This week's episode of #Vikings saw Odin bring the news of Ragnar's death to his sons, and they've all been left reeling. His death couldn't have come at a more terrible time; Ubbe, Siggurd and Ivar are busy plotting their revenge against Lagertha for the murder of their mother, and Björn and Hvitserk are in the midst of conquering the Mediterranean. But what Hvitserk and Björn haven't realized is that they've got more pressing matters on their hands than their current raid.
Harald Finehair and his loyal brother Halfdan the Black may be assisting Björn on his conquest, but they've got an agenda. Harald's confession to his brother on the boat confirmed that he still holds the same ambition— to defeat the Lothbroks and become King of Norway:
"One day we must overcome the Lothbroks, for how else can I become the King of all Norway? And sometimes I think, why wait?"
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A Not-So-Secret Strategy
Harald has never kept his plans secret. In fact, upon his arrival in Kattegat at the start of Season 4, he confessed to Aslaug that he needed to become King of Norway in order to win the hand of a beautiful princess— an accomplishment which would require him to overthrow Aslaug's husband, King Ragnar:
It's important to note that Ragnar wasn't King of Norway, but of Denmark; A title that he took from King Horik. Back in those days, the borders of the Scandinavian countries and kingdoms were a little more blurred than now. However, the show does suggest that Kattegat is a part of Norway. As ruling Earl of Kattegat, Ragnar's control of the town was probably one of the last pieces of land in Norway that Harald didn't have control over. By taking Kattegat, Harald would control all of Norway, and thus be its King.
Interestingly, Harald's story of being rejected by a princess does sound a little suspicious. Could it be that the princess was actually Aslaug? She may very well have turned down his offer of marriage and chosen to pursue someone more "important"— Ragnar. If Harald were to defeat Ragnar, he would secure his title, and possibly Princess Aslaug, too.
Of course, not everyone was so blasé about Harald's plans to potentially murder Ragnar. During the journey to Paris, Björn refused to be civil to Harald, saying, "I have no reason to trust you. You have told me of your ambitions". Upon Halfdan and Harald's arrival in Kattegat at the start of Vikings Season 4B, Björn again confronted Harald about his "ambition", which Harald suspiciously brushed off.
With Ragnar out of the way, will Harald attempt to take Kattegat from Lagertha? The historic sagas may hold the answer.
The True Story Of Harald
Warning! History spoilers ahead:
Given its source material is actual historic events, it should be easy to predict what's going to happen next on Vikings. But sussing out the true story behind Harald Finehair isn't that simple.
Vikings is technically a historical drama, but creator Michael Hirst has definitely taken a lot of creative liberties with historic facts in order to present his exciting version of the viking sagas. But while the sagas may not be the most reliable source material to predict where the show is headed next, they have acted as a pretty accurate guide for the outcome of many characters' fates. Just look at Ragnar's recent death at the bottom of Aelle's snake pit— that was straight out of the history books, including his infamous last words.
There are plenty of Halfdans and Haralds from Viking history, and many of them were even mighty figures who existed in similar times It's not hard to mix them up, but even harder to determine which ones relate to their counterparts on the show. Harald Finehair is based on the great viking Harald Fairhair. Halfdan and Harald are brothers in the show, but in real life Halfdan the Black was Harald's father.
In real life, Ragnar and Harald probably never crossed paths. However, Harald did become the first King of Norway, and did so in order to win the hand of a princess called Gyda (the same name as Ragnar's late daughter on Vikings, but obviously not the same person). Has there ever been a more romantic story of national unification?
If Michael Hirst does plan to follow the true story of Harald, then his takeover of Norway is imminent. Does Lagertha has reason to worry?
If Not Now, When?
It's strange that Harald didn't attempt to attack Kattegat during Ragnar's lengthy absence, especially considering how unguarded the town was. Nevertheless, it's clear that he hasn't given up on his dream of becoming King. But Lagertha isn't the one who should be wary.
The Seer has predicted that Lagertha will be killed by one of Ragnar's sons, and she seems to have accepted this as her fate. We also know that they're planning on taking a massive army to England to avenge their father, which will most likely take years— and require their control of Kattegat. After all, Harald was never Ragnar's biggest fan, and probably wouldn't be too keen on lending out his army to help his sons get justice.
Halfdan assured his brother that the gods would give them a sign when it was time to overthrow the Lothbroks, and fans will surely be keeping a keen eye out for that. And considering the pair's sadistic, violent tendencies, the Lothbrok men had better watch their backs.
Do you think Harald will succeed in his ambition to become King of Norway?