The Final #TalismanTuesday The TALISMAN CHRONICLES Episode 6

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It's the final #TalismanTuesday - and release day for PRISON - The Talisman Chronicles, Episode 6, by T.M. Franklin. (If you haven't read WINDOW yet, be sure and start there!)

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Chloe Blake knows a battle is coming. She’s seen it—over and over—in her living room’s mystical picture window.

But she’s also seen something worse.

Chloe and her friends are The Order, gifted with powers to fight the dark chaos that’s descended on Lamsden and is bent on wreaking havoc not only there, but around the world. They’re prepared to fight, but fighting may not be enough.

And if Chloe’s visions are right, they might not all emerge from the battle unscathed.

Or even alive.
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Grab PRISON today on AMAZON!

And if you haven't started The Talisman Chronicles yet, what are you waiting for? You can download them all to your Kindle right now!


Don't forget to enter the Giveaway for a Kindle Fire, Signed Paperbacks, or an Amazon Gift Card!

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T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader's Choice Awards. She's since written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories...and there's always more on the way.



Connect with T.M. Franklin

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Valentine's Day #Giveaway of DOMINION #dystopian #romance #EOTWAWKI

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! In honor of the holiday, I'm giving away an autographed copy of DOMINION!




A generation has passed since the pandemic known only as the Infection ended the world as we know it. In a little town in the Appalachian Mountains, Taylor has known only a harsh and brutal struggle for survival in a land littered with the rusted-out remnants of a lost world. By day, she labors in a coal mine. In the evenings, she tends a secret collection of beehives, and uses the honey to pay for lessons in survival skills, such as hunting, fishing, and collecting herbs. Her home is a single room in a crumbling old motel, and her only companion is a pet box tortoise named Go she’s had since she was a child.

When her town is destroyed by a vicious gang of raiders known as the Nine, Taylor escapes with Dylan, the son of the mayor. Their only plan is to head south and escape the Nine’s vast territory, avoiding areas contaminated by meltdowns and industrial pollution where mysterious illnesses plague the residents.

Dylan has never known hunger or hardship and struggles to learn survival skills. He’s never known a woman like Taylor, either. He tries to pay her back by teaching her to read, and telling her the stories passed down from the world of Before.

They certainly didn’t plan on falling in love. Taylor fights it every step of the way, because in her world, any emotional attachment is dangerous. She’s been taught since childhood that love slows you down, makes you weak. But the feelings growing between them cannot be denied.


Taylor finds herself slowly breaking every one of her hard-learned rules of survival. She discovers that perhaps some of those things she’s always fought to avoid are the very things that make life worth living.


… And death shall have no dominion …
 



Click HERE to read the first chapter.

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#TalismanTuesday The Talisman Chronicles Episode 5 Releases Today

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It's #TalismanTuesday and today, SHIELD, The Talisman Chronicles, Episode 5 is now available!

When Dylan Kennedy finds himself standing in the rain on Chloe Blake’s doorstep, with no memory of how he got there, he has no idea that the weirdness in his life is just beginning. He opens the old wooden chest in Chloe’s attic and, with a flash of blinding light, he’s endowed with a unique gift—and made part of The Order.

But Dylan and the others face a growing threat—a darkness that feeds on pain and thrives on chaos. It’s getting stronger every day, and soon, they’ll have to fight it head-on, whether they’re ready or not.

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Wow! Things are getting crazy in Lamsden, WA!

Grab your copy of SHIELD today on AMAZON. And if you've missed any of The Talisman Chronicles, you'll want to make sure you've read WINDOW, TIMEPIECE< GAUNTLET and MANTLE first!

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway for a Kindle Fire, Signed Paperbacks, or an Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader's Choice Awards. She's since written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories...and there's always more on the way.


Connect with T.M. Franklin

Web Site |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ | YouTube |Email

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The #ShieldGeeks Review #VIKINGS Season Finale!




“100% more evisceration talk than expected.” 

“These chicks are machines!” 


(CHECK THEM OUT FOR THEIR PODCASTED RECAPS AND FEEDBACK ‘CASTS! And Yes, we did one, too!)
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Heillir! The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you back to our series on the History Channel show Vikings. 


We—Lissa Bryan and Sandi Layne—are two historical fiction authors with a serious thing for Vikings. And for VIKINGS, the amazing series that is going to begin its fourth (point five) season on HISTORY CHANNEL.

Follow us on twitter, #ShieldGeeks where and Sandi and I will be live-tweeting during each episode, as has been our custom since Season One. We follow up with a more detailed discussion on our websites the following day.

We are SO excited! So, Warriors and Shieldmaidens all, get your weapons and armor ready, because we're wrapping up an amazing season!

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Historical fiction author Sandi Layne is with me again to discuss the historical aspects of the show. Sandi has written her own series on Vikings, both well-written and carefully researched. (You can read my review of the third book in the trilogy, Éire's Devil Kinghere.)


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Lissa: Hard to believe it's the season finale already. This has been an action-packed season, with some pretty significant plot developments, and we've said goodbye to some important characters.

Sandi: I have a list of dead people that I saw in this episode. Named characters, I mean. I'll add it to the end of this post. This has been a great second half of a season. So many were unhappy at the end of the first half of Season Four, but this half has really been very true to form, even if we aren't always thrilled with the directions Michael Hirst and History Channel have gone.

Lissa: This episode begins with a frail Ecbert rocking in his throne, obviously in great distress. I think the implication was that he somehow knew the battle was going poorly. We cut to the battle between Aethelwulf's forces and the Great Heathen Army, right where we left off. The Vikings have ambushed Aethelwulf's troops and after the bowmen pick off a large number of them from their position high on the ridge, the rest of the Vikings run in for melee combat.

The battle was a feast for geeky eyes: muddy, chaotic, and brutal. The History Channel excels in this regard, because I think it's pretty similar to how battle would have been for warriors of that era. Filthy, exhausting, a confusing, frantic tumult with the clash of steel and the screams of the dying piercing the chilly air...
Sandi: Ecbert's frailty has been more evident with every episode in this half of the season. It's as if he's aged years in the course of these months. I don't know exactly how long it's been, story-wise, but it hasn't been as long as his face and beard make it out to have been.

And, yeah. I really like how History Channel hosts a war. Even the clumsy fighting in Kattegat last week is indicative of how they understand the choreography necessary to make it work and work well.

Lissa: It's obvious the Vikings have the upper hand. Aethelwulf, lying in the mud, looks up wearily to see one of his soldiers cut down by a Viking shieldmaiden. Aethelwulf frantically shouts for a retreat.
Sandi: A retreat is not a bad thing for a battle commander to order, by the way. Some people think it's an indicator of cowardice, but Aethelwulf has proven himself already and his men clearly trust him. If he says to scoot, they scoot, and no one thinks ill of him as a result. After all, he's saving lives. Some, anyway.

Lissa: He reaches the palace and orders an evacuation, but Ecbert refuses to go. He says staying behind is God's will, and his own.
Sandi: Part of me sees this as part of the penance that Ecbert is planning for himself. As if by one great act of expiation, he can atone for all that he has done in his life.

Lissa: Aethelwulf is aghast. He can't leave Ecbert, the King of Wessex, behind to die. Ecbert calmly tells Aethelwulf he's going to abdicate. They both kneel before an altar and a bishop performs a brief ceremony, asking if Ecbert [long string of titles] intends to surrender the crown. It's the crown, @smidbeach reminded us, that Ecbert took from the tomb of the kings and queens of Mercia when Wigstan abdicated. The crown and scepter are passed to Aethelwulf.
Sandi: It's not Aethelwulf's fault the crown looks a lot like the one on the Burger King fellow in the commercials!

But seriously, here we see Ecbert doing this noble thing and giving his crown to his son. Still, would you expect Ecbert to ever do the right thing when he gained nothing from it? Right.

Lissa: That finished, Ecbert tells his son, “I know I have placed my kingdom in the safest hands. You go now, save yourself and your family.” The phrase "your family" wasn't lost on me. Judith and Alfred aren't really Aethelwulf's - they've been Ecbert's, and Aethelwulf has always revolved on the periphery, like a distant planet that eventually gets downgraded as being just one of the objects in the Kuiper Belt. But Ecbert hasn't just handed over his kingdom. He's handed over Judith and Alfred, the two people he cherished more than his own son. He tells Aethelwulf to gather his strength and come back to reclaim what is his one day.

Sandi: Thing is, even though these are the Last Words from a father to his son, I still don't see them as sincere. The most sincere things he says are what he says to Alfred—Athelstan's son. Because it is with the young man that Ecbert's hope truly lie. He wants his name and influence to live on and Aethelwulf is not the man in whom Ecbert sees that happening.

Lissa: The palace is evacuated and the royal family climbs into a carriage. Ecbert gives his son a kiss. He leans into the carriage and gives some hurried words of wisdom to Alfred about a Christian king's greatest virtue being humility.

Sandi: His words were hurried, reminding me of Bilbo Baggins giving Frodo advice before he set out to destroy The One Ring. Or of Polonius in Hamlet, giving his son Laertes the benefit of his wisdom. (And though we mock Polonius's manner on occasion, he's been an oft-quoted character through the centuries.)
Lissa: Judith thanks Ecbert for loving her, which struck me as a bit odd - and I wasn't the only one.
Sandi: It really began poorly, yeah. But Judith was not blameless, either, so I guess she kind of came to a sense of balance in herself.

Lissa: But I imagine over the ten-plus years of their affair, Judith came to see it as the best thing that ever happened to her in terms of personal freedom. Her husband has evolved from the prim, priggish fellow he was when they first married, but it's true that Judith was able to do much more in her life as Ecbert's mistress than she ever would have as Aethelwulf's wife.

Sandi: Very true. She had stepped from the confines her world and that freed her, even if she wasn't seen as "proper" any longer. This does not mean I advocate for adultery by any means, but it does show how some bravery and brass can help propel a person into different spheres of influence.

Lissa: After the family and troops leave, Ecbert embraces the bishop who remained at his side. The men retreat back to the throne room where they sit in silence and drink. All of us had the reaction that Ecbert was wishing it was Ragnar sitting there, sipping his wine.
vikings-s4e20-ecbert-and-bishopSandi: It was interesting that the scene was silent, essentially. There was nothing here that could be said. One presumes the bishop at Ecbert's side knows all his flaws so there is no coy conversation, no exploration of thought. Just two men who are facing the end of their lives. A silent drink is appropriate.

Lissa: The Vikings arrive at the city and are at first wary to find no one there to defend it. After they confirm it's empty, they run inside to pillage, cheering. In the crowd. Helga is tugging her Shiny New Kid along behind her as she runs to keep up.

Sandi: And we were sitting there, wondering how on earth Helga and Tanaruz (aka Shiny New Kid) had managed to get there. And we were still wondering why. There is a desperation to both of their faces, and one can't blame them.

Lissa: Floki - may God have mercy on his soul because I cannot - finds Ecbert's treasured library that Athelstan was translating and copying, and he... I'm having trouble typing it... He torches the scrolls.
Sandi: This was a wanton act of destruction, made for spite, because Floki knew what the scrolls were. He knew and despised Athelstan, but he wasn't ignorant of the man's work or anything. Floki was just abolishing something he wanted obliterated, though it posed no threat. Neither would it bring profit. And since he burned it then, it wasn't even going to be useful as a fire-starter in the future. Just . . . a waste, really.

Lissa: I hated this scene. Hated it because I knew it was true to history. So much knowledge and learning was lost down through the centuries when libraries were encountered by cultures who didn't appreciate the scholarship of those they'd conquered.
Sandi: And, our readers can ascertain, this kind of thing is a big deal to Lissa and me. The rampant destruction of such work just gets to us. Alas, it happened and cannot be undone!

Lissa: Helga leads the New Kid down a hallway in the palace while the fires rage and the murderin' is still going on. A flaming beam falls in their path and the girl screams. Helga kneels to assure her that she's safe and loved. The girl grabs Helga's knife. She stabs Helga before turning the blade on herself, driving it into her own heart. The kid dies instantly, but Helga is still clinging to life when Floki finds her. She tells him he's special, unique, and the world isn't large enough for him. He pleads with her, but she goes limp in his arms.

Sandi: This was an entirely unexpected death. All of us went into this finale with, I suspect, a private Death List we expected to check off. (One of those, I will say, I didn't check off, which surprised me.) At no point was Helga on my private list. (Cannot say the same about Shiny New Kid Tanaruz, however.)

Lissa: This was a terrible moment. When Helga was first injured, I was wryly joking about Helga needing to find herself a new kid, thinking she wasn't seriously hurt because of the lack of visible blood. But by the time Floki found her, I realized that this might be the end of Helga's story. It made me sorrowful, not only because I liked her so much - both her character and the skillful Maude Hirst who portrayed her - but because I felt it was an unworthy way for Helga to go. Helga was essentially felled by her ovaries — her unhinged (and abruptly introduced) longing for a child led her to kidnap a deeply traumatized girl from her homeland, like a tourist scooping up an exotic animal they have no idea how to care for.

Sandi: It really was a terrible way for Helga to go. Her devotion to Floki, to all that he is and all that he's done (save for the murder of Athelstan), has been a hallmark of her character. If she had died for him, it would have been fitting, in my opinion. Or even dying for Ragnar or Björn. A sacrifice of herself for someone she loved/honored. But murdered by a child whom she had kidnapped and held captive? I don't know. It just . . . sits poorly with me.

Though I will say that Vikings did have captives and those captives certainly plotted to kill their "owners", I'm sure. At least, mine did! So, is this death a tribute to all those captives the Northmen acquired, perhaps? I rather think not, but one can wonder.

Lissa: We had previously speculated that the Shiny New Kid might introduce Floki to the Islamic faith, about which he'd shown curiosity and given a measure of respect. They seemed to be on their way to building a small rapport in the last episode. But the storyline was not destined to be so complex. Tanaruz was just the means to Helga's death.
vikings-s4e20-floki-dead-helgaSandi: This makes me wonder if Floki's fascination with the Islamic faith will appear again in this show or if that, too, is abandoned like the light in the man's eyes?

Lissa: Floki gives his beloved wife a lovely burial, laying her out on fine furs before surrounding her with beautiful grave goods. He lays a necklace on her chest and puts a stone in the hollow of her throat.





Sandi: This is a lovely example of the traditional burial. Such sites have been found in Great Britain, so it's great that History Channel included one here.

Lissa: Later, Björn comes upon him and tells him he's sorry about Helga's death. He'd known her since he was a child. Floki says he's dead, too. The first part of him died with Angrboða. The second part with Ragnar, and now Helga's death has taken the last. He is an empty vessel that the gods may do with as they may. He will drift upon the current, rudderless, drawn by their winds. He tells Björn to take care of himself, rises to his feet and heads down the hallway. His silhouette fades away into the light, as Ragnar's did when Ecbert said goodbye.




Sandi: I really want to hope that Floki will return to himself after a period of deep mourning.





Lissa: As the fire nears the throne room, Ecbert decides he's had enough. He leaves and heads out into the courtyard where Björn and the other Ragnarssons are watching the carnage. Björn recognizes Ecbert and stops anyone from harming him. The bishop doesn't fare so well. He's slain while he's asking the Lord to forgive the Vikings because they know not what they do.

Sandi: Ecbert's appearance must have surprised Björn a bit; he's a far cry from the man he used to be. And he looks like he's wearing a nightshirt or something. The bishop does not try to save himself, it seems. He and Ecbert had both accepted their fates and that was all he wrote.

Lissa: The brothers confer together while Ecbert hangs in a cage above. They're not sure what to do with him. Ivar wants to give him the Aelle treatment. Björn says there are bigger political issues at play. Ubbe isn't sure of the wisdom of killing Ecbert, either. He still wants to realize Ragnar's dreams of a settlement, and Ecbert might be the key to that, though Hvitserk protests that Ragnar never ransomed a leader.

Sandi: The points of view expressed here are all valid, which is good. No one is completely off script; it's just that making this a cohesive venture is looking less and less likely all the time. May I say, here, that having Ecbert in the dreadful cage is perfect, from my standpoint? I thought it apt for the circumstance and I believe Ecbert did himself.

Lissa: In his cage, Ecbert interjects and says he was able to understand most of their conversation, because he speaks a bit of their language.

Sandi: Awfully convenient, eh? No, I get it, because there's no interpreter and I rather doubt any of Ragnar's sons have taken the time to become fluent in Anglo-Saxon.

Lissa: He has an offer for them. He will give them legal title to lands they can settle. He leaves out the little fact that he's no longer King of Wessex. In fact, he brags he is the "king of kings" and no one could question their title. They ask him what he wants in return, but Ecbert won't tell them unless they agree. Once Björn decides to accept, Ecbert says he wants to choose the method of his death.
Sandi: And wow, didn't our band of #ShieldGeeks go off on that! "Wait, wait! He's not a king anymore!"

Lissa: Ecbert presents them with the document and pressed his seal to it.
Sandi: So, Ecbert the Crafty had one final trick up his sleeve. Historically, Ecbert was apparently obsessed with keeping the lands of the king in the hands of the king. He didn't distribute his lands the way others in other places did. He kept it all together. It is entirely in keeping with that historical rendition that Ecbert first gives the kingship to Aethelwulf then pretends to give lands to the Northmen.

Lissa: I was hoping that the tale of the sheepskin (or ox hide, depending on the version of the tale) would be introduced, because it's one of those charming little asides in the Sagas, but it seems that isn't going to be introduced.

Sandi: That would have just taken more time that they could use to, you know, kill people, right? *sigh* Really, I have to hand it to History Channel for covering what they do in this show. Sometimes even to excess. [I'm just the girl who loves the really long A&E version of Pride and Prejudice because so much of the book is captured therein.]

Lissa: Ecbert is given his final wish. He goes into the hot spring baths with Björn who silently offers him a choice between two blades. Ecbert chooses the smaller of the two. Björn nods and leaves the room. Ecbert disrobes and climbs into the bath. Like Ragnar, he experiences echoes of the past. Ragnar, Lagertha, Judith... He then lowers his arm into the hot water and slices open his veins with the blade. And so passes another "father" of this series. Wily Ecbert who always had layers of intrigues and manipulations, possibly so many that he got lost in his own webs.

Sandi: Björn was so merciful, here. So many things that could have happened to Ecbert, but he goes out in a manner of his own choosing, without even an audience to make sure he's actually dying. Trust? Foolishness? I don't know. But it was nice for us to get to hear Ecbert's Greatest Hits in his memories, even if we didn't get to see them as we did Ragnar's. A nice echo back to Ragnar as the episode and season was wrapping up.

vikings-s4-e20-bjorn-speechLissa: The Ragnarssons are outside in the burned-out courtyard, enjoying a feast. They're celebrating the fact that they now have farmland and can bring new settlers. Björn announces that now Ragnar has been avenged, his destiny leads him elsewhere. He wants to go back to the Mediterranean.





Sandi: This is actually a great way to wrap up the season. We get a victory party, the sons declaring their future intentions (for when/if we have a time jump before Season Five), and a summation of their goals and aspirations . . . and loyalties.

Lissa: Halfdan surprises his brother by electing to join Björn. Ivar wants to continue their push through proto-England. There's no one who can stand up against them. They will do it for the glory of battle and Odin All-Father.
Sandi: This must have been a surprise to Harald Finehair. He's got Norway in his sights and his brother has been his right arm for as long as we've known them. If Halfdan is wanting to split, what does that mean for his support of Harald's kingship. Historically, Harald does become king, so . . . what is this going to do to the Die-Namic Duo? (Sorry. It was just there.)

Lissa: Sigurd wants to fight onward, too, but he doesn't want to follow Ivar as their leader. He snaps Ivar is not even really a man, but a mama's boy, a snake that crawls on the ground. Ivar retorts that he's not even sure if Sigurd is Ragnar's son, given his penchant for music, and (ahem) enjoyment of male company.

vikings-s4e20-axe-throw
Sandi: Yeah, because the whole End-Of-Season Victory Party wouldn't be complete without fraternal sniping. And hey, the Ragnarssons have given us that in abundance, so it's almost fun to watch. Bring popcorn.

Lissa: Sigurd bites back that Aslaug was the only one who ever loved Ivar. Despite Ubbe's efforts at peacemaking, the quarrel heats up and Ivar grabs an ax, which he hurls at Sigurd's chest. Sigurd pulls it out and staggers toward his brother, but he doesn't make it far enough to deliver a return blow. He collapses at Ivar's feet, apparently dead. I mean, we'll have to wait until next season to be certain, but he looked pretty-darn-dead to me.

vikings-s4-e20-dead-sigurdSandi: I'm sure I wasn't the only one watching to see if Sigurd blinked. I didn't see a blink, though. I'm thinking he's gone. Years ago, Ivar's first kill was with a thrown axe, so it is not surprising that he does it again. I don't have the sense that it was something Ivar planned to do—much as he didn't like his brother, they were brothers and I don't see fratricide as high on his To-Do List.


Lissa: This is another departure from history, because Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye married one of Aelle's daughters. His granddaughter married Halfdan the Black after he kidnapped her from her first kidnapper. (The fate of a blue-blooded woman in that era was never an easy one.) They were the parents of Harald Finehair.

Sandi: Well, of course, Harald Finehair is already with us, so it's possible that Sigurd was seen as expendable in this particular bit of historical fiction.

And yeah, no. I wouldn't have wanted to be a woman of noble birth in this era. They were chess pieces and that's not a fate I'd want for myself.

Lissa: We next see a priest, conducting burial rites while Saxons look on and weep. It's our first sighting of Jonathan Rhys Meyer, who has joined the cast.

vikings-s4-e20-jrm-sightingSandi: Okay, to be honest, I wasn't thrilled with this conclusion of the season. A more natural end would have been the fight amongst the brothers and the death of Sigurd. Sad, but organic. Introducing Bishop Heahmund is sensible from an entertainment standpoint, yes (new big name actor! new character! intriguing possibilities!) but it ended the episode off-key, for me.

Lissa: The widow comes up to thank him. She's wearing an intricate machine-woven black lace veil. Lace, of course, wasn't invented until the fifteenth century or so, and even then, the English were stuck with needle lace for at least another cent— Ah, never mind. #BootSoleFile

Sandi: ...yeah. Her veil reminded me a bit of a Spanish mantilla, without the height of the hair comb. Anyway...

Lissa: Anyway, she thanks the priest for the ceremony and says her husband is in a better place. The priest has his own idea of how to offer her comfort, and we next see the two of them together in bed. Beside the bed is a set of armor and a gleaming sword with something etched into the crossguard.

Sandi: You found it, too!
vikings-credit-history
ANANYZAPATA

Lissa: From what I found online, it was an early medieval inscription/spell that was supposed to prevent poisoning, an acronym of the words, Antidotum Nazareni Auferat Necem Intoxicationis Sanctificet Alimenta Pocula Trinitas Alma' (May the antidote of Jesus avert death by poisoning and the Holy Trinity sanctify my food and drink). It's found on a 9th Century ring at the British Museum.

Sandi: This is an extremely cool detail from History Channel. Lissa loves finding the smallt truths often hidden, so I imagine, my friend, that you were very happy to find that.

Lissa: So, what's next for our heathen horde? Will Ivar face any consequences killing his brother? Where is Floki bound, and how will he fare without his beloved Helga? Will Judith and Aethelwulf build a good life together while he seeks to reclaim his throne? Where's Rollo and how's he doing with I-Forgot-How-To-Princess? And how is Lagertha now that the Finehair twins are out of her own artistically-braided hair for a while? I guess we'll have to wait until season 5 to find out!

Sandi: Indeed!

Lissa: Until then, ShieldGeeks, keep those axes sharp, and your hair braided for battle!

Sandi: And if you have any thoughts on this episode or predictions for next season, let us know!
And raise a horn of mead to honor the fallen in this episode:

  Ecbert's Bishop
  Helga
  Tanaruz
  King Ecbert
  Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye


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Thanks for joining us! We hope you'll meet up with us again for season 5!

If you’re looking for incisive comments, please check out ProjectFandom. @DeeDonuts on twitter is the chick in charge, there, and she always has sharp things to say!

Heill þú farir, heill þú aftr komir, heill þú á sinnum sér!

Hale go forth, hale return, hale on your ways! – Vafþrúðnismál 4
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#TalismanTuesday Episode 4 of he TALISMAN CHRONICLES Releases Today!



 photo Review Quote 4_zpsuvywbiri.jpg

It's #TalismanTuesday and time to check out Episode 4 in The Talisman Chronicles by T.M. Franklin - MANTLE.

 photo MANTLE reduced_zpsf9p5lfnh.jpg
Maia Sheridan isn’t sure why her cousin and her friends are so interested in an ancient journal found buried in the library archives, but she suspects they have a hidden motive. The journal tells of a secret group called The Order—powerful warriors tasked with protecting humanity.

Maia knows it’s a legend, an interesting bit of mythology passed down through generations. But the more she translates the journal, the more she begins to wonder if there’s more to the myth than meets the eye.

Maybe The Order is real. And maybe Maia’s destined to be a part of it.
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Get MANTLE Today on AMAZON!

And if you've missed any of the episodes so far, you can grab them below - and pre-order the rest of the serial so the books will show up in your Kindle as soon as they're available!


Don't forget to enter the Giveaway for a Kindle Fire, Signed Paperbacks, or an Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader's Choice Awards. She's since written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories...and there's always more on the way.


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The #ShieldGeeks Review #VIKINGS "The Great Army"




“100% more evisceration talk than expected.” 

“These chicks are machines!” 


(CHECK THEM OUT FOR THEIR PODCASTED RECAPS AND FEEDBACK ‘CASTS! And Yes, we did one, too!)
By elithanathile on Tumblr



Heillir! The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you back to our series on the History Channel show Vikings. 


We—Lissa Bryan and Sandi Layne—are two historical fiction authors with a serious thing for Vikings. And for VIKINGS, the amazing series that is going to begin its fourth (point five) season on HISTORY CHANNEL.

Follow us on twitter, #ShieldGeeks where and Sandi and I will be live-tweeting during each episode, as has been our custom since Season One. We follow up with a more detailed discussion on our websites the following day.

We are SO excited! So, Warriors and Shieldmaidens all, get your weapons and armor ready, because it’s going to be an amazing season!

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Historical fiction author Sandi Layne is with me again to discuss the historical aspects of the show. Sandi has written her own series on Vikings, both well-written and carefully researched. (You can read my review of the third book in the trilogy, Éire's Devil Kinghere.)


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Lissa: This episode had me excited. I couldn't wait to see the Great Heathen Army, the scourge of the Anglo-Saxons. Though the actual size of the GHA is in dispute among scholars, it was undoubtedly the largest Viking force to attack the British aisles and it left a lasting mark on the history of the realm. Not only in regards to DNA, but the Danelaw... and Oh, I could go on! It was a formative time, to say the least.

Sandi: Now, now, it was likely King Aelle who said it was the Great Heathen Army. Floki would likely just say it was a Great Army. Aelle was biased, as we know. I am very eager to see this army on the move, no matter what we call it, however. This time, as you say, was formative and so much of what our society currently holds to be bedrock found its beginnings in this era.

ragnarssonsLissa: We started the episode in the Ragnarssons household. Ivar is doing what he does best, needling his kin. He gripes that Sigurd is using his knife. It belonged to his father, and he intends to use it to kill Lagertha. Ivar mocks him about it and the dispute ends in a scuffle, but Ubbe breaks it up with no harm done. The discussion turns to their more pressing concern: avenging Ragnar. While Aelle was primarily the instrument of Ragnar's death, none can forget that it was Ecbert who betrayed him, and besides, Ecbert's kingdom is far larger and richer than Aelle's. They decide that it's time to raise an army, the greatest army ever assembled. They'll call in every favor, summon every ally they can to their side. “In the name of Ragnar Lothbrok, in the name of Odin, we declare war on the whole world,” Ivar declares. Little sociopath looks kinda cute when he's genuinely smiling.

Sandi: History Channel has done a pretty good job at giving us a look at all the brothers here. Their familial dynamics are likely going to continue to be important. Ubbe is the Big Brother, who looks (I am sure intentionally) the most like their sire. We have established the hashtag #UbbesLunchNotes because we see him giving advice and soothing the waters. But though the boys squabble, they are basically united in their wish to avenge their father's death and Ivar will make sure that both Aelle and Ecbert pay. It is interesting to note, here, that the young men seem to have no doubt that they will be able to gather a mighty force in their quest for vengeance. They have the supreme confidence of their breeding, I think, and that tells. I can't see some random fisherman's progeny having that kind of assurance. But then, Aslaug's sons only know of being the sons of King Ragnar. They have no memory of his more humble beginnings, as Björn does.

 Lissa: Their plan means someone needs to talk to Lagertha. The Queen of Kattegat is working alongside her people on the fortifications, covered in mud when Ubbe goes to speak with her. She's reluctant to leave. Kattegat has become too prosperous to leave undefended. 

One of the people on Tumblr mentioned a good point: Lagertha implied that Aslaug sort of let things go to the dogs, but Aslaug had to be doing something right if Kattegat became the most important trading post in Norway. "[W]e’re supposed to believe Aslaug, the REASON Kattegat grew and became the major center of trade, was SUCH a [poor] ruler for not building a wall. ... Did she tax the [heck] out of her people? Seize public land for private use? Be unnecessarily cruel to slaves or smallfolk? Elect a horse to the Senate??"

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Sandi: Lagertha is a good worker, and nothing is beneath her notice. She, too, remembers her humble beginnings. Later in history, it was said that the lady of a manor had to know how to do all the different chores on the estate, so that she could see that they were done properly. I see Lagertha as being like-minded. LadyAslaug on Tumblr implies, though, Lagertha doesn't give her predecessor her due, nor her people. All that growth didn't just come from the hands of one person.

Lissa: Lagertha tells Ubbe she remembers Kattegat when it was just a small cluster of houses. Ubbe smiles, and reminds her that he was born in Kattegat, so he knows how much it's changed.

  Sandi: There is an undercurrent of one-upmanship between Ubbe and Lagertha. Could the undercurrent be about more than Who Knows What? Is there some kind of odd chemistry? Only time will tell; neither of these two is at all attached to chastity as far as I can ascertain. Ubbe, though, cannot have Lagertha's perspective and it is rather prideful of him to think he can. However, out of all of Aslaug's sons, his memory will stretch back further, so he is the only one of them who can meet her even halfway on such a matter.

  Lissa: Ubbe starts to tell her that Ragnar would have wanted them to avenge him, but Lagertha shakes that off. She, more than anyone, knows what Ragnar would have wanted. Ragnar wanted to build something that would last.

Sandi: Well, it's true that Ragnar wanted to build something, but I think Lagertha is a bit behind the times as far as the Psychology of Ragnar Lo∂brok is concerned. Ragnar expected to have his sons join him with tales of great adventures. He expected Ivar to avenge his death. Ragnar wanted that, probably even more than he wanted to see greatness come to Kattegat.

freeing-the-slave-girlLissa: After their conversation ends, Ubbe talks with Margrethe. He tells her she is no longer a slave. She asks if he can do that, and he makes a bold statement about being able to do as he likes because he's the son of Ragnar Lothbrook. He holds out a hand and Margrethe sticks her muddy palm into it. Off they go, a royal prince and a slave girl. It must run in their blood or something.

Sandi: Now, when Big Brother Bear (Björn) wanted to make nice with Porunn, she seemed to be amenable to being with him. Margrethe, however, seems more confused and resigned than anything. I do not have happy feelings about these two. One, I can't trust the girl, and neither can Ubbe, really. And he knows it. I feel that part of this is a one-upmanship thing, again, with Lagertha. "See? I can free the slave because my mum got her for our family. So, dibs!" Or something.

  Lissa: Speaking of dudes who made the bad choice of marrying a slave girl, we next go to Björn's fleet. They're on their way back to Frankia. Rollo doesn't look terribly stoked about the idea of going home. Helga has her Shiny New Kid perched beside her, but there's something badly wrong with the girl. She stares blankly into space, despite Helga's attempts at mothering.

  Sandi: Rollo feels much more true to himself when he's out a-viking, I daresay, and coming home to a wife who said, basically said, "We are SO over if you go out raiding with your boys" is not something he's looking forward to. And Helga and her "adopted daughter"? I am still weirded out by this. The girl has likely withdrawn—a not-uncommon response for people who are abducted and separated from all they know. It's like Helga doesn't even care, which is not like the Helga we have come to know and love over the years. The Northmen did take slaves from other cultures, and they made it a practice to compel the slave to accept a new name, new clothes, etc. But one does not hear of the Northmen adopting people into their families. There's a lot of obligation there, and I'm still baffled as to why Helga did it.

  Lissa: Torvi and Joan Jett tell Lagertha that they don't trust Ubbe. They urge Lagertha to increase her personal security. But the Seer's prophecy that one of Ragnar's sons would kill her seems to have freed Lagertha from her anxiety about it. She shrugs and says if the gods can't protect her, who can?

Sandi: Lagertha seems to give herself over to her fate again and again. In terms of having more children, in terms of her eventual death. But it's as if she has to keep checking. She has faith, but she doesn't keep it as a firm floor. It's more of a floating carpet she has to catch up and check out again and again.

Lissa: Ivar is in the blacksmith shop, sharpening weapons with his brothers. He says that Sigurd isn't all that enthused about the plan to kill Lagertha, and Sigurd says it's because he and Ivar had a much different relationship with their mother. She adored Ivar, but with Sigurd, she was cold and distant. Ivar mocks him again, saying Sigurd was a bad son, and Sigurd calls him a momma's boy. Ivar slings an ax at Sigurd's throat but another blacksmith blocks the blade before it can strike. The blacksmith says no one would guess that they were brothers from the way they act.

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  Sandi: Well . . . I'd have to disagree with the smith, though I honor that craft as a rule. I think brothers act like this a lot. Thing is, Sigurd was ignored by Aslaug compared to Ivar. And Ivar was a "momma's boy". And siblings have been known to throw dangerous weapons at one another. No, really. Happened in my family and we grew up very happy and well-adjusted.

Lissa: In Northumbria, Judith has come home for dinner. Neither of her parents are particularly welcoming. Judith tells them she's come with a warning about the vengeance of Ragnar's sons. Aelle is dismissive. He assures her that Northumbria is prepared for any invasion. Judith gives a humorless laugh and says she doesn't think he realizes how big this incursion might be. 

Mrs. Aelle, a sad and dour woman, covered in a wimple (topped with a ubiquitous crown - in case we forgot, you know, that she's a queen) says to her daughter that they pray every day that she turns away from her sinful affair with Ecbert and returns to her husband as a decent Christian wife. If she doesn't, she'll burn in hell. Judith chortles again and says, “As for you, Father, you may enjoy the erudities of heaven without my discomforting presence, and that of every other woman whose only crime was a desire to be free." In any case, she has something she needs to tell them.

  Sandi: Judith, I believe, is doing two things here. She's actively trying to get her father, a powerful king, to see sense. And she's reminding her family that she's in a position to know what IS sense because of the family she's married into and the man with whom she sleeps. She has no shame for her position as Princess Concubine; she is content with that part of her life, it would seem. As viewers, we tend to have no sympathy for King Aelle (he killed Ragnar!) and that relative apathy extends to Queen WimpleCrown. Her marriage to Aethelwulf would have originally been arranged for just such an exchange of needed political and military information, as well as having an ear in a neighboring court, but it seems that Judith has lost her value in that regard due to her personal choices. Which, honestly, doesn't make a lot of practical sense.



s4-e17-pic-threeLissa: Duke-Viking Rollo is on the ship with Björn's crew. they tell him they can drop him off at home, or he can come back with them to Kattegat. Of course, he'll be killed the second he steps off the ship in Kattegat, so... They head for the port of Frankia and there Rollo extends an offer to his fellow Vikings.

  Sandi: See? He'd really rather NOT go back. But historically, of course, he does, so . . .

Lissa: Any of them who wish to settle in Frankia and farm its rich lands are welcome in his duchy. He tells them that he is now a part of Frankia, and Frankia is now a part of the Viking people. Floki scoffs and tells Rollo that he's no longer one of them. Rollo replies that what they are is changing. Floki is the one who can't accept that. Björn says that once a betrayer, always a betrayer. As Rollo gets off the ship, Floki spits and tells Björn that they should have killed Rollo. He he has a bad feeling that Rollo will achieve more fame than any of them. He's right, to a certain extent. Duke Rollo is remembered as an inportant part of Normandy's history, the founder of a dynasty.

Sandi: Indeed. Rollo was the first Duke of Normandy (b. c. 860, d. c.932) and gave his duchy over to his son William (who greets him in the Frankish harbor) in 927. Though Rollo was baptized as a Christian, he is said to have died a pagan. Though History Channel is not holding true to the historical timeline, they sure seem to have Rollo's character down, yeah?

Lissa: Rollo strides into his hall and finds Gisla with the children. She praises God that he's returned to them and kneels to kiss his hand. She dismisses everyone from the chamber.

  Sandi: All sweetness and light she is in front of the family and any retainers... but then...
Lissa: Gisla whacks Rollo multiple times while cursing him a blue streak in French. Welcome home, honey! But, on the upside, it does appear she's learned a small bit about princessing during his absence. She at least dismissed the witnesses before losing her royal wits.
Sandi: It was quite a horrid display, really. We know she was angry and she certainly has the courage of her convictions, but she really went far beyond the boundaries of her rank and breeding. I don't think, Lissa, that she really ever did learn to princess.

  Lissa: We shift to Wessex, where Ecbert is giving sweet Alfred lessons in... well, books, and drinking and philosophy, I suppose. He starts off by showing Alfred a book written by Gregory the Great (540-604) a pope, saint, and educational philosopher. He urges Alfred to drink more wine, which doesn't sit well with the young man. Ecbert then chuckles and says it was a trick - he was drinking water while urging wine on Alfred.
Sandi: I didn't trust Ecbert during that whole thing. He is corrupt. He will always be corrupt. And he teaches via not-entirely-beneficent means.

  Lissa: It's supposed to be a lesson about keeping one's wits, but it comes off as a somewhat sad call-back to conversations that Ecbert once greatly enjoyed, but now can never have again.
Sandi: Well, yeah, but how much of that is by design, I wonder? Part of me thinks that Ecbert is in no way broken, but he wants folks to think he is diminished, you know?

Lissa: We're back at Ragnar's grave site. The pit is gaping just a bit at the top. Judith peers inside, and asks if this is where Ragnar met his end. Aelle says it is, and Judith declares a monument should be built here, scandalizing her family. Judith rises and warns them again about the danger coming. She turns to her sister and tells her if she cares about the welfare of her soul, she needs to learn to read. She departs, having probably not convinced anyone of anything.

s4-e17-pic-fourSandi: And that, what you said right there, is what has me wondering why she is in there. The crew at No Ship Network have also speculated on Judith's role at this point in the story. Why is she here? What is her purpose?

Lissa: Back in Kattegat, Lagertha is holding court for all of the earls who have gathered with their forces to join the Great Army. She's wearing that awful, awful high collar again. One of the earl's ambassadors presents Lagertha with a sword. He tells her that there were many tiresome poems he's heard detailing her exploits. She smiles and says she wishes she'd been more interesting, and he insists it was the fault of the poets, not her.

sigurd-on-the-strings
  Sandi: We're still griping about her collar. I grant you, the construction of such a collar was not beyond the capabilities of the people of this time and place, but that they would actually make something so intricate, with so much metal involved, that wasn't explicitly battle armor is highly unlikely. Which makes me think that it is possible that Lagertha is indeed armored at all times.

  Lissa: Across the room, Sigurd is regaling the hall with tunes.









Sandi: Had we seen him at all musically oriented before this time? I can't recall.

Lissa: Ubbe strolls through the hall and greets one of the men. The guy doesn't recognize him and asks his name, and as soon as he hears it, his demeanor completely changes. He compliments Ragnar's legacy. Ivar crawls toward him and the men mock him. Ubbe says that's his brother and they should stop laughing if they want to live. He gives Ivar a drink in full view of the hall and they tap cups. Next Ubbe chats with Margrethe. When Lagertha comes up behind him, he gives her a quick kiss. Lagertha tells Ubbe she is a little irked that Ubbe freed her slave without asking, but she doesn't challenge the legitimacy of him doing so.
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  Sandi: That's the competition between them, again. I wonder if Margrethe is part of that interpersonal friction or if Ubbe does have genuine feeling for the girl.

  Lissa: Ubbe retorts that she had no right to kill his mother, and Lagertha replies that was different. Which kinda goes without saying. Murderin' someone ≠ freeing someone else's slave.

  Sandi: Well, yeah. And the constant threat of "We ARE going to avenge our mother" is a repeated reminder of that. But really, Lagertha doesn't have a lot else she can hold up on her end at this juncture. She's on the throne, but the Ragnarssons don't seem enamored of ruling anybody, at this point. All she has is this "You took MY person" thing that she can pretend to be all gracious about. I'm not sure where she's focusing right now. She's got a lot of plates to spin, I think.
s4-e17-pic-six

Lissa: Halfdan and Finehair meet an interesting new fellow in Lagertha's hall. Egil, the illegitimate son of an earl, sports a facial scar and is, as Halfdan describes him, "ambitious." And we all know how much trouble ambitious bastards have caused throughout history.

  Sandi: Oh, history is rife with them. William the Conqueror being one notable one that shows up sooner rather than later. William was previously known as William the Bastard and he was a direct descendent of our Duke Rollo, here.

  Lissa: Rachel Tsoumbakos speculated in her recap that this character may be based on Egill Skallagrimsson, who wrote Egil's Saga. He seems to have suffered from Paget's disease, given the description of his physical issues.

  Sandi: I don't know about Paget's disease (not being medically educated) but if his appearance was due to an ailment as opposed to a battle wound, that would definitely affect his character, I think, due to the mores of the day.

  Lissa: Finehair and Halfdan note that they have need of ambitious men if they're to fulfil Finehair's dream of being king of Norway.

  Sandi: Harald is certainly dedicated to this and he's playing the long game, here. Befriending those he'd likely oust given the opportunity, making allies amongst the influential, gathering spies and intelligence. A sound strategy that, it seems, will pay off eventually.

s4-e17-pic-sevenLissa: Ubbe and Ivar decide to move on Lagertha. At a signal, Lagertha's shieldmaidens are all frozen in place with knives at their throats. Ivar makes his way down the hall, driving pikes into the floor to pull himself along toward his target. It's a striking scene. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.

  Sandi: That really was highly effective. Twitter buzzed for a moment over that moment. Now, Ivar being developed as "wise" and canny in battle, I am thinking that he knew exactly how he'd sound, bringing himself forward as he did. It was very well done.

  Lissa: Lagertha stares them down without an iota of fear, rising from her throne with lethal grace. She picks up the newly gifted sword to defend herself, but just as the action is about to go down, the door opens and Björn strides inside. He's either gotten wind of the plot, or he's taken appraisal of the situation quickly. He tells his brothers if they're going to kill Lagertha, they'll have to kill him, too.

s4-e17-pic-eight-as4-e17-pic-8b

  Sandi: The timing, of course, is perfect. Drama, enter the John Wayne/Clint Eastwood character who will save his mother, etc. Björn actually has an odd role in the family and he probably has to weigh all of his actions if he wants to be best understood and—of course—obeyed. He is a son of Ragnar with all that that entails. He is the son of Lagertha the Legendary and though she is capable, he IS her son and thus is bound to defend her. Yet his brothers have a righteous claim of their own against his mother that he can't deny, exactly . . . still, he must defend her, stand beside her, for she is his mum. It can be complicated, being the firstborn.

Lissa: They seem amenable to that notion until Björn mentions they have an invasion looming. Ubbe backs down. Ivar slams his pike into the floor in frustration, but he leaves, too.
Sandi: Complicated. But Björn is not to be gainsaid, here. He's 100% right, and no one can deny it. I imagine, though, that more than one person in the Great Hall was ready to lay odds on the outcome of Lagertha v. Lads.

  Lissa: Soon afterward, we see Björn at the dinner table with Torvi. Torvi complains about something, and Björn loses his temper. He shouts at her that he didn't come back here to be told what to do. He flings his plate off the table and their three children begin screaming hysterically.
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Sandi: This is another one of those scenes that I don't quite get. That Björn is having temper issues, maybe? That all is not sunshine and rainbows in La Casa de Oso? That even Viking kids freak out during a domestic squabble? No clue. With the season having only three more episodes to go, I'm wondering if this unrest portends a break-up of housekeeping, death, or some other tragedy to befall Björn.

Lissa: Ivar is out on the docks looking out at the gathering of ships in the bay. The Great Heathen Army is coming together. This scene, visually, wasn't quite as striking as a quick scene we saw of Kattegat surrounded by tents and campfires, showing the huge number of warriors gathered. Ubbe ruffles his brother's hair and they both look satisfied as they talk about the force they're building.

Sandi: More of the Fraternal Dynamic thing happening here. We see how the men relate as equals. There is no "looking down" at Ivar, for all the difference in height. There is no sense of inadequacy or envy. Just brothers being brothers. There isn't the resentment between these two that there is between Ivar and Sigurd. I wonder how big a role that will play in the future?

  Lissa: Ivar goes to Helga and Floki's house. Helga is trying to feed her Shiny New Kid, but the girl won't open her mouth for the bite of stew Helga offers her.

  Sandi: I have nothing, here. I still don't see the rationale in this either for the writers or for the characters. Floki being an indulgent husband, okay. But he's always loved Helga. Forever. So that's not a big revelation. Plus, the girl is part of the religious system he seemed to find fascinating in the warmer south. Okay. But otherwise? I'm clueless.

  Lissa: Ivar asks who she is and Helga introduces her. Ivar says, "nice new slave," and Helga reacts vehemently. She is not a slave! They're adopting her. "Yeah. Adopting her." Floki says with a shrug and an air of tired resignation. Ivar sticks out his hand and the girl reacts in terror, shrinking back and screaming. Helga hurriedly leads her away.
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Sandi: Can't blame the girl one iota. Not even. That Ivar roused her from her withdrawal may be significant, though.

  Lissa: Ivar tells Floki that he's here for help with something that will allow him to fight. The two of them have great chemistry, giggling like the madmen they are, though Ivar always has that edge of menace.

Sandi: This was cute. Badmouthing each other with apparent derision only to break down into the giggles that Lissa says sound a bit "tetched". Floki did spend a long time teaching Ivar in the younger man's childhood. He was there when Ivar murdered his first innocent and all that. There's a bond.

  Lissa: Finehair and Halfdan meet on top of Lagertha's new fortification. Egil the Bastard is with them. The brothers are a bit nervous about their plans for conquering Kattegat with the fortifications in place, but Egil says a clever leader can always get around walls and barriers. And yes, he is a clever man.

  Sandi: This reinforces Harald's goal of taking over Kattegat and, thus, Norway. It also lets us know that yes, we have a definite alliance happening, here.

  Lissa: Björn heads inside the throne room to talk to his mom, but Lagertha is nowhere to be found. He asks Joan Jett, who is weaving, where Lagertha is, and Joan says Lagertha doesn't tell her everything. As the episode closes, Björn and Joan kiss passionately.

Sandi: We get the lovely view of a drop-weight loom again. Yay, History Channel! But then, we are all . . . WHAT? Okay, so Joan Jett has seemed to have an unusual attitude with some of the men around Lagertha, but this? This seemed to be a kiss between people who'd definitely done that before. Together. And though Björn is bigger and all that, the scene was careful to demonstrate that Joan Jett took the final move to make the kiss actually happen. So, consent is assured. But how long has this been going on?

Lissa: First of all, Björn... Gross. I mean, like, really gross. That's your momma's girl, and she is going to be wicked chapped to have her girlfriend cheating on her with her own baby bear.

  Sandi: But will she? Hard to say with Lagertha. She and Björn have a strong bond that is multilayered and flexible, I think. And Joan Jett hasn't struck any of us as particularly necessary to Lagertha, has she? Great at hand-to-hand combat. Awesome sparring partner. Makes the Lady of Legend smile. But necessary? No.

s4-e17-pic-eleven  Lissa: Floki carries Ivar out to the snowy forest to show him his newest creation. There stands a sleek war chariot. Sort of Romanesque in construction, not what I would expect from Floki's design studio. There isn't even a dragon's head prow mounted on it. I tried to think of where Floki might have seen such a design... one of Athelstan's manuscripts... But I got nuthin'.




Cuinbattle
By Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 - 1951) [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
Sandi: The war chariot was not unknown in this part of the world. In Ireland, indeed, the Irish hero, Cú Chulainn, rode a chariot into battle.  When I saw the chariot in previews for this show, I thought immediately of the Irish legend, as I'd read it as a little girl and the image stayed with me.

  Lissa: It's been designed with his needs in mind, to hold Ivar upright. Ivar reacts with boyish glee, and after Floki hooks a horse to it, Ivar flies around the roads, cheering and shouting while Floki claps in delight. From behind a tree, Björn watches grimly.



ivar-chariotSandi: Why so grim, Brother Bear? Is he thinking of how dangerous Ivar might truly be once given this era's equivalent of a new car? Perhaps. Perhaps in the future, he and his brother will come to blows over the death of Aslaug and this troubles Björn. Perhaps he is just thinking that no one else has such a cool chariot. I hope we find out next week.






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Thanks for joining us! Tune in next ODINSday for another episode!

If you’re looking for incisive comments, please check out ProjectFandom. @DeeDonuts on twitter is the chick in charge, there, and she always has sharp things to say!

Heill þú farir, heill þú aftr komir, heill þú á sinnum sér!

Hale go forth, hale return, hale on your ways! – Vafþrúðnismál 4
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