"Hail the god Ivar."
When the first half of Vikings Season 5 ended in January, things changed forever. After a vicious war, Ivar (Alex Høgh) and his forces defeated Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and her warriors, gaining control of Kattegat and driving the Viking queen--along with two of Ivar's brothers--from her home.
When Season 5 returns on Wednesday, November 28, fans will see the next step in Ivar's evolution and it's a scary one. And Vikings creator Michael Hirst told GameSpot that it's a new woman in his life that helps set him on the path.
"Ivar meets a young woman who persuades him that his infirmities are, in fact, a special gift from the gods," he said. "That he's not a poor cripple, he's been specially chosen, which leads him to great hubris."
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Just how far will Ivar's belief that he's been specially chosen go, though? A new teaser for the show's return, released on the Vikings Instagram account shows Ivar the Boneless covered in paint and wearing a crown as strange voices utter the words, "Hail the god Ivar." Were Ivar to believe he is one of the gods, and present himself as such to his people, it's only going to inflate his dangerous ego more.
Then again, for viewers, that's what makes him such an exciting character to watch. "The wonderful thing about the Ivar character is that he can do some pretty terrible things but you're still riveted by him you're still interested in his journey," Hirst explained. "You don't necessarily like him, but you're very curious about him and, of course, Alex--who plays him--is this amazing actor, I think, and who knew that the big, Viking leader would be a cripple? It seems counterintuitive. Which is why I love it so much the way the story has turned from being Ragnar, who's all physical and glamorous and everything to one of his sons who is disfigured significantly but is equally powerful in his own way."
In some ways, he may even be more powerful than his father. After all, he seems to be all but missing the softer side Ragnar often displayed, leaving him free to be the ruthless leader he thinks will earn him the respect of the gods. It's that side of him that makes him so different from his brothers and helps to power the ongoing rift between them all.
"If you look through all of [Season] 5B, it's still the story of the brothers, really," Hirst said. "They may be in different places around the world, but they're still interacting. And they're still trying to figure out who best resembles their father, what they've inherited from their father... And they're the threads that tie all these stories together even though they happen in Wessex or in Iceland or wherever. It's still a family saga essentially."
It just so happens to be one of the bloodiest family sagas to ever play out on TV. And given how Viking history goes, it's only going to get worse as the season--and show--progresses. Vikings returns Wednesday, November 28, at 9 PM ET on History.