Warning! History spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
The Vikings Season 4 finale certainly didn't point, with a massive battle, three key character deaths, and the introduction of a brand new character all jammed into one 45 minute episode. But aside from eliciting some seriously emotional reactions over Floki's moving eulogy, the episode dropped some major clues for what to expect for not only Season 5, but the future of the Norse people.
#Vikings creator Michael Hirst is known for taking a fairly relaxed approach to how close he sticks to his historical source material, but so far he's followed the events written in the Viking sagas fairly closely. This was especially true for Season 4 — so much so that it makes sense that he would add a good dash of fiction to the characters themselves in order to keep the story fresh and intriguing.
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The last 15 minutes or so of Episode 20 showed the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok gathered together in celebration. However, the announcements made to their fellow Vikings confirmed that they didn't intend to remain united.
With one dead and the others headed in separate directions, what does the future hold for the four brothers?
1. Björn Will Face Worthy Adversaries In The Mediterranean
Björn has maintained an eternally brooding expression on his face all season, and we may have just discovered why. While avenging his father and securing farmland for his people is a great victory, what he really yearns for is another raid to faraway lands.
His first attack on the Mediterranean was ridiculously easy, mostly thanks to the Muslims' complete lack of defenses. It was all too easy for the Norsemen to easily slaughter the peaceful and unsuspecting victims, so it would make sense that Björn would be eager to return.
Unfortunately for him, he may be a little shortsighted in his plan to return to "sunny places", as Ivar puts it. History tells us that Björn Ironside's second raid of the Mediterranean was less successful than anticipated due to the fact that the town he'd previously attacked was now guarded by no less than the Saracen navy. They attacked Björn's fleet with a weapon known as "Greek fire", which sounds oddly reminiscent of the Wildfire from Game of Thrones. The Vikings lost 40 ships, and Björn was forced to return to Scandinavia, alive but defeated. Will he survive past Season 5 in the show?
2. Ivar Will Shed A Lot More English Blood
Ivar may be childish, but he's as determined as he is bloodthirsty. Many of his fellow warriors seemed keen to join him in his future violent endeavors — and despite his hasty, gung-ho attitude, he may just lead them to victory.
Ivar's army continued to pillage and raid, engaging in many battles against various kingdoms, viciously executing yet another king, and taking over Dublin in Ireland — not to mention waging war on Scotland. Now that's a loaded resumé.
Some specific details of Ivar's saga don't quite match up with the show in terms of names (Hirst likes to divert from history with his characters), so it's difficult to predict which king he's going to torture next. But one thing's pretty likely: Ivar is going to face off with Alfred, as conflict between the two is well-documented from history.
3. The Beginning Of A Long Conflict For The Wessex Settlements
Björn was right: Ragnar was a farmer at heart, and he wanted to secure rich farming land for his people more than anything. Now that the Vikings have taken both Wessex and Mercia and secured a deal with Ecbert, they have a legal right to the land, as well as a second chance after their first settlements were slaughtered way back in Season 3:
But according to both history and Ecbert's deal, things aren't going to pan out so easily for the new settlers. First of all, Ecbert had no right to make that deal, since he'd only just renounced his title as king. The lands he "legally" handed over to the Vikings weren't under his rule anymore, and thus the contract was moot. This leaves the settlements susceptible to attack not only on the basis of revenge, but the Norsemen's lack of legal entitlement to their new home.
This sets the scene for a major conflict from history, which will no doubt be played out in Season 5. Historically, the Vikings did take over a lot of land in what is now known as England, much of which was handed over to them by various kings. However, they faced defeat at the hands of King Alfred, who successfully drove them out of Wessex and reclaimed his kingdom. Let's hope those heathens don't start getting too cozy!
What did you think of the Vikings Season 4 finale?