Vikings season 5B 'The New God' review: Why Ivar's godhood is dangerous for Kattegat
With the recent self-declaration that Ivar is a god, his cruelty knows no bound as he heads to sacrifice his own brother and no longer follow in his father's footsteps
What do you do when you need to prove your power to people? Start your own religion and proclaim yourself god, as Ivar demonstrated in this week's episode of 'Vikings,' titled 'A New God.' Ivar, abiding to do something drastic and baffling in order to convince his people of his power and strength as their king, escalated himself to the pedestal above the title of a king, which obviously meant proclaiming himself as a new Norse god and came up with his own religion.
Note Scandinavian kings did not retain power if perceived as weak leaders, so, Ivar the Boneless had a dire need to prove his worth and rule with fear, even more so than his father, Ragnar, did. With the belief he can do no wrong, Ivar comes to the conclusion he is a god when he contemplates why the gods initially cursed him and tells his brother Hvitserk that though they are the descendants of Odin, the gods particularly hated Ivar because he himself is, in fact, a god. With this exchange, he declares “Ivar the Boneless is a god,” and how being different is a blessing and not a curse.
This conclusion dawned on him, as his new wife, Freydis, proclaimed so and also claimed to be carrying a "divine child,” which is considered a miracle because Ivar was considered to be impotent. Ivar’s degree of cruelty is bound to double after this proclamation because along with his new religion comes a new set of rules that definitely does not oblige Ivar to follow his father’s footsteps.
After making his proclamation to Hvitserk, Ivar talks about celebrating his new-found identity, godhood, by sacrificing a prominent figure to please the gods and who better than his own brother? With this fratricidal decision, it is clear Ivar's new mindset pushes him to extremes. (Let the old gods save Kattegat!)
Another chilling scene follows in the celebration when the new god's ceremony wields terror in the kingdom as “Hail the god Ivar” is chanted throughout the streets of Kattegat. Ivar and Freydis are carried through the streets, wearing ornate crowns, with their faces painted white with blood red streaks adorned on their eyes and mouth.
The new religion is scary enough already. The citizens bow in fear, and when Ivar sits on his throne, he commands “Bring on the sacrifice!” as the chained and hooded man is brought forward. 'The New God' may have begun with Ragnar's dominating influence but it surely ended with Ivar emerging victorious to surpass his father and place himself on a divine pedestal.