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Torvi Bjorn 3-06

Bjorn and Torvi Sitting Together

You can all say whatever you want, but he was a human. People started to talk as if he was a god. He was not a god, he was a man! A man with many dreams and many failings.

– Bjorn, to his brothers, The Last Ship

Björn Ironside is the eldest son of Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha. He is the third husband of Torvi and heir of Kattegat. Intelligent and determined, Björn had made a name for himself, following in his father's footsteps as a formidable warrior, leader, and explorer. He shares his father's thirst for adventure and wishes to explore faraway lands.

Biography

Season 1

Upon turning 12 and coming of age in Viking society, Björn received his arm ring from the then reigning Earl Haraldson. Björn had yearned to be a warrior like his father, desperate for recognition as a man and to fight in the raids with his father, but his youth and inexperience hold him back. Björn is a loyal and dutiful son to both parents, and showed no fear when he broke up a physical fight between his parents in Wrath of the Northmen.

Though obedient to his parents, Björn resented being put under the supervision of the young Northumbrian monk Athelstan who was captured as a slave from Lindisfarne.

Brought along by Ragnar on his trip to Gotaland for King Horik, Björn was witness to the beginning of his father's relationship with Aslaug. Disgusted, Björn confronted his father about his infidelity, making him swear that it will never happen again. While Ragnar did promise this and tried to keep it, Aslaug had already become pregnant with a son.

Season 2

Upon their return to Kattegat, Björn told Lagertha of Aslaug and his father's infidelity, though he did not say much out of loyalty to Ragnar. When Lagertha decided to leave Ragnar, Björn was torn. Though he initially decided to stay with Ragnar, through Torstein's urging, Björn eventually decided to go with his mother. Ragnar let them, telling Björn to look after his mother.

Even years after their departure, Ragnar continued to think of them. When he met with the Seer, the oracle told him that he had foreseen that his sons would become famous, possibly even more than him. His son, the Seer said, would marry the daughter of a king, or would sail across a sea without tides. Ragnar asked about Björn, whether he still lived, and whether he would ever see him again. The Seer told him that it was Björn about whom he had prophesied.

Meanwhile, under the thumb of his oppressive new stepfather, the 18-year-old Björn hoped to live alone in the mountains to test his strength and skills. His stepfather, Lagertha's new husband Earl Sigvard, who often sought to shame and humiliate him in front of his subjects, refused. Around this time, Björn discovered that Sigvard had been hitting Lagertha, much to his anger. Björn told his mother that if Sigvard continued to hurt her, Björn would kill him.

When Björn heard of the capture of Kattegat by Jarl Borg, he tried to get Lagertha to persuade Sigvard to assist Ragnar. Sigvard refused, spitefully, but Lagertha marshals a force anyway and rides to assist Ragnar. Locating Ragnar, Lagertha and Björn are a welcome sight. Ragnar particularly marvels at how tall and powerful Björn has grown.

After his performance in battle against the West Saxons in The Choice, Björn is given the epithet 'Ironside' by Ragnar.

On his return to Kattegat from England, Björn formed a relationship with a former slave-girl, Þórunn, who was freed by Aslaug because she realized Björn loved her.

Season 3

Björn was surprised when Þórunn told him that she was pregnant. After the battle of Mercia in The Wanderer He asked Þórunn to marry him and she said yes. He looked after her when her face was badly scarred in battle. Later, she gave birth to their child: a daughter they named Siggy. Björn sleeps with Torvi, Erlendur's wife, when Þorunn rejects his attempts to have sex with her and tells him to find someone else to be with, due to her feeling self conscious about her nasty scar. Right before he has sex with Torvi, he tells her that he loves his wife. He later finds Torvi and apologizes for taking advantage of her, and hands her a bracelet as a gift. She tells him that she's neither with child or a child herself, and apologizes too for taking advantage of him.

Ragnar finds Björn unconscious towards the end of the vikings' failed attempt to get into the city of Paris, with two crossbow bolts stuck in his back. Björn wakes later that night, and while still hurt, he tells his father that he should have never called him "Ironside", doubtful that the gods are protecting him. His father rebuts and questions, "you're alive, aren't you?" to which Björn says nothing. Later, while still healing, Björn is up and walking but holds his arm obviously still in pain. In the season 3 finale, Ragnar trusts only Björn with something secret, which later is shown to be that Ragnar is still alive as when he exits Paris, Björn catches and holds him. He later defends himself and tells his mother, Rollo and Floki he only did what his father asked of him.

Season 4

After returning to Kattegat with the rest of the raiding party he takes the treasure from the raid and shows it to his family and Queen Aslaug; his younger half-brother Ubbe shows interest in a map of Europe that Björn had taken, believing it to be more valuable than gold. He then publicly denounces Floki as a murderer and has him arrested. Ragnar disapproves of this decision, remarking that Björn is still acting impulsive. Aslaug brings Bjorn's young daughter, Siggy, to him, but he barely acknowledges her. Later he leaves for the wilderness, in order to prove to himself and his father that he can survive on his own.

Björn manages to make the trek through the snowy mountains until he finds an abandoned cabin, where he takes shelter. He sustains himself mainly by setting traps and ice-fishing. A bear repeatedly escapes his traps, and Björn decides to track it down. He eventually encounters it and manages to kill it with an ax and dagger. Despite his speed and agility, Björn is slashed across the upper chest by the bear's claws. He cauterizes the injury to prevent infection. In tribute to his achievement, Björn tattoos his arms and makes a cloak from the bear's hide.

When Kalf and Erlendur learn that Björn is isolated in the mountains, they dispatch a "Berserker" to assassinate him. Although superficially wounded in the encounter, Björn outwits and subdues his opponent by whipping a handful of fishing leaders bearing heavy fish hooks into his face. He tortures his captive, asking who sent him, but the man refuses to talk, so Björn disembowels him. Björn then goes to visit his mother in Hedeby. Kalf and Erlendur are visibly disappointed that their assassin failed. Björn claims he came to take Torvi away with him, and does so, though Erlendur forces her to leave her son behind. When Björn returns to Kattegat, he is suspicious of the newcomer "King Finehair".

Conversing with his father as they prepare for the second raid on Paris, Björn is rebuked for ignoring his daughter and for separating Torvi from her child. Björn retorts that Ragnar tried to separate him from his mother as a child, but Ragnar replies that Lagertha left him and Björn chose to go with her, though he acknowledges that he had been a bad husband and that Björn should not repeat his mistakes. When Björn is looking over his map of Europe later, Torvi comes to visit him and notices a ring that he had taken from the Berserker. As they start to make love, Torvi remarks that the ring was passed to Erlendur from his father King Horik, revealing to Björn that Erlendur ordered the assassination attempt.

Later, as the Vikings are settling into France in order to come up with a plan for their battle strategy, Björn approaches Erlendur asking about the ring and whether he knows about it. Erlendur replies that he knows nothing of the ring which is relayed in turn to Torvi who says he is lying for she knows it is his father King Horik's ring. When the Vikings travel upriver towards Paris, led by Rollo, the ships are shot at from the forts by Frankish soldiers. When the Franks lower the chain between the two forts, several ships are capsized and sunk. Björn helps many warriors out of the water, including Harald. When returning to their camp, to find it had been attacked, Björn reunites with Torvi and his brothers. After everyone is recovering, Björn tells Torvi that it was all Ragnar's fault. Björn helps Ragnar execute his plan to take the boats across the mountains.

As the days bleed into each other, the Vikings haul their ships across the mountain top. Björn and Torvi are closer then ever. When Lagertha loses her baby, both Björn and Ragnar comfort her. One night as the couple is laying in their bed in the Viking camp Björn confesses his love for Torvi after making love, but unbeknownst to Björn, Torvi sees Erlendur hidden in the dark, aiming his crossbow at Björn. Torvi then changes sides with Björn, putting her body in front of Björn. The next day, Erlendur tries to force Torvi to assassinate Björn, promising to kill Guthrum if she doesn't obey him but Torvi kills Erlendur instead.

Ten years later, Björn has two sons, Erik and Refil, with Torvi. Once Floki's ships are ready Hvitserk travels to Frankia where they try to bargain with his uncle Rollo, who is the Duke Normandy to let them past his coastline so they can travel to the Mediterranean without any trouble. Hvitserk is introduced to his cousins William, Marcellus and Celsa. However they are imprisoned, But Rollo agrees to let them through as long as he accompanies them. They reluctantly let Rollo come due to his betrayal years earlier but not before knee hauling him for his betrayal. 

Hvitserk, Bjorn, Harald, Halfdan, Floki and Rollo then sail down the Mediterranean and arrive at a town which would be later known as Spain and slaughter any resistance and steal any treasure they could get there hands on. While staring out to the ocean on a cliff Odin himself approachs Hvitserk and Bjorn and tells them their father is dead. Hvitserk and Bjorn return to Kattegatte, but not before dropping Rollo back at Frankia. Ubbe and Ivar try to kill Lagatha again but are stopped by Bjorn, who says they will have to kill as well as Lagatha, Ivar suggests that maybe they should, Ubbe tells him angrily to shut up. Ubbe tells Bjorn that Lagatha killed his mother, Bjorn says he knows and that he knows that he wants revenge and he would want the same thing if he was in same circumstances. He takes Astrid as lover as a revenge against his mother for having taken the power to Kattegat. Bjorn forms the Great Heathen Army with his brothers to avenge Ragnar, before leaving he says goodbye to his mother Lagatha and Astrid and Torvi and tells them both to look after his mother. He avenges his father by easily defeating the forces of Northumbria and killing King Alle with a blood eagle ceremony. The Great Heathen Army then faces the force of Wessex, confusing and outmenuvering the forces and causing them to retreat. They capture King Ecbert and High Pope. Ivar demands a blood eagle for King Ecbert but Ubbe and his brother convince Ivar otherwise. Ecbert, unbeknownst to Björn, had passed his kingship onto his son, Aethelwulf. Still pretending to be king, Ecbert granted Björn farming lands, telling him since he was king of kings he could do so. He tricked Björn since the real king was his son and is the only one who can grant land. Ecbert committed suicide in his bath. At the end of Season Four, he wants to keep exploring the Mediterranean Sea and Halfdan is volunteer to go with him. Bjorn then witnesses Ivar kill Siguard by throwing an axe in the stomach and is horrified when Siguard dies.

Season 5

Bjorn will appear in this season fighting alongside his mother Lagertha, Ubbe and Halfdan against Ivar and Harald along with further sailing the Mediterranean sea.

Personality

Björn was raised with the typical Northman conduct. He values his family and is devoted to both of his parents. Björn, since he was young, yearned to become a warrior like his parents; now old enough, Björn is more than ready to prove himself in battle. He shows extreme loyalty to his father even after years of separation. After returning from France he rallies the people to Ragnar's side and reminds them of where all their wealth and success has come from.

Björn has Ragnar's lust for glory and fame, but also his father curiosity for other cultures. He did not shun Athelstan, and remained loyal to his father even after his baptism. He is restless like his uncle and also being young is very impatient. Often he chafes under his father's rule not seeing his decisions for the long plays that they are. Like most young vikings he sees only what is in front of him and often makes quick decisions. He seeks glory and fame like his father through battle, but does not always understand the patience necessary to realize those dreams. Björn wishes to raid and is shown to express his emotions far more then Ragnar does leading to outbursts at his fathers seemingly strange decisions. He is also a bit vain about his appearance, taking great pride in his battle scars, his bearskin cloak and his tattoos - his tattoos and hairstyle are clearly modelled after the ones Ragnar had in his younger years.

Bjorn and Ragnar, whilst devoted to each other as father and son, often have disputes due to Bjorn's impulsive nature. Ragnar was displeased with Bjorn, after his arrest of Floki for the murder of Athelstan. Ragnar's plan was to confront Floki alone and in confidence, and not in a public setting. He deemed the murder an act of an errant friend, and disliked his hand being forced by Bjorn. Ragnar thought that the Bjorn's decision to go to the mountains was foolhardy, though Bjorn was pleased to prove him wrong when returning to Kattegat. Moreover, Ragnar advised Bjorn to note his surroundings better, as carnal desires and concerns can detract from learning the political "game".

Björn is as skilled a warrior although inexperienced, strong enough to match his uncle Rollo in a drunken brawl and fast enough to go through a battle and never be struck. A testament of his prowess came during his time alone in the wilderness in Season 4. Surviving for several months in the icy mountains of Scandinavia, he managed to track down and kill a bear with only a hatchet and knife; he received only a minor injury to the chest. He also managed to outwit and overpower a supposedly-invincible "Berserker" who was sent to assassinate him.

Physically, he is even more formidable than his father, as while both of them were severely wounded during the siege of Paris Björn recovered quickly, while Ragnar remained weakened by his injuries in Season Four. He has also displayed good leadership qualities, as he lead men during the raid on Paris, assisted in strategics with his father and mother, and assisted in his father's plot to fake his own death.

Björn has a somewhat different personal code than most other vikings. He refuses to rape women in raids, or slaves. After Þorunn is injured in battle, she goes into a deep depression, refusing to let most look at her. Björn helps nurse her back to health, but she refuses to have sex with him. Eventually Þorunn gives him permission to sleep with Torvi, since she is still too self-conscious. When Björn and Torvi begin to have sex and he occasionally gives her gifts. His youth and inexperience with women often shows as he is unable to understands his wives' choices or actions.

Quotes

You can all say whatever you want, but he was a human. People started to talk as if he was a god. He was not a god, he was a man! A man with many dreams and many failings.

– Bjorn, to his brothers, The Last Ship

I am not afraid.

–Bjorn, to the seer , The Outsider

Trivia

  • Due to Lagertha originating from the Gesta Danorum instead of the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, Bjorn was the son of Ragnar and Aslaug not Ragnar and Lagertha.
  • Being the eldest son of both Ragnar and Lagetha, he is probably their successor as king.
  • As a young adult in Season 2, Björn's status in Norse society appears to be that of a Drengr, who is a young man of fighting age, particularly from a middle to upper-class background. If he was granted land by his father, an earl, Björn could become a Thegn and be able to lead men into battle.
  • As both his father and mother became the respective earls of Kattegatt and Hedeby as of the episode Blood Eagle, Björn could potentially inherit a strong powerbase for his future rise in Norse society.
  • As of the Season 2 finale, and with the deposition of King Horik and his family from power, Björn along with his half-brothers, now hold the status of Budlungr or 'prince' in Norse society, now that his father is King of Denmark.
  • The saga Tale of Ragnar's Sons states that Björn would come to rule over most of Sweden, including the centre of the Aesir religion in Gamla Uppsala, after the death of his father.
  • In Norse society, you were not supposed to say the actual word for bear out of fear of summoning the creature, hence the word "björn" (bear) was used instead and eventually became the widely used word and the old name was forgotten. Likewise, ulf or ulfr, the Norse word for wolf was avoided and the word "vargr" was used instead. "Vargr" means outlaw.
  • Ragnar's converted dead entrance in Paris was actually made by Bjorn years after his death in the city of Luna in Italy. A city that Bjorn believed was Rome. A similar tactic of faking death in order to gain entrance to a city via a coffin was used by a subsequent King of Norway, Harald Hardrada. Coincidentally in " A Good Treason " Bjorn is shown seeing a Map that he got in Paris. Which clearly shows " Rome " over Italy and " Gaul " over France. When Ubbe asks him what is that. Bjorn answers it's his future.

Gallery

Appearances

Season one appearances
Rites of Passage Wrath of the Northmen Dispossessed
Trial Raid Burial of the Dead
A King's Ransom Sacrifice All Change
Season two appearances
Brother's War Invasion Treachery Eye For an Eye Answers in Blood
Unforgiven Blood Eagle Boneless The Choice The Lord's Prayer
Season three appearances
Mercenary The Wanderer Warrior's Fate Scarred The Usurper
Born Again Paris To the Gates! Breaking Point The Dead
Season four appearances
A Good Treason Kill the Queen Mercy Yol Promised
What Might Have Been The Profit and the Loss Portage Death All 'Round The Last Ship
The Outsider The Vision Two Journeys In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning All His Angels
Crossings The Great Army Revenge On the Eve The Reckoning

Start a Discussion Discussions about Bjorn

  • Bjorns rapid age change

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    • If you pay attention to the series, you see how rapidly time goes by.. A woman can have just become pregnant in one episode, and the next epis...
    • Amber, in the very first episode he was supposed to be 12. About 2 years passes over the course of the first season. Season 2 episode 2 has ...