Vikings season 5 episode 17 review: Will Gunnhild choose Bjorn or Harald?

King Harald VikingsBjorn is once again on a journey of self discovery and this time it involves him wanting to rule over Kattegat and overthrowing Ivar. He’s willing to do just about anything to make that happen and that includes joining forces with Harald who also wants Kattegat for his own. Ivar on the other hand is planning to head back to England to finish the battle against the Saxons that Harald started and lost.

The Saxons

After the death of Aethelred we were curious how Alfred was going to react once he was well again and this episode threw us right into that situation. Judith could have gotten away with killing her son, but instead revealed in private to Alfred that his death wasn’t natural. She explains that Aelthelred had admitted that he plotted against Alfred and¬† after further discussion Judith was convinced that he wasn’t done trying to usurp him. She felt that as long as he was alive Alfred’s throne would always be in danger.

She admits to poisoning him and this is a moment where we wondered if we are going to see Alfred the son, or Alfred the king step in to deal with this. More so why did Judith feel the need to tell Alfred at all? She easily could’ve gotten away with that and protected Alfred’s throne without implicating herself. We understand that she thinks justice was served and she did the right thing, but she must also understand that murdering his brother is going to go over badly. And of course it did go over badly. Alfred trashed his entire dining room and once he was out of steam Judith reminded him that he is not an ordinary person and must start reacting to things as a king.

Seems that the murder of his brother is not the only pressing matter for Alfred as a huge army of 300 vikings ships is almost at his shores. Ubbe presses the king to make him the commander of his army so he can defeat them.


Things are going quite well for Ivar right now in Kattegat. He is married, he has a child on the way (at least he thinks it’s his), he is king and he believes he’s a god. Normally in Kattegat, everyone has a voice, but Ivar has convinced the people that they don’t need to be involved in these issues anymore and that he will make these decisions for everyone… as any good dictator would.

Hvitserk is on an interesting journey of his own, one that his father went through as well, which is discovering another religious way of thinking. He has been learning about Buddhism, which may have started as a way to escape all the craziness of Ivar’s rule, but has now become something much more for him.

Ivar is afraid that his brother hates him and is starting to feel that killing Hvitserk is a good option since it will show Kattegat that if he’s willing to kill his own brother then all of them should stay in line. Freydis disagrees saying that being a god that is loved over one that is feared is a better path for a longer rule, but Ivar isn’t sure.

Ivar decides it’s best that Hvitserk leaves Kattegat and forces him to go on a diplomatic mission to help gather allies for Ivar’s attack on England and after threatening his woman, Hvitserk agrees.

Bjorn and Harald’s fight for Gunnhild

Bjorn is ready to head to Kattegat and take the throne from Ivar, but Harald wants to strike a bargain first in which when Bjorn dies the throne will be given to Harald Рto which he agrees. Bjorn also has made his intention to marry Gunnhild known to Harald, so now we just have to see if she agrees.

We all know that Harald is not planning to wait until the throne is handed down to him – he wants Kattegat and Gunnhild and he’s not going to wait for either. He approaches Gunnhild revealing that he still plans on being king of all of Norway and that he wants them to be together. With pretty much every woman falling at Bjorn’s feet for anything he wants, we expected her to reject Harald’s offer and stick with Bjorn, but instead she reveals that she wants to be Queen.

When Bjorn talks to her about Harald’s offer she is as honest with him as she always has been, but the part of this conversation that we found the most interesting was Bjorn’s own admission that he has never been in love (not even with Torvi) and that he feels that he may be in love for the first time with Gunnhild. Instead of saying it back she tells him that she will lock his words away in her heart forever… things are not looking good for Bjorn this time.

Related – Check out a preview for episode 18 of Vikings season 5.

CarterMatt Verdict

Tonight’s episode had a heavy Floki storyline and if you have been reading our reviews this season you know that we have barely covered this storyline since it long dried up for us (and we say that as a huge fan of the Floki character). A lot of people died tonight on his deserted island of misery, but not Floki. He will live on to continue this miserable path and we are praying to Odin that some point soon he will leave and reunite with everyone else.

The biggest omission is still Lagertha who was still not shown tonight. Where is she?

What did you think of Vikings season 5 episode 17? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below. (Photo: History)

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