VARIETY – Spoilers for those who haven’t seen Season 4 finale of “Vikings.”
The sons of Ragnar, different and yet all so like their father, have been united by a single purpose these last few episodes of Season 4: to avenge their father’s death at the hands of King Aelle and, by proxy, King Ecbert (Linus Roache). But they all seem to have different ideas about what to do next — settle down in East Anglia, go back to raiding, sail to yet further shores. And it’s all complicated by Ivar (Alex Høgh) throwing an axe into his brother Sigurd (David Lindström), bringing the finale’s main character body count up to three. “Vikings” creator Michael Hirst called up Variety to talk about what’s next.
Will anything happen to Ivar? One would think kinslaying would be a pretty serious deal.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – A typical episode of Vikings is often fatal for minor or major characters. A season finale? That’s a guaranteed bloodbath. And History’s seafaring epic did not disappoint with the fourth season finale, which saw the rising generation of Vikings battle the forces of Wessex, seeking a final vengeance for the death of the great King Ragnar Lothbrok. SPOILERS FROM HERE, as we talk to Vikings creator Michael Hirst about the passing of one of the show’s defining characters.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In some ways, this episode marked the endpoint of a story that goes all the way back to season 2, with the introduction of King Ecbert (Linus Roache) and his interaction with Ragnar (Travis Fimmel). We saw Ecbert die, by his own hand, in this episode. How did the character change from your initial conception through to his final moments?
MICHAEL HIRST: It’s been a monumental season in the sense of losing both Ragnar and Ecbert, two massive characters in the show. Their stories were interweaved. They were very different, but they found that they had so much in common. The process of discovery, of finding out what they had in common, was organic. It never occurred to me in the beginning.
Ecbert was a cultured, sophisticated mirror image of Ragnar’s authenticity. He, as a character, grew on me. I was blessed to have Linus Roache to develop him with. Linus and I share a deep love for T.S. Eliot. And I was astonished at how Linus himself had taken this character and started to look broken and old by the end of his story.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – [Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday’s season four finale of Vikings, “The Reckoning.”]
It certainly seemed like a passing of the baton during Wednesday’s fourth season finale of History’s Vikings. Following Ragnar’s (Travis Fimmel) death several episodes ago, his sons continued their mission of revenge in Wessex by coming for King Ecbert (Linus Roache) and his people. In the end, they didn’t have to look hard, as Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), Ivar (Alex Hogh) and the rest of the crew found Ecbert camped out in his deserted castle, ready for his fate.
Ecbert’s plan to trade the Vikings’ (illegal) land and choose his own manner of death (suicide in a pool of water) may have worked for now, but his wasn’t the only blood to be shed during the episode. Longtime character Helga (Maude Hirst) was brutally stabbed in the throat by her “adopted” daughter, leaving Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) to wallow in his misery. And following their victory, Ragnar’s sons continued to squabble about their futures, leading a provoked Ivar to throw an axe at his brother Sigurd (David Lindstrom) and kill him.
Meanwhile, over in another part of England, viewers finally got to meet Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ anticipated new character, Heahmund, a holy man with a penchant for fighting and sex. Although his introduction was brief, he may very well rival Ivar and his newfound war games skills when the series returns for a fifth season.
To find out where the show goes from here, learn more about Heahmund’s character and get a preview of the fifth season, THR caught up with creator and showrunner Michael Hirst.
It seems like Rollo (Clive Standen) and Floki’s storylines have come to an end — have they?
No. No, no. They haven’t gone at all. They’ll be back, absolutely.
Season 4, Ep. 20 | Aired Feb 1
See Ecbert, King of Wessex and Mercia and perhaps some other lands he has forgotten about. Ecbert is a great man, and he is an old man. He sits off his throne, long beard and long hair and mind far away. He is remembering the past, he is witnessing the present, he is imagining the future that will occur long after he is gone.
Season 4, Ep. 19 | Aired Jan 25
There are strange people in Kattegat always, riding in from lands far away or sailing in from points further. Yet one man in particular catches Torvi’s eye, as she patrols her fortress-city. He sailed in this morning with the other traders. He looks at the wares being peddled – but he and his men do not want to buy anything. The reason is clear enough: The man calls for an attack, and the battle for Kattegat begins.
Season 4, Ep. 18 | Aired Jan 18
The Great Army assembles in Kattegat, kings and earls and heroes and monsters. A great sacrifice must be made, says Lagertha, the heroic Queen. “If the army fails,” she says, “if they are defeated by the Saxons, our peoples might never recover.” The gods call for a special sacrifice at times like this. The question is not what, but who?