Warning: This article contains Season 3 spoilers!
What a journey the Vikings have been on in Season 3, sailing to England, back to Kattegat and then to Paris, led by protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok, portrayed by Australia’s Travis Fimmel. Curious, tortured, ruthless Ragnar who will risk everything to conquer more lands and provide new opportunities for his people; after all, he did tell Björn in the season opener that power attracts the worst, and corrupts the best.
Once more we witnessed a clash of civilizations and religions, but on a grander scale, as Christian and Pagan fought to the death in the name of their respective God(s). We also said goodbye to three characters, making this season the most intense yet. New lands and new characters took some of the focus off our favourite Vikings (frustrating at times but inevitable as the their world, and the show, grows) but when all that had been promised was delivered, the arrival of the Vikings in Paris was worth the wait. As we look ahead to the finale, here are some memorable moments from Season 3 of Vikings.
Grisly Longship Décor
The sight of Viking ships sailing up the river in England through thick fog is menacing enough, but as they drew closer we saw they were adorned with the heads of decapitated Mercians. The look of pure horror on the face of Prince Burgred as his soldiers scattered and fled in terror was priceless, as was Ragnar’s triumphant grin.
The setting for this scene was breathtaking, the events that ensued devastating. Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) braving snow and ice to save Ragnar’s sons from the magical compulsion of the Wanderer. Shocked, we witnessed Siggy’s sacrifice and untimely death, and unwillingly we let her go. We took comfort however in her reunion with daughter Thyri.
Ragnar’s Farewell to Athelstan
The scene in which Ragnar carried the body of his friend up a mountain into a mist-enshrouded forest to bury and privately say his goodbyes was as endearing to watch as it was heartbreaking. Here, a bereaved Ragnar farewelled his Christian confidant, Athelstan (George Blagden) with a poignant monologue that Fimmel delivered perfectly with poise and raw emotion. Then, kneeling in a stream with a knife and blood dripping down his face, Ragnar transformed from dejected friend into formidable warrior.
Lagertha Channels Braveheart
After being forced to endure some questionable decisions made by Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) early in the season, it was a goose bump-inducing moment when she stood fierce and brave before her band of warriors, rallying them to war at the gates of Paris. In that instant Lagertha reminded us that she was, in fact always had been, unequivocally a shieldmaiden.
To The Gates!
The opening scenes of “To the Gates!” encapsulated what has been the driving force behind Vikings since it first aired in 2013: its ability to portray Viking culture in fantastical and realistic detail. Here the camera lingers on shields, swords and Athelstan’s crucifix as the Vikings prepare to attack Paris. This is of course before they even set sail for the city’s walls, a formidable sight in itself. Also impressive throughout this episode, amid the exhilarating battle between Parisian and Northman is the emotional conflict raging within Ragnar, Fimmel’s striking eyes conveying more than any spoken word could.
This season Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) took fate into his own hands deciding he had been ordered by the Gods to end the life of his nemesis the “priest”. Then, he is appointed the man who will build the towers that will get the Vikings into Paris – but when they collapse so does it seems any shred of sanity Floki has left – leading to a memorable conversation with the Gods.
Rollo of the Lost Ark
This was one of the coolest moments of the raid on Paris, when a medieval contraption was unleashed by the French as the Vikings attempted to cross the bridge into the city. Rolling down the narrow passageway it impaled every Viking in its path with its massive spikes, until along came Rollo (Clive Standen) stopping it in its tracks. It was all very Indiana Jones and proved that no one can quite, Roll Like Rollo.
“King Ragnar. That is my name.”
Only one thing can tear Ragnar away from his sheepskin where he is recuperating from injuries sustained in the initial raid on Paris, and that is his utter annoyance as he listens to the others squabble about what the next plan of attack should be. Peeved, he stands, and all the while nursing his wound snaps at everyone, reminding them he is still in charge. He never wanted to be king, but he is, and he has the last say, Fimmel delivering his finest moment of the season.
Ragnar …a Christian?
In last week’s episode “Breaking Point” Ragnar asked to be baptised, claiming he was dying and wanted to go to Heaven to be reunited with Athelstan. The deed, witnessed by a horrified Floki, Lagertha and Rollo also shocked viewers, but the question remains, why did he do it? Would Ragnar reject Odin? Is he really dying? Will the Vikings finally enter Paris?
Find out when the climactic finale of Season 3 of Vikings airs in Australia on SBS ONE this Thursday at 9.30pm.