Vikings Dead: Fifty Shades of Odo…

First of all, I want to thank all of my followers for joining me on this trip through time to the Viking age! Our raiding season has come to an end for this year but that does not mean that we are finished with our visit with these Vikings! As I have mentioned previously, I will be remaining on here in Paris for the time being- I need a bit of a vacation and while the present company tends to be rather stuffy, snotty and at times somewhat perverse, the accommodations are far more comfortable and luxurious than those of a long boat ride and another stay in Kattegat. The food is excellent as well… now, if I could just find way to rid myself of Charles and a few others residing here, my vacation would be almost perfect!

gisla asks a rational question so what are we to do  charles waves the servants away before he answers

I don’t mind if Gisla stays… Yes, she can be a bit much to deal with at times- but I have a feeling she will be quite pre-occupied and busy with her upcoming nuptials and her future husband.

I will tell of that story later, as well as the story of what happened with our Viking group. I am quite sure most of you are already aware by now that our illustrious leader, Ragnar did not die but rose up to accomplish his goal of conquering the city- at least for a few hours! He has now departed for the trip home to Kattegat and we will tell that story later.  Right now, I want to discuss the one other person who has caused such a stir and controversy within the walls of Paris. That would be Count Odo, of whom rumors and gossip are running rampant now.  I have now spent some time at this court and heard many of the women, men whispering of him behind his back.  Never would anyone voice these thoughts openly around him. But, there are indeed rumors floating around about his personal life… and about how he may react to the news of Gisla being given to the Northman, Rollo instead of him?

Odo is this a cruel and vicious man

With all of that in mind, perhaps we should take a closer look at Odo and the recent event that has caused such controversy.  Before we proceed with this discussion, I do need to warn and advise that the following discussion will contain adult subject matter, some sexual content and some nudity. If any of this causes you discomfort, then please do not read further. I would also have to say that if you are uncomfortable with this subject, then I am reasonably certain the recent event that took place with Odo and a willing participant caused you a great deal of discomfort! It was probably even more disturbing and discomforting for you because it was cut and edited in such a way for American viewers that you may not have understood the full context or reason for the scene?  The reasoning for this scenario is still up for debate even among those who had the benefit of viewing it in it’s entirety. It did seem somewhat out of context and un-necessary at first. But, after thinking much about it and doing some additional research on this particular character, I can see where it may be coming from on a number of different levels.

Before we get into the discussion of it, let us look at exactly what happened!  Count Odo was once again put off by Gisla and immediately after that he was approached by an unknown, un-named as yet, young Noblewoman. This young woman was open about her desire to show her gratitude to Odo for saving their city, even if Gisla would not. She showed an interest in spending more personal time with him. Odo, to his credit, did not just immediately take her up on it, but spent some moment thinking this over before giving her a hopeful answer in his response of, “Perhaps later”

Odo approaches Gisla about that marriage proposal

Odo approaches Gisla about that marriage proposal

gisla's response to odo this is neither the time nor place for this discussion

gisla’s response to odo this is neither the time nor place for this discussion

This young woman searches Odo out, approaches him and is quite forward in her advances toward him. Odo did not go in search of her, nor did he do anything that would be of questionable conduct or behavior on his part.  This is extremely important to remember later. This young woman purposefully set her sights and attentions on Odo and offered herself to him. He did seem hesitant about agreeing to her proposal.

nameless woman  You saved our city I am grateful and would show you that gratitude if she won't

Odo has to think for a moment on this woman's offer the young woman is rewarded with an answer of perhaps later

In considering his hesitation over this and what takes place later, we now have to wonder about the other unknown woman that Odo seemed to have some relationship with at an earlier time?

Odo and the new mysterious woman seem to be in agreement on something

Odo and the new mysterious woman seem to be in agreement on something

Who is this other unknown woman… what role does she play in his life, both personal and professional? She does bear a resemblance to our more recent young woman, and at first I thought perhaps they were one and the same? But, I don’t think so… this woman appears to be older, more experienced and seems to already have some connection with Odo? How does she fit into what we are learning about Odo and the French court? I can only assume that this will all unravel for us in the next season!

Odo's attention is on this woman.

Odo’s attention is on this woman.

For now, let us just focus on what took place later between Odo and this unknown young woman.

They did meet later in Odo’s chambers, where once again, she made it clear what she was offering. She made comments about how she was sure that Gisla was boring, so good, so pious and would not hold Odo’s interest for long. Odo brought up the subject of this woman’s husband and she responded that he was probably already so drunk as not care or notice where she was or what she was doing. So, we now know that this woman is married and is willing to enter into some arrangement with Odo despite that state. As a note- this was not at all uncommon then- we will discuss that later!

the woman's thoughts on gisla  she seems very boring

the woman’s thoughts on gisla she seems very boring

you would soon tire of her believe me

you would soon tire of her believe me

When the woman comments on her husband, Odo’s response shows he is well aware of her intent and her game, and he is letting her know it.


the woman  my husband will be too drunk to even care  Odo I almost believe you

the woman my husband will be too drunk to even care Odo I almost believe you

In Odo’s response to her about Gisla, we get a clue as to what the future could possibly hold for Gisla if she should end up married to him… or if the marriage event does not go his way and he would choose to extract some personal vengeance upon Gisla for it?

Odo perhaps but then again breaking her could be interesting

Odo perhaps but then again breaking her could be interesting

Please remember that this woman is willing and eager to enter into some arrangement with Odo. She suggests that perhaps she could hold his interest far longer than Gisla ever could. Odo responds with we shall see…

the young woman is eager and willing

the young woman is eager and willing

is there a way that I could keep your interest

is there a way that I could keep your interest

Odo: Come come with me and we shall see if you are up to the challenge?

Odo: Come come with me and we shall see if you are up to the challenge?

The young woman then follows Odo down a dim hallway to what one would suppose to be a much more private and less known about dungeon like space…

Odo leads her down a dark passage

Odo leads her down a dark passage

This is obviously not a space that Odo shares with the general public or more casual acquaintances…

Odo's private play room

Odo’s private play room

she seems to be having second thoughts as she observes the dungeon room filled with torture devices

she seems to be having second thoughts as she observes the dungeon room filled with torture devices

Well this was certainly not what she was expecting  she has to rethink this for a moment

Well this was certainly not what she was expecting she has to rethink this for a moment

This is where we discover Odo’s more personal and private preferences. Apparently, no other woman at court has thought to possibly warn this young woman ahead of time of just what type of sexual proclivities, deviations or acts Odo may be fond of practicing. I am certain that there are probably other women who know of this, who have experienced this with him, but for what ever reason they have kept such information to themselves- a much guarded secret? Perhaps they have been well rewarded for their silences on this matter…or perhaps they are in fear of any retribution on Odo’s part if he should find they have been sharing this secret… possibly, it’s a bit of both. In any case, this woman is rattled by this place and it takes her some time to regain any composure. The key to this is that, she does regain her composure, she does go ahead with this experience even after being warned and cautioned by him to choose carefully.  The other part to remember here is that Odo is not looking at this as abuse. He is well versed and well trained in this art of BDSM and is giving her free choice as to continue or to walk away. If she chooses to continue, he is willing to guide her through this experience.

What we see is this young woman having second thoughts, weighing the choice in her mind and probably the benefits of continuing on as well… this is entirely new for her, and she battles to overcome some fear and possible distaste for the idea in thought of what the eventual reward might be for her.  She has obviously set her sights on an arrangement with Odo for some reasons that most likely have little to do with sexual gratification- though that would be an added side bonus- but more to do with advancing her and or her husband’s status at court. This was the most general reason for women entering into such affairs, and often they had their husband’s agreements on such an activity. One could look at it as a career opportunity for young women at court. We will delve into that a bit closer after we view the rest of this experience.

Odo shows off his collection of whips

Odo gives her his explanation and his offer… If you would submit to being chained and whipped, we might come to some arrangement. The key here is that he is giving her choice and she is free to decline is she so chooses.

If you would submit to being chained up and whipped we might come to some arrangement

If you would submit to being chained up and whipped we might come to some arrangement

Odo of course I would allow you to choose the whip

Odo of course I would allow you to choose the whip

do not show fear what ever you do do not show fear just suck it up and hope he pays you well for this choose your whip carefully  some are more severe than others

you will always be able to call halt  though I would prefer to decide that for myself.

you will always be able to call halt though I would prefer to decide that for myself.

preparing herself and summoning her courage

preparing herself and summoning her courage

odo watches as she tests the chains

odo watches as she tests the chains

I can not stress or emphasize enough that this experience, this act is not in and of itself abuse or torture. Odo is a trained expert in this form of sexual practice and they are both consenting adults on this experience. He is giving her fair warning, free choice in the matter and no one is forcing her into this experience. While it may be disturbing to watch, and it may not be to your personal taste, sensibilities or morals, it is not abuse. As I said, he will guide her through it and will give her choice as to when to strike or when to halt. The final choice is now left up to her and she makes her decision…. What a portion of this choice comes down to is that of what a person might be  willing to do for status, fame, power or control. I will not say love at this point because in this particular situation, love or obsession has nothing to do with her motives or his. There may be, though a willingness on her part too, to experience it for curiousness of this act?

the things a woman will do for power

the woman readies herself for this experience Odo: will you keep my interest  undoubtedly

What follows is this young woman’s initiation into the sexual practice of BDSM with guidance from Odo, her Master in this experience. Odo allows her to choose when…

say strike when you are ready

say strike when you are ready

tell me when to strike

After a moment of preparing herself, she is ready

the experience begins say strike

what much of the viewing audience missed was the rest of the act…

Ode to Odo and fifty shades of gray by Ines Jager at Vikings Aftermath facebook group

Ode to Odo and fifty shades of gray by Ines Jager at Vikings Aftermath facebook group

We did not see any further sexual conclusion to this initial act so we really have no idea if she truly embraced the experience and enjoyed it or not. We can assume that is was pleasurable for Odo, and that as such a well trained master in this practice, he would have enlightened her as to the basic premise that there is a fine line between pain and pleasure. This premise is the basis for much of the practice of BDSM.  What we do see at a later point is that she does seem to have elevated her status at court somewhat by being at Odo’s side at an important Court function, Ragnar’s supposed funeral. This small detail may be easy to overlook but it is extremely important in the context of this experience and what her benefit or reward might have been!

and what have we here  is this our young woman who played odo's game and is now elevated in her level of status

and what have we here is this our young woman who played odo’s game and is now elevated in her level of status


Now that we have looked at the experience, let us look at those other pieces of the puzzle…

First of all, we need to look at the character of Odo and where this part of his character may have originated. I know we have looked at him and his part in history previously but let’s look one more time because this seems to be a new side of him that his original history did not necessarily prepare us for? Of course, this particular preference or practice may not be one that would be so well known or documented through history!

We have previously gone on the assumption that he is a representation of Count Odo of France, but there are couple of Count Odos during this time period. I believe that our Odo is most likely another of those combinations of historical figures. While he certainly is most likely partially a representation of Odo of France as basically described here:

King of Western Francia
Coronation of King Odo.jpg

The Coronation of Odo, from the Grandes Chroniques de France
Reign 888–898
Coronation February 888, Compiègne
Predecessor Charles the Fat
Successor Charles III
House Robertian
Father Robert the Strong
Mother Adelaide of Tours
Born c.852
Died 1 January 898
La Fère, France

Odo (or Eudes) (c. 852 – 1 January 898) was a King of Western Francia, reigning from 888 to 898. He was a son of Robert the Strong, count of Anjou, whose branch of the family is known as the Robertians. Odo is also known as the Duke of France and Count of Paris.

For his skill and bravery in resisting the attacks of the Vikings at the Siege of Paris, Odo was chosen by the western Franks to be their king following the removal of emperor Charles the Fat. He was crowned at Compiègne in February 888 by Walter, Archbishop of Sens.  Odo continued to battle against the Vikings and defeated them at Montfaucon, but he was soon involved in a struggle with powerful nobles who supported the claim of Charles the Simple to the Frankish throne.

In 889 and 890 Odo granted special privileges to the County of Manresa in Osona. Because of its position on the front line against Moorish aggression, Manresa was given the right to build towers of defence known as manresanas or manresanes. This privilege was responsible for giving Manresa its unique character, distinct from the rest of Osona, for the next two centuries.  To gain prestige and support, Odo paid homage to the Eastern Frankish King Arnulf of Carinthia. But in 894 Arnulf declared his support for Charles, and after a conflict which lasted three years, Odo was compelled to come to terms with his rival and surrender a district north of the Seine to him.

He is most likely also a portrayal and representation of  Odo I, Count of Blois. Odo, Count of Blois and Touraine, was a French nobleman of the tenth century. He is described as a vicious, cruel man who lost his left arm in a sword-fight.,_Count_of_Blois

This link is to a short peview of a book called Odo Count of Champagne and Tyrant of Burgundy

Odo count of Champagne

For our purposes, we have not yet seen our Count Odo as overly cruel or vicious… He seems to be a well capable man in charge of defending his City and making far more rational, sound decisions than King Charles! What we can see of him is a desire for added power and fame, which the marriage to Gisla would bring him. So far, he has really done nothing else to warrant our suspicions and speculations upon his character, his morals or his supposed cruel streak. He is in a high position of power and presents himself with that level of confidence and authority for the most part.  At this point, his personal proclivities, preferences or fetishes are just that- his personal business, and he as yet not let them carry over into his professional life. We can not pass judgement on him for that yet. He has made mention that it might be interesting or enjoyable to break or tame the lady Gisla… but right now, there are countless other men who probably feel similarly in that respect… namely, our Rollo! But, that is a separate story from our current topic!

rollo Haaaaaa I understood every word I think you owe me even more money and land for taking her


As to our unknown young woman’s motives, ambitions and loose morals… We need to look at the idea and the role of mistresses in the context of Royalty and history. As I mentioned earlier, this was not really uncommon and not really looked down upon. For young women living at Royal Courts it was often expected that they would use their assets wisely to benefit themselves and their families. Many families sent their young women to court specifically for that reason- to use their feminine assets in order to develop alliances and connections that would help all of the family move up in status and wealth. Just because they were perceived as religious and pious people does not mean that they were all pure, good and devout in their beliefs and their actions. This was a cut throat world and their intent was to survive and thrive by any means necessary. Women in this time had just as much desire for status, wealth, power and control as men did. They just went about achieving their goals in a slightly different type of warfare!

We know next to nothing about this woman, her husband or her family so we can not be sure exactly of all her reasonings and motives for seeking out this arrangement with the high level Count Odo. She may have been put up to it by family members seeking to increase their status via her relationship with such a powerful man, or it may be her own ambition pushing her on in this endeavor. That all remains to be seen in the future!

A brief look at Mistresses in history:

A mistress is a relatively long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner, especially when her partner is married. Generally, the relationship is stable and at least semi-permanent, but the couple does not live together openly and the relationship is usually, but not always, secret. There is often also the implication (if not the fact) that the mistress is “kept” – i.e. that her lover is paying for some (and sometimes all) of her living expenses.

The historically best known and most-researched mistresses are the royal mistresses of European monarchs, for example, Agnès Sorel, Diane de Poitiers, Barbara Villiers, Nell Gwyn and Madame de Pompadour. The keeping of a mistress in Europe was not confined to royalty and nobility but permeated down through the social ranks, essentially to any man who could afford to do so. Any man who could afford a mistress could have one (or more), regardless of social position. A wealthy merchant or a young noble might have a kept woman. Being a mistress was typically an occupation for a younger woman who, if she were fortunate, might go on to marry her lover or another man of rank.

The ballad “The Three Ravens” (published in 1611, but possibly older) extolls the loyal mistress of a slain knight, who buries her dead lover and then dies of the exertion, as she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy. It is noteworthy that the ballad-maker assigned this role to the knight’s mistress (“leman” was the term common at the time) rather than to his wife. In the courts of Europe, particularly Versailles and Whitehall in the 17th and 18th centuries, a mistress often wielded great power and influence. A king might have numerous mistresses but have a single “favourite mistress” or “official mistress” (in French, “maîtresse en titre”), as with Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. The mistresses of both Louis XV (especially Madame de Pompadour) and Charles II were often considered to exert great influence over their lovers, the relationships being open secrets. Other than wealthy merchants and kings, Alexander VI is but one example of a Pope who kept mistresses.  While the extremely wealthy might keep a mistress for life (as George II of England did with “Mrs Howard“, even after they were no longer romantically linked), such was not the case for most kept women.

In 1736, when George II was newly ascendant, Henry Fielding (in Pasquin) has his Lord Place say, “…but, miss, every one now keeps and is kept; there are no such things as marriages now-a-days, unless merely Smithfield contracts, and that for the support of families; but then the husband and wife both take into keeping within a fortnight.”

Occasionally the mistress is in a superior position both financially and socially to her lover. As a widow, Catherine the Great was known to have been involved with several successive men during her reign; but, like many powerful women of her era, in spite of being a widow free to marry, she chose not to share her power with a husband, preferring to maintain absolute power alone.

Mistresses were a common part of Royal and Noble life throughout history. In fact in history, the Charlamagne that Charles is so fond of reminding people of, had a number of mistresses.


  • Gersuinda of the Saxons
  • Amaltrud of Vienne
  • Ethelind
  • Sigrade
  • Madelgard
  • Regina
  • Landrade des Herbages
  • Adelindus

And, if we use Charles the Simple as part of our role model for our Charles, he had a few himself!

Charles the Simple

  • Edgiva of Kent
  • Frederuna von Ringleheim

While Count Odo is not Royalty, he is close and in history, he would be king for a time. So, this would put him in the category of Royalty for a young woman determined to advance herself and her family.

A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or an heir apparent. Some mistresses have had considerable power. These powerful mistresses have been commonly referred to as the “power behind the throne“. The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space for the monarch’s personal preferences in the choice of a mate.

In European history the children of mistresses were not normally included in the line of succession, except perhaps when secret marriages were alleged. Hence the Monmouth Rebellion when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth claimed the thrones of England and Scotland on the grounds that his mother had been the wife, rather than a mistress, of Charles II.


The last portion of this discussion is a brief, basic explanation and history of Odo’s personal sexual practices, BDSM. I am not going to go into any lengthy detailed discussion of it as it is not really pertinent here and it is a very personal choice and lifestyle which each person has different levels of accepting or believing in. I would not pass judgement on anyone for their personal tastes in such areas as long as it does not cross boundaries set by either consenting party. That is the most important thing to remember about any type of relationship.

BDSM is a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics. Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from one-time experimentation to a lifestyle.


The BDSM initialism

The term BDSM is first dated from 1969.  The term BDSM was formed by joining the term B&D (bondage and discipline) with S&M (sadomasochism, or sadism and masochism). (It is sometimes believed to contain within it, as well, the compound D&S (dominance and submission) but that is not historically correct, and an example of folk etymology). BDSM is used today (2015) as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures. BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers, extreme body modification enthusiasts, animal players, latex or rubber aficionados, and others.

Unlike the usual “power neutral” relationships and play styles commonly followed by couples, activities and relationships within a BDSM context are often characterized by the participants’ taking on complementary, but unequal roles; thus, the idea of informed consent of both the partners becomes essential. Participants who exert sexual dominance over their partners are known as dominants or tops, while participants who take the passive, receiving, or obedient role are known as submissives or bottoms.

The Historical Origins of BDSM

 The historical origins of BDSM are obscure. During the ninth century BC, ritual flagellations were performed in Artemis Orthia, one of the most important religious areas of ancient Sparta, where the Cult of Orthia, a preolympic religion, was practiced. Here ritual flagellation called diamastigosis took place on a regular basis. One of the oldest graphical proofs of sadomasochistic activities is found in an Etruscan burial site in Tarquinia. Inside the Tomba della Fustigazione (Flogging grave), in the latter sixth century b.c., two men are portrayed flagellating a woman with a cane and a hand during an erotic situation. Another reference related to flagellation is to be found in the sixth book of the Satires of the ancient Roman Poet Juvenal (1st–2nd century A.D.), further reference can be found in Petronius’s Satyricon where a delinquent is whipped for sexual arousal. Anecdotal narratives related to humans who have had themselves voluntary bound, flagellated or whipped as a substitute for sex or as part of foreplay reach back to the third and fourth century.

The Kama Sutra describes four different kinds of hitting during lovemaking, the allowed regions of the human body to target and different kinds of joyful “cries of pain” practiced by bottoms. The collection of historic texts related to sensuous experiences explicitly emphasizes that impact play, biting and pinching during sexual activities should only be performed consensually since only some women consider such behavior to be joyful. From this perspective the Kama Sutra can be considered as one of the first written resources dealing with sadomasochistic activities and safety rules. Further texts with sadomasochistic connotation appear worldwide during the following centuries on a regular basis.


aethelwulf practices self flagulation and punishes himself for what ever sins he can think of

aethelwulf practices self flagulation and punishes himself for what ever sins he can think of


The final thought that I need to address here is one that some people have brought up in various discussions of this scene. Some people have compared Count Odo’s behavior to that of Aethelwulf’s self flagellation. I do not believe that Aethelwulf’s self flagellation has anything to do with eroticism but more to do with the religious context of it.

The Flagellation refers in a Christian context to the Flagellation of Christ, an episode in the Passion of Christ prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. The practice of mortification of the flesh for religious purposes was utilized by some Christians throughout most of Christian history, especially in Catholic monasteries and convents.

In the 13th century, a group of Roman Catholics, known as the Flagellants, took this practice to its extreme ends. The Flagellants were later condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as a cult in the 14th century because the established church had no other control over the practice than excommunication.  Self-flagellation remains common in the Philippines, Mexico, and one convent in Peru.

Some members of strict monastic orders, and some members of the Catholic lay organization Opus Dei, practice mild self-flagellation using an instrument called a “discipline”, a cattail whip usually made of knotted cords, which is flung over the shoulders repeatedly during private prayer.  Pope John Paul II took the discipline regularly.

St. Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun of late 19th-century France who has now been declared a Doctor of the Church, is an influential example of a Catholic Saint who questioned prevailing attitudes toward physical penance. Her view was that loving acceptance of the many sufferings of daily life was pleasing to God, and fostered loving relationships with other people, more than taking upon oneself extraneous sufferings through instruments of penance. However as a Carmelite nun, she practiced voluntary corporal mortification.

Because practices such as starvation, sleep denial and flagellation are known to induce altered states, flagellation may be used by religious ecstatics and mystics as part of ritualistic practices or ceremonies to achieve unusual states of mind.


I hope this answers any questions, confusion or puzzles you may have concerning Odo, his personal practices, his history, and the young woman’s possible reasons or motives for entering into this arrangement. Hopefully it will give you some insight as how and why this scene fits into the context of the story. I can do nothing about your personal feelings, judgements or discomfort regarding all of it!




















Vikings Dead: My first thoughts


OMG! Ok, I do not have much time right now to go in depth about this final epic event that will leave all of us tearing our hair out and drinking far too much mead for the foreseeable future as we try to return to our normal lives for the next months as we wait for the next raiding season. I just want to give my first thoughts on it. I will have a full review on Sunday or Monday… Damn real life things like work keep interfering with my fantasy life!

 I just finished watching the finale and am now torn between wanting to give Mr. Hirst my undying gratitude for putting Rollo’s story in high gear, and also wanting to put him at the top of my hate/hit list for leaving so much hanging, so many questions and puzzles with no answers until next year! I want to grab Lagertha’s stealth maidens- well who ever is left of them- and go on a covert mission into Hirst’s computer and find my answers cause it’s going to drive me nuts! And, if he thinks that meager little teaser of Bjorn and the Bear is going to appease me, he is sooo wrong!

Thanks and credit to the wonderful group of friends at Vikings Aftermath on facebook for this screen art and the following one of Mr. Michael Hirst!

Rollo salud by aftermath crew

Rollo salud by aftermath crew

First of all, My undying gratitude to you Mr. Hirst for giving us Rollo’s story and his future. Because of you, more people have taken an interest in the real history of Rollo and that always makes me happy!  Of course, I must add my thanks and greatest fan appreciation of Mr. Clive Standen who has brought the character to life for us! History tells us various stories about the man, Rollo but, Clive Standen has managed to put a face (and, as a fan, I must add, a very handsome one at that!), and heart rending emotion to the Character of Rollo. I know that as with all  historical fiction, Mr. Hirst has to continually play with time lines, events and characters in order to fit the scope of the story he is telling. What I appreciate so much is that within all of those twists and bends of history, Hirst does always run a thread of truth through the story. He has not failed me with his coming interpretation of Rollo’s destiny as founder of Normandy! For more insight on what the future will hold, here are a few previews and interviews with Michael Hirst regarding the future!

Rollo watching the ships leave him in france

This was a transformative season for Rollo. One of the standout scenes was his conversation with the seer. At the time, he was a man who seemed to have nothing left. But now, in Paris, his legend seems even larger than Ragnar’s. Can you talk about where his journey will take him, going forward?
The conversation with the seer was critical and vital. It’s also one of the best moments for Clive [Standen] in the entire show. We happened to have a great female director [Helen Shaver] at the time, and I think she encouraged him to give a really emotional, deeply felt performance. And he was saying: “I’m worthless. I’ll always be in Ragnar’s shadow. It’s not worth me being alive, frankly.” And the seer told him: “If you know what I knew, you’d be dancing naked on the beach.”

So Rollo’s been on a private journey to work out what the f— that actually meant. For a long time, he can’t figure it. The raid is so disastrous. So many things go wrong. He has a glimpse of the Frankish princess. For some reason, he’s drawn to her. And when they come to him with this offer, I think that the pieces start to fall into place. He thinks that this is why he should dance naked on the sand. He is being given the opportunity to be his own man.

What he said to Ragnar in the coffin was: “I’m surprised that you went first. And I’m sure you are, too. We all thought the gods favored you, and not me.” Here, it looks to him—reading into what the seer said—that the gods, at last, are favoring him. He’s come out of that in a totally extraordinary way. He is on the verge of a big, huge change in his life.

Which is a good setup for the new season. And of course [laughs] if anyone wants to read the history books, they can find out how important Count Rollo was in French history.

Earlier this season, it felt to me as if, after many years of turmoil between them, Rollo and Ragnar were very much united. Could he once again turn on his brother?
I think he knows that that is what his part of the bargain is. It’s costing the French Emperor a lot of money. But it’s a very clever move. How do you beat a Viking? You hire another Viking to do it.

As far as the brothers are concerned, Rollo has confessed to what he thought was a dead Ragnar that he’s never got over his jealousy. So Ragnar knows. And remember, it wasn’t Ragnar who let Rollo stay. He was too sick to make that decision. It was Bjorn. Ragnar, I don’t think, would have ever allowed Rollo to stay. And I don’t think that Ragnar ever forgave Rollo. He just let him go because he was blood. I really don’t think that Ragnar felt able to forgive Rollo.

Here is another article dealing with the finale!

Although Micahel Hirst is the undisputed genius creator behind this Vikings saga, he does have some incredible help in putting all of this history into context.

Meet the man who makes sure Vikings is historically accurate: interview with Justin Pollard!

Justin Pollard is an archaeologist, author, screenwriter, and consultant who has worked as a historical consultant on a large number of movies and popular television programs, including the History Channel’s Vikings. In this short interview we discuss how he got into this line of work, his research, and the mythological and historic roots of Vikings.

First things first: Among other things, you’re a historical consultant on a variety of great television shows. I’m envious! How did you get into this line of work?

I started out after Cambridge as a field archaeologist working for the Museum of London on Thomas Becket’s old monastery at Merton. After a year there the unit rather abruptly folded due to lack of funding and, combines with a tragedy in the family, I was left wondering what to do next really. I thought about going back into academe but I didn’t want to have to narrow down my frankly dilettante interests to one period or subject so I needed to invent a job for myself. This was the mid 1990s and a lot of US companies were starting to commission historical documentaries from London TV production houses so I started writing to lots of them offering my services as a historical consultant/ researcher/ writer. After a lot of polite refusals one company took me up on the offer and I’ve been fairly consistently employed ever since.

How did you become attached to Vikings?

That’s all thanks to Michael Hirst the writer and show-runner. I had my ‘break’ into movies in 1997/8 when I was asked to advise on a movie called Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett. The writer was Michael and we got along so well that we’ve been working together ever since. It was working on The Tudors that Michael mentioned he wanted to write about the Vikings. I had written a biography of Alfred the Great, who we’d previously talked about making a movie of, and mentioned the somewhat obscure history of Ragnar and his sons. Michael took it from there.

What kinds of preparation do you make when you’re going to start consulting on a program? Do you do field research, reach out to historians, visit the library?

The research process has changed dramatically since I started. When I began you’d go to the British Library for a month and call up book after book, searching for those little individual nuggets of information that inform a scene – those small details that make it instantly believable but still strange and wonderful. These days much more is online. From my study in Dorset I have access to very large reference collections, the whole of JSTOR for academic papers as well as the usual online academic sources. Not only has having these available online reduced the need for library work but the search-ability of online sources has radically changed the time it takes to find things out. Failing inline sources I can now order a book over the net in minutes and have it delivered from just about anywhere in the world in a matter of days. I have a very eclectic library! The face to face work comes these days mainly from visiting museums and academics. I keep in touch with lots of great academics from around the world who are unfailingly helpful withe everything from small queries about 16th century etiquette to how to swear in Old Low Franconian.

For more of the interview go here!



Now, as to my personal thought on the idea of Rollo betraying Ragnar again. I do not see it that way and I hope that it really does not come down to that… although, that may be the way Ragnar will perceive it.  In my opinion, Rollo is just doing what he feels he needs to do for himself now. He realizes that he and Ragnar will never see things the same way and in his mind, Ragnar has done his own share of betraying their people. I will go more into this when I post the rest of my thoughts along with the in depth review.

Now, on to the second half of my thoughts right now… the ones where I wish to recruit who ever is left of Lagertha’s elite stealth maidens and make a covert hit on Michael Hirst’s private notes to answer those puzzles and questions that will drive me nuts while I wait for next season!

lagertha's group under the bridge

Just a few of the nagging unanswered questions I will spend the next months trying to figure out on my own… Where the hell did Porunn go, and will we ever see her again? I’m sure we will, but will we even recognize her when she shows up again? What’s going on in Wessex… and what is so damn important about baby Magnus in the future? I hope that Kweni finds a somewhat rational and sane nursemaid for him or we could see a truly berserker future ruler of Mercia- even more so than Kweni herself… now that’s a scary thought! Does Judith manage to find a way out of this nasty web that Ecbert has her caught in? I hope she does not become a dead victim cause I do like her.  Then, there is the whole puzzle of Kalf… Ohhhh Kalf, Please do not turn out to be another evil, devious villain… we have more than enough of those already! What about slimely little scum Erlandeur, Why, ohhh Why is that boy still alive even now and would someone please kill him quickly next season!  for all of those questions you have left us with Mr. Hirst, I must agree with this thought!

hirst hit list by ines jagger at aftermath

hirst hit list by ines jagger at aftermath

Ahhhhh and one last thought today for you Mr. Hirst… if you think this tiny snippet preview of next season is going to appease me, Please think again!


Vikings: What does the future hold for Rollo and Gisla?



Ok, I have a meeting with the Seer and am going to quickly give my guess and prediction for the fated couple…

Seer as counselor  What do you think

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Gisla is showing her more petulant and pouting spoiled Princess side.

gisla is still a young girl wanting her own way

We have also been made aware of the fact that Rollo has achieved some great recognition and reputation as the Crazed Bear, so I think we can safely assume that Rollo is the Bear that the Seer speaks of and Gisla is the Princess…

sintric  he fights like a crazed bear

sintric he fights like a crazed bear

There was definitely some interest shown by both of them upon seeing each other….but I do think that Rollo will have some personal affront and issue with the fact that she was up on the wall in the first place and the sight of her caused him to nearly kill himself? I also think that Gisla, while she may be somewhat interested in this warrior, is not going to be quite so willing to be married off to him?

gisla watching the battle sees Rollo fighting gisla watching rollo intently rollo's first sight of gisla rollo makes the mistake glancing up from his battel to see gisla watching him

Gisla may have some curious fascination with this wild man, but she is quite vocal and blunt as to how she feels about those Heathens. It was she in fact who was insistent on Odo bringing her Sigfrid’s head if he cared at all for her? Poor Sigfrid’s death was just an attempt to appease her pouting arrogant high handed demands… and she certainly was not above pouting when it did not go quite the way she had envisioned!

Sigfrid listens as Sintric tries to talk his way out of this mess for them

Sigfrid has the last laugh

Sigfrid has the last laugh

gisla is not amused

gisla is not amused

What we need to look at is what else was going on during the “trial” of Sigfrid and Sinric… Odo was so impressed with Rollo’s actions and warrior quality that he insisted on knowing more about this great warrior that fought like a crazed bear and managed to stop their siege machine bare handed!

odo: this man sintric will be of use to us  gisla and this earl

odo: this man sintric will be of use to us gisla and this earl

Rollo is not about to let some machine stop him this time rollo conquering the machine Rollo's Fuck you moment  I said I was going to get in and I meant it

Now, throughout this discussion, Odo tried to get the King’s opinion and decision on what to do… but Charles seemed to engrossed in his own thoughts.

Odo waits for Charles to come up with any form of intelligent decision.

Odo waits for Charles to come up with any form of intelligent decision.

while odo questions  Sinric, charles is thinking on something else

while odo questions Sinric, charles is thinking on something else

Just what is Charles thinking of besides, When is this going be over, this is all so beneath me… Well, here is what he may have been thinking, “What the Devil do I do with this spoiled daughter of mine, she’s starting to get on my nerves.” Then his thoughts wander to the over all predicament they are in and this talk of a Wild Warrior Viking… Charles is tired of all this constant fighting, it’s so annoying and interrupts his naps and his prayer, much like his daughter does on occasion. Hmmm, how to solve this so that I come out looking good? I can not afford to keep paying off these Vikings for very long. And because I am paying off them off all over the country and our coffers are close to empty, I can’t afford to keep this Princess in long dresses let alone pay a dowry for her either… His thoughts ramble on to Odo… if he thinks he is going to marry my daughter and reach even higher in station, he should think again.  He is only here to make me look good! Everyone assumes that Charles is spineless and a bit dimwitted… well, he probably is a bit of both, but he does have some thoughts in his mind. Charles goes on thinking to himself while they debate the fate of these prisoners. He keeps going back to that Warrior Viking and how impressed everyone seems to be with the man? Suddenly, a plan enters his brain on how to solve all of it and not spend too much more gold… Pay this Viking off in land, we have plenty of excess land around here! Perhaps I can convince this Viking Warrior to take some land, some coastal land to be exact. If he is such a ferocious Warrior, then he could guard his own damn land and ours as well? That’s it! I’ll offer this man coastal land, which he will then have to protect from the rest of those Heathens trying to rob him blind… See how he likes it then!  In the middle of his perfect scheme, he hears his daughter’s demanding voice and winces. She’s giving me another headache… I know she means well, but I have simply had enough of her and Odo! what to do, what to do about her? Ahhhh, I know! I’ll throw her into the deal as a wife for him. In fact, I will insist that he take her or the whole deal is off! Yes, Yes… this will all work out perfectly if Odo does not mess it up for me!

King Charles has his own secret plan

In the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (911) with King Charles, Rollo pledged feudal allegiance to the king, changed his name to the Frankish version, and converted to Christianity, probably with the baptismal name Robert. In return, King Charles granted Rollo land between the Epte and the sea as well as parts of Brittany  and according to Dudo of St. Quentin, the hand of the King’s daughter, Gisela, although this marriage and Gisela herself are unknown to Frankish sources. He was also the titular ruler of Normandy, centered around the city of Rouen. There exists some argument among historians as to whether Rollo was a “duke” (dux) or whether his position was equivalent to that of a “count” under Charles.

According to legend, when required to kiss the foot of King Charles, as a condition of the treaty, he refused to perform so great a humiliation, and when Charles extended his foot to Rollo, Rollo ordered one of his warriors to do so in his place. His warrior then lifted Charles’ foot up to his mouth causing the king to fall to the ground.

After 911, Rollo stayed true to his word of defending the shores of the Seine river in accordance to the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. However, he also continued attacks on Flanders.

After Charles was deposed by Robert I in 922, Rollo considered his oath to the King of France at an end. It started a period of expansion westwards. Negotiations with French barons ended with Rollo being given Le Mans and Bayeux and continued with the seizure of Bessin in 924. The following year the Normans attacked Picardy.

Rollo began to divide the land between the Epte and Risle rivers among his chieftains and settled there with a de facto capital in Rouen. Over time, Rollo’s men intermarried with the local women, and became more settled into French Catholic culture as Normans.

Of course, plans do not always go quite as one imagines them in one’s mind, so I am sure that there will be a few changes to this genius plan inside Charles’ wandering mind. One thing he does do is remind both Odo and Gisla of just who is King, and who makes the final decisions… well, him and God, but you get my point! At their most recent meeting before sending Odo off on his mission to pay the Vikings off, he makes it fairly clear to Gisla that while her ideas might have some merit and value, it is not for her to decide. None of these things are really for you to decide, dear girl, we only let you play at it and have your way when it benefits us… as you will soon see!

gisla you will bring me his head gisla is not impressed with her father's thought that Sintric might be of any help

gisla: otherwise we will have failed.

gisla: otherwise we will have failed.


Given Gisla’s distaste and downright hatred of these Barbarians, I do not imagine that she will initially be too excited about the prospect of marrying one of them… even if it is Rollo! She may be willing to do her duty for God, Country and her Father but, really this carrying things a bit too far, don’t you think Daddy? You could not honestly be serious about this idea! I am reasonably sure that Rollo may not be too happy about this initially either, depending on how he is conned into it… But, he may be keeping the Seer’s prophecy in mind and convincing himself that this really is a good thing even as she throws her first tantrum at not getting her way. These two may be fascinated with each other and attracted to each other but I have a feeling this partnership is going to test both of them. 

I envision a rather rocky start to this relationship in which Gisla must learn that she can not always have her way and that pouting will not cut it with Rollo! I have a thought that Rollo will go by the time tested adage of “If you choose to act like a child, then I shall treat you as one.” Now, normally, I am not an advocate of corporal punishment, but in this instance, I am of the opinion that a good spanking may be in Gisla’s future if she continues to be demanding and pouting with our Rollo… Ummmm, actually, I would love to see this scenario played out on screen instead of just in my head!  This punishment would not have been remiss, uncalled for or unheard of back in their time, though it most surely would not sit well with Gisla?  The action would however, tie into a small bit of  limited information that we do have historically for Gisla.

Gisela of France, also called Gisella or Giséle (fl. 911), was traditionally a French princess and the consort of King Rollo.

According to tradition, Rollo was betrothed to Gisela, daughter to the king of West Francia, Charles the Simple, after his conversion to Christianity upon his ascension as ruler of Normandy in 911. Legend says that Rollo treated Gisela with cruelty. Her father sent her two knights to act as her support in Normandy, but they were both executed by hanging on the order of Rollo. Gisela had no children.

The marriage and the existence of Gisela are not confirmed. It has been suggested that, if she really did exist, she may have been a natural daughter of Charles.

My personal thought on this… Gisla gets spanked by Rollo then tries to run home to Daddy accusing the man of violence and cruelty towards her. Charles’ response to this is to send her right back with a message for Rollo, “She is your problem now, deal with her as you see fit… Why do you think I let you marry her!”

Now, of course, the Seer and I could be completely off base here… it’s been known to happen, we have on occasion been wrong? But, in this preview clip, we do see what could be a wedding, and the Princess Gisla does not look too happy about it, then again no one else looks too happy either so I guess the dancing naked on the beach will have to wait a bit… I do have to say, Our Rollo certainly looks fine in his formal attire for such an occasion!

Rollo dressed up

So, there you have my thoughts and guesses as to the rocky start of wedded bliss for Rollo and Gisla… Will the bear tame the pouting princess or will the princess tame the wild bear? Perhaps it will be a bit of both, but I can not wait to see how it all plays out!