". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, April 17, 2015

History Channel Vikings, Season 3 - Episode 9, "Breaking Point"

We didn't exactly see that coming, but we are not surprised either. For fear of spoilage, that's all I'll comment about that.

To whom or to what is the episode's title, "Breaking Point", referring or pointing at? 

Things did break for Odo, Emperor Charles and Paris, and for Ragnar, certainly. 

Presumably, when / if the Lothbrok familia gets back to Kattegat, everything will break for Aslaug and all those who did not go to Paris.

Those for whom nothing broke, who still live or who died within their viking code, were Rollo and Earl Siegfried. 

But what about King Ecbert, Judith and Æthelwulf?  Ecbert has gone full over to the creepy side, and it is -- slimey. Whatever did the Mighty Kwen Merican Princess put in the drinks of both Ragnar and Ecbert -- or was it when she peed on them?  though we never saw her pee on Ecbert, of course -- to make them go so weirdly off the the mindsets they had when we meet them?  This isn't satisfactory character development writing, for either man, whether viking or christian.  But then, religion isn't exactly a rational experience, is it. Yet I used to enjoy Ecbert, though without trusting him a minute, and would still if he hadn't revealed that he's creepy.

Earl Siegfried you are surely laughing and drinking in Valhalla surrounded by admirers giving you backslaps for what you pulled.  That joke had to more than make up for dying without a weapon in hand. I just wish we'd gotten to know you more, so that it mattered to us you died, so that we were invested in you getting into Valhalla.

By the way, Ragnar, when you told everyone what is what:
I did not become earl because I aspired to be one. It came about because of other people’s actions. And I did not become king out of ambition, but once again I had no choice, as a result of other people’s actions. But nonetheless I am king. King Ragnar! That is my name! King Ragnar. What does a king do, Bjorn?
He rules.
Very good, Bjorn. He rules. And as a ruler I have the last say. Me! Not you, not you, not you, and not you. You’ve all had your ideas and they have all failed! I will not. Now, with no more discussion. We shall meet the Franks tomorrow.
you know what I say?  That's what all rulers say.  O no, I don't want to rule, other people made me do it.  Yet you all insist on your ruler prerogative of telling everyone what to do.  So, spare me that part, OK? And don't speak to me again about how all you really want is to be a simple farmer.

All this season has been about religion and power. My take-away from season 3 is that religion and power are not a very attractive team to drive story-telling. Maybe the final episode next week will pull out season 3, but so far, it ranks rather seriously below the first two seasons, and certainly far below the kick-ass that season 2 was. There's been little given to us in season 3 to invest in, whether as story-line or character. A great battle episode is not enough, neither is this episode's spiked spool of death -- it's not even essential -- to make a good season, but story-telling and characters are. There's been no story here.

But then power tends to accrue in the hands of the aging, and the aging tend to be more interested in religion, and Ragnar's aging rapidly. Ragnar pissed blood in the previous episode from the beating he took in that losing battle to break into Paris.  He's pissing even more blood in "Breaking Point."

Rollo -- all our hopes now depend on you.

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