In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly the ‘Vikings’ writer Michael Hirst offered his opinion on the latest episode ‘Revenge’ which saw the bittersweet death of English King Aelle in the hands of the Great Heathen Army.
On the brutal ‘Blood Eagle’ Death of Aelle
I first came across the term “blood eagling” from a description of what the sons of Ragnar did to Aelle. So I always knew that I was going to do that to him eventually, even though we then went on to have a blood eagling earlier on in the show. It was always going to be the end of Aelle, the worst thing that the Vikings could imagine doing to someone, this showpiece of punishment in the Viking age. Poor Aelle! It completed the circle, too, that it happens where Ragnar died.
For most of these things, there’s usually some other possible explanation, because the information is so brief and often so confused. You have to make a judgment. I will always go for the most dramatic interpretation of any given situation.
On what we can expect from the two huge battles to come.
Everything ramps up. Even considering the attack on Paris, and how wonderful that was, nothing prepares you for how amazing the battle sequences are between the Great Army and the Saxons. These are truly awesome battle sequences, but beneath that, there’s a huge amount of emotional life. It’s full of surprises. And death. Death comes to important people.
On the brilliant acting between Moe Dunford and Lunus Roache (Aethelwulf and Ecbert)
That’s almost my favorite scene, when Aethelwulf is able, at last, to ask his father if he loved him. Most of us can, I think, relate to that in some ways. My father was a pretty Victorian guy who was never emotional with me, and I’m over-emotional with my son as a result, I think. This scene was beautiful, but it could never have been written without the fact that Moe has become such a good actor during this show. I’m not saying he wasn’t good before, but he just got better and better.
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