• Vikings returns on 11 January (SBS)Source: SBS
Before you embark on an epic voyage into the new season, refresh yourself with a cup of mead and these updates
Shane Cubis

23 Nov 2016 - 4:15 PM  UPDATED 23 Nov 2016 - 4:15 PM

With the second half of season 4 of Vikings ready to debut on SBS from Wednesday 11 January at 8:30pm, it seems like a good time for a refresher on what's been happening on the show. Saving you the trouble of loading up Wikipedia, here's what you need to keep in mind for the return of Vikings:

Ragnar has been neglecting his royal duties

After murdering his Asian mistress/dealer and pulling a disappearing act after his failed plans to take over Paris, the King of Kattegat squints his way back from who knows where or many years in the wind. He arrives to a much-changed Kattegat (now complete with a fancy-arse throne room, plus traders and busy markets around the town). Confronted by his angry sons (apart from creepy Ivar…who looks intrigued mostly) he challenges them to take their best shot. “Who’s gonna do it then, who’s gonna kill me?” Time will tell.

Lagertha fights…and fights…and fights…

Ragnar’s ex-wife and the greatest Viking shieldmaiden of all time moved from overseeing the Earldom of Hedeby to returning to help wage war again and again on Paris. Not only did she fight, she dragged huge logs through the wilderness to help make ships - all while she was pregnant (to her ex, who she killed [he deserved it]). Always a fatalist to the will of the gods, Lagertha knew the child she carried was doomed thanks to a prophecy by the Seer that she would never again be a mother. Last we saw her, she was fighting like a champion but had taken some pretty massive injuries in the final battle on Paris…

Bjorn is exploring himself and the world

It’s been a long journey for Bjorn, from little boy in a small Viking village to massive warrior, fighting bears, laying siege to Paris, becoming a father and falling in love several times, most recently to Torvi. We left him sitting with his now fully grown brothers in Kattegat, talking about their famous father who abandoned and betrayed them. Bjorn said, “What happened in Paris finally broke him. He was not a god, he was a man. A man with many dreams and many failings. Despite all his failings he’s still the greatest man in the world to me.” Bless. Using a map he found during the first raiding of Paris – which he never told anyone about – his motivation has been getting to the mysterious “Mediterranean Sea”.

Rollo still has a beautiful head of hair

Always second fiddle to his brother, he has spent years fighting with Ragnar, betraying anyone who’ll trust him and feeling constantly ripped-apart about his place in the world. We last saw him emerge victorious as the ‘Saviour of Paris’ and all-round Hero of Frankia: Duke Rollo of the Superbly Coiffed Hair. He now has a loving wife, Gisla, a powerful army and the fearsome reputation that he always wanted – a warrior and regal name in his own right. Rollo has made Frankia great again, but as always, Thor’s storm clouds are hovering… Will he be torn between the deals made with the Christian god to win for the Franks and his Viking heart? The midlife crisis of Rollo is set to continue.

Floki won his way back into the Lothbrok heart

It’s been a bumpy ride for shipbuilder, crazed giggler, errant best friend and all-round kook Floki. Despite murdering Ragnar’s beloved Athelstan (for the crime of being a Christian in a world ruled by Viking gods), Floki has been tortured, exiled and mistrusted. But he had it when it counted, building the fleet that allowed his countryfolk to reach and raid Paris. After chatting with Bjorn, Floki agreed to make him ships to carry them out in search of the Mediterranean Sea. Though he is highly dubious about the existence of this body of water, his deep-down trust of the Lothbroks is still there. Bjorn told him Ragnar once said, “The only way to tell if something is real is to sail there.” So Floki’s going to join Bjorn on his important adventures.

Aslaug rules the school, but for how long?

Despite being the daughter of a dragonslayer dad and shieldmaiden Brunhilde, Aslaug spent her recent time as queen raising kids, plotting Ragnar’s downfall and engaging in lewd conduct with a potential wandering god. We last saw her after a massive time jump, calling Bjorn to her tricked-out Great Hall and presenting him with a man who knows Wessex King Ecbert’s elderman. This guy revealed Ragnar has yet anotherson, Magnus, fathered with Queen Kwenthrith back in the good old days of the Wessex raids. Of course we know this, but it’s going to cause potential upset for Bjorn and his bros. Oh, the guy also told Aslaug that the Wessex settlement was destroyed almost immediately after the Vikings left, and that Ragnar knew this but hid it from everyone. She’s an unknown quantity, and we’ll see what’s what.

Vikings makes its brutal return to SBS on Wednsday 11 January at 8:30pm.

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