#Vikings Season 4 is set to return in just a few short weeks after a seven month hiatus, and it looks set to be one hell of a season. Set many years after the siege on Paris, a weary Ragnar returns to Kattegat after a long absence to find his home a very different place.
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The show is based on the Scandinavian sagas of famous warrior Ragnar Lothbrok. These sagas would often tell the story of real viking legends with a sprinkling of mythos and folklore, making for some truly epic tales. In the lead-up to the return of Season 4, show creator Michael Hirst revealed his process for retelling history:
While Vikings doesn't stick entirely to the source material, the majority of the characters and stories in the show are taken directly from the great sagas. By delving in to these real-life legends, we can easily predict what the show writers have in store.
There's no doubt Ragnar's been through some intense stuff since disappearing all those years ago. But is this great warrior going to forego the glory of dying on the battlefield and kill himself? This week, History released their most alarming teaser yet: a scene that seems to depict King Ragnar taking his own life:
But according to his sagas, that's not how Ragnar will get to Valhalla. Ignoring Auslag's warnings, real-life Ragnar sailed off on a pillaging expedition but was blown off course. He landed in East Anglia, England and was kidnapped by King Ælla (Aelle in the show), who threw Ragnar to his death in a pit of venomous vipers.
We know how much Aelle despises pagans, which makes his snake pit from earlier seasons somewhat of a Chekov's gun:
The question of Ragnar's death is really more of a "when?" than an "if". It may seem foolish of the show to kill their best character, but it's a necessary sacrifice in order for the show to take the next step in the saga.
Björn Ironside Will Rule As King
The sagas tell of Ragnar being so consumed by jealousy towards his sons that he instated someone else as jarl of his lands, so as to protect them from his sons. After Ragnar's death, Björn Ironside inherited his kingdom and took his place as its rightful ruler. He then set sail for the Mediterranean, leading a raiding party to discover new riches and wage war against Italy and Greece.
The trailers for the new season depict Björn pestering his father about his desire to explore the distant lands from a map he pillaged— the Mediterranean.
Season 5 is reported to be filming in Morocco, presumably the location for Björn's Mediterranean battle. This means we aren't going to see that voyage just yet. But if the show is indeed staying true to the sagas, Ragnar's death is on the cards for Season 4. Accounts vary on the exact date of Ragnar's death, but some historians place it at the year 840— before Björn's journey to the Mediterranean.
The Rise Of Ivar The Boneless
The historical feats of Ivar the Boneless are almost mightier than the legend of Ragnar himself. And if the teasers for Season 4 are anything to go by, he's going to become a major character in the show.
The vikings didn't have quite the same medical terminology as we do, but most accounts describe Ivar having some sort of physical disability that rendered him unable to use his legs. Despite this, he had incredibly upper body strength and could definitely hold his own in battle.
He is described as a fierce and deadly warrior; a true warlord. He was also incredibly wise and cunning. It's clear to see why his brothers appear to be so intimidated by him in the Season 4 teasers.
After his father's death, Ivar and his brothers led an intimidating army in to East Anglia, England. The East Anglian Christians found themselves outnumbered and terrified by the sheer force of the viking army. Ivar, cunning as he was, negotiated a surrender and accepted a large plot of land for his own. Little did the English know he would return one year later to exact his brutal revenge on those who had murdered his father.
Someone's Getting Blood Eagle'd
After a seemingly peaceful end to their raid of East Anglia, Ivar and his brothers returned to properly avenge their father's horrific death at the hands of King Ælla. They pillaged Wessex and Mercia, destroying every Christian church they could find and massacring everyone in sight. You know, just normal viking stuff.
Once they located Ælla, they performed a fitting punishment: a blood eagle. A notorious act of torture and execution from Season 1, it involves ripping out the victim's ribcage and lungs through their open back to mimic the appearance of wings. Ouch.
Due to the nature of the timeline, these events most likely won't occur until Season 5. So if you're thinking of tuning out after Ragnar's potential death this season, you'd better stick around just a little longer to see Ragnar's sons get their bloody revenge on smarmy Aelle.
Vikings Season 4 will return November 30.