King Ragnar Lothbrok is dead, and #Vikings will surely never be the same. While his sons plot revenge and Ivar deals with the news that his mother has also been murdered, a mysterious ship lurks in the waters outside the village; Its captain, a mysterious one-eyed man.
But the strange figure on the boat is no stranger at all. In fact, he made an appearance in the very first episode of Vikings— in the first scene, no less. So who is it?
In the first season of Vikings, Ragnar is surveying a battle scene littered with bodies when he spots a strange figure in the distance, selecting fallen warriors to ascend to valhalla.
This is Odin, a god who the vikings believed ruled valhalla and was one of the most iconic and revered figures in norse mythology. He was commonly associated with ravens, and gave his eye in exchange for knowledge.
So how do we know the man on the boat is Odin? Well, he's got one eye, and his ship is surrounded by a swarm of ravens. He also appears directly after Ragnar's death, linking him to the viking's tragic demise.
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Ragnar And Odin
Ragnar has always been closely linked to Odin. Both the real-life legend and the fictional character claim to be descended from Odin himself, and Ragnar is often shown to have only one eye open. In fact, when Aelle tortures him, one of his eyes is completely swollen shut.
Odin's appearance following his death is certainly fitting, especially considering Ragnar's defiant speech to his Saxon captors:
"It gladdens me to know that Odin prepares for a feast. Soon I shall be drinking ale from curved horns! This hero that goes into valhalla does not lament his death. I shall not enter Odin's hall with fear. There, I shall wait for my sons to join me. And when they do, I shall bask in their tales of triumph. The seer will welcome me. My death comes without apology, and I welcome the valkyries to summon me home."
Vikings frequently uses the appearance of ravens to symbolize Odin's presence, as well as significant events. Swarms of ravens are often seen when a character appears to be close to death, as we've seen from many close calls on the battlefield.
For example, a group of ravens watched Ragnar from the tree he tried to hang himself from in Season Four Episode 11. One was perched directly on his shoulder, just moments before he fell to the ground, alive.
Ravens are essentially a metaphor for the gods' presence; A sign that the Norse deities are watching over and perhaps even intervening in specific events, playing a hand in certain characters' fates. But do the ravens surrounding Odin's ship carry a sinister message for another resident of Kattegat?
A Bad Omen
If Odin is the god who waits to carry viking souls to valhalla, and ravens frequently symbolize an impending death, then what does his ship's presence at Kattegat mean? If he was there to collect Ragnar and escort him to valhalla, then why is he in Kattegat and not England?
Odin's ship not only appeared in Kattegat directly after Ragnar's death, but soon after Ivar returned from Wessex. With Ivar furious to hear that Lagertha has killed his mother and taken over Kattegat, the "ruthless" killer seems determined to exact revenge on his new queen. Could Odin's presence indicate the impending death of Lagertha at the hand of Ivar?
Luckily, Lagertha seems to be safe for now. Show writer Michael Hirst also hosted a Q&A on the official Vikings Facebook following the latest episode, where he confirmed the real reason for Odin's presence— to inform the people of Kattegat of his death:
But that doesn't necessarily mean that Lagertha is safe. All of Aslaug's sons, especially Ivar, now pose a huge threat to her safety. Avenging their father's death is definitely on the cards, but will they also get even with Lagertha for the death of their mother? Let's hope Astrid really is capable of keeping her lover safe from the newly orphaned warriors.
Do you think Ivar will attempt to get back at Lagertha on the next episode of Vikings?