The traditional pilgrimage to Uppsala to thank the gods brings a torrent of emotions for Ragnar, Lagertha, and Athelstan. Ragnar, pulling farther away from his wife, goes to make peace with the death of his unborn son. Lagertha, still reeling from her miscarriage, wants to find out from the gods if more sons are in her future. As the Vikings come together to sacrifice and give thanks to their gods, Athelstan discovers just how strong his Christian faith remains.
Ragnar and his group arrive at Uppsala. Ragnar asks Odin who will bear his sons since Lagertha cannot. Athelstan learns that there is nine of every sacrifice, including humans. Athelstan is offered drink and shrooms. Lagertha notices that Ragnar wants to go out into the festival. She begs him to stay. Athelstan is high and wanders around the festival. He runs into Ragnar who goes around him. Thyri approaches Athelstan and kisses him. She leads him off to somewhere they can be alone. Gyda tells Lagertha that she's bleeding and Lagertha says that she is a woman now. Thyri bathes Athelstan. Athelstan asks Thryi why she does this and she says that she has to.
King Horik says that he wants to put Ragnar's fame to use. Ragnar asks for what and Horik tells him about Borg and how he claims to be entitled to some of Horik's land. That he threatens Horik's territory. Ragnar asks how he can be of help. Horik asks if Ragnar he'll travel to Borg as his emissary. That if Ragnar is successful, Horik will be forever in his debt. Athelstan is pulled aside by the Seer. He's taken to the temple and asked by one of the priests if he came here of his own free will. Athelstan says yes. The priest asks him if he's still a Christian. Athelstan says no but the priest makes him say it three times. The priest asks if he knows why he's here and tells Athelstan that he's been brought to Uppsala as a sacrifice. Athelstan tries to grab hold of his cross pendant but the priest catches his hand and reveals that Athelstan was lying.
The Seer tells them that Athelstan is unworthy of being a sacrifice. That one of them amongst their group must volunteer to be a sacrifice. Leif volunteers to be sacrificed for the sake of his family and friends. Athelstan, Ragnar, and his family watch as the sacrifices are killed.
The entire depiction of the Temple of Uppsala and the sacrifice ceremony was based on the writings of Adam of Bremen, so the writers were not imagining these scenes, although the portrayal of the three Vikings priests was somewhat too fantasy-based.
I feel quite empathetic for Ragnar, that trying so hard for something that is not meant to be, is something that we can all relate to. No matter what it is, there is always something for each of us, that is beyond our control, that we have to learn to let go. At the end of the festival is when the sacrifices are to be made to the Gods, but for now they are to celebrate.
On the ship, Míriel and Elendil discuss the price of sacrifice, and affirm their commitment to what must be done, and to each other. As they enter the Númenórean harbor, Elendil sees that there are mourning flags flying.
Uppsala is a religious place where the Vikings sacrifice nine humans every nine years, along with nine of a variety of animals. Ragnar and Athelstan, along with other main characters, make the journey to the site in the first season. Ragnar tells Athelstan about the sacrifices when Athelstan asks what a certain pen is for.
In Kattegat, a man has volunteered himself to be a sacrifice. Because Kattegat is in danger, they think they must ask their gods to help them. They need someone who will deliver their message. They all gather in the hall to pray as they sacrifice the man during the ceremony.
The Pharisees ask why Jesus is eating with tax collectors and sinners, people like Mary and her friends from the red quarter. The Pharisees would never be caught dead with people like them. The Pharisee, Yusef, says that what is done in the red quarter can not even be spoken by his tongue. It would defile him to even speak about it, plus the tax collector has betrayed their people, he is not even sorry and has never offered money or a guilt sacrifice in the temple.
The television series Firefly and Serenity (the subsequent film) chart the evolution of Simon Tam. Viewers follow as he changes from adoring older brother embarking on a very successful career in medicine into a hero willing to sacrifice his career and life to save River from the Alliance, which has turned her into an assassin through radical brain surgery. When Simon assumes a guardian role over River, she is quite broken for all intents and purposes. It will be up to Simon to carry her until she can be whole again. Compare this to the relationship between Frodo the Ring-bearer and his gardener Samwise, who pledges to aid him as he journeys to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Throughout their travels, Frodo's physical and mental strength will fail him, causing him to become more and more dependent on Samwise until he literally carries Frodo to the end of their journey. River's power waxes over the arc of her story while Frodo's power steadily wanes, yet both Simon Tam and Samwise Gamgee become more than they ever would have been if they did not assume the twin roles of protector and advocate for those in their care. It is the love of these guardians that allows their burdened charges to complete their quests, thus freeing their worlds from the darkness that threatens them. 781b155fdc