A few things about that scene in tonight’s Vikings, now that I’ve had a bit of time to gather my thoughts:
It had been bothering me all season long that Ragnar’s obviously very genuine baptism at the end of season 3 had been all but forgotten. But now it all makes sense. It’s not about Christian or Pagan. It’s not about Odin or Jesus or Heaven or Valhalla. For Ragnar it is simply a matter of faith. And what was Athelstan if not the embodiment of faith in Ragnar’s eyes? Ragnar’s faith absolutely died with Athelstan.
Literally once he survived Paris and went on living back home, it was as a faithless man. It’s not that he doesn’t want to see Athelstan in his Heaven once more. It’s that he has lost the ability to allow himself to believe such a place could even exist.
“Athelstan was a man of God.” “And he still died.” Ragnar has lost so many people, and his belief in Gods or an afterlife has never hinged on death. For him death was not a defeat, only a new beginning. Athelstan’s death well and truly stripped him of his faith to the core.
So what is he left with if not an eternity in the afterlife with his beloved? Well, seeing the only piece of Athelstan left on this Earth in the form of his only son certainly seemed to bring Ragnar more joy than anything has since the last time he gazed upon Athelstan’s living face.
Like I just genuinely feel that seeing Alfred was an essential thing for him before his death. To know some part of Athelstan will go on living. That is a victory for Ragnar in itself.
Anyway I do think it’s rlly interesting that they had Ecbert pose the question of which afterlife Athelstan landed in upon his death. I, like Ragnar, have little faith left at this point, but wouldn’t it be lovely if they give us some sign that the two of them will be reunited on the other side after all…
Also props to Michael Hirst for at least acknowledging that Ragnar’s downfall and wish for death did indeed spring from Athelstan’s death. In every way that counts, they died together. Ragnar could never get past the burden of such a loss, and everything since then has been in the hopes of ending it all.
“Maybe you can wake up and explain it to me” might just be my favorite quote of all time (so far, anyway).
From his raspy but soothing voice when he says it, to the way Stiles looks at Lydia and holds her hand so tenderly as he talks, to its meaning…
That’s what we’ve been saying for ages, how Stydia is in the little things, how emotional and intimate they’re moments can be however small they may seem compared to what we see in canon ships. These are the moments that matter.
That’s Stydia and that’s why I love them. It completely owns my heart and soul.