The History Channel’s “Vikings” is midway through season 2 and it’s already awesome so far. Why? How about the epic battles featuring accurate axe throwing? Or Ragnar taking off his shirt? Or maybe that awful crucifixion? (Sorry, I should have preceded that with the words “spoiler alert.”)

The reasons why season 2 is epic are too numerous to mention, but I’ve managed to whittle them down to five. Here are five reasons why Vikings season 2 is awesome so far. (And yes there are spoilers!)

1.) Lagertha: Don’t mess with this shield maiden. Seriously! Cheat on her and she’ll leave you. Try to sexually assault her and you can kiss your family jewels goodbye.

Ragnar’s ex-wife not only continues to display her physical strength but her strength of character. She showed up with warriors to help Ragnar fight Jarl Borg. But she additionally treated Ragnar’s new wife and kids with dignity and kindness during her visit.

2.) The Ragnar/Lagertha/Aslaug Love Drama: In season one, Ragnar smashed the stereotype of vikings being mindless savages, by being a farm tending family guy. But watching a man spend cozy nights with his doting wife and kids doesn’t a riveting drama make.

Ragnar threw a wrench in this life of harmony by cheating on his wife Lagertha with Princess Aslaug and getting Aslaug pregnant. (He didn’t help matters by suggesting to Lagertha that he take on Aslaug on as a second wife.)

At least he did the honorable thing by marrying the princess after Lagertha divorced him. But his heart will always belong to the shield maiden. “I love two women,” Ragnar confessed to the village sage on episode 205.

Sorry bro, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Especially since Lagertha is the uh better piece. But what fun it is to hate on Aslaug and watch the love drama unfold!

3.) The Redemption of Rollo: How long would Ragnar’s angry brother remain in his shadow sulking? Thankfully not long. It’s nice to see Rollo find himself as a warrior and man of honor. When the village is attacked by Jarl Borg, Rollo leads the town’s defense and the evacuation of Ragnar’s family. Finally Rollo gains his sexyback and it looks great.

4.) The Grown Bjorn: Young Nathan O’Toole did such an amazing job playing Ragnar and Lagertha’s wise beyond years eldest son that it was heartbreaking to see him go. But it’s as though he really grew up to be Alexander Ludwig who ages the character this season. He has taken over the role seamlessly and recently showed he’s a fierce fighter in his own right. He’s the apple of Ragnar’s eye, but tensions are beginning to surface over Bjorn’s skill and place in the world. More Lothbrok family drama to come? Bring it on.

5.) Poor Athelstan: What other forms of suffering will be heaped upon this poor ex-monk? In season one, he survived the slaughter of his fellow clerics at his monastery and became Ragnar’s slave. Once freed, he missed out on being made a human sacrifice but still was not accepted by Ragnar’s people. They tease and berate him all the time now into season 2.

His Christian compatriots have not treated him any better. (But who can blame them? He returns to England as part of the viking raid in episode 205. He volunteers to be a goodwill hostage.

The Christians show him how they interpret “goodwill” by putting him in a real “passion play” – full size cross, nails, crown of thorns and all. Plus he is haunted by visions of the Virgin Mary. Poor Athelstan indeed.