I mentioned previously that there was a great feast to welcome the victorious heroes home… I did force myself to attend, and it went the way most of these parties usually do. What I have come to realize is that the parties of this time are not really so different as ones of the future, other than the type of entertainment that seems to be a requirement of a successful event? There is all of the typical political and business networking going on, the back room under the table deals being made, the not so secret affairs coming to light after a few drinks, the drunken brawls as well as the drunken affections. Then there are the family squabbles and dirty laundry that always seem to get aired? As I said, not really any different than any number of business parties or family functions of the future other than that one small event that always ends up being the highlight of the party. It is just not considered a success or an A list event unless there is a death involved somehow! This event included all of these and did not fail on the death as entertainment.
All of the important A list celebrities of Wessex were there, as well as some visitors from other Kingdoms? When King Aelle showed up for a visit, it was obvious that this was more than just your average run of the mill homecoming celebration… This was indeed more of a business, power broker’s meeting. Of course he could always use the excuse that he was just in the neighborhood and decided to pay his daughter a visit? Yeah, right… nobody really fell for it but it was a convenient excuse. Judith was not happy to see him. I really can’t say that I blame her? I’m sure that she was probably glad to leave his house for this new family! Anyway, more of them later.
As I mentioned, there were the usual behind the scenes affairs being carried on which made for some discomfort later during the party. Lagertha was wrapping up her dalliance with Ecbert in preparation to return home to her other responsibilities in Hedeby.
Ecbert naturally assumed that she would want to stay here with him and she did have to be quite honest with him!
Even after her honesty, he still tried…
Lagertha tried to keep the parting on good terms. She did still need his protection for the settlement after all, it wouldn’t be wise to piss him off completely and then leave their people stranded there!
Athelstan and Judith had been carrying on their own semi-private affair… I put it this way because, really nothing is truly private or secret here!
Then, when the group returned, it came out that Ragnar might have been carrying on his own somewhat dubious and slightly disgusting liason with Princess Kwentirith… my personal thought on that- euwwww, just euwwww Really, Ragnar???
King Ecbert welcomed the victorious heroes home, mainly his son- who will go down in history as the conquering hero of this mission with no mention of any help or assistance he may have had from others such as Danish mercenaries…
Now, I did mention that Judith was not happy to see her Father, nor was she all that excited to see her heroic husband return. Of course, this return would put a bit of a damper on her relationship with Athelstan. But, then again, she just seemed a bit edgy and unsettled about everything lately? King Aelle of course noticed and was not happy with her attitude or her behavior. He had a lot riding on this marriage of hers and he made it pretty clear that she needed to get her shit together and behave appropriately…
Yes, that was quite uncomfortable for everyone, including poor Athelstan who had to watch it all from a distance.
There was a huge display of welcome for Kwentirith and her pathetic little brother and we had to endure watching him grovel for forgiveness from Ecbert. Ecbert went along with it all too easily and happily? We should have known something was up right then!
There were the serious discussions and back room deals being made, along with some debates on corruption? Ragnar and Ecbert agreed they were both corrupt but that did not mean they weren’t good men! They cut some rather shady deals and Ecbert used the new settlement as leverage in getting at least part of what he wanted…
Of course, after all of the drinking, there was some slightly drunken slobbering, whining and shows of affection… some of them expected, some of them bordering on inappropriate? Leave it to Kwentirith to push those limits of good manners and proper conduct!
(This scene was cut from our American viewing of the show!)
Amid these drunken affections, there were also hints of blackmail and “I know more than you think I do’s!”
Yes… Ecbert knows all about this dalliance with his daughter in law, in fact he may know more than anyone gives him credit for!
There was a more private discussion between Athelstan and Ecbert where Ecbert advised Athelstan that he was making the wrong decision in going with Ragnar because his future lies here in Wessex? Hmmm now, what could he mean by this comment? Yes, of course we know that he is quite fond of Ahelstan and wants him to stay but I have a feeling that Ecbert may have been eluding to something else with this statement…
Speaking of private conversation and Athelstan… He did have a few other private- or so he thought- discussions during the party. One of those conversations was with Judith. Now, let me just say that both Athelstan and Judith are novices when it comes to keeping affairs secret. They had what they thought was a private meeting in the hall… Really, you two- how many times have I advised that there is no such thing as privacy here! If you are going to carry on these illicit affairs, you need to learn discretion! And, Judith- crying, begging and carrying on in public is generally frowned upon as highly inappropriate! You have already made a mess of things, as your Father says, Pull yourself together and quit making a scene! Judith was panic stricken at the thought of Athelstan leaving her.
Athelstan had another discussion with Ragnar, asking for his advice on women, and what he should do.
I must admit that despite my reluctance to attend this function, I did enjoy my time spent wandering around and eavesdropping on everyone. Maybe I could employ myself as a an early version of tabloid reporter? I was however, getting a bit tired and wondering when the entertainment portion would begin? It seemed that they were saving that for the end of the evening…
During the long wait for this entertainment, there were some minor family squabbles, besides those of Judith and her Father. Ragnar and Lagertha had a few words with each other over her involvement with King Ecbert. It did not amount to much though as Ragnar really had no leg to stand on with his annoyed accusations of her “sacrifices for the common good!” Lagertha was quick to point this out. She admitted that yes, she did get on well with Ecbert for the sake of all of us. Ragnar made comment that she had sacrificed herself for the common good an she reminded him that he has done the same!
Later there was a conversation between Lagertha and Rollo…
Of course Lagertha had no idea what her “loyal” friend Kalf was up to in Hedeby… What was Kalf up to in Hedeby?
Well, he was enjoying the benefits of his new Earldom… and he was making new friends out of Lothbrok enemies- all in preparation for Lagertha’s return home. Kalf has invited a guest. Yes, that would be the son of King Horik, the one that Ragnar could not bring himself to kill. Big mistake there Ragnar- Siggy once pointed out that it is the usual and common practice for a new Earl or ruler to make sure there are no remaining survivors to question or rebel against the new regime! King Horik’s son has grown up and is seeking some retribution… he has also brought along another survivor, his new wife, Torvi! Torvi is the widow of one Jarl Borg, yeah- that one, the one who Ragnar chose to execute via blood eagle.
Torvi has a bonus gift… she has the son and heir of the once great Jarl Borg? I suppose this would be a situation enemies banding together for the mutual and common purpose of retaliating against the enemy of all of them. The problem with this situation is that it just does not bode well for baby Borg’s future… I can understand Torvi’s need for some protection and needing a new baby Daddy, but this innocent little baby poses a threat in the long run? When it comes right down to the basics, Erlandr wants his Father’s rightful crown and title back, and he is not going to want Jarl Borg’s offspring around feeling entitled to anything!
This is what Lagertha has to look forward to on her return to Hedeby!
Ok, I am getting really tired of the waiting, it’s getting way too hot in the hall so a walk outside for some fresh air is in order… and what do I find but one other family type squabble going on? I say family type because Floki is like a part of the family. Floki chose not to join in all of the festivities but rather spent time outside pouting and thinking of ways to get back at all these Christ lovers who would be the end of life as we know it?
I hate to say this but floki’s ranting is starting get a bit tiresome. We all understand his feelings and his concerns, but really he is getting to the point where he is just as annoying as are the Christian Priests in their ranting about Heathens!
Floki’s preaching of the Gods and their anger is wearing thin on all of us!
Finally, just when I was about to give up on any planned entertainment, Ecbert called everyone into the great hall for a special announcement? Have you ever been to a party or event and felt like everyone else but you knew what was going on? Well, that is how I felt about this final event. As I looked around, some people were watching with great expectation that something was about to happen?
It started out nicely enough with Kwentirith and her brother being given seats of honor in front of everyone. They made their little speeches of gratitude and appreciation… Kwentirith as usual, went overboard with her speech, going on and on about how she had learned to forgive the abuses and injustices in her life?
Birghrid went on and on as well in gushing over his love for his sister… This was just way too uncomfortable to watch!
I am not the only one who was disgusted and uncomfortable with their displays of affection and their lengthy speeches!
And, Finally the planned entertainment portion of the evening takes place!
A one act realistic theatrical performance of “Death by Wine” starring Princess Kwentirith and brother Birghrid. Initial reactions to the performance varied from King Aelle’s delight, Ecbert’s impatience, Ragnar’s waiting for more, to poor Judith’s look of extreme discomfort…
Ahhhh actually, it was a two act play… as if the death were not enough entertainment in itself, we were then treated to Judith’s continued theatrics? Now, to be honest, I felt her solo performance was a bit lacking. She seemed a bit nervous and shaky in her proclamation of being the sole remaining ruler of Mercia. And, I think her nerves got the best of her when she invited all to rise and drink to her. Maybe that was due to the unexpected response she got to that invitation!
Rather than toasting her as new queen of Mercia, there was a pause for some thought and debate amongst the guests before they showed her how they really felt.
I don’t know, I could be wrong as I have not attended a great many of these events in early England, but I don’t think that throwing your cups at the new ruler is necessarily a sign of respect? I certainly do understand the reaction of pouring one’s wine out after witnessing someone spew blood from drinking it. For those of us who were not privy to exactly what was going to happen, yes that was definitely our first instinct. I am reasonably sure though that a number of people in the room knew exactly what was going to happen and just dumped their wine out as way of covering their involvement in the act. I believe too that Princess Kwentirith just got played Royally and suddenly realized it when she looked around the room and then saw the cups flying towards her! For all realistic purposes, she appears to be the guilty party in this act… no matter what happens next, she will be looked on with suspicion forever more. It should be quite simple now for King Ecbert to sway people to thinking that she is guilty of poisoning her brother?
So, let us ask one more time the question of Are you corrupt?
In the case of Kwentirith, well yes she’s showed that she is corrupt as well as bat shit crazy, but she is also gullible if she believes that these men really have her best interests at heart, if she thinks that anyone is going to let her rule… I am just looking forward to seeing how Ecbert deals with this situation? I am pretty sure that Kwenitrith is not going to be staying in Wessex or Mercia for very long? I’ve heard historical rumors that she may seek refuge in Francia and then be banished even from that court!