Vikings season 6, episode 11 recap – what happened in “King Of Kings”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: December 30, 2020 (Last updated: January 18, 2023)
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Amazon series Vikings season 6, episode 11 - King Of Kings


If audiences have missed this series during the break, then they will not be disappointed — “King Of Kings” is an effective continuation after the cliffhanger of the mid-season finale.

This recap of Amazon’s Vikings season 6, episode 11, “King Of Kings” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode of season 6b — check out the archive.

The opening

Vikings keep on landing the shocks, but after the cliffhanger of season 6a, episode 11 was always going to be an emotional ride.

“King Of Kings” begins with Bjorn being sailed out into the sea. He’s presumed dead or dying at this stage. Meanwhile, Prince Oleg is celebrating with Ivar the Boneless, but Ivar cannot be sure that he killed Bjorn. And then King Harald and King Olaf are dragged into Prince Oleg’s room in chains. Olaf recognises Ivar the Boneless immediately, stating his name is legendary. Prince Oleg wonders how both men can be useful, but King Harald does not want to be of use and believes death is a bliss. Olaf is not in a rush to die.

Bjorn is alive

Bjorn is lifted onto land with both of his wives walking in front of him. Crowds gather, and there’s a lot of uncertainty — “King Of Kings” flits to Iceland. Ubbe wants to begin preparations to sail West. He wants the settlers to choose for themselves if they want to join them to the golden lands. Meanwhile, Bjorn is alive, and he is aided in bed. Ingrid kisses him, but he’s struggling, gasping for breath. “King Of Kings” prolongs the inevitable, but in a way that is effective.

Oleg’s decision and Ingrid’s guilt

Prince Oleg decides to spare the life of Harald. But he does not want to spare Olaf. Ivar the Boneless remarks that he may have made a different decision. Harald calls Olaf a lucky bast*rd. Meanwhile, Ingrid tells Gunnhild that King Harald raped her. Gunnhild vows to cut off Harald’s head, but they must stay by their husband for now. Ingrid feels guilty as she promised to give Bjorn good luck, but she’s only given him pain.

Olaf’s execution and Harald’s escape

Before Olaf’s execution, he claims someone is beside him. He states he has resurrection and life and he will be beside them “always”. Prince Oleg chooses to ignore him. Olaf is burned alive. As he burns to death, he puts both hands together to pray. Afterwards, Ivar is irritated because King Harald has escaped.

Bjorn doesn’t think he will make it

Bjorn tells Ingrid that he will not be able to make amends for all his wrongs. He believes he’s going to die and will not see the child he has made with Ingrid. She comforts him and asks him to accept the judgements of the Gods. She lays next to him and sobs, stating that her heart is breaking.

Have you forgotten the Gods?

Bjorn is alerted that the Rus have arrived after their scouts see them. They are massively outnumbered. Bjorn is disgusted at Erik the Red for being defeatist and forgetting about the Gods. Erik asks for forgiveness after Bjorn writhes in pain.

“Bjorn Ironside is dead”

After, Gunnhild tells Bjorn that the Rus are at the gates and that he must accept death. As Bjorn leans forward to hug her, Gunnhild sobs but she vows to continue his legacy as she gives him his farewell. This moment leads to an emotional experience for the audience — one that ends Bjorn’s legacy in the flesh but has spiritual ramifications.

Allegiance to the Prince

One of the Kings of Norway visits Prince Oleg and tells him that Bjorn Ironside is dead. He gives his allegiance to the Prince and kneels on the floor. The King is murdered, and Prince Oleg asks the news to spread — “The great hero is dead and Kattegat is at our mercy”. Little did he know what was about to happen…

The ending

And then the powerful ending…

The message received is wrong. As the Rus army stand prepared, Bjorn rides out on his horse, still severely wounded and gasping for air. There’s confusion in the air. One of the men shoots Bjorn with multiple arrows in his chest. Bjorn pulls the arrows out, and there’s shock amongst the Rus army. A flashback shows Bjorn asking Gunnhild to put his armour on, one last time. Ivar believes this is impossible because he’s not a God. Bjorn lifts his sword, and his army gathers behind him on foot. It’s a mixture of men, women and children.

Gunnhild narrates that the Kings and Queens of Norway answered Bjorn’s call to save their country because he was truly the King of Norway. “King Of Kings” ends with a battle. Ivar the Boneless asks the army to retreat. Gunnhild and Ingrid fight. Bjorn slowly dies, but his message has been clear — even in death, he was victorious.

If audiences have missed this series during the break, then they will not be disappointed — Vikings season 6, episode 11 is an effective continuation after the cliffhanger of the mid-season finale.

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