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Warning: Spoilers for the latest Season 5B episode of Vikings -- "A New God" lie ahead.
His reign has arguably just begun, and it is time for it to come to an end. In the brief bit of time he has ruled, King Ivar has already overstayed his welcome. That goes for Kattegat and quite frankly, Vikings as a whole.
In the third episode of Season 5B and thirteenth episode of Season 5, Ivar continued his reign of maddening power. This time, he claimed to be a god and then took a step further, as only he can. All of this is just downright off-putting, and if you ask me, it is making Vikings harder and harder to watch.
Ivar is a total maniac. He enjoys bloodshed, torture, and all-out mayhem. There is little else that describes his personality.
His brother argued Ivar was "crazy" in the face of his latest stunt. That stunt involved Ivar intimating he wanted to use Hvitserk as a human sacrifice. Whether or not Hvitserk is the sacrifice being led to their death at the end of the latest episode remains a mystery. Regardless of who it is, Ivar is planning to sacrifice some person.
Ivar gleans tremendous ecstasy from the suffering of others. His admiration for torture and other barbaric deeds is undeniable. There is an unquenchable thirst for violence that rules him. What makes this all the more disconcerting is that it seems there may be no bounds as to how far Vikings will go in exploring that.
It is an uncomfortable thing to contemplate on a show that has already not been shy about venturing into the graphic. The History series has depicted violence that closely rivals its genre peers on premium cable. Ivar's thirst for bloodletting means the show potentially digging ever deeper into the trenches of a depraved mind.
Ivar needs to be over before he gets a chance to do more. When it comes to living on the edge, Vikings has always done just that. Its characters live outside of the confines of what one traditionally considers morally "good." King Ivar is pushing things beyond any grey area.
His sinister grin while he takes in the debauchery of his latest cruel deed is indicative of how far he is pushing at the boundaries of morality. There is nothing redeemable about this character. Just when you think he has hit rock bottom in conjuring his latest evil, he sinks deeper.
Vikings' creator Michael Hirst has already teased the dark path ahead. The question is: why would the people of Kattegat want to continue being under Ivar's thumb? He has no heart for anyone. That is, he has no heart for anyone other than himself, and potentially his late mother.
Ragnar and Ivar do not share a lot in common, in terms of what they have brought to the show. During Ragnar's time on Vikings, there were multiple instances where the show indicated he cared for other people besides himself.
This is not to say he did not care for himself or was a great guy. He was not, but there was texture or dimension to him. Ragnar let Rollo live when he could have killed him. So, he seemed to have possessed a genuine love for his brother, despite suffering betrayals at Rollo's hands. Ivar would never do that.
Ivar's father also showed what appeared to be real care for Athelstan, an outsider to his culture. There was also Ragnar's complicated relationship with King Ecbert, which was rich with intriguing turns. One of the key words missing from describing Ivar's relationships with anyone is complicated.
Ivar's prominent emotion for people is hate, and in the best case, thinly veiled scorn. Some could argue his relationship with his new wife, Freydis, is a sign that is not always the case. That is deceptive though. Ivar does care for her, but not for her. It is everything she is telling Ivar about himself that he loves.
She has convinced him that he is an all-powerful god. As long as you are a sycophant, you are good to go in the court of Ivar. Anyone who does not polish his mirror reaps the consequences. Those who dare say anything he does not like are quickly faced with their potential demise.
Look no further than the situation with Hvitserk. He accused Ivar of orchestrating Margrethe's murder and complained about it to him. In the same episode, Ivar suggests sacrificing Hvitserk. If he was not serious, he certainly enjoyed making his brother squirm at the thought he was.
The scary thing for Hvitserk is that he should know Ivar has the power to make that happen. It is not an empty threat. He can back it up.
Perhaps it is because Ivar now has Freydis that he can consider parting with Hvitserk. He has all the ego nutrients he needs with Freydis, and soon he will have a child to worship him. Or so he thinks. Freydis' baby may not be as wowed by Ivar as he thinks they will be.
What is difficult to fathom at this point in Vikings' fifth season is why no one is putting together a rebellion against Ivar. Harald (another awful person) is planning his own moves. However, the citizens of Kattegat appear to be making the transition without much fuss. It is high time they took action.
Lagertha and Bjorn's plans to retake Kattegat and the intrigues of King Alfred are some of the few escape routes from Ivar. A character as sinister as him can be tolerated in a supporting capacity. As a lead who seems to be on an unstoppable winning streak, he is next to impossible to take.