Listen up because I am about to recap the Saga on which your favorite, wildly inaccurate History Channel drama series, ‘Vikings’, is based. And yes, it is literally called the Saga of Ragnar Shaggy-Britches. It is one of few Sagas that is basically a sequel to another Saga, one of the very best, so you may want to refresh your memory of Völsunga Saga and the most boss-ass bitch in the Middle Ages, Brynhildur.
Tits and Áslaug
Remember how warrior princess Brynhildur and dragon-slayer Sigurður randomly had a baby? Well after they died, Brynhildur’s foster-dad whisks Áslaug, their daughter, away for her own safety. Unluckily for them both, he is murdered in his sleep by some shitty peasants who raise the girl as their daughter/servant.
Meanwhile, some guy named Ragnar is the son of a Danish king. He’s big and strong and whatever. He get his nickname by commissioning some weird shaggy pants and cape, which he dips in tar and wears as armor to kill a giant snake, because obviously shaggy tar-pants are snake-repellent. Duh. By killing this giant snake, he wins himself a shitload of money and also a smokin’ hot wife with whom he has two children before she gets sick and randomly goes tits-up.
He is on the rebound when his crew discovers a babely peasant girl. They’re supposed to be making bread but they burn it because they can’t take their eyes off dat ass(laug). He requests she come to meet him, but because dudes can totally suck balls at communication, he says he wants her to come neither hungry nor full, neither clothed nor naked, neither alone nor with someone. She craftily eats one leek, wraps herself in fishnet, and heads out with a dog. He is wooed by her brains and beauty and wants her to come with him immediately. She’s like “Nah, come back later, bro.” So he comes back weeks later and they get hella married.
To bone or not to bone?
Ragnar wants to have fuck pronto but Áslaug has her mother’s gift of future-sight and says no because if they don’t wait three days then their child will be born without bones. Ragnar “disregards her.” I wish I had to explain that this is a barbaric, medieval form of sexual assault but unfortunately, this is pretty much what still happens today because apparently the average male’s attitude toward women’s bodily autonomy has not changed in over 1500 years. Grim, huh? So they have one boneless son, Ívar, and another four normal-boned sons.
Ragnar’s two sons from his first marriage get killed in a battle with an evil cow owned by the King of Sweden. Áslaug is having trouble convincing her sons to avenge her not-sons until the three-year-old son speaks a poem about he and his mother setting off to take on the Swedish king. The thought of a mother and toddler versus a bovine demon and the armies of Sweden gets the other brothers on board.
Ragnar is away at this time, so Áslaug leads them to Sweden. The cow has a magic bellow that causes opposing armies to attack their own men, probably something like “STOP HITTING YOURSELF STOP HITTING YOURSELF STOP HITTING YOURSELF.” Apparently the trade-off for bonelessness is the ability to change your weight at will, so Ívar makes himself light as a stone so his brothers can throw him across the field. When he lands, he’s as heavy as a boulder and this kills the cow, allowing them to win the war and tell the King of Sweden to fuck right off.
Motherfuckin’ snakes in a motherfuckin’ pit
Instead of being proud of his weird-ass family’s success in Sweden, Ragnar is thrown into a fit of jealousy over their new fame. Because he’s a big baby manchild, he ignores his wife’s voice of reason, trying to conquer England with only two ships and getting his shit-for-brains captured. He refuses to reveal his identity to King Ælla, who has him stripped and thrown into a pit of snakes until he talks.
While in the pit, Ragnar manages to recite a 29-stanza poem about his own gloriousness but refuses to frankly state his name. As the God of Alanis Morissette would have it, the man famous for his snake-proof pants gets his naked ass bit to death by snakes. His sons are all sad and shit, so Ívar orchestrates some dope treachery and has the king killed by infiltrating his ranks. Then he becomes the King of England, Áslaug lives to a ripe old age, and all the brothers rule their own kingdoms except the one who ends up getting burned to death on a pile of severed heads.
Morals of the story:
1. Do not underestimate people with disabilities. They are probably more resourceful than you.
2. Rapists deserve to be thrown naked into a pit of snakes. Can we bring that back, please?