Vikings: Hvitserk – the Most Problematic Character

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I finally finished watching the TV series Vikings after about two years. The show lasts for six seasons and there are a total of 89 episodes. The plot spans two generations and three continents. There are around one hundred characters in the series. I can’t cover all of it in this blog post so instead I’m going to focus on the most problematic point in the plot and the most confusing character. His name is Hvitserk.

Hvitserk is one of Ragnar’s five sons. The later part of the series revolves around the sons of Ragnar. To make a long story short Hvitserk is co dependent and always needs to latch onto someone; a girlfriend, his brother or something.

Hvitserk was close to his brother Ivar who didn’t have the ability to walk with iron walking aids. Ivar was a madman and insecure. He made up for his profound shortcomings on the battlefield. Ivar was fearless and was a great military strategist. Hvitserk was loyal to his brother and was an asset in war.

Ivar was jealous of his brother because he was impotent. There was a point in the story where Hvitserk fell in love and had a girlfriend. This was a threat to Ivar because Hvitserk had the potential of producing an heir. Ivar became very creepy and stalkerish towards his brother and his girlfriend. He kidnapped the girl and burned her at the stake.

The grief and anger of losing his girlfriend drove Hvitserk insane. He became a junkie in order to cope with the loss and suffered from hallucinations. One dark and rainy night while having a mental health episode he killed the heroine of the show Lagartha. Lagartha was a legendary shield maiden in their town. She was also his older brother’s mother. A fortune teller predicted one of Ragnar’s sons would end Lagartha’s life.

Hvitserk’s older brother Bjorn, Lagartha’s son and ruler of their town Kattegat, sentenced Hvitserk to be burned at the stake for his crime. As things were heating up Bjorn changed his mind and released Hvitserk. The new sentence was banishment to the woods in the middle of winter. Bjorn did not expect Hvitsverk to survive.

Ivar had already been banished to the woods for trying to overthrow Bjorn and was taken in by a neighboring kingdom, The Russe. Hvitserk was found nearly frozen to death in the woods and taken in by the Russe. Hvitserk and Ivar were reunited.

From that point on they were cool and buddy-buddy. Past transgressions that made Hvitserk lose his mind were forgotten. They were back to over throwing power structures together again. The shift in the plot was very annoying and unrealistic to me. While they were in Russia they needed to have on good confrontation over the things that Ivar did to Hvitserk’s lover. But nah, it was water under the bridge. He was miraculously healed of his mental illness and substance abuse problem.

Hvitserk stayed by Ivar’s side throughout the rest of the show. Ivar died in Hvitserk’s arms on the battlefield in a war with the Saxons. As his bones finally gave out on him completely he cried in fear of death. Hvitserk was his strength and comfort at that moment. The brothers loved each other and had an inexplicable and dysfunctional bond.

Hvitserk then surrenders to the Saxon king and becomes a Christian. Hvitserk can not survive on his own. He was a bad ass dude but he lacked motivation. At the end he latched on to his conquerors.

Vikings was a good show and I enjoyed it. Hvitserk’s storyline was a bit questionable but I think you would like it if you like historical dramas.

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