The Story

The Story

Ivar the Boneless


The program is based on the epos of Ivar the Boneless: Ivar the Boneless was a Viking leader and commander who invaded what is now England.


According to the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, he was the son of Ragnar Loðbrok and Aslaug. His brothers included Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Hvitserk, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye and Ubba.


The sagas describe him as lacking bones. It could be that he had what we now call Ehlers Danlos, which causes recurrent joint dislocations and joint hypermobility, and is a genetic collagen deficiency.  According to the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, Ivar’s bonelessness was the result of a curse. His mother Aslaug was Ragnar’s third wife. She was a völva. She said that she and her husband must wait three nights before consummating their marriage after his return following a long separation (while he was in England raiding). However, Ragnar was overcome with lust after such a long separation and did not heed her words. As a result, Ivar was born with weak bones. While the sagas describe Ivar’s physical disability, they also emphasise his wisdom, cunning, and mastery of strategy and tactics in battle, and his brothers often came to him for advice.


There are a number of tales about his endeavours that would form an interesting basis for the common Nordic tale that involves Denmark, England, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Baltics, stories that stress our common past, but relate to the students’ own situation.


By using the strength-characters to characterize Ivar the Boneless and the characters in the sagas we want to stress that although Ivar was physically weak, he had character-strengths that made up for his physical weakness and earned him respect with his peers and adversaries; bravery, judgment, leadership, prudence and zest and made him a successful viking.


Ivar the Boneless is also the main character in the HBO-series “Vikings”.

Project Ivar the Boneless


The project is a collaboration between Erhvervsakademiet og Professionshøjskolen and Styrkeakademiet ApS. involving schools, institutions and projects that work with marginalized and vulnerable children and adolescents.


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