The Norse god Odin is a big presence in Vikings, and he has been represented in different ways, some more obvious than others. Let’s take a look.
Vikings includes many elements and references to Norse mythology, and Odin’s presence was teased multiple times, with the Allfather himself appearing a couple of times. Created by Michael Hirst, Vikings made its debut on History Channel in 2013, and even though it was originally planned as a miniseries, it was so well-received by critics and viewers that it was renewed for a second season. Vikings lived on for a total of six seasons, allowing the audience to follow the stories of Ragnar, Lagertha, Floki, and more.
Vikings initially followed Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his raids and travels alongside his Viking brothers, from the Lindisfarne raid, onward. As the series progressed, it shifted its focus to Ragnar’s sons (Bjorn, Ubbe, Hvitserk, Sigurd, and Ivar) and their own travels, making them the protagonists of the show, especially after Ragnar’s death in season 4. Amidst the wars, betrayals, and other conflicts, Vikings has taken some time to address the beliefs of its characters, and one deity that is often mentioned, and whose presence has been represented in different ways, is Odin, the Allfather.
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Odin, also known as the Allfather, is a prominent god in the history of Northern Europe and is associated with wisdom, death, war, victory, and more. Odin is often portrayed as a one-eyed man with a long beard, carrying a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak with a broad hat. He’s often accompanied by his animal companions and familiars: the wolves Geri and Freki, and the ravens Huginn and Munnin, who bring him information from Midgard (a.k.a. Earth). Odin is also said to have had many sons, among those Thor, and is known by hundreds of names. The characters in Vikings, mostly Ragnar and Floki, are firm believers of Odin and other deities, and so his presence has been represented various times in Vikings, mostly through ravens, but the Allfather himself has also appeared a couple of times. Odin has been played by Eddie Drew and Andre Eriksen, and his first appearance was in the first episode of the series, where Ragnar saw him and his valkyries choose which warriors would be taken to Valhalla.
At one point, another character was believed to be Odin in disguise, all due to his mysterious arrival at Kattegat: Harbard, also known as “the wanderer”. His arrival was announced through Aslaug, Siggy, and Helga’s dreams, and was the only one able to ease young Ivar’s pain by simply touching and talking to him. Harbard also showed up when Siggy dived in the frozen pond to save Ubbe and Hvitserk, though she initially saw him as her deceased daughter. Due to his sudden arrival and mysterious backstory, characters in Vikings, especially Floki, believed him to be Odin, and the boatbuilder even said that “Harbard” is another name for the Allfather.
Last but not least is Ragnar Lothbrok himself. Throughout his time in Vikings, Ragnar claimed to be a descendant of Odin, which was supported by the constant presence of the Allfather around him, mostly through ravens. To viewers, Ragnar was a representation of Odin, as the ravens followed him around and he served as a king for some time, and Odin was believed to have been a real person, specifically a king, who became a God when he died. This way, Vikings had three different representations of the Norse god Odin: his literal human form, a god in disguise visiting Midgard, and represented by a Viking warrior.
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