Bernard Walsh / History

Ivar Is The Messed Up Warrior Vikings Needs Now

He's probably going to kill someone for no good reason, but did you see him on those crutches?

As annoyed as I often am watching the Four Stooges (Ubbe, Hviserk, Ivar, and Creepy '80s Hairband Guy Sigurd) pummel one another and display poor table manners, I've got to give it up for Ivar.

While I wouldn't want to share an Uber with him, I find him fascinating. It's not just because he's rocking a Prince Valiant haircut when I'm pretty sure that wasn't a thing and all the other Vikings are into beards like a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters. For a guy who could, in many ways, benefit from not being the guy everyone secretly wishes had been drowned by his dad when the opportunity first presented itself, Ivar has instead doubled down on the assholery and freakishness. I mean, you saw him with the goat blood, having his extra-special Apocalypse Now/Max Factor moment? That was creepy AF.

Bernard Walsh / History

Bernard Walsh / History

It's not as if Ivar's brothers aren't largely unsavory on their own, randomly spitting and passing around Margrethe like a half-eaten turkey leg. I mean, Sigurd. That hair. No. Nope. No.

Bernard Walsh / History

Bernard Walsh / History

Anyway, it's pretty clear that all four of these cretins grew up at Aslaug's knee, which was only available occasionally because she was too busy banging Harbard to worry about raising children. This is obviously still a problem for the boys, but it also appears to be a problem for her, too. When she tries to play the role of matriarch, she flings around a Viking version of "do as I say, not as I did, not that I'm confessing to anything, anyway." Oddly enough, it's just as effective as it is when parents today try to tell their kids marijuana is a scary gateway drug.

Aslaug wants her little men to marry, but they don't have to marry for love, because any son of Ragnar can screw around just as much as Ragnar, that asshole, though she did love him, of course, but not now so much, and don't you dare bring up Harbard because that hurts my feelings and is there any soup left? Listening to Aslaug ramble at the dinner table while Ivar groped his increasingly panicked slave girl was like being at the worst family Thanksgiving ever, and there wasn't even any cranberry sauce.

Having been forever unable to get up and run away from Aslaug when her particular crazy train came into the station, Ivar is, of course, the most fucked up of Aslaug's spawn. He seems to be excessively loyal to his mommy, but I don't get the impression he likes or respects her very much. His inability to use his legs may seem like his main issue, but it's his relationship with Dear Old Mom that's really emasculating him. When she came to him in a panic about her nightmares, I half expected him to roll his eyes and whine, "Moooom!" She calls it worrying over her favorite little boy; he calls it totally embarrassing in front of the other kids when he just wants to go on a suicide mission with his dad on the high seas!

Like every insecure despot ever born, Ivar has to overcompensate, and since he doesn't need a combover, he makes crutches. Despite his considerable upper body strength, the pretty nifty support system fails miserably in the best worst scene of total embarrassment since the pig blood rained from on high in Carrie. Still, it makes his path absolutely clear. Sure, it's insane for him to head off to sea with Ragnar -- even his lunkheaded brothers won't go for that one -- but what choice does he have? It's go to sea, puking all the way, or stay at home with Mommy and Margrethe, who is probably really, really hoping he gets that drowning once and for all.

I would assume Ivar would just end up a weird, wet footnote on this show if not for history and stuff, which is part of what makes him so compelling. While the show is by no means beholden to what little we know about the Vikings, it doesn't seem likely that Ivar will get kicked to the curb. He's too interesting and weird and seriously mean, plus I'm pretty sure he's going to start killing people. There's no reason to have a character this full of rage and mommy issues only playing at lopping off heads, and I'm thinking he has a to-do list in Old Norse or stick figures dabbed on his pants leg in blood. He just needs to stop puking and almost drowning long enough to get to it.

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