Autism

M is for Moments

Today’s #autismawareness moment is brought to you by the letter “M”.

M is for Moments.

Autism can enhance the appreciation of moments.

Moments of total win such as our loved one on the Spectrum trying a new-to-them food item. Doesn’t matter if they like it or not; that they try it is wonderful.

Moments of discouragement such as when there is an incident with school or another caregiver that demonstrates they haven’t fully embraced keeping their temper or something similar.

Moments of peace when sometimes, things feel “normal” — whatever that means in their world. Peacefully listening to a story, taking a walk, on a road trip, that kind of thing. A time when everyone can relax their guard while still keeping an eye on every single situation.

There are moments in meetings with specialists that will indicate progress is happening…or that different meds, treatments, activities should be investigated. Moments where everything narrows down to a tight focus with alarm or widens in relief.

I can remember these moments vividly, years later. As do most folks who have a loved one who has come through a crisis.

But something else to remember in moments is this:

Moments for YOU.

Among online fandoms, virtual meet-up groups, etc., there is a larger-than-expected percentage of participants who are parents or caregivers for someone with special needs. I’ve met a lot of #AutismMoms out there in writing groups, for example. Because engaging with the world in ways that are NOT connected to caregiving is good for one’s mental health. Self-care is needful. Not only for one’s physical health, but for mental health.

Do you NEED fresh air? Make time when you can enjoy it alone, knowing that all is well with those in your care. Want to indulge in mani-pedis? Video gaming? Arts and crafts? Find time to do these things.

Caring for someone on the Autism Spectrum is not easy, for a lot of reasons. Stress levels are extraordinarily high and we internalize that and make it “normal” but it’s still a wear and tear on us. Psychological, spiritual, and physical care are all beneficial for the long-term caregiver.

So while minding the moments on the Autism Spectrum, mind your own as well.

It’s okay. You’re allowed.

Autism Concept. The Word of Red Color Located over Text of White Color.

Autism fills the life with..

Ubiquitous,

Transformative,

Imagination and

Surprise

Moments!

It really does.

Autism

S stands for….Surprise!

Our #AutismAwareness moment today is brought to you by the letter “S”.

I considered having that stand for self-control, serenity, superhero…

But in the end, I decided on SURPRISE.

1 a: an attack made without warning

b: a taking unawares

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online

Are you *surprised* by that definition?

Often, the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is a surprise, at least if it’s the first diagnosis in the family. It’s easy to be taken unaware by it and everyone scrambles in reaction.

But for this family? Surprises? We don’t like them. Period.

This goes back to needing plans for things. For needing to know what is coming up so that a mind that gets everything at an equal level of input doesn’t become overwhelmed by too much “new” information.

It’s like if your entire spice cupboard were added to your scrambled eggs…this is not necessarily awesome. At least, not without warning. If the cook said, “Heads up! I added basil!” You might nod and think about it and try it and make a decision.

Photo by Shantanu Pal on Pexels.com

Or not try it at all.

Surprises are like an entire spice cupboard. Even when it’s supposed to be a pleasant surprise. Because input is input and modulating input is often hard for folks on the Spectrum.

So we don’t do surprises. Other Spectrum mileage may vary!

Autism

I is for Imagination

Today’s #AutisMoment is brought to you by the letter “I”.

Now, there were a lot of ways I could have hit this one, but I decided to be literal. “I” is for imagination. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has more than one definition for this word, so I’m using this one:

2. creative ability ability to confront and deal with a problem the thinking or active mind

Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Yeah, that about covers it for this post.

Autism inspires the imagination in these ways. For the person on the Spectrum, it’s about thinking differently. Daniel says it’s his ability to see things that are feasible and not feasible. (And though it is still a stress, he counts it as a plus that he can do so.) Because many on the Spectrum do perceive the world around them in a different way, they can indeed be quite creative in their approaches to things.

A friend and fellow #AutismMom, has asserted that “Autism demands fluidity.” This is the ability to confront and deal with a problem. It’s a state of having a nearly constant active imagination.

For those on the Spectrum, sometimes even the most basic things can inspire their creativity. The advent of DVDs. A piece of technology. The sound of a fire alarm. The way stop lights are timed. All of these can inspire thoughts and ideas and the wonderful What Ifs of the mind. Or they can find ways to get what they want in creative ways. I know of folks on the Spectrum who outthink parental controls for, say, internet passwords. Who can get what they want through online stores even when they have communication difficulties. They want something badly enough that they find ways to overcome their disabilities in an area to conquer a medium.

Which leads, of course, to the ways that Autism requires imagination on the part of the caregiver. Just as it does in every single caregiver on the planet. If you have had a child, or a sibling or cousin or anything, you KNOW that imagination is a requirement. So it is for us. All day, every day. Adding medications and treatments and therapies. All day. Every day.

But, imaginations are amazing and I LOVE Daniel’s brain. He has a lot going on in there and he’ll tell you all about it. He has a gift for seeing things as they can be, even if they can’t be that way for real. He knows they CAN and he wishes he could make his ideas come to life. He sees minute details and remembers them all.

image credit @ symkin depositphotos.com

And when he wants to fix something and has the wherewithal to make it happen? He surprises people with his tenacity and ability.

Because he has a fantastic imagination. It allowed him to unlock doors he shouldn’t have been able to as a toddler. It gives his mind wings as an adult.

My job is to help him channel that if I can.

I have an imagination, too.

Autism

T is for Transformative

Today is brought to you by the letter “T”.

Yes, really! a u T i s m is Transformative.

The definition of transformative in the Merriam-Webster dictionary says it’s “causing or able to cause an important and lasting change in someone or something”.

Autism definitely causes important and lasting changes. In our family, Daniel was born on the Spectrum, though I didn’t know it for years. In other families, this is not always the case.

The changes came with those of us who became instantly AWARE of Autism in a way we hadn’t been, before. The way that this disorder sweeps in and requires changes, adjustments, plans, more plans, doctors, therapists, and did I mention plans?—transformed every part of our lives as a family. How we went to worship. How we handled going to the market. How we changed the small events of a small family.

These aspects of our life were changed. Permanently, as far as I’ve ascertained. And now that our “baby” is an adult, the changes are different, he’s older, but he’s still himself. And we still make plans.

This is a lasting change. People don’t “grow out of” being on the Autism Spectrum, as a general thing. They learn. They adapt. They moderate themselves. They grow up and change, yes, but they don’t leave Autism behind them like bone aches caused by physical growth spurts. He has Autism. Always has, always will.

Just like he has my green eyes and his dad’s sense of how things fit together.

He has sometimes asked me, “What if I was neurotypical?”

I answer, “I can’t imagine you being any other way than how you are. You’re awesome.”

“Yeah, but what IF?”

Honestly, I have a fabulous imagination. I can create Alternate Universes for us from now ’til forever, and we’ve played those games, here. But the most important thing for him to know is that reality rules. And I love him “to the moon and back for infinity.”

And that? That will never change.

Autism

U is for Ubiquitous

Today, remember, I’m tackling “U”. U is for “ubiquitous”, meaning “often observed or encountered” according to Merriam-Webster. The ramifications of #Autism in the life of an Autism Family are, indeed, ubiquitous. (GIF is from TENOR)

Every person on the Autism Spectrum will experience it differently, as will each family. But they will encounter the ramifications of the disorder frequently. In our family, one of the ubiquitous issues is the matter of patterns of life. You can’t escape from life’s patterns. We all have them, to some degree. We try to encourage flexibility in our home, but we also have to prioritize the patterns. Or there will be consequences.

Which is why we have back-ups for just about everything. Example: I have a dental appointment today, which will disrupt the pattern of our morning. So I told Daniel about it in advance so he had time to consider how he wants to handle this change—he is, thankfully, old enough to have viable alternatives—and to talk them out so that even our back-up will have a back-up. Disrupting the pattern without warning is something we don’t do unless it’s an emergency.

I try not to have “emergencies”. My days are patterned to anticipate as much as possible.

In other families, where the person on the Spectrum isn’t able to communicate in traditional ways, the ever-present specter of Autism hangs over every single interaction of the day.

Another factor that we encounter frequently in the Autism community is uniqueness of thought processes. Now, most people are unique in their thoughts and creativity. Absolutely. It’s a glorious part of being human. But sometimes, when you “think differently” as Daniel puts it, there isn’t a line between what is feasible and what isn’t feasible, which can lead to anger and frustration.

These emotions are regular parts of life, too.

In families that hold someone on the Spectrum at their hearts, Autism is ubiquitous. We encounter it with every concept for every day and we always will. Because we love them and want the very best for them.Just like everyone else. 🙂

Next up: “T”. 🙂 Because I’m trying to be orderly.

Autism

A stands for Autism

If it’s April, then it must be Autism Awareness Month.

Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word autism.

#Autism is always, well, the norm, here. So this year, I’ll start off slow and go letter by letter.

Today, we start with A.

A stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder.If you want to learn more, one place to go is here: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/…/autism-spectrum…/index.shtml It’s the National Institute of Mental Health website. This has a broad spectrum coverage on the general knowledge of ASD, though nothing really gets it all, in my experience.

Or you can go here:https://www.pathfindersforautism.org Pathfinders for Autism is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism and the people who care for them. Depending on what you want to know.

My son Daniel says Autism means he thinks differently from other people. He is often frustrated, but we do our best to interpret—still and always—the world for him. Doesn’t mean he likes it, though. He knows his mind works differently, but he also knows he has a great sense of humor, a wonderful vocabulary, and the wish to communicate everything he knows about everything he knows. 🙂 We’re pretty fortunate, in that.

If you know one person with Autism, you know ONE PERSON with Autism. It presents differently across the board, and sometimes, it isn’t recognized until an individual is older. Adults can learn that they have ASD when they never knew they did. This might bother them or it might bring clarity.

Sometimes, Autism is obvious and hard and painful. Sometimes, it’s quiet and hidden. It can be mistaken for other things and go unrecognized.

But for those of us who have or live with and care for someone with Autism, it’s a part of our lives and always will be. Because A also stands for Always.

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle “U”. (That sounds odd, doesn’t it? lol)

Life · Publishing · Writing

Changes!

It’s been a bit of a busy time for me, of late!

Rights were released to me for the following: The Éire’s Viking Trilogy, An Unexpected Woman, and Justin’s Second Chance. They all have new covers!

new cover collage with label

They are being offered on several different platforms. More information can be found on my new home: www.sandilayne.com.

I know, it’s a stretch. 😉

The first book of the trilogy is now available as an eBook for only 99 cents, while the others can still be purchased for $4.99. An Unexpected Woman is now only $2.99.

Something that isn’t changing, though, is my commitment to watching, live-tweeting, and posting about History Channel’s awesome show VIKINGS. Lissa Bryan and I will continue to follow, comment, and go all nerdy fangirl as the show moves forward after the death of Ragnar Lo∂brok. The show’s creators have been sharing teasers and the cast has been tweeting about Season SIX! Filming has already started!

Second Vikings 5 banner

If you’re looking for our posts on this show, do a search here on my site for #VIKINGS here after clicking the menu icon on the top right corner. (As I’ve just reworked this WordPress site, this might change in the future as I see what might work better for the purpose; please be patient with me.)

I can still be found on Twitter at @sandyquill and on Tumblr at sandyquill.tumblr.com.

 

 

interviews · Over Coffee · Random · Writing

I’ll be live!

Cate & Friends Sandi LayneThis is one of those things that makes me super nervous, but I am going to be LIVE tomorrow night.

Past my bedtime and everything!

Questions forwarded to me (thank you, Cate!) include which characters were the first I killed in one of my books . . . fun stuff, no? And just how did I get into writing anyway? Because you know? I never planned on doing this . . .

True story!

Check out the info in the graphic above and consider yourself invited. Cate will be moderating audience participation, too, which is very kind of her. And optimistic!

 

History · Running Commentary · VIKINGS on History Channel

The #ShieldGeeks Talk Vikings: The Reckoning (S4 E20)

 

VIKINGS banner
This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show.

Heillir! The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you to our ongoing series on the History Channel show Vikings. 

lissabryan-authpicLissa Bryan is a delightful historian as well as being a wonderful writer. Her latest book, Dominionis a dystopian romance taking place at a time in the not-too-far-distant future.

(¯`•ღ•´¯)


Lissa: Hard to believe it’s the season finale already. This has been an action-packed season, with some pretty significant plot developments, and we’ve said goodbye to some important characters.

Sandi: I have a list of dead people that I saw in this episode. Named characters, I mean. I’ll add it to the end of this post. This has been a great second half of a season. So many were unhappy at the end of the first half of Season Four, but this half has really been very true to form, even if we aren’t always thrilled with the directions Michael Hirst and History Channel have gone.

Lissa: This episode begins with a frail Ecbert rocking in his throne, obviously in great distress. I think the implication was that he somehow knew the battle was going poorly.  We cut to the battle between Aethelwulf’s forces and the Great Heathen Army, right where we left off. The Vikings have ambushed Aethelwulf’s troops and after the bowmen pick off a large number of them from their position high on the ridge, the rest of the Vikings run in for melee combat. The battle was a feast for geeky eyes: muddy, chaotic, and brutal. The History Channel excels in this regard, because I think it’s pretty similar to how battle would have been for warriors of that era. Filthy, exhausting, a confusing, frantic tumult with the clash of steel and the screams of the dying piercing the chilly air…

Sandi: Ecbert’s frailty has been more evident with every episode in this half of the season. It’s as if he’s aged years in the course of these months. I don’t know exactly how long it’s been, story-wise, but it hasn’t been as long as his face and beard make it out to have been.

And, yeah. I really like how History Channel hosts a war. Even the clumsy fighting in Kattegat last week is indicative of how they understand the choreography necessary to make it work and work well.

Lissa: It’s obvious the Vikings have the upper hand. Aethelwulf, lying in the mud, looks up wearily to see one of his soldiers cut down by a Viking shieldmaiden. Aethelwulf frantically shouts for a retreat.

Sandi: A retreat is not a bad thing for a battle commander to order, by the way. Some people think it’s an indicator of cowardice, but Aethelwulf has proven himself already and his men clearly trust him. If he says to scoot, they scoot, and no one thinks ill of him as a result. After all, he’s saving lives. Some, anyway.

Lissa: He reaches the palace and orders an evacuation, but Ecbert refuses to go. He says staying behind is God’s will, and his own.

Sandi: Part of me sees this as part of the penance that Ecbert is planning for himself. As if by one great act of expiation, he can atone for all that he has done in his life.

Lissa: Aethelwulf is aghast. He can’t leave Ecbert, the King of Wessex, behind to die. Ecbert calmly tells Aethelwulf he’s going to abdicate. They both kneel before an altar and a bishop performs a brief ceremony, asking if Ecbert [long string of titles] intends to surrender the crown. It’s the crown, @smidbeach reminded us, that Ecbert took from the tomb of the kings and queens of Mercia when Wigstan abdicated. The crown and scepter are passed to Aethelwulf.

Sandi: It’s not Aethelwulf’s fault the crown looks a lot like the one on the Burger King fellow in the commercials!

But seriously, here we see Ecbert doing this noble thing and giving his crown to his son. Still, would you expect Ecbert to ever do the right thing when he gained nothing from it? Right.

Lissa: That finished, Ecbert tells his son, “I know I have placed my kingdom in the safest hands. You go now, save yourself and your family.” The phrase your family” wasn’t lost on me. Judith and Alfred aren’t really Aethelwulf’s – they’ve been Ecbert’s, and Aethelwulf has always revolved on the periphery, like a distant planet that eventually gets downgraded as being just one of the objects in the Kuiper Belt. But Ecbert hasn’t just handed over his kingdom. He’s handed over Judith and Alfred, the two people he cherished more than his own son. He tells Aethelwulf to gather his strength and come back to reclaim what is his one day.

Sandi: Thing is, even though these are the Last Words from a father to his son, I still don’t see them as sincere. The most sincere things he says are what he says to Alfred—Athelstan’s son. Because it is with the young man that Ecbert’s hope truly lie. He wants his name and influence to live on and Aethelwulf is not the man in whom Ecbert sees that happening.

Lissa: The palace is evacuated and the royal family climbs into a carriage. Ecbert gives his son a kiss. He leans into the carriage and gives some hurried words of wisdom to Alfred about a Christian king’s greatest virtue being humility.

Sandi: His words were hurried, reminding me of Bilbo Baggins giving Frodo advice before he set out to destroy The One Ring. Or of Polonius in Hamlet, giving his son Laertes the benefit of his wisdom. (And though we mock Polonius’s manner on occasion, he’s been an oft-quoted character through the centuries.)

Lissa: Judith thanks Ecbert for loving her, which struck me as a bit odd – and I wasn’t the only one.

Sandi: It really began poorly, yeah. But Judith was not blameless, either, so I guess she kind of came to a sense of balance in herself.

Lissa: But I imagine over the ten-plus years of their affair, Judith came to see it as the best thing that ever happened to her in terms of personal freedom. Her husband has evolved from the prim, priggish fellow he was when they first married, but it’s true that Judith was able to do much more in her life as Ecbert’s mistress than she ever would have as Aethelwulf’s wife.

Sandi: Very true. She had stepped from the confines her world and that freed her, even if she wasn’t seen as “proper” any longer. This does not mean I advocate for adultery by any means, but it does show how some bravery and brass can help propel a person into different spheres of influence.

Lissa: After the family and troops leave, Ecbert embraces the bishop who remained at his side. The men retreat back to the throne room where they sit in silence and drink. All of us had the reaction that Ecbert was wishing it was Ragnar sitting there, sipping his wine.

Sandi: It was interesting that the scene was silent, essentially. There was nothing here that could be said. One presumes the bishop at Ecbert’s side knows all his flaws so there is no coy conversation, no exploration of thought. Just two men who are facing the end of their lives. A silent drink is appropriate.

vikings-s4e20-ecbert-and-bishop

Lissa: The Vikings arrive at the city and are at first wary to find no one there to defend it. After they confirm it’s empty, they run inside to pillage, cheering. In the crowd. Helga is tugging her Shiny New Kid along behind her as she runs to keep up.

Sandi: And we were sitting there, wondering how on earth Helga and Tanaruz (aka Shiny New Kid) had managed to get there. And we were still wondering why. There is a desperation to both of their faces, and one can’t blame them.

Lissa: Floki – may God have mercy on his soul because I cannot – finds Ecbert’s treasured library that Athelstan was translating and copying, and he… I’m having trouble typing it… He torches the scrolls.

Sandi: This was a wanton act of destruction, made for spite, because Floki knew what the scrolls were. He knew and despised Athelstan, but he wasn’t ignorant of the man’s work or anything. Floki was just abolishing something he wanted obliterated, though it posed no threat. Neither would it bring profit. And since he burned it then, it wasn’t even going to be useful as a fire-starter in the future. Just . . . a waste, really.

Lissa: I hated this scene. Hated it because I knew it was true to history. So much knowledge and learning was lost down through the centuries when libraries were encountered by cultures who didn’t appreciate the scholarship of those they’d conquered.

Sandi: And, our readers can ascertain, this kind of thing is a big deal to Lissa and me. The rampant destruction of such work just gets to us. Alas, it happened and cannot be undone!

Lissa: Helga leads the New Kid down a hallway in the palace while the fires rage and the murderin’ is still going on. A flaming beam falls in their path and the girl screams. Helga kneels to assure her that she’s safe and loved. The girl grabs Helga’s knife. She stabs Helga before turning the blade on herself, driving it into her own heart. The kid dies instantly, but Helga is still clinging to life when Floki finds her. She tells him he’s special, unique, and the world isn’t large enough for him. He pleads with her, but she goes limp in his arms.

Sandi: This was an entirely unexpected death. All of us went into this finale with, I suspect, a private Death List we expected to check off. (One of those, I will say, I didn’t check off, which surprised me.) At no point was Helga on my private list. (Cannot say the same about Shiny New Kid Tanaruz, however.)

Lissa: This was a terrible moment. When Helga was first injured, I was wryly joking about Helga needing to fnd herself a new kid, thinking she wasn’t seriously hurt because of the lack of visible blood. But by the time Floki found her, I realized that this might be the end of Helga’s story. It made me sorrowful, not only because I liked her so much – both her character and the skillful Maude Hirst who portrayed her – but because I felt it was an unworthy way for Helga to go. Helga was essentially felled by her ovaries — her unhinged (and abruptly introduced) longing for a child led her to kidnap a deeply traumatized girl from her homeland, like a tourist scooping up an exotic animal they have no idea how to care for.

Sandi: It really was a terrible way for Helga to go. Her devotion to Floki, to all that he is and all that he’s done (save for the murder of Athelstan), has been a hallmark of her character. If she had died for him, it would have been fitting, in my opinion. Or even dying for Ragnar or Björn. A sacrifice of herself for someone she loved/honored. But murdered by a child whom she had kidnapped and held captive? I don’t know. It just . . . sits poorly with me.

Though I will say that Vikings did have captives and those captives certainly plotted to kill their “owners”, I’m sure. At least, mine did! So, is this death a tribute to all those captives the Northmen acquired, perhaps? I rather think not, but one can wonder.

Lissa: We had previously speculated that the Shiny New Kid might introduce Floki to the Islamic faith, about which he’d shown curiosity and given a measure of respect. They seemed to be on their way to building a small rapport in the last episode. But the storyline was not destined to be so complex. Tanaruz was just the means to Helga’s death.

Sandi: This makes me wonder if Floki’s fascination with the Islamic faith will appear again in this show or if that, too, is abandoned like the light in the man’s eyes?

vikings-s4e20-floki-dead-helga

Lissa: Floki gives his beloved wife a lovely burial, laying her out on fine furs before surrounding her with beautiful grave goods. He lays a necklace on her chest and puts a stone in the hollow of her throat.

Sandi: This is a lovely example of the traditional burial. Such sites have been found in Great Britain, so it’s great that History Channel included one here.

Lissa: Later, Björn comes upon him and tells him he’s sorry about Helga’s death. He’d known her since he was a child. Floki says he’s dead, too. The first part of him died with Angrboða. The second part with Ragnar, and now Helga’s death has taken the last. He is an empty vessel that the gods may do with as they may. He will drift upon the current, rudderless, drawn by their winds. He tells Björn to take care of himself, rises to his feet and heads down the hallway. His silhouette fades away into the light, as Ragnar’s did when Ecbert said goodbye.

Sandi: I really want to hope that Floki will return to himself after a period of deep mourning.

floki-tweet-s4-e20

Lissa: As the fire nears the throne room, Ecbert decides he’s had enough. He leaves and heads out into the courtyard where Björn and the other Ragnarssons are watching the carnage. Björn recognizes Ecbert and stops anyone from harming him. The bishop doesn’t fare so well. He’s slain while he’s asking the Lord to forgive the Vikings because they know not what they do.

Sandi: Ecbert’s appearance must have surprised Björn a bit; he’s a far cry from the man he used to be. And he looks like he’s wearing a nightshirt or something. The bishop does not try to save himself, it seems. He and Ecbert had both accepted their fates and that was all he wrote.

Lissa: The brothers confer together while Ecbert hangs in a cage above. They’re not sure what to do with him. Ivar wants to give him the Aelle treatment. Björn says there are bigger political issues at play. Ubbe isn’t sure of the wisdom of killing Ecbert, either. He still wants to realize Ragnar’s dreams of a settlement, and Ecbert might be the key to that, though Hvitserk protests that Ragnar never ransomed a leader.

Sandi: The points of view expressed here are all valid, which is good. No one is completely off script; it’s just that making this a cohesive venture is looking less and less likely all the time. May I say, here, that having Ecbert in the dreadful cage is perfect, from my standpoint? I thought it apt for the circumstance and I believe Ecbert did himself.

Lissa: In his cage, Ecbert interjects and says he was able to understand most of their conversation, because he speaks a bit of their language.

Sandi: Awfully convenient, eh? No, I get it, because there’s no interpreter and I rather doubt any of Ragnar’s sons have taken the time to become fluent in Anglo-Saxon.

Lissa: He has an offer for them. He will give them legal title to lands they can settle. He leaves out the little fact that he’s no longer King of Wessex. In fact, he brags he is the “king of kings” and no one could question their title. They ask him what he wants in return, but Ecbert won’t tell them unless they agree. Once Björn decides to accept, Ecbert says he wants to choose the method of his death.

Sandi: And wow, didn’t our band of #ShieldGeeks go off on that! “Wait, wait! He’s not a king anymore!”

Lissa: Ecbert presents them with the document and pressed his seal to it.

Sandi: So, Ecbert the Crafty had one final trick up his sleeve. Historically, Ecbert was apparently obsessed with keeping the lands of the king in the hands of the king. He didn’t distribute his lands the way others in other places did. He kept it all together. It is entirely in keeping with that historical rendition that Ecbert first gives the kingship to Aethelwulf then pretends to give lands to the Northmen.

Lissa: I was hoping that the tale of the sheepskin (or ox hide, depending on the version of the tale) would be introduced, because it’s one of those charming little asides in the Sagas, but it seems that isn’t going to be introduced.

Sandi: That would have just taken more time that they could use to, you know, kill people, right? *sigh* Really, I have to hand it to History Channel for covering what they do in this show. Sometimes even to excess. [I’m just the girl who loves the really long A&E version of Pride and Prejudice because so much of the book is captured therein.]

Lissa: Ecbert is given his final wish. He goes into the hot spring baths with Björn who silently offers him a choice between two blades. Ecbert chooses the smaller of the two. Björn nods and leaves the room. Ecbert disrobes and climbs into the bath. Like Ragnar, he experiences echoes of the past. Ragnar, Lagertha, Judith… He then lowers his arm into the hot water and slices open his veins with the blade. And so passes another “father” of this series. Wily Ecbert who always had layers of intrigues and manipulations, possibly so many that he got lost in his own webs.

Sandi: Björn was so merciful, here. So many things that could have happened to Ecbert, but he goes out in a manner of his own choosing, without even an audience to make sure he’s actually dying. Trust? Foolishness? I don’t know. But it was nice for us to get to hear Ecbert’s Greatest Hits in his memories, even if we didn’t get to see them as we did Ragnar’s. A nice echo back to Ragnar as the episode and season was wrapping up.

Lissa: The Ragnarssons are outside in the burned-out courtyard, enjoying a feast. They’re celebrating the fact that they now have farmland and can bring new settlers. Björn announces that now Ragnar has been avenged, his destiny leads him elsewhere. He wants to go back to the Mediterranean.

vikings-s4-e20-bjorn-speech

Sandi: This is actually a great way to wrap up the season. We get a victory party, the sons declaring their future intentions (for when/if we have a time jump before Season Five), and a summation of their goals and aspirations . . . and loyalties.

Lissa: Halfdan surprises his brother by electing to join Björn. Ivar wants to continue their push through proto-England.  There’s no one who can stand up against them. They will do it for the glory of battle and Odin All-Father.

Sandi: This must have been a surprise to Harald Finehair. He’s got Norway in his sights and his brother has been his right arm for as long as we’ve known them. If Halfdan is wanting to split, what does that mean for his support of Harald’s kingship. Historically, Harald does become king, so . . . what is this going to do to the Die-Namic Duo? (Sorry. It was just there.)

Lissa: Sigurd wants to fight onward, too, but he doesn’t want to follow Ivar as their leader. He snaps Ivar is not even really a man, but a mama’s boy, a snake that crawls on the ground. Ivar retorts that he’s not even sure if Sigurd is Ragnar’s son, given his penchant for music, and (ahem) enjoyment of male company.

Sandi: Yeah, because the whole End-Of-Season Victory Party wouldn’t be complete without fraternal sniping. And hey, the Ragnarssons have given us that in abundance, so it’s almost fun to watch. Bring popcorn.

vikings-s4e20-axe-throwLissa: Sigurd bites back that Aslaug was the only one who ever loved Ivar. Despite Ubbe’s efforts at peacemaking, the quarrel heats up and Ivar grabs an ax, which he hurls at Sigurd’s chest. Sigurd pulls it out and staggers toward his brother, but he doesn’t make it far enough to deliver a return blow. He collapses at Ivar’s feet, apparently dead. I mean, we’ll have to wait until next season to be certain, but he looked pretty-darn-dead to me.

Sandi: I’m sure I wasn’t the only one watching to see if Sigurd blinked. I didn’t see a blink, though. I’m thinking he’s gone. Years ago, Ivar’s first kill was with a thrown axe, so it is not surprising that he does it again. I don’t have the sense that it was something Ivar planned to do—much as he didn’t like his brother, they were brothers and I don’t see fratricide as high on his To-Do List.

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Lissa: This is another departure from history, because Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye married one of Aelle’s daughters. His granddaughter married Halfdan the Black after he kidnapped her from her first kidnapper. (The fate of a blue-blooded woman in that era was never an easy one.) They were the parents of Harald Finehair.

Sandi: Well, of course, Harald Finehair is already with us, so it’s possible that Sigurd was seen as expendable in this particular bit of historical fiction.

And yeah, no. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a woman of noble birth in this era. They were chess pieces and that’s not a fate I’d want for myself.

vikings-s4-e20-jrm-sightingLissa: We next see a priest, conducting burial rites while Saxons look on and weep. It’s our first sighting of Jonathan Rhys Meyer, who has joined the cast.

Sandi: Okay, to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with this conclusion of the season. A more natural end would have been the fight amongst the brothers and the death of Sigurd. Sad, but organic. Introducing Bishop Heahmund is sensible from an entertainment standpoint, yes (new big name actor! new character! intriguing possibilities!) but it ended the episode off-key, for me.

Lissa: The widow comes up to thank him. She’s wearing an intricate machine-woven black lace veil. Lace, of course, wasn’t invented until the fifteenth century or so, and even then, the English were stuck with needle lace for at least another cent— Ah, never mind. #BootSoleFile

Sandi: …yeah. Her veil reminded me a bit of a Spanish mantilla, without the height of the hair comb. Anyway…

Lissa: Anyway, she thanks the priest for the ceremony and says her husband is in a better place. The priest has his own idea of how to offer her comfort, and we next see the two of them together in bed. Beside the bed is a set of armor and a gleaming sword with something etched into the crossguard.

Sandi: You found it, too!

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ANANYZAPATA
Lissa: From what I found online, it was an early medieval inscription/spell that was supposed to prevent poisoning, an acronym of the words, Antidotum Nazareni Auferat Necem Intoxicationis Sanctificet Alimenta Pocula Trinitas Alma‘ (May the antidote of Jesus avert death by poisioning and the Holy Trinity sanctify my food and drink). It’s found on a 9th Century ring at the British Museum.

Sandi: This is an extremely cool detail from History Channel. Lissa loves finding the smallt truths often hidden, so I imagine, my friend, that you were very happy to find that.

Lissa: So, what’s next for our heathen horde? Will Ivar face any consequences killing his brother? Where is Floki bound, and how will he fare without his beloved Helga? Will Judith and Aethelwulf build a good life together while he seeks to reclaim his throne? Where’s Rollo and how’s he doing with I-Forgot-How-To-Princess? And how is Lagertha now that the Finehair twins are out of her own artistically-braided hair for a while? I guess we’ll have to wait until season 5 to find out!

Sandi: Indeed!

Lissa: Until then, ShieldGeeks, keep those axes sharp, and your hair braided for battle!

Sandi: And if you have any thoughts on this episode or predictions for next season, let us know!

And raise a horn of mead to honor the fallen in this episode:

Ecbert’s Bishop

Helga

Tanaruz

King Ecbert

Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye



Heill þú farir, heill þú aftr komir, heill þú á sinnum sér!

Hale go forth, hale return, hale on your ways! – Vafþrúðnismál 4


.¸¸•.¸¸.•´¯`• (¯`•ღ•´¯)•´¯`•.¸¸.•.¸¸.

“100% more evisceration talk than expected.” 

“These chicks are machines!” 

– Steve No Ship Network

(CHECK THEM OUT FOR THEIR PODCASTED RECAPS and interviews! And Yes, we did one, too!)

If you’re looking for incisive comments, please check out ProjectFandom. @DeeDonuts on twitter is the chick in charge, there, and she always has sharp things to say!
Discussion · History · VIKINGS on History Channel

The #ShieldGeeks Talk VIKINGS: On the Eve

 

VIKINGS banner
This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show.

Heillir! The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you to our ongoing series on the History Channel show Vikings. 

lissabryan-authpicLissa Bryan is a delightful historian as well as being a wonderful writer. Her latest book, Dominionis a dystopian romance taking place at a time in the not-too-far-distant future.

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LissaHeillr! I’m still on my long raid through the South, currently invading Bourbon Street in New Orleans for jazz and beignets, so our recap will again be a little more brief than usual. We’ll be back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming next week.

Sandi: Which is actually quite timely of you. I’m glad you’ll be home in time for the Season Finale! And your pics of the beignets would have made any Viking raid The Big Easy.

Lissa: In Kattegat, Torvi sees a group of men coming into town and her suspicions are immediately raised. She asks one of the local merchants and learns that these “traders” haven’t shown interest in buying or selling any goods. As she’s watching them, they signal for an attack. The Kattegat warriors take them down quickly, but they realize it’s the precursor to a bigger attack on the city. This raid was just intended to test their defenses.

Sandi: First, the local merchant (in screen time) hadn’t had more than a minute or five to observe the “traders” so that struck me as weird. I get the paranoia, but you’d think someone would give a group of newcomers at least an hour or so (in however they determine such) before going all suspicious.

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Anyway . . . So it was a test of the defenses and we saw that the defenses were not foolproof. Okay. But what I want to know is if Lagertha had her people work on defending the fortifications or if they relied upon them to do the “heavy lifting”, as it were. The scene was chaotic and unprepared.

Lissa: The bishop who was with Aelle in the last episode is brought into Ecbert’s hall. He’s badly wounded, on the verge of death. Aethelwulf quickly tries to pump him for information. He asks if it was the sons of Ragnar, but doesn’t get an answer. He demands to know how many warriors there are in the Great Heathen Army (hereafter abbreviated as GHA). The bishop chokes out, “How many blades of grass are there in a field?” Aethelwulf tries to clarify. Does he mean hundreds? Thousands? But the bishop dies before he can say any more. “Damn you!” Aethelwulf shouts, then hastily corrects himself, realizing a man of God has just died in his presence. “May he rest in peace.”

Sandi: That got a chuckle from the viewers, to be sure. It shows, though, the growth of the character and I send kudos to Moe Dunford for how he’s portrayed Aethelwulf.

Lissa: Young Alfred tells Aethelwulf that he wants to go fight, and Aethelwulf says there’s no way he will risk him. As we discussed last night, a boy of Alfred’s age and status would already have years of martial training. Young men who weren’t athletic by nature (like Prince Arthur Tudor) would be encouraged in archery. Princes would be training with sword, riding, and military tactics. (Studying Caesar was always a favorite.)

Sandi: Aethelred, Aethelwulf’s son by Judith, was a bit older than Alfred and he had likely had less Caesar and more swordplay in his education. I concur with Aethelwulf’s decision not to allow them to fight, but one can see that both young men will be fighting against that a bit more in a few years, should the show continue.

Lissa: Ecbert talks with Judith and tells her she needs to resume her place as Aethelwulf’s wife. He needs her keen mind working alongside him. Judith asks how Ecbert would take it if she declined his suggestion, and he says he would reframe it as a command from her king.

Sandi: This was interesting. We’ve seen how Judith’s relationship with Ecbert has evolved over the years. She genuinely cares for him but she will also bow to his will as her king, where she wouldn’t bow to her parents’.

j-vikings-bedtimeLissa: She goes to see Aethelwulf and finds him tucking Alfred into bed. Aethelwulf tells him that he compares favorably with his father. Alfred says that Aethelwulf is his father, and Aethelwulf smiles. He says to the boy that he surely knows by now that he was fathered by a man named Athelstan, a holy, wonderful man. The scene is full of warmth – there is not a hint of resentment in Aethelwulf’s voice. He is obviously deeply fond of Alfred, and wants him to think highly of his real father. It’s a mark of Aethelwulf’s maturity and grace. His character has experienced real growth over the seasons as he’s gone from the petulant, priggish prince he was when we met him.

Sandi: I loved this scene so much. As you say, another indicator of Aethelwulf’s growth and determination to do right by Alfred. Judith sees it all and is moved as well. Does this contribute to her apparent capitulation to Ecbert’s wish for her to “return” to her husband?

Lissa: Judith has a fond goodbye with Aethelwulf as he departs the next day, stroking his cheek and telling him he must “live, live, LIVE.” Aethelwulf chuckles and says he’s going to try. When the Saxon troops see Athelwulf joining their ranks, they stand and cheer him.

Sandi: It might not have been the warmest of farewells, but it is clear she was sincerely trying and Aethelwulf seemed to take it as such, without scorn. His leavetaking from his father was unusual. Ecbert was all “it’s a time for hate!” and that visibly disturbed Aethelwulf. He didn’t seem to shake it off until he was mounted and riding away.

deer-head-bjornLissa: The Viking fleet advances up the river. Björn stands at the prowl with a “mad face” expression we all remarked on. The Saxon people flee and scream as they see the invaders. The Ragnarssons are a bit peeved by it. Ivar snarks that the people and their god flee before the power of the Vikings. But he can’t resist needling his brothers. He has suggestions, however, in between the jabs. Suggestions that make sense. He wants to use the terrain against the Saxons, to spread their lines out and attack from multiple fronts. Björn is a little testy to have his command challenged like this, but it turns out later that he took some of Ivar’s advice.

Sandi: The Viking longships were amazing in that they could successfully manage the open ocean as well as being shallow enough in draft to sail inland via the natural rivers of the many nations that they invaded. Such incursions surprised those whom they raided, at first. They’d thought fortifications were needed on the coast, but surely not inland! They learned quickly. The Vikings’ ability to make quick and accurate maps helped considerably as they raided and then settled all over Europe.

Regarding the battle advice: I maintain that everyone was right to doubt Ivar’s tactical sense. Dealing with a large army, a leader wouldn’t want to surprise them with a brand-new tactic from an untried warrior. And for all of Ivar’s apparently good instincts, he does not have Björn’s blood-won experience. The show is here invested in promoting Ivar as a conquering warrior, though, so things went as he said they would and he is shown to be brilliant in the field.

Lissa: Helga runs into the tent screaming, and Floki jumps up, knife held at the ready for battle. But that’s not why Helga is so upset – the Shiny New Kid has run away. At first, Floki gives a bit of a shrug. Perhaps it’s for the best. But Helga is so upset by the loss that he has to go looking for the girl. He finds her quite easily by the river when he sees her cloak floating in the current. She’s crouched behind a log. Floki sighs and crouches down to talk to her. The girl looks around for an escape but knows she’s caught. Floki says, “I know you hate us. I don’t know what to do about that.”

Sandi: I am thinking that Floki has come to see Tanaruz as a connection to the “new religion” he discovered while on the Spanish raid. This makes him, I think, more determined to see to her wellbeing rather than just pretend he didn’t see her. He could have. It is clear that Tanaruz made a deliberate effort to make it appear that she had drowned; she’s not stupid for all her silence. He handles her extremely well, here.

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Lissa: Something in his tone – or perhaps in the words she’s learned of their language – seems to get through to her, and the Shiny New Kid is led back to the camp by him. When Helga runs out of the tent weeping in joy that her “baby” has been returned, the girl cringes away from her effusive embrace.

Sandi: Oh, I hated to see her cringe. She looked more confident with Floki, safe, comfortable. Upon seeing Helga, she drew back and her glance over her shoulder at Floki seemed to ask for him to rescue her. Now, I am confident Helga is not intentionally doing anything wrong, but she is not being wise in her dealings with her captive daughter. Tanaruz’s purpose, though, might be coming more clear. Maybe.

Lissa: In Kattegat, Lagertha is musing over a model of the city’s fortifications when they hear a horn, warning them of attack. It’s obviously what Lagertha has been expecting, because she says something along the lines of “They’re here.” She and Joan Jett run outside to help with the defense of the city. The battle is brutal and bloody – and very entertaining to watch. We felt “cheated” of a battle scene last episode. Hirst paid us back in spades.

j-vikings-s4-e19-lag-and-blocksSandi: Watching Lagertha play with her blocks was kind of adorable. Did you see her face? She looked like she was about five. But adulthood returned with a vengeance when it was time to do battle. Still not convinced she had trained her people well in working with and around the fortifications, though.

Lissa: As you noted last night, Joan Jett showed some serious weaknesses as a warrior. Agile and quick she may be, but her shield game needs work. She left her body unprotected at several crucial points, and it was by sheer luck (or a thick coating plot armor) that she wasn’t stricken down.

 

Sandi: Much of what I saw in this battle was sloppy. I am thinking that this is due to the fact that Lagertha has her warriors and her tradesmen, and here, many of the latter were fighting in defense of their home. They just didn’t have the same practiced economy of movement we see in the more formal battles on this show.

Lissa: Lagertha directs the battle from atop a bridge, deflecting arrows with her shield. But she looks back over her shoulder and sees that another contingent of attackers, led by Egil the Bastard, has attacked the Great Hall. She shouts to Joan Jett to come with her, and tells Torvi to hold the wall.

Sandi: It is clear that these two women are her right and left arms, respectively. She trusts them and likely spends a lot of time with them, discussing her plans and strategies, so that they don’t require detailed instructions at such a circumstance as an invasion.

Lissa: There was a really neat fire-trap effect. Lagertha had apparently laid down a flammable liquid on the path between two buildings prior to the attack. She lights it as the invaders charge toward the hall and the men are enveloped in flames, then easily picked off by arrows. The Bastard sees that his group has been defeated and seems to have a moment where he makes the decision to charge anyway, and perhaps go out in a blaze of glory and get his ticket to Valhalla. He gets a pike driven through his chest. He falls, wounded but not dead. Lagertha presses him down into the mud with her boot and orders he be kept alive.

Sandi: It was messy, but I understood it entirely. At this point, the battle is over and there is only the aftermath to see to, including the treatment of the dead and wounded, and the interrogation of the captive.

Lissa: We see at the end of the scene that Torvi has been wounded – severely. She was blinking when the scene ended, so she’s not dead, but it looked bad on the Björn homefront. What will happen to the Björnsons and Björndotters if she dies? (There was a collective rejoicing last night that Aslaug’s Daycare Center is permanently closed. *Pours a mead on the ground for poor little Siggy*)

Sandi: The “wounded in the shoulder/arm/side” thing is rather a recurring theme in many shows/movies that involve open warfare. It is serious, and death can happen, but such a wound is also survivable. I hope that Torvi does survive, and I’m sure the kids would also appreciate it!

I still haven’t forgiven the writers for abandoning Siglet.

Lissa: In Harald Finehair’s camp, he sits and talks with his brother. Their attack has failed, but Harald’s attention seems more focused on the Manic Pixie Dream Princess who turned him down and married a man who was his inferior in rank. The princess’s husband chats with her and her face is alight with love and happiness. Finehair grumbles that Halfdan was right – he shoulda killed her.

Sandi: There was a lot of talk about love and such and that made me roll my eyes. Again. I know I have a lot of issues with it, and this is television, but a king did not consider love in his marital relationship in this time. It would be seen as weak and the gods would not favor men who were led by their emotions over their good sense.

j-vikings-s4-e19-princess-and-hubsLissa: He goes over to talk to the princess and her husband. He says he’s “forgiven” her. The princess’s husband acts like the apology is actually a valid thing. “Oh gosh, we’re really glad you’ve ‘forgiven’ her for having agency over her own life and all.” But guess what? Finehair’s forgiveness doesn’t extend to the husband. He chops him in the forehead with an ax. As the princess screams over the body of her dead husband, Finehair murmurs an apology and walks away.

Sandi: Surprised? No. Not for a moment. Harald will one day be king of Norway, yes, but he allows his personal life to overtake him in really weird ways in this show. [Forgive me, everyone. If you’ve been reading us for a while, you know I have issues.] One can only hope he’ll get over it once all the, er, stimulations to his strange obsession have been handled. And they will be. Whew.

Lissa: The Ragnarssons are leading their troops down the road, all of them dressed to the nines. (Björn was at one point wearing a cape covered with fox pelts, their tails dangling down to drag in the mud.) You mentioned last night that you wanted to talk about the decorative braiding on the leather armor. The Vikings were just like us – they liked to have stylish and pretty things, but decorative battle armor probably wasn’t as much of a “thing” as this show makes it out to be. After all, the purpose of armor is to protect the body, and some of the decorative touches we’ve seen would actually be a bit detrimental to that purpose, as well as collecting mud/blood and all manner of grossness that doesn’t clean well out of braided leather.

Sandi: The thing is, leather is a special commodity, requiring the death of a lot of animals to get just right. Also, leather is easily corroded by salt water, so a sea-faring folk would not have relied upon it so much. The Northmen, the common sort who would make up the bulk of any fighting force, would have worn layers and layers of woven garments to protect themselves. In a later century, leather and chain mail were a bit more common than they would have been in the 9th Century, but not at this point in the Vikings’ collective history.

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All of it does make pretty pictures for the show, though.

Lissa: Riding in his chariot, Ivar tells Björn again about his ideas. He says his father wanted him to pay attention to the terrain for a reason. They can use it tactically.

Sandi: A good battle chief knows how to do this. It is all fine and well that Ivar is being framed in that role, here, for future reference. I still think that, realistically, such a frame is a presumption at this juncture.

Lissa: Manic Pixie Dream Princess goes to Finehair’s tent and says she wants to talk to him… in private. They go inside a building and she tells him she’s so sorry. She was led astray by the advice of others. She should have waited for him because he was the one she always wanted. They kiss passionately and fall into a bed together. Princess is on top. As things are progressing, she reaches behind her back and draws a knife. Just as she’s raising it, she’s sliced from behind by a blade – Halfdan is wielding it. He tells his brother that perhaps he knows women a bit better than Finehair did. Finehair curses as he sits up. Was he more upset about her drawing a knife on him, his brother killing her, or the fact that he didn’t get the thing he’s wanted for so many years?

Sandi: Oh yeah. We could see this coming, right? I personally think that Harald was most upset because his ideal was destroyed. His Dream Princess Barbie was conniving, and didn’t even have the wisdom to delay her revenge as a good Viking should, according to the proverbs that existed at that time. She didn’t love him. Was never going to love him. And he fell for her sudden sexual invitation with barely a thought. He felt foolish, I think, and that fueled anger as much as anything else did.

Lissa: In the Kattegat Great Hall, Lagertha is cooking Roasted Bastard. She has Egil bound to a spit, rotating over hot coals. He’s taking the torture with fortitude until Lagertha has his wife brought in. She’s a bit battered, but otherwise seems unharmed. Lagertha demands to know who paid for the ships and equipment to attack Kattegat. She says she will let The Bastard and his wife live if he tells her.  If not… She tortures him with a red-hot iron. He screams but keeps his secrets. His wife pleads with him, and he finally surrenders. He says he’s doing it only for her because he knows he’s going to die anyway. (He’s probably right. He looked like he was pretty … cooked.) He tells Lagertha that it was Harald Finehair and the assembled people in the hall gasp.

Sandi: For the viewers, of course, this is no revelation at all. But I can imagine how it must be for Lagertha & Co. Harald’s been around for years, shmoozing and making nice with the family. Being given hospitality. Lending his arm to a battle and his remarks to…well, anyone and everyone. That he had paid to have someone betray them and lead an army against Kattegat—and its leading family—was a huge blow. Lagertha took it well, though, and on her feet.

j-vikings-s4-e19-aethelwhatLissa: The Saxon troops meet on the battlefield and march toward the GHA. But as soon as they’re about to engage, the Vikings turn and walk away. They turn and there’s another group behind them. They start toward that battle, only to have those warriors retreat, as well.  As they try to follow, Björn’s group begins to fire on them from the trees, raining arrows down on the Saxon soldiers.

Sandi: The headgame is half the battle, sometimes. In this kind of warfare, it is personal. You can see the individuals across a field. You might be able to see faces. Colors of tunics. Types of weapons. The Saxons had to feel superior as they arrived to defend their land. They knew what to expect . . . didn’t they? Turns out, no. Which was highly disconcerting and that disconcertion served as Weapon Number One.

Lissa: Aethelwulf gets off his horse and strides toward the trees with his sword drawn, ready to attack, only to find the Vikings have vanished AGAIN. In frustration, he asks one of his men where the Viking ships are. They’re in the nearby town. Aethelwulf says they’ll go there and torch the ships.

Sandi: For us, in our 21st Century world with more than a millennium of history between us and the era we’re watching, this kind of warfare is familiar. We’ve seen its effectiveness all over the world, from the Picts of Scotland defending against the Romans to present-day battles. Guerrilla warfare is a known factor. An expected strategy. But here, not even. These men expected to fight on open terrain, where they could see and be seen, where their identities were clear and their fields of retreat available. So Aethelwulf’s men were feeling as if they would make a noted difference if they cut off the Vikings’ method of retreat. It had to work, didn’t it?

ivar-and-floki-gigglingLissa: Floki sees the Saxons heading down the road toward the town and says, “They’re going for the boats!” For a moment, it seems like he’s almost panicked, but then he reacts with glee, hugging Ivar and telling him he was right. He’s a mad genius! They both laugh as they watch the Saxons head toward the town, only to be hit from an ambush of archers on the ridge above the road.

Sandi: These two are just adorable. I’m not a huge fan of either character, but they are a force to be reckoned with.

vikings-floki-foster-dad

Lissa: It appears that Aethelwulf may have bitten off more than he expected! The Vikings aren’t behaving like an “army,” but instead a huge, sophisticated raiding party. It’s guerrilla warfare in proto-England, and Aethelwulf’s troops are not prepared for it.

It was a great episode in all. Amazing battle scenes, and the plot driven forward. If we were grading this, I would give it top numbers, because I enjoyed it immensely.

Sandi: So did I! All the stuff we tend to enjoy in our Vikings. Fierce warriors, plot, cool battle scenes, fraternal sniping, and Floki being a great foster father and mentor.

Next week, the finale! Will Ecbert survive? Will Aethelwulf? Will we find get our loose ends tied? I can’t wait to find out.


Heill þú farir, heill þú aftr komir, heill þú á sinnum sér!
Hale go forth, hale return, hale on your ways! – Vafþrúðnismál 4


.¸¸•.¸¸.•´¯`• (¯`´¯)•´¯`•.¸¸.•.¸¸.
 Thanks for joining us! Tune in next ODINSday for the SEASON FINALE!

“100% more evisceration talk than expected.” 

“These chicks are machines!” 

– Steve No Ship Network

(CHECK THEM OUT FOR THEIR PODCASTED RECAPS and interviews! And Yes, we did one, too!)

If you’re looking for incisive comments, please check out ProjectFandom. @DeeDonuts on twitter is the chick in charge, there, and she always has sharp things to say!