Vikings season 6 saw the demise of some popular characters, among those Ivar the Boneless. But how did the real Ivar die? Let’s take a look.
The final episodes of Vikings brought the stories of Ragnar’s sons to an end, but not all of them continue after the events of the series. The show’s main antagonist, Ivar the Boneless, met his fate in the final episode, but how does his death in Vikings compare to the end of the real Ivar the Boneless? Created by Michael Hirst, Vikings debuted on History Channel in 2013, and even though it was originally planned to be a miniseries, it was quickly renewed for a second season. The series has now come to an end after six seasons full of action, drama, and betrayal, especially among families.
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Vikings changed its main focus throughout its run, and it initially followed legendary Norse figure Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his travels and raids alongside his Viking brothers, among them his real brother, Rollo (Clive Standen), and his best friend and boatbuilder, Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård). The series later shifted its focus to Ragnar’s sons and their own travels and battles, with special attention on the arcs of Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) and Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen). After a long wait, the final batch of episodes is now available to stream, and so Vikings and the arcs of its main characters have reached their end, some in more tragic ways than others.
The cruel and seemingly indestructible Ivar – as he went through a lot of obstacles since he was born – didn’t make it past the series finale, unlike his brothers Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø), whose stories continue after Vikings, but they are left to the imagination, to an extent. Ivar, on the other hand, died in battle after seeing Hvitserk exhausted and injured, struggling to keep fighting. He decided to join the battle so Hvitserk could stand back and thus survive, with Hvitserk pointing out that Ivar’s eyes were blue, which meant that he was in great danger of breaking his bones. Ivar urged his warriors to keep fighting, reminding anyone close enough to hear him that he and his people were not afraid to die. He then turned around to find a young man with a dagger, and after telling him to not be afraid, he stabbed Ivar multiple times in the stomach, dying a couple of seconds later, much to the surprise of Hvitserk and King Alfred, who stopped the fight so Hvitserk could say goodbye to his brother.
Although the team behind Vikings aimed to be as historically accurate as possible, in most cases there aren’t enough history records about the characters and so some events and characters had to be made up. However, Ivar is one of the few characters based on a real-life person, who just like in Vikings, was born with weak bones and given the nickname “Boneless”. While he’s considered one of the greatest Viking leaders, it’s not clear how and when he died, with some claiming he died in 870 and others in 873. As for his cause of death, some claim it was due to a sudden and horrible disease, thus making way for the possibility that “Boneless” was not about a condition he was born with but a disease that struck him later on in his life.
Many years later, a mass grave discovered in England, near the battle site where the Great Heathen Army overthrew the Mercian King Burgred of his kingdom, sparked rumors about it being the resting place of Ivar, as over 250 partial skeletons were found surrounding the body, pointing at the man buried there being of very high status. If this was indeed Ivar’s body, then he most likely died in battle, just like in Vikings, and whether a “horrible disease” made it all worse or not remains a mystery. Ivar’s death in Vikings has been met with a lot of criticism from viewers, who saw it as a poorly written scene that didn’t fit the character at all, but at least it gave closure to Ivar’s chaotic yet interesting arc.
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