With the return of Season 5 of History Channel’s Vikings, there has been the development that sees Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) group of Vikings agreeing to fight for King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) against their own kind. But, did this really happen, historically?
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information about the second half of Season 5 of History Channel’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed these existing episodes and wish to avoid spoilers.
With Lagertha being forced to flee Kattegat after Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh Andersen) defeated her, she has decided to head to England to find safety there. This came about after her lover, Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), suggested it and offered her group protection.
Since they have arrived in Wessex, things have not gone according to plan. They discover that King Athelwulf (Moe Dunford) has died and his son, King Alfred, now rules in his place. In addition, there are some people in Wessex who are conspiring against the king.
However, the Viking group have agreed to side with King Alfred against their own kind in order to finally secure the land Alfred’s grandfather, King Ecbert (Linus Roache), promised Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) previously in Vikings.
But, did the Vikings historically do this? Did they side with England and fight against their own kind?
As Metro points out, History Channel’s Vikings is a blend of truth and fiction when it comes to interpreting the sagas involving the Vikings and their battle against the English.
However, there is some historical evidence that suggests the Vikings might have fought against their own kind. Guthrum, who is known as the son of Torvi in Vikings, was defeated by King Alfred’s army and ended up converting to Christianity. It was at this point in time that Danelaw was established. Danelaw was a section of England under which the laws of the Danes were maintained. The establishment of the Danelaw also led to a truce between the Vikings and the English that saw a lot less fighting occurring for land ownership from the raiding Vikings.
So, in theory, with Alfred managing to Christianize the pagan Guthrum, there was the potential that he would be forced to fight his own kind. However, it appears with this conversion and the introduction of the Danelaw, there was no longer any need for King Alfred to fight against the Vikings.
In addition, as the Express points out, there is no evidence in either the Anglo Saxon Chronicle or the Old Norse texts that suggest Ubbe and Bjorn fought against their own kind by choosing to side with King Alfred.
Vikings returns on Wednesday, December 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. History Channel provides the following synopsis for Episode 14 (titled “The Lost Moment”).
“As the celebrations for Ivar continue in Kattegat, grief hits Iceland, and Floki must now make a fated decision. Harald’s army approaches Wessex. A conspiracy grows against King Alfred in court.”