The Season 4 finale of Vikings will finally introduce Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ character, Heahmund, a religious warrior. But who is Heahmund, and how will his arrival affect the other characters moving forward into Season 5 of Vikings?
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains historical content that may provide spoilers for Season 5 of History Channel’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid these spoilers.
Michael Hirst has confirmed via an interview with Entertainment Weekly that Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s character, Heahmund, is based on a historical figure.
“I was looking at the history books, and I came across these warrior bishops. The antecedents of the Knights Templar: these are people who were absolutely religious, yet they put on armor and they fought. They were crazy! They believed totally in Christianity and the message, and yet, on the battlefield, they were totally berserk.”
Considering History Channel has a new series in production called Knightfall that delves into the Knights Templar, it could be assumed these two shows might cross over at some point, although this is only speculation and is yet to be confirmed. However, having Heahmund as an earlier version of the Knights Templar would be a great way to introduce the audience to the political and religious structures at the time that likely led to the formation of the Knights Templar proper.
Entertainment Weekly also released a new promotional still for Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ new Vikings character.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 26, 2017
Michael Hirst reveals that Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ character will probably come up against Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh) at some point in Vikings. Considering Heahmund’s first appearance in Vikings will be the Season 4 finale episode, it seems likely this encounter will not occur until Season 5 of Vikings as Ivar and his brothers will continue in their pursuit of justice for the death of their father, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), in the finale.
“He’s a man of Wessex, and he’s gonna come in as a worthy opponent to Ivar. His whole life is about deeply passionate commitments. He’s a wild card who happens to be [played by] Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who is himself kind of a wild card!”
So who was Heahmund? Can the history books reveal any information as to where Season 5 of Vikings might be headed?
Heahmund was a medieval Bishop of Sherborne who was ordained sometime between 867 and 868 according to the Handbook of British Chronology published by Cambridge University and edited by E. B. Pryde, D. E. Greenway, S. Porter, and I. Roy.
While not a lot is recorded about the historical Heahmund, his manner of death could provide some major plot points for Season 5 of Vikings, indicating that this is why History Channel may have refrained from releasing Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ character name until very late in Season 4.
Considering Heahmund is a “religious warrior,” it seems likely he is employed by the English at some point to aid them in their attempts to quash the Great Heathen Army.
According to Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, a book by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge, Heahmund died at the Battle of Marton in 871. This battle also saw the death of the English ruler, King Aethelred. Currently, in Season 4 of Vikings, Aethelred is quite young, but he still wanted to fight at the battle his father, Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford), entered into with the Vikings in Episode 19.
So, according to the history books, at some point Aethelred will succeed his father and become king. Aethelwulf is yet to become king in Vikings, so this could mean Aethelwulf never rules. Alternatively, it could indicate Season 5 (and beyond) will show Aethelwulf and his son as they progress from princes to rulers. However, the battle that began in Episode 19 of Vikings is supposed to have occurred sometime around 867, meaning it doesn’t leave a lot of time for Aethelred to step into the leadership role before his death if the History Channel maintains this historical time frame.
Are you excited to see Jonathan Rhys Meyers join the cast of Vikings? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
Vikings returns to History Channel with the Season 4 finale, Episode 20, on Wednesday, February 1, at 9 p.m. ET.
According to History Channel’s schedule, Episode 20 of Vikings will be titled “The Reckoning.” The synopsis for this episode is as follows.
“Prince Aethelwulf finds himself subject to the Vikings’ battle master plan. Ecbert remains behind with a plan of his own.”
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