Angrbotha’s Anti-Funeral – Vikings Season 4 part 1

Archaeodeath

The television show Vikings is to be applauded for repeatedly foregrounding child characters, and also confronting both the upsetting reality of infant and child death past and present, and the range of emotional responses to these deaths. From Ragnar’s daughter Gyda in Season 1 and the attempted infanticide of Ivar in Season 2, to the miscarriages of Lagertha, the loss of children is a repeated feature of early medieval life depicted through the show.

angrboda2The death of Angrbotha, the only child of Helga and Floki, is the first funerary representation of Season 4 part 1. The scene is intended to complement the burial of Aethelstan by Floki, who receives burial by Ragnar alone in an isolated location without a funeral.

As punishment for his slaying of Aethelstan, Floki is tied up naked and upright in a cave and tortured by water dripping from the cave’s roof: an overt reference to…

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