn's face whereas Ragnar is pissed at Bjorn for putting his unborn child, and Ragnar's unborn grandchild, in harm's way.

Nailed it. At least Rollo followed up with some sage uncle advice, as post-Ragnar rage session Bjorn probably would have moped or something.

The Mercian Prince was definitely being given wonderful tactical advice. First, divide your forces. Second, form your men inside a bowl of land which offers almost no strategic advantage whatsoever. I was surprised that our Mercian princess did not kill him. It helps alleviate the current level of crazy she's suffering. What I do wonder is how much of a puppet she or her brother would be for King Ecbert?

Harvest ritual, come for the sacrifice, stay for the beef! I liked how the Saxons crossed themselves, but did make me wonder how tight Ecbert's control over his lords is. When he confronted them on the way to deliver the plow, they seemed pretty intimidated (and he appeared pretty intimidating).

Was it me, or did Ecbert's comment about plowing, come across as one of the worse flirtations in Old English History? But...it apparently worked. It seems for Ecbert, sexual domination of powerful women is a thing of his. He slept with the princess, believes she's his puppet, and now he's allegedly slept with our favorite lady earl and the assumption is that he believes he's exerting control over her. Likewise, is his play on her genuine interest or is it rather a move to unsettle Ragnar? Is he aware that she was once married to Ragnar? I've noticed the discussion of divorce has not come up in the Christian sphere, what were the Saxon positions on that?

Floki gets points for opening his mouth, though I assume he just isn't buying, "It's for our children's children to farm..." argument. Do the vikings just need a good rampage through Mercia to make them feel better? He also called out Ragnar's heart concerning religion. I am starting to wonder whether the conceit that Christianity "tamed" the Vikings and ruined them as warriors is going to play out with Ragnar or not.

And suelac, thanks for the great historical info!
posted by Atreides at 7:26 AM on March 11, 2015


I'm pretty sure we don't have any written accounts of rituals, though, so what there is is conjecture.

Flashing back to season 1 or 2 when they went to Uppsala, I did some Googling about that and it appears they based the sacrifices shown there off an account by Adam of Bremen from between 1073 and 1076. It's a Christian account, though, so perhaps exaggerated to make the pagans look bad.
posted by dnash at 8:05 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another thing, is the Wanderer going to provide bones to Ivar? The mysterious deaths, the Seer who pretty much shrugs off a warning of his impending torture/death. Hrm.
posted by Atreides at 9:19 AM on March 11, 2015


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