Vikings is an epic show!
This post is a forum essay (if you will) of Ragar’s character and his true motivations and realisations through the current series (Nov, 2017).
I’ve been watching this TV show the last few weeks leading up to the twenty episode release of Season 5 (coming out late November '17).
Since I’ve been watching it (for the second time), I cannot help but recollect key scenes that directly shape the character of Ragnar Lothbrok and reveal what his true motivations are throughout the series.
He starts out as a simple Viking farmer, with unique navigational intel to sail west and plunder. His Jarl has traditionally dictated an annual raid east and dismisses Ragnar’s ambitions to sail west as nonsensical based on the lack of geographical proof. Ragnar plots with his friend and confidant the boat builder Floki, and manipulates a raid west to the English kingdom of Northumbria. He later returns with Holy treasures after raiding the monastery of Lindisfarne, dismisses his Jarl as a fool, and relishes in the riches of his raids (even symbolically challenging the authority and rule of his rightful Jarl (see 3:08 to 3:17 of this clip):
Ragnar later claims, during a raiding campaign in Francia, to only have usurped the Crown of Norway from other Vikings simply due to the actions of others - even though he hinted earlier to wanting to rule with his selection of a crown-like piece of his Jarl’s plunder.
Watch 00:27 to 00:47 of:
The greatest emotional challenge Ragnar is faced with as Jarl is when his ex-wife Lagertha decides to leave him because of his impregnated fling (Aslaug), an adolescent Bjorn is torn between his mother and father. This emotionally charged scene shows Bjorn departing with Lagetha (see between 1:38 and 2:11):
This next scene demonstrates the sincere, deep and unique love Ragnar holds for his only daughter Gyda (by Lagetha), tragically taken by illness while he was raiding:
(Watch 1:07 to 2:00):
Later, when Ragnar and his horde are sailing down the Seine to pursue their first conquest of Paris, Ragnar has a deeply revealing recollection of being back on his humble farm with his first wife and children (even with the priest Athelstan), after his first raid - living the simple life.
See 00:55 to 1:36:
It shows his desire to return to the simple life, before status and material wealth had taken hold (the white horse representing liberty).
In his last conversation with Lagertha, Ragnar reveals his revelation of regretfully wishing he had never left their humble family farm to chase his aspirations of fame and glory. Lagertha re-iterates this regretful notion with a haunting final kiss.
See 1:07 to 2:19.
I feel this is an important allegory to this series that some may not pick up on.
Ragnar truly valued his close-knit family abode within the realm of his farm, above that he did achieving the rank of ‘King’.
Looking forward to Season 5