History Series / Vikings

10th Apr '18 10:08:44 AM TheWanderer
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** Subverted on several occasions. For example, when a big deal is made of Harald meeting an ambitious warrior named Egil who fights like a berserker and has a disfigured face, one could be forgiven for thinking that the show is doing their version of [[Literature/EgilsSaga Egil Skallagrimsson]]. Nope, just another guy named Egil with a somewhat appropriate appearance. [[spoiler:And Torvi's son Guthrum is ''not'' Guthrum the Unlucky, one of the leaders of the Great Heathen Army alongside Ivar and Ubbe.]]

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** Subverted on several occasions. For example, when a big deal is made of Harald meeting an ambitious warrior named Egil who fights like a berserker and has a disfigured face, one could be forgiven for thinking that the show is doing their version of [[Literature/EgilsSaga Egil Skallagrimsson]]. Nope, just another guy named Egil with a somewhat appropriate appearance. [[spoiler:And Torvi's son Guthrum is ''not'' the Guthrum the Unlucky, who was one of the leaders of the Great Heathen Army alongside Ivar and Ubbe.Ubbe, and eventually became [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guthrum King Guthrum]] who ruled over the lands the Vikings conquered in England.]]



** Two of Ragnar's men, Eric and Leif, are father and son. They're named after the explorers Eric the Red and his more famous son Leif Ericsson who landed in North America. But they're not them since they live centuries too early and they die.

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** Two of Ragnar's men, Eric and Leif, are father and son. They're named after the explorers Eric the Red and his more famous son Leif Ericsson who landed in North America. But they're not them since they live centuries too early and they die.both die in the first season.



** Rollo's future glories are foreshadowed many times in early
18th Mar '18 3:30:57 PM CaptainCrawdad
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''Vikings'' is a medieval drama series airing on Creator/TheHistoryChannel and created by Michael Hirst, the man behind ''Film/{{Elizabeth}}'' and ''Series/TheTudors''. It follows a Norse farmer-cum-warrior's efforts to improve the lives of his people and become a celebrated hero during UsefulNotes/TheVikingAge. The show follows [[Literature/RagnarLodbrokAndHisSons existing sagas]] of Ragnar Lodbrok (or Lothbrok), a semi-legendary Norse figure. Much like the Icelandic sagas from which it is adapted, ''Vikings'' is an exploration of human conflicts set against the backdrop of a grim, violent, yet proud society.

Ragnar (Creator/TravisFimmel) is presented as an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea. Ragnar's plans of conquest and discovery bring him into a variety of deadly conflicts and introduce him to new cultures that challenge the foundations of his society.

The series premiered on March 3rd, 2013, and has completed four seasons, with a fifth running and a sixth in production.

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''Vikings'' is a medieval drama series airing on Creator/TheHistoryChannel and created by Michael Hirst, the man behind ''Film/{{Elizabeth}}'' and ''Series/TheTudors''. It follows a Norse farmer-cum-warrior's family's efforts to improve the lives of his their people and become a celebrated hero during gain power in the UsefulNotes/TheVikingAge. The show follows adapts the [[Literature/RagnarLodbrokAndHisSons existing semi-legendary sagas]] of Ragnar Lodbrok (or Lothbrok), a semi-legendary Norse figure.Lothbrok) and his sons. Much like the Icelandic sagas from which it is adapted, ''Vikings'' is an exploration of human conflicts set against the backdrop of a grim, violent, yet proud society.

Ragnar (Creator/TravisFimmel) is presented as an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea. Ragnar's plans of conquest and discovery bring him into a variety of deadly conflicts and introduce him to new cultures that challenge the foundations of his society. When his sons reach adulthood, they take up their father's mantle and attempt to make their own mark on the world.

The series premiered on March 3rd, 2013, and has completed four five seasons, with a fifth running and a sixth in production.
18th Mar '18 3:19:34 PM CaptainCrawdad
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* AllThereInTheManual: You really have to be familiar with the mythology of king Harald to understand why he would cut his hair after marrying. They do explain it a bit, but it's rather vague.

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* AllThereInTheManual: AllThereInTheManual:
**
You really have to be familiar with the mythology of king Harald to understand why he would cut his hair after marrying. They do explain it a bit, but it's rather vague.



** A web tie-in has the Seer explained how Ragnar got the name "Lothbrok", featuring a interesting twist on some episodes in the sagas.

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** A web tie-in has the Seer explained explain how Ragnar got the name "Lothbrok", featuring a interesting twist on some episodes in the sagas.
18th Mar '18 11:26:34 AM TrollBrutal
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* PrecisionFStrike: Justified aversion. The F-word is literally never dropped, despite it being arguably more fitting than seeing Viking raiders use the awkward clinical term "have sex" as a rule. However, the former would have been a problem in a TV show.
18th Mar '18 11:20:42 AM ruthlesstyrant
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Added DiffLines:

* PrecisionFStrike: Justified aversion. The F-word is literally never dropped, despite it being arguably more fitting than seeing Viking raiders use the awkward clinical term "have sex" as a rule. However, the former would have been a problem in a TV show.
7th Mar '18 3:17:19 AM Saveelich
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''Vikings'' is a medieval drama series airing on Creator/TheHistoryChannel and created by Michael Hirst, the man behind ''Film/{{Elizabeth}}'' and ''Series/TheTudors''. It follows Norse farmer-cum-warrior Ragnar Lodbrok's efforts to improve the lives of his people and become a celebrated hero during UsefulNotes/TheVikingAge. The show follows [[Literature/RagnarLodbrokAndHisSons existing sagas]] of Ragnar Lodbrok (or Lothbrok), a semi-legendary Norse figure. Much like the Icelandic sagas from which it is adapted, ''Vikings'' is an exploration of human conflicts set against the backdrop of a grim, violent, yet proud society.

to:

''Vikings'' is a medieval drama series airing on Creator/TheHistoryChannel and created by Michael Hirst, the man behind ''Film/{{Elizabeth}}'' and ''Series/TheTudors''. It follows a Norse farmer-cum-warrior Ragnar Lodbrok's farmer-cum-warrior's efforts to improve the lives of his people and become a celebrated hero during UsefulNotes/TheVikingAge. The show follows [[Literature/RagnarLodbrokAndHisSons existing sagas]] of Ragnar Lodbrok (or Lothbrok), a semi-legendary Norse figure. Much like the Icelandic sagas from which it is adapted, ''Vikings'' is an exploration of human conflicts set against the backdrop of a grim, violent, yet proud society.
7th Mar '18 3:12:51 AM Saveelich
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-->“Where are you Lord? Tell me… is it your will that I am here with these heathens? How does it serve you? I don’t understand and for the first time in my life I am angry with you. You allow my brothers to be slaughtered and sold. Is this really your will? for the first time… I feel lonely. Where are you, Lord? Where are you? And why don’t you answer me?”

to:

-->“Where are you Lord? Tell me… is it your will that I am here with these heathens? How does it serve you? I don’t understand and for the first time in my life I am angry with you. You allow my brothers to be slaughtered and sold. Is this really your will? for the first time… time… I feel lonely. Where are you, Lord? Where are you? And why don’t you answer me?”



** Rollo's future glories are foreshadowed many times in early

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** Rollo's future glories are foreshadowed many times in earlyearly
** Rollo's future glories are foreshadowed many times in early episodes. Not only did he establish Normandy, but almost every European ruler can trace their ancestry to him. To date, only a few other individuals have contributed more to Europe than he has.
** Season One introduced King Aelle's SnakePit, which is how Ragnar died in the sagas. [[spoiler:In the fourth season, it's how Ragnar dies in the show too.]]
** In one of the earliest episodes Ragnar likens himself to a boar and his son Bjorn to a piglet, which brings to mind [[spoiler:his FamousLastWords: "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers!"]]
** Aslaug prophesied her son Sigurd will have a snake in his eye, in homage to her father Sigurd, who fought and killed a giant snake and in punishment to Ragnar's arrogance. And then the baby's born with a deformed eyeball, that looks like a snake is piercing his Iris. In real life, historians are still theorizing why Sigurd was called "Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye", as there is no concrete explanation for his nickname.
** In Season 3, Ragnar pretends to convert to Christianity, then [[spoiler:fakes his death, and requests to be given a Christian funeral/burial, which would require his body to be taken inside Paris. During the ceremony he leaps out of his coffin, tosses some weapons to his men, and together they manage to open the gates of the city to the other Norsemen. This is a tactic said to have been used by the real life ''Bjorn Ironside'' in order to sack an Italian city.]]
** A really cruel one, where Astrid's [[spoiler: rapist]] is called Hakon, this being the name of the historical Harald's [[spoiler: son]].
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The Queen of Mercia states that her brother Saint Kenelm raped her as a child. She killed him in revenge and became something of a sexual predator. According to legend, he was a holy boy killed by his sister for his inheritance. Historically, little is known of Kenelm, and his sister went into a nunnery.
* HollywoodTactics: When encountering a numerically superior force, Ragnar's Vikings step out to face them on an open beach rather than stay in the narrow choke point they started at. It doesn't matter, however, because the Saxon soldiers never even try to flank them. The scene also functions as a massive aversion to the CallThatAFormation subtrope; the Saxons charge in as a disorganized mass, only to be utterly slaughtered by a disciplined shield wall.
* HonorBeforeReason: After Ragnar's sword breaks, the Earl lets Ragnar smash their shields to bits and then tosses his own sword away so that they can pause to re-arm themselves with axes. This might be due to the duel's ritualistic nature.
* HornyVikings: The main characters are Vikings, and their pillaging is largely influential to the plot. One horned helm is witnessed, but it has ceremonial use that is true to life.
* HumanSacrifice:
** A slave girl is sacrificed as part of a VikingFuneral. This element is present in Ahmed Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus.
** Nine people are sacrificed by the Uppsala temple. The sacrifices must be willing and believers in the Norse gods.
** After a battle, Björn sacrifices a POW to thank the Gods for the victory.
** Earl Jorgensen volounters as one.
** Ivar sacrifices two boys to ensure victory at York. This furthers the divide between him and Ubbe.
* HumanShield: Ragnar uses himself as one of these to protect Athelstan from Horik's hidden archer in "The Choice". He knows that Horik will attempt to kill the priest as soon as he's out of sight, so Ragnar offers to escort Athelstan back to Ecbert's territory and physically shields him from any kind of attack.
* HypocriticalHumor: King Ecbert warns his daughter in-law about the dangers of becoming infatuated with ''"interesting"'' people… after spending the last two episodes all but openly courting [[spoiler:Lagertha]].
* IAmXSonOfY: This is what Earl Haraldson's name is, but we never learn the X part of his name, so it's moot. The children are also referred to in this manner. For instance, lots of people call Bjorn, "son of Ragnar." This is TruthInTelevision as families didn't have a familial name -- what we would think of a last name was simply the name of their father plus a suffix of son or daughter. Individuals might have last names that were basically titles, but they did not function as family names.
* IcyBlueEyes:
** As the show poster suggests, Ragnar's icy, blue-eyed gaze is frequently lingered upon, and he shows no hesitation in killing. They're even more impressive when his face and head is covered in red blood and the only thing you can see of his face is two brilliant blue eyes, staring.
** Ivar has his father's eyes. Whenever his crazy starts flowing, he's prone to giving the camera a KubrickStare emphasizing his brilliantly blue eyes.
** When [[spoiler: Odin appears]] he also has one.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Son]]: Erlendur tries to coerce Torvi into killing Bjorn by threatening her son, who is in the custody of his people. She [[TheDogBitesBack kills Erlendur instead]] though.
* ImpaledPalm: Athelstan has this done to his hands and feet during crucifixion. The scars still pain him several months later, although writing and painting seems to have helped his dominant hand a bit.
* ImportantHaircut:
** After Athelstan is tempted to [[GoingNative go native]] with his new Viking owners, he shaves his stubbled tonsure to reaffirm his commitment to his monk lifestyle. As he becomes more invested in Norse culture, however, he gets increasingly hairy.
** [[spoiler:Ragnar completely shaves his head after Athelstan's death, complete with suffering similar bloody cuts that Athelstan suffered when he tried to retain his tonsure in the first season]].
** In the third season, Bjorn has changed his haircut to a shorter version of Ragnar's signature mohawk-braid, while Ragnar has shaved his hair down to stubble. This hints at Bjorn eventually supplanting his father.
* IncestSubtext: The four younger Ragnarssons have some scenes that portray them as being... unusually close.
** They all sleep (or in Ivar's case, attempt to) with the same woman, Margrethe, despite there being tons of eligible girls in Kattegat who would want to sleep with the famed sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
** Ivar secretly watches his brothers have sex multiple times. It can't all be chalked up to mere curiosity about something he's never experienced.
** Ubbe offers Hvitserk sex with his new wife Margrethe. On their wedding night, no less. This in itself would be strange, but the way the end of the scene is filmed makes it ambiguous as to whether or not they're going to take turns or whether they're going to sleep with her ''together'' in a threesome.
** Some of the interactions Ivar has with Ubbe come off as a crush along the lines of BecauseYouWereNiceToMe, since his older brother is one of the only people to respect him and defend him when the other Vikings mock him.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. Children can be killed on this show just like everyone else, [[spoiler:even by other children]]. In fact, children dying is presented pretty nonchalantly and pretty regularly (because of accidents, illness...).
* InstantExpert: Happens with regards to languages. At various times Ragnar, Lagertha, and Rollo ask to be taught foreign languages. All of them are fluent by the next episode.
* InterplayOfSexAndViolence:
** Lagertha attacks her husband Ragnar to convince him that he should take her on a Viking voyage. He tries to use it as foreplay.
** Ragnar slashes his palm and smears blood everywhere while seeking out Aslaug's bedroom. His original intent was to kill her.
** Once Thorunn is free, she insists that Bjorn fight her, after which they tumble into each other's arms.
* IronicEcho: The Death Chant of the Vikings ("Up onto overturned keel...") makes a reappearance, this time [[spoiler: recited by Rollo as he watches his brother's forces being slaughtered by the Franks he's allied with.]] Talk about salting the wounds, eh?
* IronicNickname: Halfdan the Black is blond.
* ISurrenderSuckers: When Jarl Borg invades Kattegat, the elder warrior uses this to give Rollo time to evade with his brother's wife and children.
* ItsAllAboutMe:
** Aslaug, after Jarl Borg has taken over Kattegat, though she claims that it is about her children. Everyone in the village who could wield a weapon just died to secure her escape, but her main worry is that the hide-out Rollo finds for her is not up to her standards. The person who has to listen to her complains and reassure her is Siggy, who herself lost her sons, her first husband, her status, and finally her daughter. Later on Aslaug insists that Ragnar shouldn't ally himself with Jarl Borg again. Not because she considers it a bad move, or because of what he did to Kattegat, no, her main reason is that he insulted and humiliated her.
** Despite the ferocity and numbers of the pagan Northmen, Emperor Charles is too proud to call his brothers for aid in defending Paris, even though this could potentially doom ''thousands'' to their deaths. For him his issues with his brothers take precedence over the lives of all his subjects.[[spoiler: Then subverted in the season finale when he reveals, bitterly, the he ''had'' sent word to his brothers for aid and they refused.]]
* JerkAss:
** Earl Haraldson is pompous, arrogant, and forces others to say what a great ruler he is.
** Earl Bjarni casually threatens to beat his wife if she doesn't get him some herrings.
** Erlendur treats his wife coldly, enjoys torturing people and is not above killing his own adopted son.
* KangarooCourt: The first episode has the Earl hold court over a murder trial involving a land dispute. The Earl is obviously angry because he wanted the land for himself. Everyone votes against the man to placate the Earl. When Ragnar's son does not raise his hand, the Earl pointedly insists that the boy join with the rest. Later he tries to frame Ragnar for murdering Knut by having Rollo give false testimony. Rollo betrays him however, saving Ragnar.
* KickTheDog:
** Earl Haraldson curses a man who is about to be executed. Ragnar and his son disapprove.
** Rollo rapes Floki's slave girl just before the voyage, foreshadowing his later conflicts with Ragnar.
** The Swedish Earl casually threatens to beat his new wife.
** Ragnar tries to maneuver Athelstan into getting sacrificed. Due to DeliberateValuesDissonance, however, it's left unclear whether Ragnar intended to honor Athelstan with sacrifice or to avoid losing one of his prized fighters.
** Count Odo seems like a pretty normal, dedicated guy. Then it's discovered that he's got a [[spoiler:secret dungeon where he chains women up and whip them. He only does it to willing women, at least as far as we know, and he promises to stop when they ask, but the overall tone is creepy]].
** Harald and Halfdan show needless sadism and brutality in raping, mutilating and murdering a family of French farmers while the Norse forces move their ships. Bjorn doesn't protest against their actions for practical reasons, but doesn't share their obvious relish in the deed.
* KilledOffscreen: Subverted by [[spoiler:Ragnar in the Season 3 finale. He's shown ailing in bed, and it's implied that he hasn't got much time left. Then after a commercial break, he's shown suddenly dead. It turns out that he was just faking his death, though he is legitimately ailing]].
* KingIncognito: King Horik sneaks into the Uppsala temple in peasant's garb to prank the priests there.
* KlingonPromotion: [[spoiler:Ragnar kills Earl Harldson and becomes an earl, then kills King Horik and becomes a king. In the mid-Season 4 finale, he challenges his subjects to kill him and become king in his place]].
* KubrickStare:
** Ragnar's [[IcyBlueEyes icy blue]] gaze is often coupled with a Kubrick Stare for extra intensity.
** Ivar does this quite a lot in the season half of Season 4, with equal emphasis on his IcyBlueEyes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:L-P]]
* LadyMacBeth: Siggy serves this role for Earl Haraldson, though she doesn't support some of his more paranoid endeavors. When she shacks up with Rollo, it's not long before she's up to her old tricks. And in Season 5, Margrethe tries to be this for Ubbe.
* LargeHam: Linus Roache as King Ecbert, particularly at the end of ''The Usurper'', where he demonstrates actual mouth-frothing rage. "[[spoiler:My ''name'', and my ''word'', as King of Wessex, will mean '''nothing''' to '''them!''' But it cannot be, cannot be. ''It cannot be.'' I cannot allow, and I cannot tolerate, treason. '''[[{{Mooks}} Guards!]]''']]"
* LastNameBasis: Earl Haraldson's first name is not revealed, which is strange considering that "Haraldson" is a patronymic, not a surname, so he should be called "Earl [First Name]."
* LeftHanging: One episode ends with Athelstan approaching Lagertha with the wounds of the stigmata on his hands. Oddly, it's never brought up again.
* ALighterShadeOfGrey: Ragnar specifically is this compared to some of the other Vikings; he frequently shows mercy on enemies and the helpless. More than anything, the show presents his primary virtue as his forward-thinking attitude and thirst for knowledge.
* LovableRogue: Ragnar is a plunderer but he knows limits and is an affable guy.
* TheLowMiddleAges
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Vikings are often seen with their circular wooden shields. They hammer on them with their axes before battle. Most battles involve shield wall tactics.
* MadeASlave: This happens to Athelstan and the monks of Lindisfarne that were spared during the raid.
* MadeOfIron: Invoked when Ragnar gives Bjorn the nickname "Ironside" due to the fact that during a battle Bjorn was in the thick of fighting and did not suffer any wounds.
* MagicRealism: The series as a whole makes a point of the fact that the characters subscribe to the notions of divine predetermination and fate, so the things that happen to them are to a certain extent preternatural to them. This adds to an epic, mystical feeling that calls back to the Eddas that inspired the show.
** Ragnar has a vision of Odin and Valkyries after a battle in the first scene of the show and more throughout the series. It's deliberately left unclear whether they are supernatural visions or if he's just hallucinating.
** Aslaug's prophesies, such as about Sigurd's eye.
** The seer as a whole. He makes a number of prophesies that are quite accurate, but also frequently refuses to answer some of the most pointed questions. It's also implied that he's several hundred years old.
** Athelstan has several Christian-themed visions, such as bleeding stigmata, demons and angelic light. He is momentarily blinded by one vision, [[spoiler:which causes his final confirmation of his Christian faith]].
** Floki has a vision of one of his mastheads bleeding, which he takes as a sign from the gods.
** Harbard the Wanderer. Aslaug, Helga, and Siggy all have the same dream of his arrival. He seems to have magical powers and may or may not be [[spoiler: Odin or Loki.]]
** Just when a [[TheBerserker Berserker]] is hired to kill Bjorn he suffers an attack from a bear. A coincidence, or did the Berserker send his spirit animal after him?
** [[spoiler: After Ragnar dies flocks of ravens circle the skies much like with Ragnar's religious experience in S1E1 and all of his sons are visited by a one-eyed figure in a black cloak and know at once that Ragnar is dead.]]
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Princess Kwenthrith claims that the father of her son is Ragnar. This claim is put into question by almost every single character that hears it for the first time. It's eventually revealed in Season 4 that [[spoiler: they never had sex]], so such a claim would be impossible.
* MamaBear: Lagertha threatens to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_eagle rip out Athelstan's lungs]] if harm comes to her children while he looks after them. And then, after being informed of Horik's intent to kill Bjorn and his young brothers in the Season 2 finale, she is absolutely vicious in her attack against Horik's wife and his soldiers, killing anyone connected to the king or who may have been involved in the plot.
* ManipulativeBastard:
** Earl Haraldson ''tries'', though he is often stymied by his pessimistic assumptions that all men are as greedy and underhanded as he is.
** King Horik and Jarl Borg both far outclass him in Seasons 1 and 2, [[spoiler:although Ragnar manages to outsmart both of them.]]
** And in Season 3 [[spoiler: Ecbert and Ragnar]] leave them all in the dust.
* MauveShirt: Erik Marteinn, who looked set to be The Big Guy in Ragnar's team, gets killed in Episode 4.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: It's not entirely clear where the MagicRealism ends and real realism begins. Many characters have experiences they ''believe'' are supernatural, but it's never confirmed to what extent those experiences are real. Of particular note is the Seer, whose prophecies all come true, but are often vague enough that many outcomes would fit the wording of his predictions. People call him out on this, but the Seer refuses to say more when people press him for details. When flat-out asked whether the gods actually exist, the Seer responds only with laughter. Michael Hirst's TrollingCreator antics certainly do not help.
* MeaningfulName: It is noted by Bjorn that Floki has a name that sounds like Loki. He resembles the trickster god's role in many ways: a close ally to the hero on his travels, as Loki is to Thor (Ragnar, in this case); not a muscular warrior, but his intelligence is of great help (Floki is an engineer and imparts important advice to Ragnar); frequently causes mischief and trouble (needlessly burning down the monastery, causing a battle by ripping a crucifix off a soldier). In Season 2, he openly associates himself with Loki and names his daughter after Loki's first wife. [[spoiler: In Season 4, his punishment for killing Athelstan is pulled straight from what happened to Loki for killing Baldur -- caught in a river, chained up in a cave to be tormented by dripping with only their loyal wives to avert their torment.]]
* MenGetOldWomenGetReplaced: Over the course of the first four seasons, about 20 years pass. Main male characters such as Ragnar, Floki, Rollo and King Ecbert all visibly age over this time, while female characters such as Lagetha, Aslaug, Helga and Judith show no signs of aging.
* MercyKill: Athelstan mercifully slits the throat of a bishop who the Vikings had tied up and are firing arrows into.
* TheMillstone: Horik becomes this to Ragnar. He goes back on a deal with Jarl Borg, which jeopardizes their upcoming raid and involves Ragnar in a pointless and costly feud with Borg. He sabotages Ragnar's negotiations with King Ecbert and then leads the Viking force into a trap. At first he is motivated by RevengeBeforeReason but by the end of Season 2 he is actively conspiring against Ragnar.
* MushroomSamba:
** Athelstan seems to hallucinate when the details of Ragnarök are told to him. It might have something to do with what they put in the fire to make it smoke.
** Ragnar's group eats mushrooms at the Uppsala temple. We see some of Athelstan's trip from his perspective. Humrously enough, the mushrooms themself look suspiciously like chanterelles, and not [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybe_semilanceata psylocybe semilanceata]].
** Ragnar eats "Chinese medicine" (probably opium) and has a surreal, hallucinatory experience.
* NeverLearnedToRead: All of the Vikings (except Floki who knows runes), which is TruthInTelevision since RealLife Vikings were illiterate and unable to record their own history, especially in the earlier years of paganism. The only main character who can read or write is the Anglo-Saxon monk Athelstan.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: [[spoiler:Ragnar has Horik stabbed repeatedly before delivering a deathblow himself and then pummeling his corpse with head-butts and nearby objects]].
** The Hammerman who get's impaled with two swords and runs around for some time before he dies.
* NonActionGuy: In spite of being Ragnar's wife and the descendant of heroes, Aslaug is one of the few adult female characters who is not a shield maiden and has no skill in fighting.
* NotAllowedToGrowOld: Applied to some characters but not others, which grows more noticeable as the series progresses:
** Other than changes in wardrobe and makeup, both Lagertha and Aslaug look exactly the same by the time of the timeskip midway through Season 4, even though by that point [[spoiler:both have sons who are grown men]].
** Rollo remains exactly the same, without even the benefit of wardrobe changes.
** All of Ragnar's children on the other hand are shown to age between timeskips, even when they are played by the same actors.
* NotSoDifferent: "Sometimes your God sounds like one of our gods." The similarities between Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Frankish cultures are occasionally remarked upon. {{Justified|Trope}} as all three are different offshoots of the same Germanic roots.
* OffScreenMomentOfAwesome: The Great Heathen Army's defeat of the Northumbrians.
* OhMyGods: ''We been to [[TheUnderworld Hel]] and back!''
* OminousLatinChanting: Norse chanting, in this case. During the second Viking raid, a song by {{Music/Wardruna}} is played using authentic Viking-age instruments. It features men and women chanting quotes from the rune poems in Old Norse about how wealth is the joy and source of discord among men and the path of the serpent. This chanting becomes more and more common as Season 2 progresses.
* {{Omniglot}}: One of Athelstan's most valuable traits, both to the Vikings and King Ecbert. Thus far, it's been shown that he's either fluent or semi-fluent in reading, writing, and speaking Old English, Old Norse, Latin, Greek, High German, and possibly several other dialects and languages native to the main continent.
* OneSteveLimit: King Aelle's brother and King Ecbert son are both named Aethelwulf. However the former only appears briefly in Season 1, whereas the latter appears throughout Season 2.
* OnlyAFleshWound: The main characters receive quite a few grievous wounds, but always bounce back to fighting shape.
* OutDamnedSpot: Athelstan guiltily leafs through the Bible of a monk he's killed and hallucinates that an illustrated Jesus bleeds real blood. The blood oozes onto Athelstan's hands, causing him to frantically wipe at them, but the blood has disappeared.
* PetTheDog:
** Rollo. After all his previous Kick the Dog moments, in the fourth episode Rollo is seen giving a sick, old Englishman water instead of killing him (he then steals the cup and pitcher, however) and testifying on behalf of his brother in court, when he could have betrayed him for treasure and a good marriage.
** Ragnar hides a child from his own men during a raid.
** Aslaug frees one of her slaves so that her step-son Bjorn can woo her. It's one of the rare times that Aslaug has an opportunity to do something selfless.
** Aethelwulf threatens to torture an enemy soldier, but as soon as he's got the information he needs, he lets the man go and even offers him a drink. It's his attempt to distance himself from his Viking allies (whom he has pegged as total savages). In Season 4, he's revealed to be a loving father to his wife's bastard, Alfred.
** Ecbert's final scenes include him bidding warm and fond farewells to his family.
* PlayingGertrude: Katherine Winnick (Lagertha) and Alexander Ludgwig (Bjorn Lothbrok), playing her son, are only fourteen years apart. In this case though it's due to a TimeSkip, since Bjorn is aged up from a child to an adult. Travis Fimmel, who plays Ragnar, Bjorn's father, is even closer-twelve years older.
* PregnantBadass:
** Thorunn, in an irresponsible way. If you're pregnant, then going into battle is a bad idea. [[DeconstructedTrope Ragnar tells her boyfriend just how easily this can go wrong in real life.]]
** [[spoiler: Lagertha has this in Season 4. It results in her having yet another miscarriage.]]
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: John Kavanagh who plays the blind seer is promoted to the opening credits in Season 4. Same with Moe Dunford.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: All of the Vikings. Their idea of paradise is fighting all day and feasting all night.
* PublicDomainArtifact:
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriflamme Oriflamme]]. It’s first recorded historical appearance is in the 12th century, but legends place it as far back as Charlemagne’s reign.
** The [[{{Mooks}} mook]] to the [[http://vodzilla.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Vikings_S2_1.jpg left of Rollo in the opening battle of Season 2,]] wears what looks like a [[http://www.barringtons-swords.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/1200x1200/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/d/gdfb_paul_chen_hanwei_medieval_armour_ultuna_helmet_image_1.png crude replica of the Swedish Ultuna Helmet.]]
** The soliders of Earl Bjarni carries faithful replications of Coppergate helmet. Which is neighter the right place or culture.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Q-S]]
* RapeAsBackstory: Kwenthrith was raped by her uncle and older brother, along with numerous men the former brought. This is why she despises her uncle so much.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Rape is always used as a KickTheDog moment for characters, but Norse culture is ambivalent about it. Rollo rapes a slave girl and is teased as a villain. Knut's attempted rape of a free Norse woman is played as a clear indication of villainy. Our hero Ragnar's only mention of rape is to condemn its use against his wife.
* RapePillageAndBurn: The Vikings' original intention in England is to simply loot it for wealth before returning home. The more broad-minded Ragnar realizes there's more wealth in its fertile soil and wants to colonize it instead.
* RatedMForManly: It's a show about Vikings based off Old Norse poetry and legendary sagas.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: The common characteristic of every non-Viking princess on the show. Kwenthrith, Judith, and Gisla are all very pale, dark-haired beauties.
* RealityEnsues: Whatever insane view Lagertha has of Aslaug and of herself, the fact is her "army of liberation" is in fact an invading army. The people of Kattegat react to it as such.
* RealMenWearPink: Floki, the Seer and the shamans of Uppsala wears [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohl_(cosmetics) Kohl]] eye makeup.
* RealSongThemeTune: "If I Had a Heart" by Fever Ray.
* RecycledSet: Observant viewers will catch on to that the cliff where Ragnar stages the portage scheme is later reused as the location of Harald's capital.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler:Floki griping about Ragnar to Helga gives credence to his apparent betrayal of Ragnar, but his betrayal was a ruse]].
* RedOniBlueOni: A defining theme in the series is the contrast between pagan Viking traditions and Christian traditions. Viking customs tend to be more raucous, bloody and aggressive, while Christian customs are more somber, ethereal and reserved.
* RiteOfPassage:
** In the first episode, Ragnar's son has become old enough to attend and vote in a Thing. He also pledges fealty to the Earl and receives ceremonial rings. In Season 4, Ragnar repeats the ritual with Sigurd and Ubbe.
** Athelstan earns the right to call himself a thane after displaying bravery in battle.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: [[spoiler:Ragnar's death at the hands of the English sets this off for almost all of Scandinavia, with warriors coming from all over to avenge him]].
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething:
** Basicly any Norse king that has appeared in the show or been mentioned is personally leading his men in the field. If they don't, it's because they are busy fighting elsewhere.
** King Aelle and King Ecbert are both active in the defense of their realms.
* RousingSpeech: Princess Gisla gives an impressive one that rallies the defenders of Paris during the Norsemen's attank on the walls:
-->'''Princess Gisla''': Soldiers! Citizens of Paris! Behold the Oriflamme. Behold the sacred flag of Saint-Denis. Behold the sacred flag of Frankia. Behold, soldiers of Christ. That wherever the Oriflamme is, no quarter is to be given to our enemies. Soldiers, show no mercy. Fight on! ''(Soldiers screaming)'' Fight to the death!
* RuleOfSymbolism: See that funny V symbol? It incorporates the Valknut, the stripes on a longship's sail and the symbol of Yggdrasil and the blade of a sword to fully encompass the beliefs and traditions of the Norse as a people.
* SayYourPrayers:
** King Aelle's brother does this while Ragnar and his men attack his camp, rather than try to rally his soldiers or resist the massacre.
** Also done by the priests of Lindisfarne when the Vikings invade. This leads to their undoing, as the sound of their prayers causes the Vikings to find their hiding place.
** In the Season 2 finale, the waterfall scene of Ragnar and Athelstan praying together foreshadows and intermeshes with [[spoiler: Horik's invasion of Kattegat. In this particular case, the prayer works.]]
* SceneryPorn: Viking Age Scandinavia is so pretty...
** There are those sweeping scenery shots in Episode 8, and also the shot of the temple of Uppsala sitting majestically on a hill. Inaccurate in that Uppsala is flat-land, but ''damn'', it looks gorgeous.
** The shot of the mountains when Athelstan is first brought to Kattegat. So feral, so untamed, so ''glorious''.
** Each of the waterfall backdrops in the Season 2 finale are absolutely beautiful.
* ScyllaAndCharybdis: [[spoiler: Astrid is the lover of Lagertha. Astrid is kidnapped by Harald who then proposes to her. Astrid accepts. When she realizes that Harald and Ivar are going to invade Kattegat and kill Lagertha she tried to warn her-the men she recruits end up gang raping her. Astrid is shown to be pregnant soon afterwards, and thus as a possible result of the rape. Astrid is left with the choice of defecting to Lagertha again and face the wrath of Harald, or risk him finding out of the rape and thus of her secret betrayal and face his wrath.]]
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Earl Haraldson offers his wife to one of his spies. The man accepts, so the Earl has him executed.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: The Seer told Lagertha that she would never give birth to another child. Because of this, come the time for the second raid on Paris [[spoiler: Lagertha does not take any precautions to safeguard her pregnancy, participating in all the fighting and in the extremely demanding physical exertion of helping move the boats across the hills, resulting in another miscarriage]].
* SexyPriest: Athelstan has quite a few admirers in the fanbase. And some on the show now, too.
* ShownTheirWork: One of the problems the show's creators faced when making this was that there are just so few sources that accurately represent the Norse. After all, like the Mongols, their history was written primarily by the people they beat the shit out of. So, the showrunners had to rely primarily on Scandinavian sagas to paint a somewhat factual representation of them. Even so, this show has gotten a lot of things right in regards to history:
** Ragnar is shown waiting until villagers are at Mass before raiding a Christian settlement. This was indeed the favorite tactic of Ragnar Lodbrok, according to the sagas.
** The duel between Haraldson and Ragnar, a holmgang, is very accurately represented. Down to Svein's formal recitation of the rules of the duel, and the two parties meeting on a pre-specified plot of land. Even the shields are right, with both men having helpers who give them their shield replacements. The back-up weapon rule is also historically accurate. Historically, early holmgangs did indeed end with death. Though later on, first blood and other such measures were implemented to curb that. The only thing that seems to be missing is that a sheet was supposed to be placed on the ground to mark the area, and four posts were to be placed at each corner of the sheet.
** Floki's shipbuilding lecture in the first episode is legit.
** The description of the Uppsala temple is taken directly from Adam of Bremen, althrough that source has been questioned as Adam of Bremen never went there himself. The temple, or a building used for religious cermonies, was probably real but we will probably never know if it look like that. However, it makes nods to reconstructions of the Uppåkra-temple.
** Incidentally, [[NotSoDifferent do note how similar the Uppsala temple is to the stave churches of Norway.]]
** Way back in the first episode, Ragnar tells Bjorn the story of how he won Lagertha's hand in marriage -- by killing an enormous bear with his spear and strangling a giant hound, the animals who guarded her home. This is taken word for word from the ''Literature/GestaDanorum'' as penned by Saxo Grammaticus.
** In one episode, the Vikings land in England and are mistaken as traders by an official, who they then murder when he attempts to lead them to the Royal Villa of the King so that they may pay a trading tax upon their goods. ''This entire sequence actually happened according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.''
** The practice of a heathen converting to Christianity in order to seal a deal when the Vikings dealt with the Saxons is one that appears in many historical instances. For instance, to seal the Peace of Wedmore, the Viking Guthrum was baptized into Christianity with the Anglo-Saxon name of Athelstan and accepted King Alfred the Great as his adoptive father. The Vikings treating the baptism in a non-serious manner as seen in the show also has some basis in historical fact; the conversions were commonly seen as merely a legal binding, and often did little to reduce the Viking's hold on the areas they conquered in England.
** Ragnar accurately and beautifully quotes the ''Runatal'', the story of how Odin found the runes by sacrificing himself with his own spear on Yggdrasil.
** Rollo's tattoos seem to be representations of Sköll and Hati, the sons of Fenrir Hrodvitnir.
** Rollo's war chant in one of the first battles against the English is closely based on a death poem by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9E%C3%B3rir_J%C3%B6kull_Steinfinnsson Þórir Jökull Steinfinnsson]] (though he lived [[ArtisticLicenseHistory some centuries after]] the events of the show.)
** Ecbert's desire to become ruler of all England is grounded in reality, as Ecbert made numerous overtures to conquer neighbouring Saxon kingdoms, and actually succeeded in adding Mercia and other places to his domain.
** There are frequently scenes in which characters are quoting Scandinavian lore. For example, when Lagertha or Aslaug tell bedtime stories, or the seer is trying to make a point clear.
** The runes Floki carves are accurately depicted.
** [[http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/wedding.shtml Floki retrieving a sword from his deceased forebear (his father, in this case) for use in his wedding ceremony is true to history.]]
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bl%C3%B3t blót]] that Ragnar and company attend in 1x08 is portrayed accurately, almost adapted word-for-word from blóts described as taking place in UsefulNotes/{{Sweden}}, like in the Gutasaga or Adam of Bremen's account of Uppsala.
** The ritualistic washing and nose-blowing in the same bowl that Ragnar's crew participates in before setting sail is adapted from one of the most famous contemporary depictions of Vikings, that of the Arab traveler Ahmad ibn Fadlan, who encountered a group of ''Rus'' (Vikings) in the the Volga area in the 10th century and, among many other observations on their looks and customs, describes just such a scene (which he finds quite disgusting).
** The king or community leader performing the sacrifice. That is as far as we know how it really would have happened.
** The massacre of the Norse settlers by Christian Saxons depicted in ''Usurper'' was likely inspired by the infamous Saint Brice Day massacre where Aethelred the Unready had every Danish settler in England slaughtered, many of whom who were pagans [[note]]Scandinavia was not fully Christianised at the time, and among those who carried out retribution beside Knut Seweynsson were the infamous Jomsvikings, who were known for being fiercely pagan[[/note]]
** In "Breaking Point," a Christian missionary arrogantly declares the Norse gods false and accepts a test involving the handling of red-hot iron bars set by Aslaug to prove the power of his god. This is derived from chronicles of the Christianisation of the Norse, which lionize the missionaries. These chronicles assert that the missionaries were easily able to handle the iron due to the blessings of God and thus easily convinced Norsemen to become baptized. This is referenced in an ImagineSpot contrasting how the missionary ''thinks'' the ordeal will go (without him getting burned) and then showing the reality ([[RealityEnsues his hands getting burnt to a crisp]]).
** The Anglo-Saxons' belief that the Romans were a race of giants is based on real medieval reactions to the massive and mysterious Roman ruins.
** Rollo's dismemberment of a captured Mercian soldier's leg and later explanation, "it was the angle of the leg, I couldn't help myself." is taken wholesale from a scene in Fóstbrœðra saga, where Torgeir cuts off the head of a shepherd with almost the exact same justification.
-->“He had not done me any wrong, but the truth is that I could not resist when he stood so convenient for hewing.”
** Ragnar Lothbrok never converted to Christianity in any of the sagas he appears in, even as a ploy, yet the baptism in S3EP09 may contain a kernal of truth as it may be inspired by an instance during Ragnar's siege of Paris. In a nutshell, there was a plague that was ravaging the Vikings' side, and when sacrifices to Odin and Thor proved ineffective in alleviating it Ragnar "questioned" a Frankish captive who suggested that they should try fasting (it was Easter). By sheer coincidence, the plague began to lift as they did so.
** In the Season 3 finale, the warriors in [[spoiler: Ragnar's]] funeral procession sing the famous 77th stanza from ''Hávamál'''s ''Gestaþáttr''.
** Arabs traveling on trade journeys to Scandinavia? While it was rare and they only got as far as Hedeby, yes that happened.
** The song Harald and Halfdan sing after slaughtering the farmers is a real Skaldic verse composed by Egil Skallagrimsson when he was six years old.
** The smith in Season 1 has a replica of a Viking-age cooling stone bearing the image of Floki.
** Ivar's murder of another boy over a game brings to mind a similar incident from the life of the legendary Icelandic Skald, Egil Skallagrimsson.
* TheScourgeOfGod: The Church and some nobles of the kingdom of Northumbria believe the Vikings have been sent by God to punish the Saxons for their sins. Other nobles, however, believe that they might have been instead sent by Satan. [[TakeAThirdOption And yet others have this crazy notion that they're just savage men come to plunder on their own whims, with no supernatural origin.]] Ragnar is personally dubbed as this after his conquest of Paris.
* ShutUpHannibal: In the second season, Jarl Borg tries again to seduce Rollo into treachery, but Rollo simply punches him in the face.
* SiblingRivalry: Ragnar and Rollo.
* SlapSlapKiss: Ragnar's favourite type of sex with Lagertha seems to be make-up sex.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: A particularly bloody example. The conflicts between Vikings and Christian Europeans are depicted this way, with Vikings as the earthy, wild slobs and the Christians as the stiff, refined snobs.
* TheSmartGuy:
** Floki, the shipbuilder, who designs a state-of-the-art boat that can make the trip to England. He also turns out to have a fair bit of medical knowledge. He's still a Viking, however, so he's more interested in seeing how parchment burns than studying its detailed drawings.
** Athelstan is probably the most well-educated character on the show. Unlike the Vikings, he can read and write multiple languages as well as speak them, spent time in Charlemagne's court, and displays a great deal of knowledge on cultures and religions outside of his own. By the time of Athelstan's capture in Wessex, he has also become the foremost expert of Saxon blood on the Norsemen, their culture, and paganism in general. And while living there, he also acquires knowledge of Roman battle tactics for good measures.
** Ivar the Boneless's characterization as being intelligent starts in Season 4, when he is apprenticed to Floki and is shown winning Hnefatafl games at a very young age. He's also later shown playing a game of chess with Alfred, who was renowned in real life for being TheChessmaster and will eventually become Ivar's martial and intellectual rival.
* SmartPeoplePlayChess:
** King Horik and Ragnar play [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hnefatafl Hnefatafl]] while discussing future plans.
** Ivar is shown winning Hnefatafl games as a young child to start establishing him as a GeniusCripple.
* SnakePit: King Aelle uses a pit of venomous snakes to execute capital punishment.
* SnowMeansDeath: [[spoiler: Siggy]] drowns in the winter, with snow falling all around her.
* SoapOperaDisease: In Season 3, Ragnar's health starts gradually failing, either as the result of an illness, the accumulation of battle wounds, or a combination of the two. He's in such bad shape that his death is faked and all his family and friends believe it. In the beginning of the fourth season, he's bedridden at home. However, he gradually gets stronger and seems to more or less make a full recovery.
* SomewhereAHerpetologistIsCrying: King Aelle's pit of venomous snakes is actually filled with non-venomous and non-indigenous pythons.
* StandardHeroReward: Even though she had already refused his proposal, Count Odo clearly hopes to win Princess Gisla's hand after successfully repealing the Viking attack on Paris. When he personally asks her about this, Gisla refuses to give a clear answer and only ensures him that she will be deeply grateful if he indeed manages to defend the city from invaders. [[spoiler:Subverted as she ends up marrying Rollo instead]].
* StealthPun: Given how many [[DeliberateValuesDissonance people wouldn't recognize it]]. When Ragnar says "when the little pig teaches the boar how to listen," he wasn't calling himself a pervert. The boar is the symbol of the fertility God Frey. Given the scene right before the quote is said, he's saying he's still horny, thus why Lagertha shoves him.
* StockholmSyndrome: Athelstan's respect and affection for Ragnar's family grows over time in spite of the fact that Ragnar violently enslaved him. However, part of the reason Athelstan sticks around is because Ragnar treats him well and he has nowhere else to go. By Season 2, he feels like a part of the family, and Ragnar's family [[LimaSyndrome feels the same way]].
* AStormIsComing: Invoked heavily in the promotion for Season 1. In Season 2, before the climactic battle, Aslaug and Lagertha notice storm clouds gathering over Kattegat and state, "The gods are coming."[[note]]The [=Æ=]sir are also known as ''the gods of the slain''[[/note]]
* SuicideByCop: [[spoiler: Torstein]] essentially does this after losing his arm, approaching the Mercians alone. He manages to take one of them along with him before being cut down. This insures he'll go to Valhalla under Norse belief, since he died in a battle.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:T-Z]]
* TeensAreShort: Bjorn, who is much older than his half-brothers, is also significantly taller than them.
* TelevisionGeography: The animated SceneryPorn EstablishingShot of Uppsala displays the settlement on a mountain. RealLife Uppsala is located on a plain, the only nearby elevations being some burial mounds; appropriately from the Viking Age.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler:Ragnar's final raid of England]] as he wants to die, but wants it to be on his own terms. To wit, he [[spoiler:embarks in an ill-prepared expedition he knows is doomed to fail, and then he turns himself in to King Ecbert and convinces him to hand him over to Aella. Ragnar knows that his death at Aella's hands will galvanize his sons into revenge and trigger a Norse invasion of England.]]
* AThreesomeIsHot:
** Norsemen seem curiously fond of double-teaming their women.
*** Ragnar and Lagertha invite Athelstan to join them in bed.
*** Floki invites another of Ragnar's raiders to bed with him and Helga.
*** Jarl Borg recalls sharing women with his brother.
*** Ubbe shares his new wife with Hvitserk, even on his wedding night.
** Ragnar tries to get Lagertha to agree to a three-way marriage arrangement with Aslaug, but gets soundly rejected before he can even hint at a threesome. A scene in Season 2 showing Ragnar waking up next to a naked Aslaug and Lagertha would have implied some ThreeWaySex, but it was deleted from the US airing of the episode.
* TimeshiftedActor:
** In Season 1, Ragnar's son Bjorn was played by Nathan O'Toole but is swapped out for Alexander Ludwig after a time skip in Season 2.
** Ragnar's other sons are all swapped out for older actors in the mid-season finale of Season 4.
* TimeSkip: Four years passes between Episodes 1 and 2 of the second season. There are also shorter time skips several times throughout the series, so each season spans about a year or two. The mid-season finale of Season 4 has the largest timeskip to date, with somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten years passing.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood; By law, Ragnar must obey Earl Haraldson and sail east to RapePillageAndBurn. However, he believes that he should do the right thing and sail west to RapePillageAndBurn. He goes to a seer for advice on what to do and the seer tells him that if he can gain the favour of the gods, they will override the laws for him. Ragnar seems to interpret this to mean that if he is highly successful in his endeavor, the Earl will not be able to successfully punish him for disobedience.
* TokenGoodTeammate: Athelstan is the only completely moral, kind, and non-murderous hero, though he's also the most naïve. He even shows respect and great interest in the Norsemen's religion despite being a devout Catholic priest. As he immerses himself in their way of living however, his virtue begins to dim as he finds himself torn between the humble Christian scholar and the savage Viking raider.
-->'''Lagertha''': Then you are still innocent. It does not seem to matter how many experiences you have, Athelstan. In the end, you are still like the young monk I first met.
* TooDumbToLive:
** King Aelle's brother. At first he seems competent enough, refusing to fight the norsemen where they have the advantage, but then he fails to put sentries around his camp; when the Vikings attack that night, Aelle's brother starts praying instead of going out to fight, and by the time he's done his entire force has been defeated.
** [[spoiler:Yidu threatens to expose Ragnar's dark secret and tries to run off, causing Ragnar to drag her to the water and drown her]].
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth:
** Gyda, Ragnar's only daughter, died when the plague hit Kattegat.
** [[spoiler:Athelstan arguably qualifies as this, having been reborn into Christianity before his death in "Born Again".]] Since he's by far the most morally good character in the series, it's rather fitting.
** [[spoiler: Angrboda]] as well.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Athelstan in the second season is brave and combat-trained enough to prove himself in battle and is accepted as a thane.
** Bjorn ages from a spirited boy to a hardened veteran warrior over the course of the show.
* TortureCellar: [[spoiler:Count Odo has one, where he likes to chain and whip women. The women are so eager for his favor, however, that they endure it willingly]].
* TranquilFury: Ragnar often couples this with DissonantSerenity when pushed far enough -- the situations in which he is personally involved with killing any major character serve to be a reminder that [[ALighterShadeOfGrey even though he doesn't resort to violence to solve his problems right away,]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes he can be twenty times more merciless than everyone around him when he wants to be]].
* TranslationConvention: The show will present whatever characters have the emphasis in the scene as speaking English. If there are other characters who speak a different language, it will not be translated. The language that is English can sometimes switch back and forth in a single scene.
* TriangRelations:
** Rollo is this to both Ragnar and his wife, Lagertha, as well is the Earl and his wife.
** Ragnar has this with Lagertha and Aslaug.
** Ubbe, his wife, and his brother Hvitserk
* UglyGuyHotWife: Haraldson's beautiful young daughter is married to an old and ugly Swedish Earl. Until she annuls it with a stabbing.
* UndignifiedDeath: Earl Haraldson's sons are brutally murdered, their heads cut off and set against their backside, and left in a shallow grave as a sign of disrespect for their father.
* TheUnfavorite: Sigurd speaks against avenging Aslaug because for as long as he can remember, she treated him coldly while pampering Ivar.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Ragnar tends to keep his plans from others and the viewer, and most of his plans succeed.
** His plan to [[spoiler:betray Jarl Borg goes off without a hitch. Up until the betrayal springs, it's not clear what Ragnar is plotting]].
** Averted with [[spoiler:his plan to have Athelstan sacrificed. Athelstan proclaims his Christianity at the last moment, precluding him from sacrifice. One of Ragnar's strongest warriors volunteers instead]].
** His plans to [[spoiler:betray Jarl Borg and King Horik are both sprung before the viewer becomes aware of them]].
** In Season 3, he plan to [[spoiler:fake his death and use his funeral to kidnap a member of the royal family to open Paris's gates is kept from the audience as well as all of his closest confidants except his son]].
** And earlier, the very detailed and explained-to-the-audience plan to assault Paris fails spectacularly.
** [[spoiler: Rollo's first plan to defend Paris is explained in detail and goes off without a hitch. However, when Ragnar conceives of a plan to move his ships by land and attack in the other direction, he discovers to the audience's surprise that Rollo has also planned for this tactic, and Rollo wins this battle as well]].
** [[spoiler: Emperor Charles' plan to cleanse the court of potential traitors is not revealed to the audience. He leads Roland, Therese and the viewers to believe that he is giving Roland the same favor he gave Odo and then some. Then when Rollo is out defending Paris he has the siblings for dinner where they are both promptly murdered.]]
* UrineTrouble: Kwenthrith micturates on Ragnar, ostensibly to treat a wound.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The second teaser trailer places the characters under the world tree Yggdrasil and is so full of references to Norse Mythology that one could make a competition out of naming the most. Ragnar is Odin, Aslaug is Freyja, Lagertha is a valkyrie, Athelstan is Tyr, King Ecbert is Fenrir, King Horik is Jörmungandr, Floki is Heimdal, Siggy is Sigyn, and Rollo is Loki. The red rooster is Fjalar and the deer is Dain. The tattoo on Rollo's left arm is of Sköll, the son of Fenrir that chases the sun. Sköll means "''Treachery''".
* VikingFuneral: Episode 6 has an example, taken almost entirely out of Ahmed Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus.
* WarriorPoet: Rollo chants a poem on the inevitability of death to lend courage and resolve to his shield-brothers during a battle with the Saxons. Ragnar quotes the Rúnatal -- the story of how Odin won the runes as given in the Hávamál. Historically, the Norse viewed poems and sagas to be very manly.
* TheWatson: As an outsider, Athelstan receives a lot of exposition about Norse society and culture.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: In Season 4, Ragnar's sons are united in their desire to [[spoiler: avenge Ragnar's death]] but there are clear divisions among them. Bjorn is the oldest and most respected but he is Lagartha's son and makes no secret of the fact that he will side with his mother over his brothers. Ivar and Sigurd despise each other and their arguments tend to end just short of one killing the other. Ubbe and Ivar are both adamant in their desire to kill Lagertha -- with Ubbe being more cautious of it, especially given Bjorn's position -- but both Sigurd and Hvitserk are more aware of their mother's flaws, with Sigurd being out and out resentful towards her, and don't believe that avenging her is worth it at all. In addition, Ivar believes that Ragnar meant for him to be the leader but Bjorn, an experienced warleader, finds the idea preposterous and is backed by the other brothers.
* WeCanRuleTogether: The Earl offers to make Rollo his son-in-law and thus presumed heir in exchange for Rollo testifying against Ragnar at trial. Rollo is certainly tempted to take the offer, but in the end supports Ragnar.
* WhamEpisode:
** The show was going fairly smoothly with the tension slowly rising... until "Raid": Earl Haraldson burns down Ragnar's farm and drives him into hiding, captures and tortures Rollo, and marries his daughter off to a Swedish Earl. A good five or six months go by while the characters heal from the damage.
** Season 3's Born Again has [[spoiler:the reveal that Ecbert isn't as friendly as he's presenting himself to be, with him ordering Aethelwulf to kill everyone at the Viking settlement. In Kattegat, Athelstan dies at Floki's hands]].
* WhatBeautifulEyes: Ragnar's IcyBlueEyes.
* WhatTheHellHero:
** Floki criticizes Rollo for allowing himself to be baptized by Christians, regardless of the fact that Rollo does it only as a ruse.
** Lots of people give Ragnar grief for his controversial decisions, including [[spoiler:marrying Aslaug and keeping Athelstan around. In particular, no one likes how he appears to convert to Christianity and fakes his own death]].
*** It gets even worse in Season 4 [[spoiler: when word of the massacre of the Norse settlers get out and that Ragnar knew about this and said nothing]].
* WomenAreDelicate: Of those attending the blood eagle, all of the women except Lagertha, the shieldmaiden, either turn away or faint.
* WorldOfBadass: It's a show about Vikings!
* WorthyOpponent:
** Earl Haraldson reveals that he likes Ragnar and that Ragnar is not much different from how the Earl was in his youth. However, due to Viking politics, the Earl cannot allow Ragnar to succeed since it would erode the Earl's power base and he cannot trust Ragnar not to try to usurp him. Ragnar sees Haraldson in a similar manner.
** King Ecbert and Ragnar seem to feel this way about each other, although there is [[AmbiguouslyBi something else]] going on between them as well.
* WouldHitAGirl: Most Viking raiders rape whatever Englishwomen they can find. Lagertha's second husband abuses her, to his peril.
* WouldntHitAGirl: We never see Ragnar personally abuse any women, in contrast to many other Vikings. He spares Siggy's life and says nothing when Rollo marries her and Lagertha allows her into his household. When he discovers an English girl hiding from his raiders, he helps conceal her from them. In the finale of Season 1, he seems to consider it briefly when he goes to Aslaug's sleeping quarter with a knife, but leaves her unharmed in the end. He does, however, [[spoiler:have Horik's daughters killed by proxy, and in Season 4, he slaps Aslaug when she pushes his BerserkButton by belittling Athelstan's murder]].
* WouldHurtAChild:
** Earl Haraldson has Svein kill a 13-year-old boy so as to protect the Earl's treasures in the afterlife.
-->'''Haraldson''': You've seen enough of this life, boy.
** [[spoiler:Ragnar has Horik's entire family killed, including his many young daughters]].
** [[spoiler:Aethelwulf and his men slaughter everyone at the Viking settlement in Wessex, and there are semi-graphic deaths of a girl being trampled by horses and [[HopeSpot a boy seeming to escape the raid]] only to be shot by an archer]].
** Erlendur threatens to murder Torvi's and Jarl Borg's son (which is his adopted son by default) if she does not do his bidding.
* YourMakeupIsRunning: Floki's kohl eyeliner runs [[spoiler:while he sits with Torstein's body and questions Ragnar about his continued loyalty to the Norse gods.]]
* ZipMeUp: The necklace variation of this trope plays out between King Ecbert and Lagertha, in which the former gifts a necklace to the latter and carefully fastens it around her neck (taking the opportunity to touch her hair while he's at it).
[[/folder]]

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-->''"Each must die someday."''
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7th Mar '18 3:11:31 AM Saveelich
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Ragnar Lodbrok (Creator/TravisFimmel) is presented as an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea. Ragnar's plans of conquest and discovery bring him into a variety of deadly conflicts and introduce him to new cultures that challenge the foundations of his society.

to:

Ragnar Lodbrok (Creator/TravisFimmel) is presented as an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea. Ragnar's plans of conquest and discovery bring him into a variety of deadly conflicts and introduce him to new cultures that challenge the foundations of his society.



** Rollo's future glories are foreshadowed many times in early episodes. Not only did he establish Normandy, but almost every European ruler can trace their ancestry to him. To date, only a few other individuals have contributed more to Europe than he has.
** Season One introduced King Aelle's SnakePit, which is how Ragnar died in the sagas. [[spoiler:In the fourth season, it's how Ragnar dies in the show too.]]
** In one of the earliest episodes Ragnar likens himself to a boar and his son Bjorn to a piglet, which brings to mind [[spoiler:his FamousLastWords: "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers!"]]
** Aslaug prophesied her son Sigurd will have a snake in his eye, in homage to her father Sigurd, who fought and killed a giant snake and in punishment to Ragnar's arrogance. And then the baby's born with a deformed eyeball, that looks like a snake is piercing his Iris. In real life, historians are still theorizing why Sigurd was called "Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye", as there is no concrete explanation for his nickname.
** In Season 3, Ragnar pretends to convert to Christianity, then [[spoiler:fakes his death, and requests to be given a Christian funeral/burial, which would require his body to be taken inside Paris. During the ceremony he leaps out of his coffin, tosses some weapons to his men, and together they manage to open the gates of the city to the other Norsemen. This is a tactic said to have been used by the real life ''Bjorn Ironside'' in order to sack an Italian city.]]
** A really cruel one, where Astrid's [[spoiler: rapist]] is called Hakon, this being the name of the historical Harald's [[spoiler: son]].
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The Queen of Mercia states that her brother Saint Kenelm raped her as a child. She killed him in revenge and became something of a sexual predator. According to legend, he was a holy boy killed by his sister for his inheritance. Historically, little is known of Kenelm, and his sister went into a nunnery.
* HollywoodTactics: When encountering a numerically superior force, Ragnar's Vikings step out to face them on an open beach rather than stay in the narrow choke point they started at. It doesn't matter, however, because the Saxon soldiers never even try to flank them. The scene also functions as a massive aversion to the CallThatAFormation subtrope; the Saxons charge in as a disorganized mass, only to be utterly slaughtered by a disciplined shield wall.
* HonorBeforeReason: After Ragnar's sword breaks, the Earl lets Ragnar smash their shields to bits and then tosses his own sword away so that they can pause to re-arm themselves with axes. This might be due to the duel's ritualistic nature.
* HornyVikings: The main characters are Vikings, and their pillaging is largely influential to the plot. One horned helm is witnessed, but it has ceremonial use that is true to life.
* HumanSacrifice:
** A slave girl is sacrificed as part of a VikingFuneral. This element is present in Ahmed Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus.
** Nine people are sacrificed by the Uppsala temple. The sacrifices must be willing and believers in the Norse gods.
** After a battle, Björn sacrifices a POW to thank the Gods for the victory.
** Earl Jorgensen volounters as one.
** Ivar sacrifices two boys to ensure victory at York. This furthers the divide between him and Ubbe.
* HumanShield: Ragnar uses himself as one of these to protect Athelstan from Horik's hidden archer in "The Choice". He knows that Horik will attempt to kill the priest as soon as he's out of sight, so Ragnar offers to escort Athelstan back to Ecbert's territory and physically shields him from any kind of attack.
* HypocriticalHumor: King Ecbert warns his daughter in-law about the dangers of becoming infatuated with ''"interesting"'' people… after spending the last two episodes all but openly courting [[spoiler:Lagertha]].
* IAmXSonOfY: This is what Earl Haraldson's name is, but we never learn the X part of his name, so it's moot. The children are also referred to in this manner. For instance, lots of people call Bjorn, "son of Ragnar." This is TruthInTelevision as families didn't have a familial name -- what we would think of a last name was simply the name of their father plus a suffix of son or daughter. Individuals might have last names that were basically titles, but they did not function as family names.
* IcyBlueEyes:
** As the show poster suggests, Ragnar's icy, blue-eyed gaze is frequently lingered upon, and he shows no hesitation in killing. They're even more impressive when his face and head is covered in red blood and the only thing you can see of his face is two brilliant blue eyes, staring.
** Ivar has his father's eyes. Whenever his crazy starts flowing, he's prone to giving the camera a KubrickStare emphasizing his brilliantly blue eyes.
** When [[spoiler: Odin appears]] he also has one.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Son]]: Erlendur tries to coerce Torvi into killing Bjorn by threatening her son, who is in the custody of his people. She [[TheDogBitesBack kills Erlendur instead]] though.
* ImpaledPalm: Athelstan has this done to his hands and feet during crucifixion. The scars still pain him several months later, although writing and painting seems to have helped his dominant hand a bit.
* ImportantHaircut:
** After Athelstan is tempted to [[GoingNative go native]] with his new Viking owners, he shaves his stubbled tonsure to reaffirm his commitment to his monk lifestyle. As he becomes more invested in Norse culture, however, he gets increasingly hairy.
** [[spoiler:Ragnar completely shaves his head after Athelstan's death, complete with suffering similar bloody cuts that Athelstan suffered when he tried to retain his tonsure in the first season]].
** In the third season, Bjorn has changed his haircut to a shorter version of Ragnar's signature mohawk-braid, while Ragnar has shaved his hair down to stubble. This hints at Bjorn eventually supplanting his father.
* IncestSubtext: The four younger Ragnarssons have some scenes that portray them as being... unusually close.
** They all sleep (or in Ivar's case, attempt to) with the same woman, Margrethe, despite there being tons of eligible girls in Kattegat who would want to sleep with the famed sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
** Ivar secretly watches his brothers have sex multiple times. It can't all be chalked up to mere curiosity about something he's never experienced.
** Ubbe offers Hvitserk sex with his new wife Margrethe. On their wedding night, no less. This in itself would be strange, but the way the end of the scene is filmed makes it ambiguous as to whether or not they're going to take turns or whether they're going to sleep with her ''together'' in a threesome.
** Some of the interactions Ivar has with Ubbe come off as a crush along the lines of BecauseYouWereNiceToMe, since his older brother is one of the only people to respect him and defend him when the other Vikings mock him.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. Children can be killed on this show just like everyone else, [[spoiler:even by other children]]. In fact, children dying is presented pretty nonchalantly and pretty regularly (because of accidents, illness...).
* InstantExpert: Happens with regards to languages. At various times Ragnar, Lagertha, and Rollo ask to be taught foreign languages. All of them are fluent by the next episode.
* InterplayOfSexAndViolence:
** Lagertha attacks her husband Ragnar to convince him that he should take her on a Viking voyage. He tries to use it as foreplay.
** Ragnar slashes his palm and smears blood everywhere while seeking out Aslaug's bedroom. His original intent was to kill her.
** Once Thorunn is free, she insists that Bjorn fight her, after which they tumble into each other's arms.
* IronicEcho: The Death Chant of the Vikings ("Up onto overturned keel...") makes a reappearance, this time [[spoiler: recited by Rollo as he watches his brother's forces being slaughtered by the Franks he's allied with.]] Talk about salting the wounds, eh?
* IronicNickname: Halfdan the Black is blond.
* ISurrenderSuckers: When Jarl Borg invades Kattegat, the elder warrior uses this to give Rollo time to evade with his brother's wife and children.
* ItsAllAboutMe:
** Aslaug, after Jarl Borg has taken over Kattegat, though she claims that it is about her children. Everyone in the village who could wield a weapon just died to secure her escape, but her main worry is that the hide-out Rollo finds for her is not up to her standards. The person who has to listen to her complains and reassure her is Siggy, who herself lost her sons, her first husband, her status, and finally her daughter. Later on Aslaug insists that Ragnar shouldn't ally himself with Jarl Borg again. Not because she considers it a bad move, or because of what he did to Kattegat, no, her main reason is that he insulted and humiliated her.
** Despite the ferocity and numbers of the pagan Northmen, Emperor Charles is too proud to call his brothers for aid in defending Paris, even though this could potentially doom ''thousands'' to their deaths. For him his issues with his brothers take precedence over the lives of all his subjects.[[spoiler: Then subverted in the season finale when he reveals, bitterly, the he ''had'' sent word to his brothers for aid and they refused.]]
* JerkAss:
** Earl Haraldson is pompous, arrogant, and forces others to say what a great ruler he is.
** Earl Bjarni casually threatens to beat his wife if she doesn't get him some herrings.
** Erlendur treats his wife coldly, enjoys torturing people and is not above killing his own adopted son.
* KangarooCourt: The first episode has the Earl hold court over a murder trial involving a land dispute. The Earl is obviously angry because he wanted the land for himself. Everyone votes against the man to placate the Earl. When Ragnar's son does not raise his hand, the Earl pointedly insists that the boy join with the rest. Later he tries to frame Ragnar for murdering Knut by having Rollo give false testimony. Rollo betrays him however, saving Ragnar.
* KickTheDog:
** Earl Haraldson curses a man who is about to be executed. Ragnar and his son disapprove.
** Rollo rapes Floki's slave girl just before the voyage, foreshadowing his later conflicts with Ragnar.
** The Swedish Earl casually threatens to beat his new wife.
** Ragnar tries to maneuver Athelstan into getting sacrificed. Due to DeliberateValuesDissonance, however, it's left unclear whether Ragnar intended to honor Athelstan with sacrifice or to avoid losing one of his prized fighters.
** Count Odo seems like a pretty normal, dedicated guy. Then it's discovered that he's got a [[spoiler:secret dungeon where he chains women up and whip them. He only does it to willing women, at least as far as we know, and he promises to stop when they ask, but the overall tone is creepy]].
** Harald and Halfdan show needless sadism and brutality in raping, mutilating and murdering a family of French farmers while the Norse forces move their ships. Bjorn doesn't protest against their actions for practical reasons, but doesn't share their obvious relish in the deed.
* KilledOffscreen: Subverted by [[spoiler:Ragnar in the Season 3 finale. He's shown ailing in bed, and it's implied that he hasn't got much time left. Then after a commercial break, he's shown suddenly dead. It turns out that he was just faking his death, though he is legitimately ailing]].
* KingIncognito: King Horik sneaks into the Uppsala temple in peasant's garb to prank the priests there.
* KlingonPromotion: [[spoiler:Ragnar kills Earl Harldson and becomes an earl, then kills King Horik and becomes a king. In the mid-Season 4 finale, he challenges his subjects to kill him and become king in his place]].
* KubrickStare:
** Ragnar's [[IcyBlueEyes icy blue]] gaze is often coupled with a Kubrick Stare for extra intensity.
** Ivar does this quite a lot in the season half of Season 4, with equal emphasis on his IcyBlueEyes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:L-P]]
* LadyMacBeth: Siggy serves this role for Earl Haraldson, though she doesn't support some of his more paranoid endeavors. When she shacks up with Rollo, it's not long before she's up to her old tricks. And in Season 5, Margrethe tries to be this for Ubbe.
* LargeHam: Linus Roache as King Ecbert, particularly at the end of ''The Usurper'', where he demonstrates actual mouth-frothing rage. "[[spoiler:My ''name'', and my ''word'', as King of Wessex, will mean '''nothing''' to '''them!''' But it cannot be, cannot be. ''It cannot be.'' I cannot allow, and I cannot tolerate, treason. '''[[{{Mooks}} Guards!]]''']]"
* LastNameBasis: Earl Haraldson's first name is not revealed, which is strange considering that "Haraldson" is a patronymic, not a surname, so he should be called "Earl [First Name]."
* LeftHanging: One episode ends with Athelstan approaching Lagertha with the wounds of the stigmata on his hands. Oddly, it's never brought up again.
* ALighterShadeOfGrey: Ragnar specifically is this compared to some of the other Vikings; he frequently shows mercy on enemies and the helpless. More than anything, the show presents his primary virtue as his forward-thinking attitude and thirst for knowledge.
* LovableRogue: Ragnar is a plunderer but he knows limits and is an affable guy.
* TheLowMiddleAges
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Vikings are often seen with their circular wooden shields. They hammer on them with their axes before battle. Most battles involve shield wall tactics.
* MadeASlave: This happens to Athelstan and the monks of Lindisfarne that were spared during the raid.
* MadeOfIron: Invoked when Ragnar gives Bjorn the nickname "Ironside" due to the fact that during a battle Bjorn was in the thick of fighting and did not suffer any wounds.
* MagicRealism: The series as a whole makes a point of the fact that the characters subscribe to the notions of divine predetermination and fate, so the things that happen to them are to a certain extent preternatural to them. This adds to an epic, mystical feeling that calls back to the Eddas that inspired the show.
** Ragnar has a vision of Odin and Valkyries after a battle in the first scene of the show and more throughout the series. It's deliberately left unclear whether they are supernatural visions or if he's just hallucinating.
** Aslaug's prophesies, such as about Sigurd's eye.
** The seer as a whole. He makes a number of prophesies that are quite accurate, but also frequently refuses to answer some of the most pointed questions. It's also implied that he's several hundred years old.
** Athelstan has several Christian-themed visions, such as bleeding stigmata, demons and angelic light. He is momentarily blinded by one vision, [[spoiler:which causes his final confirmation of his Christian faith]].
** Floki has a vision of one of his mastheads bleeding, which he takes as a sign from the gods.
** Harbard the Wanderer. Aslaug, Helga, and Siggy all have the same dream of his arrival. He seems to have magical powers and may or may not be [[spoiler: Odin or Loki.]]
** Just when a [[TheBerserker Berserker]] is hired to kill Bjorn he suffers an attack from a bear. A coincidence, or did the Berserker send his spirit animal after him?
** [[spoiler: After Ragnar dies flocks of ravens circle the skies much like with Ragnar's religious experience in S1E1 and all of his sons are visited by a one-eyed figure in a black cloak and know at once that Ragnar is dead.]]
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Princess Kwenthrith claims that the father of her son is Ragnar. This claim is put into question by almost every single character that hears it for the first time. It's eventually revealed in Season 4 that [[spoiler: they never had sex]], so such a claim would be impossible.
* MamaBear: Lagertha threatens to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_eagle rip out Athelstan's lungs]] if harm comes to her children while he looks after them. And then, after being informed of Horik's intent to kill Bjorn and his young brothers in the Season 2 finale, she is absolutely vicious in her attack against Horik's wife and his soldiers, killing anyone connected to the king or who may have been involved in the plot.
* ManipulativeBastard:
** Earl Haraldson ''tries'', though he is often stymied by his pessimistic assumptions that all men are as greedy and underhanded as he is.
** King Horik and Jarl Borg both far outclass him in Seasons 1 and 2, [[spoiler:although Ragnar manages to outsmart both of them.]]
** And in Season 3 [[spoiler: Ecbert and Ragnar]] leave them all in the dust.
* MauveShirt: Erik Marteinn, who looked set to be The Big Guy in Ragnar's team, gets killed in Episode 4.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: It's not entirely clear where the MagicRealism ends and real realism begins. Many characters have experiences they ''believe'' are supernatural, but it's never confirmed to what extent those experiences are real. Of particular note is the Seer, whose prophecies all come true, but are often vague enough that many outcomes would fit the wording of his predictions. People call him out on this, but the Seer refuses to say more when people press him for details. When flat-out asked whether the gods actually exist, the Seer responds only with laughter. Michael Hirst's TrollingCreator antics certainly do not help.
* MeaningfulName: It is noted by Bjorn that Floki has a name that sounds like Loki. He resembles the trickster god's role in many ways: a close ally to the hero on his travels, as Loki is to Thor (Ragnar, in this case); not a muscular warrior, but his intelligence is of great help (Floki is an engineer and imparts important advice to Ragnar); frequently causes mischief and trouble (needlessly burning down the monastery, causing a battle by ripping a crucifix off a soldier). In Season 2, he openly associates himself with Loki and names his daughter after Loki's first wife. [[spoiler: In Season 4, his punishment for killing Athelstan is pulled straight from what happened to Loki for killing Baldur -- caught in a river, chained up in a cave to be tormented by dripping with only their loyal wives to avert their torment.]]
* MenGetOldWomenGetReplaced: Over the course of the first four seasons, about 20 years pass. Main male characters such as Ragnar, Floki, Rollo and King Ecbert all visibly age over this time, while female characters such as Lagetha, Aslaug, Helga and Judith show no signs of aging.
* MercyKill: Athelstan mercifully slits the throat of a bishop who the Vikings had tied up and are firing arrows into.
* TheMillstone: Horik becomes this to Ragnar. He goes back on a deal with Jarl Borg, which jeopardizes their upcoming raid and involves Ragnar in a pointless and costly feud with Borg. He sabotages Ragnar's negotiations with King Ecbert and then leads the Viking force into a trap. At first he is motivated by RevengeBeforeReason but by the end of Season 2 he is actively conspiring against Ragnar.
* MushroomSamba:
** Athelstan seems to hallucinate when the details of Ragnarök are told to him. It might have something to do with what they put in the fire to make it smoke.
** Ragnar's group eats mushrooms at the Uppsala temple. We see some of Athelstan's trip from his perspective. Humrously enough, the mushrooms themself look suspiciously like chanterelles, and not [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybe_semilanceata psylocybe semilanceata]].
** Ragnar eats "Chinese medicine" (probably opium) and has a surreal, hallucinatory experience.
* NeverLearnedToRead: All of the Vikings (except Floki who knows runes), which is TruthInTelevision since RealLife Vikings were illiterate and unable to record their own history, especially in the earlier years of paganism. The only main character who can read or write is the Anglo-Saxon monk Athelstan.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: [[spoiler:Ragnar has Horik stabbed repeatedly before delivering a deathblow himself and then pummeling his corpse with head-butts and nearby objects]].
** The Hammerman who get's impaled with two swords and runs around for some time before he dies.
* NonActionGuy: In spite of being Ragnar's wife and the descendant of heroes, Aslaug is one of the few adult female characters who is not a shield maiden and has no skill in fighting.
* NotAllowedToGrowOld: Applied to some characters but not others, which grows more noticeable as the series progresses:
** Other than changes in wardrobe and makeup, both Lagertha and Aslaug look exactly the same by the time of the timeskip midway through Season 4, even though by that point [[spoiler:both have sons who are grown men]].
** Rollo remains exactly the same, without even the benefit of wardrobe changes.
** All of Ragnar's children on the other hand are shown to age between timeskips, even when they are played by the same actors.
* NotSoDifferent: "Sometimes your God sounds like one of our gods." The similarities between Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Frankish cultures are occasionally remarked upon. {{Justified|Trope}} as all three are different offshoots of the same Germanic roots.
* OffScreenMomentOfAwesome: The Great Heathen Army's defeat of the Northumbrians.
* OhMyGods: ''We been to [[TheUnderworld Hel]] and back!''
* OminousLatinChanting: Norse chanting, in this case. During the second Viking raid, a song by {{Music/Wardruna}} is played using authentic Viking-age instruments. It features men and women chanting quotes from the rune poems in Old Norse about how wealth is the joy and source of discord among men and the path of the serpent. This chanting becomes more and more common as Season 2 progresses.
* {{Omniglot}}: One of Athelstan's most valuable traits, both to the Vikings and King Ecbert. Thus far, it's been shown that he's either fluent or semi-fluent in reading, writing, and speaking Old English, Old Norse, Latin, Greek, High German, and possibly several other dialects and languages native to the main continent.
* OneSteveLimit: King Aelle's brother and King Ecbert son are both named Aethelwulf. However the former only appears briefly in Season 1, whereas the latter appears throughout Season 2.
* OnlyAFleshWound: The main characters receive quite a few grievous wounds, but always bounce back to fighting shape.
* OutDamnedSpot: Athelstan guiltily leafs through the Bible of a monk he's killed and hallucinates that an illustrated Jesus bleeds real blood. The blood oozes onto Athelstan's hands, causing him to frantically wipe at them, but the blood has disappeared.
* PetTheDog:
** Rollo. After all his previous Kick the Dog moments, in the fourth episode Rollo is seen giving a sick, old Englishman water instead of killing him (he then steals the cup and pitcher, however) and testifying on behalf of his brother in court, when he could have betrayed him for treasure and a good marriage.
** Ragnar hides a child from his own men during a raid.
** Aslaug frees one of her slaves so that her step-son Bjorn can woo her. It's one of the rare times that Aslaug has an opportunity to do something selfless.
** Aethelwulf threatens to torture an enemy soldier, but as soon as he's got the information he needs, he lets the man go and even offers him a drink. It's his attempt to distance himself from his Viking allies (whom he has pegged as total savages). In Season 4, he's revealed to be a loving father to his wife's bastard, Alfred.
** Ecbert's final scenes include him bidding warm and fond farewells to his family.
* PlayingGertrude: Katherine Winnick (Lagertha) and Alexander Ludgwig (Bjorn Lothbrok), playing her son, are only fourteen years apart. In this case though it's due to a TimeSkip, since Bjorn is aged up from a child to an adult. Travis Fimmel, who plays Ragnar, Bjorn's father, is even closer-twelve years older.
* PregnantBadass:
** Thorunn, in an irresponsible way. If you're pregnant, then going into battle is a bad idea. [[DeconstructedTrope Ragnar tells her boyfriend just how easily this can go wrong in real life.]]
** [[spoiler: Lagertha has this in Season 4. It results in her having yet another miscarriage.]]
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: John Kavanagh who plays the blind seer is promoted to the opening credits in Season 4. Same with Moe Dunford.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: All of the Vikings. Their idea of paradise is fighting all day and feasting all night.
* PublicDomainArtifact:
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriflamme Oriflamme]]. It’s first recorded historical appearance is in the 12th century, but legends place it as far back as Charlemagne’s reign.
** The [[{{Mooks}} mook]] to the [[http://vodzilla.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Vikings_S2_1.jpg left of Rollo in the opening battle of Season 2,]] wears what looks like a [[http://www.barringtons-swords.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/1200x1200/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/d/gdfb_paul_chen_hanwei_medieval_armour_ultuna_helmet_image_1.png crude replica of the Swedish Ultuna Helmet.]]
** The soliders of Earl Bjarni carries faithful replications of Coppergate helmet. Which is neighter the right place or culture.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Q-S]]
* RapeAsBackstory: Kwenthrith was raped by her uncle and older brother, along with numerous men the former brought. This is why she despises her uncle so much.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Rape is always used as a KickTheDog moment for characters, but Norse culture is ambivalent about it. Rollo rapes a slave girl and is teased as a villain. Knut's attempted rape of a free Norse woman is played as a clear indication of villainy. Our hero Ragnar's only mention of rape is to condemn its use against his wife.
* RapePillageAndBurn: The Vikings' original intention in England is to simply loot it for wealth before returning home. The more broad-minded Ragnar realizes there's more wealth in its fertile soil and wants to colonize it instead.
* RatedMForManly: It's a show about Vikings based off Old Norse poetry and legendary sagas.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: The common characteristic of every non-Viking princess on the show. Kwenthrith, Judith, and Gisla are all very pale, dark-haired beauties.
* RealityEnsues: Whatever insane view Lagertha has of Aslaug and of herself, the fact is her "army of liberation" is in fact an invading army. The people of Kattegat react to it as such.
* RealMenWearPink: Floki, the Seer and the shamans of Uppsala wears [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohl_(cosmetics) Kohl]] eye makeup.
* RealSongThemeTune: "If I Had a Heart" by Fever Ray.
* RecycledSet: Observant viewers will catch on to that the cliff where Ragnar stages the portage scheme is later reused as the location of Harald's capital.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler:Floki griping about Ragnar to Helga gives credence to his apparent betrayal of Ragnar, but his betrayal was a ruse]].
* RedOniBlueOni: A defining theme in the series is the contrast between pagan Viking traditions and Christian traditions. Viking customs tend to be more raucous, bloody and aggressive, while Christian customs are more somber, ethereal and reserved.
* RiteOfPassage:
** In the first episode, Ragnar's son has become old enough to attend and vote in a Thing. He also pledges fealty to the Earl and receives ceremonial rings. In Season 4, Ragnar repeats the ritual with Sigurd and Ubbe.
** Athelstan earns the right to call himself a thane after displaying bravery in battle.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: [[spoiler:Ragnar's death at the hands of the English sets this off for almost all of Scandinavia, with warriors coming from all over to avenge him]].
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething:
** Basicly any Norse king that has appeared in the show or been mentioned is personally leading his men in the field. If they don't, it's because they are busy fighting elsewhere.
** King Aelle and King Ecbert are both active in the defense of their realms.
* RousingSpeech: Princess Gisla gives an impressive one that rallies the defenders of Paris during the Norsemen's attank on the walls:
-->'''Princess Gisla''': Soldiers! Citizens of Paris! Behold the Oriflamme. Behold the sacred flag of Saint-Denis. Behold the sacred flag of Frankia. Behold, soldiers of Christ. That wherever the Oriflamme is, no quarter is to be given to our enemies. Soldiers, show no mercy. Fight on! ''(Soldiers screaming)'' Fight to the death!
* RuleOfSymbolism: See that funny V symbol? It incorporates the Valknut, the stripes on a longship's sail and the symbol of Yggdrasil and the blade of a sword to fully encompass the beliefs and traditions of the Norse as a people.
* SayYourPrayers:
** King Aelle's brother does this while Ragnar and his men attack his camp, rather than try to rally his soldiers or resist the massacre.
** Also done by the priests of Lindisfarne when the Vikings invade. This leads to their undoing, as the sound of their prayers causes the Vikings to find their hiding place.
** In the Season 2 finale, the waterfall scene of Ragnar and Athelstan praying together foreshadows and intermeshes with [[spoiler: Horik's invasion of Kattegat. In this particular case, the prayer works.]]
* SceneryPorn: Viking Age Scandinavia is so pretty...
** There are those sweeping scenery shots in Episode 8, and also the shot of the temple of Uppsala sitting majestically on a hill. Inaccurate in that Uppsala is flat-land, but ''damn'', it looks gorgeous.
** The shot of the mountains when Athelstan is first brought to Kattegat. So feral, so untamed, so ''glorious''.
** Each of the waterfall backdrops in the Season 2 finale are absolutely beautiful.
* ScyllaAndCharybdis: [[spoiler: Astrid is the lover of Lagertha. Astrid is kidnapped by Harald who then proposes to her. Astrid accepts. When she realizes that Harald and Ivar are going to invade Kattegat and kill Lagertha she tried to warn her-the men she recruits end up gang raping her. Astrid is shown to be pregnant soon afterwards, and thus as a possible result of the rape. Astrid is left with the choice of defecting to Lagertha again and face the wrath of Harald, or risk him finding out of the rape and thus of her secret betrayal and face his wrath.]]
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Earl Haraldson offers his wife to one of his spies. The man accepts, so the Earl has him executed.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: The Seer told Lagertha that she would never give birth to another child. Because of this, come the time for the second raid on Paris [[spoiler: Lagertha does not take any precautions to safeguard her pregnancy, participating in all the fighting and in the extremely demanding physical exertion of helping move the boats across the hills, resulting in another miscarriage]].
* SexyPriest: Athelstan has quite a few admirers in the fanbase. And some on the show now, too.
* ShownTheirWork: One of the problems the show's creators faced when making this was that there are just so few sources that accurately represent the Norse. After all, like the Mongols, their history was written primarily by the people they beat the shit out of. So, the showrunners had to rely primarily on Scandinavian sagas to paint a somewhat factual representation of them. Even so, this show has gotten a lot of things right in regards to history:
** Ragnar is shown waiting until villagers are at Mass before raiding a Christian settlement. This was indeed the favorite tactic of Ragnar Lodbrok, according to the sagas.
** The duel between Haraldson and Ragnar, a holmgang, is very accurately represented. Down to Svein's formal recitation of the rules of the duel, and the two parties meeting on a pre-specified plot of land. Even the shields are right, with both men having helpers who give them their shield replacements. The back-up weapon rule is also historically accurate. Historically, early holmgangs did indeed end with death. Though later on, first blood and other such measures were implemented to curb that. The only thing that seems to be missing is that a sheet was supposed to be placed on the ground to mark the area, and four posts were to be placed at each corner of the sheet.
** Floki's shipbuilding lecture in the first episode is legit.
** The description of the Uppsala temple is taken directly from Adam of Bremen, althrough that source has been questioned as Adam of Bremen never went there himself. The temple, or a building used for religious cermonies, was probably real but we will probably never know if it look like that. However, it makes nods to reconstructions of the Uppåkra-temple.
** Incidentally, [[NotSoDifferent do note how similar the Uppsala temple is to the stave churches of Norway.]]
** Way back in the first episode, Ragnar tells Bjorn the story of how he won Lagertha's hand in marriage -- by killing an enormous bear with his spear and strangling a giant hound, the animals who guarded her home. This is taken word for word from the ''Literature/GestaDanorum'' as penned by Saxo Grammaticus.
** In one episode, the Vikings land in England and are mistaken as traders by an official, who they then murder when he attempts to lead them to the Royal Villa of the King so that they may pay a trading tax upon their goods. ''This entire sequence actually happened according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.''
** The practice of a heathen converting to Christianity in order to seal a deal when the Vikings dealt with the Saxons is one that appears in many historical instances. For instance, to seal the Peace of Wedmore, the Viking Guthrum was baptized into Christianity with the Anglo-Saxon name of Athelstan and accepted King Alfred the Great as his adoptive father. The Vikings treating the baptism in a non-serious manner as seen in the show also has some basis in historical fact; the conversions were commonly seen as merely a legal binding, and often did little to reduce the Viking's hold on the areas they conquered in England.
** Ragnar accurately and beautifully quotes the ''Runatal'', the story of how Odin found the runes by sacrificing himself with his own spear on Yggdrasil.
** Rollo's tattoos seem to be representations of Sköll and Hati, the sons of Fenrir Hrodvitnir.
** Rollo's war chant in one of the first battles against the English is closely based on a death poem by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9E%C3%B3rir_J%C3%B6kull_Steinfinnsson Þórir Jökull Steinfinnsson]] (though he lived [[ArtisticLicenseHistory some centuries after]] the events of the show.)
** Ecbert's desire to become ruler of all England is grounded in reality, as Ecbert made numerous overtures to conquer neighbouring Saxon kingdoms, and actually succeeded in adding Mercia and other places to his domain.
** There are frequently scenes in which characters are quoting Scandinavian lore. For example, when Lagertha or Aslaug tell bedtime stories, or the seer is trying to make a point clear.
** The runes Floki carves are accurately depicted.
** [[http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/wedding.shtml Floki retrieving a sword from his deceased forebear (his father, in this case) for use in his wedding ceremony is true to history.]]
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bl%C3%B3t blót]] that Ragnar and company attend in 1x08 is portrayed accurately, almost adapted word-for-word from blóts described as taking place in UsefulNotes/{{Sweden}}, like in the Gutasaga or Adam of Bremen's account of Uppsala.
** The ritualistic washing and nose-blowing in the same bowl that Ragnar's crew participates in before setting sail is adapted from one of the most famous contemporary depictions of Vikings, that of the Arab traveler Ahmad ibn Fadlan, who encountered a group of ''Rus'' (Vikings) in the the Volga area in the 10th century and, among many other observations on their looks and customs, describes just such a scene (which he finds quite disgusting).
** The king or community leader performing the sacrifice. That is as far as we know how it really would have happened.
** The massacre of the Norse settlers by Christian Saxons depicted in ''Usurper'' was likely inspired by the infamous Saint Brice Day massacre where Aethelred the Unready had every Danish settler in England slaughtered, many of whom who were pagans [[note]]Scandinavia was not fully Christianised at the time, and among those who carried out retribution beside Knut Seweynsson were the infamous Jomsvikings, who were known for being fiercely pagan[[/note]]
** In "Breaking Point," a Christian missionary arrogantly declares the Norse gods false and accepts a test involving the handling of red-hot iron bars set by Aslaug to prove the power of his god. This is derived from chronicles of the Christianisation of the Norse, which lionize the missionaries. These chronicles assert that the missionaries were easily able to handle the iron due to the blessings of God and thus easily convinced Norsemen to become baptized. This is referenced in an ImagineSpot contrasting how the missionary ''thinks'' the ordeal will go (without him getting burned) and then showing the reality ([[RealityEnsues his hands getting burnt to a crisp]]).
** The Anglo-Saxons' belief that the Romans were a race of giants is based on real medieval reactions to the massive and mysterious Roman ruins.
** Rollo's dismemberment of a captured Mercian soldier's leg and later explanation, "it was the angle of the leg, I couldn't help myself." is taken wholesale from a scene in Fóstbrœðra saga, where Torgeir cuts off the head of a shepherd with almost the exact same justification.
-->“He had not done me any wrong, but the truth is that I could not resist when he stood so convenient for hewing.”
** Ragnar Lothbrok never converted to Christianity in any of the sagas he appears in, even as a ploy, yet the baptism in S3EP09 may contain a kernal of truth as it may be inspired by an instance during Ragnar's siege of Paris. In a nutshell, there was a plague that was ravaging the Vikings' side, and when sacrifices to Odin and Thor proved ineffective in alleviating it Ragnar "questioned" a Frankish captive who suggested that they should try fasting (it was Easter). By sheer coincidence, the plague began to lift as they did so.
** In the Season 3 finale, the warriors in [[spoiler: Ragnar's]] funeral procession sing the famous 77th stanza from ''Hávamál'''s ''Gestaþáttr''.
** Arabs traveling on trade journeys to Scandinavia? While it was rare and they only got as far as Hedeby, yes that happened.
** The song Harald and Halfdan sing after slaughtering the farmers is a real Skaldic verse composed by Egil Skallagrimsson when he was six years old.
** The smith in Season 1 has a replica of a Viking-age cooling stone bearing the image of Floki.
** Ivar's murder of another boy over a game brings to mind a similar incident from the life of the legendary Icelandic Skald, Egil Skallagrimsson.
* TheScourgeOfGod: The Church and some nobles of the kingdom of Northumbria believe the Vikings have been sent by God to punish the Saxons for their sins. Other nobles, however, believe that they might have been instead sent by Satan. [[TakeAThirdOption And yet others have this crazy notion that they're just savage men come to plunder on their own whims, with no supernatural origin.]] Ragnar is personally dubbed as this after his conquest of Paris.
* ShutUpHannibal: In the second season, Jarl Borg tries again to seduce Rollo into treachery, but Rollo simply punches him in the face.
* SiblingRivalry: Ragnar and Rollo.
* SlapSlapKiss: Ragnar's favourite type of sex with Lagertha seems to be make-up sex.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: A particularly bloody example. The conflicts between Vikings and Christian Europeans are depicted this way, with Vikings as the earthy, wild slobs and the Christians as the stiff, refined snobs.
* TheSmartGuy:
** Floki, the shipbuilder, who designs a state-of-the-art boat that can make the trip to England. He also turns out to have a fair bit of medical knowledge. He's still a Viking, however, so he's more interested in seeing how parchment burns than studying its detailed drawings.
** Athelstan is probably the most well-educated character on the show. Unlike the Vikings, he can read and write multiple languages as well as speak them, spent time in Charlemagne's court, and displays a great deal of knowledge on cultures and religions outside of his own. By the time of Athelstan's capture in Wessex, he has also become the foremost expert of Saxon blood on the Norsemen, their culture, and paganism in general. And while living there, he also acquires knowledge of Roman battle tactics for good measures.
** Ivar the Boneless's characterization as being intelligent starts in Season 4, when he is apprenticed to Floki and is shown winning Hnefatafl games at a very young age. He's also later shown playing a game of chess with Alfred, who was renowned in real life for being TheChessmaster and will eventually become Ivar's martial and intellectual rival.
* SmartPeoplePlayChess:
** King Horik and Ragnar play [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hnefatafl Hnefatafl]] while discussing future plans.
** Ivar is shown winning Hnefatafl games as a young child to start establishing him as a GeniusCripple.
* SnakePit: King Aelle uses a pit of venomous snakes to execute capital punishment.
* SnowMeansDeath: [[spoiler: Siggy]] drowns in the winter, with snow falling all around her.
* SoapOperaDisease: In Season 3, Ragnar's health starts gradually failing, either as the result of an illness, the accumulation of battle wounds, or a combination of the two. He's in such bad shape that his death is faked and all his family and friends believe it. In the beginning of the fourth season, he's bedridden at home. However, he gradually gets stronger and seems to more or less make a full recovery.
* SomewhereAHerpetologistIsCrying: King Aelle's pit of venomous snakes is actually filled with non-venomous and non-indigenous pythons.
* StandardHeroReward: Even though she had already refused his proposal, Count Odo clearly hopes to win Princess Gisla's hand after successfully repealing the Viking attack on Paris. When he personally asks her about this, Gisla refuses to give a clear answer and only ensures him that she will be deeply grateful if he indeed manages to defend the city from invaders. [[spoiler:Subverted as she ends up marrying Rollo instead]].
* StealthPun: Given how many [[DeliberateValuesDissonance people wouldn't recognize it]]. When Ragnar says "when the little pig teaches the boar how to listen," he wasn't calling himself a pervert. The boar is the symbol of the fertility God Frey. Given the scene right before the quote is said, he's saying he's still horny, thus why Lagertha shoves him.
* StockholmSyndrome: Athelstan's respect and affection for Ragnar's family grows over time in spite of the fact that Ragnar violently enslaved him. However, part of the reason Athelstan sticks around is because Ragnar treats him well and he has nowhere else to go. By Season 2, he feels like a part of the family, and Ragnar's family [[LimaSyndrome feels the same way]].
* AStormIsComing: Invoked heavily in the promotion for Season 1. In Season 2, before the climactic battle, Aslaug and Lagertha notice storm clouds gathering over Kattegat and state, "The gods are coming."[[note]]The [=Æ=]sir are also known as ''the gods of the slain''[[/note]]
* SuicideByCop: [[spoiler: Torstein]] essentially does this after losing his arm, approaching the Mercians alone. He manages to take one of them along with him before being cut down. This insures he'll go to Valhalla under Norse belief, since he died in a battle.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:T-Z]]
* TeensAreShort: Bjorn, who is much older than his half-brothers, is also significantly taller than them.
* TelevisionGeography: The animated SceneryPorn EstablishingShot of Uppsala displays the settlement on a mountain. RealLife Uppsala is located on a plain, the only nearby elevations being some burial mounds; appropriately from the Viking Age.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler:Ragnar's final raid of England]] as he wants to die, but wants it to be on his own terms. To wit, he [[spoiler:embarks in an ill-prepared expedition he knows is doomed to fail, and then he turns himself in to King Ecbert and convinces him to hand him over to Aella. Ragnar knows that his death at Aella's hands will galvanize his sons into revenge and trigger a Norse invasion of England.]]
* AThreesomeIsHot:
** Norsemen seem curiously fond of double-teaming their women.
*** Ragnar and Lagertha invite Athelstan to join them in bed.
*** Floki invites another of Ragnar's raiders to bed with him and Helga.
*** Jarl Borg recalls sharing women with his brother.
*** Ubbe shares his new wife with Hvitserk, even on his wedding night.
** Ragnar tries to get Lagertha to agree to a three-way marriage arrangement with Aslaug, but gets soundly rejected before he can even hint at a threesome. A scene in Season 2 showing Ragnar waking up next to a naked Aslaug and Lagertha would have implied some ThreeWaySex, but it was deleted from the US airing of the episode.
* TimeshiftedActor:
** In Season 1, Ragnar's son Bjorn was played by Nathan O'Toole but is swapped out for Alexander Ludwig after a time skip in Season 2.
** Ragnar's other sons are all swapped out for older actors in the mid-season finale of Season 4.
* TimeSkip: Four years passes between Episodes 1 and 2 of the second season. There are also shorter time skips several times throughout the series, so each season spans about a year or two. The mid-season finale of Season 4 has the largest timeskip to date, with somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten years passing.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood; By law, Ragnar must obey Earl Haraldson and sail east to RapePillageAndBurn. However, he believes that he should do the right thing and sail west to RapePillageAndBurn. He goes to a seer for advice on what to do and the seer tells him that if he can gain the favour of the gods, they will override the laws for him. Ragnar seems to interpret this to mean that if he is highly successful in his endeavor, the Earl will not be able to successfully punish him for disobedience.
* TokenGoodTeammate: Athelstan is the only completely moral, kind, and non-murderous hero, though he's also the most naïve. He even shows respect and great interest in the Norsemen's religion despite being a devout Catholic priest. As he immerses himself in their way of living however, his virtue begins to dim as he finds himself torn between the humble Christian scholar and the savage Viking raider.
-->'''Lagertha''': Then you are still innocent. It does not seem to matter how many experiences you have, Athelstan. In the end, you are still like the young monk I first met.
* TooDumbToLive:
** King Aelle's brother. At first he seems competent enough, refusing to fight the norsemen where they have the advantage, but then he fails to put sentries around his camp; when the Vikings attack that night, Aelle's brother starts praying instead of going out to fight, and by the time he's done his entire force has been defeated.
** [[spoiler:Yidu threatens to expose Ragnar's dark secret and tries to run off, causing Ragnar to drag her to the water and drown her]].
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth:
** Gyda, Ragnar's only daughter, died when the plague hit Kattegat.
** [[spoiler:Athelstan arguably qualifies as this, having been reborn into Christianity before his death in "Born Again".]] Since he's by far the most morally good character in the series, it's rather fitting.
** [[spoiler: Angrboda]] as well.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Athelstan in the second season is brave and combat-trained enough to prove himself in battle and is accepted as a thane.
** Bjorn ages from a spirited boy to a hardened veteran warrior over the course of the show.
* TortureCellar: [[spoiler:Count Odo has one, where he likes to chain and whip women. The women are so eager for his favor, however, that they endure it willingly]].
* TranquilFury: Ragnar often couples this with DissonantSerenity when pushed far enough -- the situations in which he is personally involved with killing any major character serve to be a reminder that [[ALighterShadeOfGrey even though he doesn't resort to violence to solve his problems right away,]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes he can be twenty times more merciless than everyone around him when he wants to be]].
* TranslationConvention: The show will present whatever characters have the emphasis in the scene as speaking English. If there are other characters who speak a different language, it will not be translated. The language that is English can sometimes switch back and forth in a single scene.
* TriangRelations:
** Rollo is this to both Ragnar and his wife, Lagertha, as well is the Earl and his wife.
** Ragnar has this with Lagertha and Aslaug.
** Ubbe, his wife, and his brother Hvitserk
* UglyGuyHotWife: Haraldson's beautiful young daughter is married to an old and ugly Swedish Earl. Until she annuls it with a stabbing.
* UndignifiedDeath: Earl Haraldson's sons are brutally murdered, their heads cut off and set against their backside, and left in a shallow grave as a sign of disrespect for their father.
* TheUnfavorite: Sigurd speaks against avenging Aslaug because for as long as he can remember, she treated him coldly while pampering Ivar.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Ragnar tends to keep his plans from others and the viewer, and most of his plans succeed.
** His plan to [[spoiler:betray Jarl Borg goes off without a hitch. Up until the betrayal springs, it's not clear what Ragnar is plotting]].
** Averted with [[spoiler:his plan to have Athelstan sacrificed. Athelstan proclaims his Christianity at the last moment, precluding him from sacrifice. One of Ragnar's strongest warriors volunteers instead]].
** His plans to [[spoiler:betray Jarl Borg and King Horik are both sprung before the viewer becomes aware of them]].
** In Season 3, he plan to [[spoiler:fake his death and use his funeral to kidnap a member of the royal family to open Paris's gates is kept from the audience as well as all of his closest confidants except his son]].
** And earlier, the very detailed and explained-to-the-audience plan to assault Paris fails spectacularly.
** [[spoiler: Rollo's first plan to defend Paris is explained in detail and goes off without a hitch. However, when Ragnar conceives of a plan to move his ships by land and attack in the other direction, he discovers to the audience's surprise that Rollo has also planned for this tactic, and Rollo wins this battle as well]].
** [[spoiler: Emperor Charles' plan to cleanse the court of potential traitors is not revealed to the audience. He leads Roland, Therese and the viewers to believe that he is giving Roland the same favor he gave Odo and then some. Then when Rollo is out defending Paris he has the siblings for dinner where they are both promptly murdered.]]
* UrineTrouble: Kwenthrith micturates on Ragnar, ostensibly to treat a wound.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The second teaser trailer places the characters under the world tree Yggdrasil and is so full of references to Norse Mythology that one could make a competition out of naming the most. Ragnar is Odin, Aslaug is Freyja, Lagertha is a valkyrie, Athelstan is Tyr, King Ecbert is Fenrir, King Horik is Jörmungandr, Floki is Heimdal, Siggy is Sigyn, and Rollo is Loki. The red rooster is Fjalar and the deer is Dain. The tattoo on Rollo's left arm is of Sköll, the son of Fenrir that chases the sun. Sköll means "''Treachery''".
* VikingFuneral: Episode 6 has an example, taken almost entirely out of Ahmed Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus.
* WarriorPoet: Rollo chants a poem on the inevitability of death to lend courage and resolve to his shield-brothers during a battle with the Saxons. Ragnar quotes the Rúnatal -- the story of how Odin won the runes as given in the Hávamál. Historically, the Norse viewed poems and sagas to be very manly.
* TheWatson: As an outsider, Athelstan receives a lot of exposition about Norse society and culture.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: In Season 4, Ragnar's sons are united in their desire to [[spoiler: avenge Ragnar's death]] but there are clear divisions among them. Bjorn is the oldest and most respected but he is Lagartha's son and makes no secret of the fact that he will side with his mother over his brothers. Ivar and Sigurd despise each other and their arguments tend to end just short of one killing the other. Ubbe and Ivar are both adamant in their desire to kill Lagertha -- with Ubbe being more cautious of it, especially given Bjorn's position -- but both Sigurd and Hvitserk are more aware of their mother's flaws, with Sigurd being out and out resentful towards her, and don't believe that avenging her is worth it at all. In addition, Ivar believes that Ragnar meant for him to be the leader but Bjorn, an experienced warleader, finds the idea preposterous and is backed by the other brothers.
* WeCanRuleTogether: The Earl offers to make Rollo his son-in-law and thus presumed heir in exchange for Rollo testifying against Ragnar at trial. Rollo is certainly tempted to take the offer, but in the end supports Ragnar.
* WhamEpisode:
** The show was going fairly smoothly with the tension slowly rising... until "Raid": Earl Haraldson burns down Ragnar's farm and drives him into hiding, captures and tortures Rollo, and marries his daughter off to a Swedish Earl. A good five or six months go by while the characters heal from the damage.
** Season 3's Born Again has [[spoiler:the reveal that Ecbert isn't as friendly as he's presenting himself to be, with him ordering Aethelwulf to kill everyone at the Viking settlement. In Kattegat, Athelstan dies at Floki's hands]].
* WhatBeautifulEyes: Ragnar's IcyBlueEyes.
* WhatTheHellHero:
** Floki criticizes Rollo for allowing himself to be baptized by Christians, regardless of the fact that Rollo does it only as a ruse.
** Lots of people give Ragnar grief for his controversial decisions, including [[spoiler:marrying Aslaug and keeping Athelstan around. In particular, no one likes how he appears to convert to Christianity and fakes his own death]].
*** It gets even worse in Season 4 [[spoiler: when word of the massacre of the Norse settlers get out and that Ragnar knew about this and said nothing]].
* WomenAreDelicate: Of those attending the blood eagle, all of the women except Lagertha, the shieldmaiden, either turn away or faint.
* WorldOfBadass: It's a show about Vikings!
* WorthyOpponent:
** Earl Haraldson reveals that he likes Ragnar and that Ragnar is not much different from how the Earl was in his youth. However, due to Viking politics, the Earl cannot allow Ragnar to succeed since it would erode the Earl's power base and he cannot trust Ragnar not to try to usurp him. Ragnar sees Haraldson in a similar manner.
** King Ecbert and Ragnar seem to feel this way about each other, although there is [[AmbiguouslyBi something else]] going on between them as well.
* WouldHitAGirl: Most Viking raiders rape whatever Englishwomen they can find. Lagertha's second husband abuses her, to his peril.
* WouldntHitAGirl: We never see Ragnar personally abuse any women, in contrast to many other Vikings. He spares Siggy's life and says nothing when Rollo marries her and Lagertha allows her into his household. When he discovers an English girl hiding from his raiders, he helps conceal her from them. In the finale of Season 1, he seems to consider it briefly when he goes to Aslaug's sleeping quarter with a knife, but leaves her unharmed in the end. He does, however, [[spoiler:have Horik's daughters killed by proxy, and in Season 4, he slaps Aslaug when she pushes his BerserkButton by belittling Athelstan's murder]].
* WouldHurtAChild:
** Earl Haraldson has Svein kill a 13-year-old boy so as to protect the Earl's treasures in the afterlife.
-->'''Haraldson''': You've seen enough of this life, boy.
** [[spoiler:Ragnar has Horik's entire family killed, including his many young daughters]].
** [[spoiler:Aethelwulf and his men slaughter everyone at the Viking settlement in Wessex, and there are semi-graphic deaths of a girl being trampled by horses and [[HopeSpot a boy seeming to escape the raid]] only to be shot by an archer]].
** Erlendur threatens to murder Torvi's and Jarl Borg's son (which is his adopted son by default) if she does not do his bidding.
* YourMakeupIsRunning: Floki's kohl eyeliner runs [[spoiler:while he sits with Torstein's body and questions Ragnar about his continued loyalty to the Norse gods.]]
* ZipMeUp: The necklace variation of this trope plays out between King Ecbert and Lagertha, in which the former gifts a necklace to the latter and carefully fastens it around her neck (taking the opportunity to touch her hair while he's at it).
[[/folder]]

----
-->''"Each must die someday."''
----

to:

** Rollo's future glories are foreshadowed many times in early episodes. Not only did he establish Normandy, but almost every European ruler can trace their ancestry to him. To date, only a few other individuals have contributed more to Europe than he has.
** Season One introduced King Aelle's SnakePit, which is how Ragnar died in the sagas. [[spoiler:In the fourth season, it's how Ragnar dies in the show too.]]
** In one of the earliest episodes Ragnar likens himself to a boar and his son Bjorn to a piglet, which brings to mind [[spoiler:his FamousLastWords: "How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers!"]]
** Aslaug prophesied her son Sigurd will have a snake in his eye, in homage to her father Sigurd, who fought and killed a giant snake and in punishment to Ragnar's arrogance. And then the baby's born with a deformed eyeball, that looks like a snake is piercing his Iris. In real life, historians are still theorizing why Sigurd was called "Sigurd Snake-In-The-Eye", as there is no concrete explanation for his nickname.
** In Season 3, Ragnar pretends to convert to Christianity, then [[spoiler:fakes his death, and requests to be given a Christian funeral/burial, which would require his body to be taken inside Paris. During the ceremony he leaps out of his coffin, tosses some weapons to his men, and together they manage to open the gates of the city to the other Norsemen. This is a tactic said to have been used by the real life ''Bjorn Ironside'' in order to sack an Italian city.]]
** A really cruel one, where Astrid's [[spoiler: rapist]] is called Hakon, this being the name of the historical Harald's [[spoiler: son]].
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The Queen of Mercia states that her brother Saint Kenelm raped her as a child. She killed him in revenge and became something of a sexual predator. According to legend, he was a holy boy killed by his sister for his inheritance. Historically, little is known of Kenelm, and his sister went into a nunnery.
* HollywoodTactics: When encountering a numerically superior force, Ragnar's Vikings step out to face them on an open beach rather than stay in the narrow choke point they started at. It doesn't matter, however, because the Saxon soldiers never even try to flank them. The scene also functions as a massive aversion to the CallThatAFormation subtrope; the Saxons charge in as a disorganized mass, only to be utterly slaughtered by a disciplined shield wall.
* HonorBeforeReason: After Ragnar's sword breaks, the Earl lets Ragnar smash their shields to bits and then tosses his own sword away so that they can pause to re-arm themselves with axes. This might be due to the duel's ritualistic nature.
* HornyVikings: The main characters are Vikings, and their pillaging is largely influential to the plot. One horned helm is witnessed, but it has ceremonial use that is true to life.
* HumanSacrifice:
** A slave girl is sacrificed as part of a VikingFuneral. This element is present in Ahmed Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus.
** Nine people are sacrificed by the Uppsala temple. The sacrifices must be willing and believers in the Norse gods.
** After a battle, Björn sacrifices a POW to thank the Gods for the victory.
** Earl Jorgensen volounters as one.
** Ivar sacrifices two boys to ensure victory at York. This furthers the divide between him and Ubbe.
* HumanShield: Ragnar uses himself as one of these to protect Athelstan from Horik's hidden archer in "The Choice". He knows that Horik will attempt to kill the priest as soon as he's out of sight, so Ragnar offers to escort Athelstan back to Ecbert's territory and physically shields him from any kind of attack.
* HypocriticalHumor: King Ecbert warns his daughter in-law about the dangers of becoming infatuated with ''"interesting"'' people… after spending the last two episodes all but openly courting [[spoiler:Lagertha]].
* IAmXSonOfY: This is what Earl Haraldson's name is, but we never learn the X part of his name, so it's moot. The children are also referred to in this manner. For instance, lots of people call Bjorn, "son of Ragnar." This is TruthInTelevision as families didn't have a familial name -- what we would think of a last name was simply the name of their father plus a suffix of son or daughter. Individuals might have last names that were basically titles, but they did not function as family names.
* IcyBlueEyes:
** As the show poster suggests, Ragnar's icy, blue-eyed gaze is frequently lingered upon, and he shows no hesitation in killing. They're even more impressive when his face and head is covered in red blood and the only thing you can see of his face is two brilliant blue eyes, staring.
** Ivar has his father's eyes. Whenever his crazy starts flowing, he's prone to giving the camera a KubrickStare emphasizing his brilliantly blue eyes.
** When [[spoiler: Odin appears]] he also has one.
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Son]]: Erlendur tries to coerce Torvi into killing Bjorn by threatening her son, who is in the custody of his people. She [[TheDogBitesBack kills Erlendur instead]] though.
* ImpaledPalm: Athelstan has this done to his hands and feet during crucifixion. The scars still pain him several months later, although writing and painting seems to have helped his dominant hand a bit.
* ImportantHaircut:
** After Athelstan is tempted to [[GoingNative go native]] with his new Viking owners, he shaves his stubbled tonsure to reaffirm his commitment to his monk lifestyle. As he becomes more invested in Norse culture, however, he gets increasingly hairy.
** [[spoiler:Ragnar completely shaves his head after Athelstan's death, complete with suffering similar bloody cuts that Athelstan suffered when he tried to retain his tonsure in the first season]].
** In the third season, Bjorn has changed his haircut to a shorter version of Ragnar's signature mohawk-braid, while Ragnar has shaved his hair down to stubble. This hints at Bjorn eventually supplanting his father.
* IncestSubtext: The four younger Ragnarssons have some scenes that portray them as being... unusually close.
** They all sleep (or in Ivar's case, attempt to) with the same woman, Margrethe, despite there being tons of eligible girls in Kattegat who would want to sleep with the famed sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
** Ivar secretly watches his brothers have sex multiple times. It can't all be chalked up to mere curiosity about something he's never experienced.
** Ubbe offers Hvitserk sex with his new wife Margrethe. On their wedding night, no less. This in itself would be strange, but the way the end of the scene is filmed makes it ambiguous as to whether or not they're going to take turns or whether they're going to sleep with her ''together'' in a threesome.
** Some of the interactions Ivar has with Ubbe come off as a crush along the lines of BecauseYouWereNiceToMe, since his older brother is one of the only people to respect him and defend him when the other Vikings mock him.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. Children can be killed on this show just like everyone else, [[spoiler:even by other children]]. In fact, children dying is presented pretty nonchalantly and pretty regularly (because of accidents, illness...).
* InstantExpert: Happens with regards to languages. At various times Ragnar, Lagertha, and Rollo ask to be taught foreign languages. All of them are fluent by the next episode.
* InterplayOfSexAndViolence:
** Lagertha attacks her husband Ragnar to convince him that he should take her on a Viking voyage. He tries to use it as foreplay.
** Ragnar slashes his palm and smears blood everywhere while seeking out Aslaug's bedroom. His original intent was to kill her.
** Once Thorunn is free, she insists that Bjorn fight her, after which they tumble into each other's arms.
* IronicEcho: The Death Chant of the Vikings ("Up onto overturned keel...") makes a reappearance, this time [[spoiler: recited by Rollo as he watches his brother's forces being slaughtered by the Franks he's allied with.]] Talk about salting the wounds, eh?
* IronicNickname: Halfdan the Black is blond.
* ISurrenderSuckers: When Jarl Borg invades Kattegat, the elder warrior uses this to give Rollo time to evade with his brother's wife and children.
* ItsAllAboutMe:
** Aslaug, after Jarl Borg has taken over Kattegat, though she claims that it is about her children. Everyone in the village who could wield a weapon just died to secure her escape, but her main worry is that the hide-out Rollo finds for her is not up to her standards. The person who has to listen to her complains and reassure her is Siggy, who herself lost her sons, her first husband, her status, and finally her daughter. Later on Aslaug insists that Ragnar shouldn't ally himself with Jarl Borg again. Not because she considers it a bad move, or because of what he did to Kattegat, no, her main reason is that he insulted and humiliated her.
** Despite the ferocity and numbers of the pagan Northmen, Emperor Charles is too proud to call his brothers for aid in defending Paris, even though this could potentially doom ''thousands'' to their deaths. For him his issues with his brothers take precedence over the lives of all his subjects.[[spoiler: Then subverted in the season finale when he reveals, bitterly, the he ''had'' sent word to his brothers for aid and they refused.]]
* JerkAss:
** Earl Haraldson is pompous, arrogant, and forces others to say what a great ruler he is.
** Earl Bjarni casually threatens to beat his wife if she doesn't get him some herrings.
** Erlendur treats his wife coldly, enjoys torturing people and is not above killing his own adopted son.
* KangarooCourt: The first episode has the Earl hold court over a murder trial involving a land dispute. The Earl is obviously angry because he wanted the land for himself. Everyone votes against the man to placate the Earl. When Ragnar's son does not raise his hand, the Earl pointedly insists that the boy join with the rest. Later he tries to frame Ragnar for murdering Knut by having Rollo give false testimony. Rollo betrays him however, saving Ragnar.
* KickTheDog:
** Earl Haraldson curses a man who is about to be executed. Ragnar and his son disapprove.
** Rollo rapes Floki's slave girl just before the voyage, foreshadowing his later conflicts with Ragnar.
** The Swedish Earl casually threatens to beat his new wife.
** Ragnar tries to maneuver Athelstan into getting sacrificed. Due to DeliberateValuesDissonance, however, it's left unclear whether Ragnar intended to honor Athelstan with sacrifice or to avoid losing one of his prized fighters.
** Count Odo seems like a pretty normal, dedicated guy. Then it's discovered that he's got a [[spoiler:secret dungeon where he chains women up and whip them. He only does it to willing women, at least as far as we know, and he promises to stop when they ask, but the overall tone is creepy]].
** Harald and Halfdan show needless sadism and brutality in raping, mutilating and murdering a family of French farmers while the Norse forces move their ships. Bjorn doesn't protest against their actions for practical reasons, but doesn't share their obvious relish in the deed.
* KilledOffscreen: Subverted by [[spoiler:Ragnar in the Season 3 finale. He's shown ailing in bed, and it's implied that he hasn't got much time left. Then after a commercial break, he's shown suddenly dead. It turns out that he was just faking his death, though he is legitimately ailing]].
* KingIncognito: King Horik sneaks into the Uppsala temple in peasant's garb to prank the priests there.
* KlingonPromotion: [[spoiler:Ragnar kills Earl Harldson and becomes an earl, then kills King Horik and becomes a king. In the mid-Season 4 finale, he challenges his subjects to kill him and become king in his place]].
* KubrickStare:
** Ragnar's [[IcyBlueEyes icy blue]] gaze is often coupled with a Kubrick Stare for extra intensity.
** Ivar does this quite a lot in the season half of Season 4, with equal emphasis on his IcyBlueEyes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:L-P]]
* LadyMacBeth: Siggy serves this role for Earl Haraldson, though she doesn't support some of his more paranoid endeavors. When she shacks up with Rollo, it's not long before she's up to her old tricks. And in Season 5, Margrethe tries to be this for Ubbe.
* LargeHam: Linus Roache as King Ecbert, particularly at the end of ''The Usurper'', where he demonstrates actual mouth-frothing rage. "[[spoiler:My ''name'', and my ''word'', as King of Wessex, will mean '''nothing''' to '''them!''' But it cannot be, cannot be. ''It cannot be.'' I cannot allow, and I cannot tolerate, treason. '''[[{{Mooks}} Guards!]]''']]"
* LastNameBasis: Earl Haraldson's first name is not revealed, which is strange considering that "Haraldson" is a patronymic, not a surname, so he should be called "Earl [First Name]."
* LeftHanging: One episode ends with Athelstan approaching Lagertha with the wounds of the stigmata on his hands. Oddly, it's never brought up again.
* ALighterShadeOfGrey: Ragnar specifically is this compared to some of the other Vikings; he frequently shows mercy on enemies and the helpless. More than anything, the show presents his primary virtue as his forward-thinking attitude and thirst for knowledge.
* LovableRogue: Ragnar is a plunderer but he knows limits and is an affable guy.
* TheLowMiddleAges
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Vikings are often seen with their circular wooden shields. They hammer on them with their axes before battle. Most battles involve shield wall tactics.
* MadeASlave: This happens to Athelstan and the monks of Lindisfarne that were spared during the raid.
* MadeOfIron: Invoked when Ragnar gives Bjorn the nickname "Ironside" due to the fact that during a battle Bjorn was in the thick of fighting and did not suffer any wounds.
* MagicRealism: The series as a whole makes a point of the fact that the characters subscribe to the notions of divine predetermination and fate, so the things that happen to them are to a certain extent preternatural to them. This adds to an epic, mystical feeling that calls back to the Eddas that inspired the show.
** Ragnar has a vision of Odin and Valkyries after a battle in the first scene of the show and more throughout the series. It's deliberately left unclear whether they are supernatural visions or if he's just hallucinating.
** Aslaug's prophesies, such as about Sigurd's eye.
** The seer as a whole. He makes a number of prophesies that are quite accurate, but also frequently refuses to answer some of the most pointed questions. It's also implied that he's several hundred years old.
** Athelstan has several Christian-themed visions, such as bleeding stigmata, demons and angelic light. He is momentarily blinded by one vision, [[spoiler:which causes his final confirmation of his Christian faith]].
** Floki has a vision of one of his mastheads bleeding, which he takes as a sign from the gods.
** Harbard the Wanderer. Aslaug, Helga, and Siggy all have the same dream of his arrival. He seems to have magical powers and may or may not be [[spoiler: Odin or Loki.]]
** Just when a [[TheBerserker Berserker]] is hired to kill Bjorn he suffers an attack from a bear. A coincidence, or did the Berserker send his spirit animal after him?
** [[spoiler: After Ragnar dies flocks of ravens circle the skies much like with Ragnar's religious experience in S1E1 and all of his sons are visited by a one-eyed figure in a black cloak and know at once that Ragnar is dead.]]
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Princess Kwenthrith claims that the father of her son is Ragnar. This claim is put into question by almost every single character that hears it for the first time. It's eventually revealed in Season 4 that [[spoiler: they never had sex]], so such a claim would be impossible.
* MamaBear: Lagertha threatens to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_eagle rip out Athelstan's lungs]] if harm comes to her children while he looks after them. And then, after being informed of Horik's intent to kill Bjorn and his young brothers in the Season 2 finale, she is absolutely vicious in her attack against Horik's wife and his soldiers, killing anyone connected to the king or who may have been involved in the plot.
* ManipulativeBastard:
** Earl Haraldson ''tries'', though he is often stymied by his pessimistic assumptions that all men are as greedy and underhanded as he is.
** King Horik and Jarl Borg both far outclass him in Seasons 1 and 2, [[spoiler:although Ragnar manages to outsmart both of them.]]
** And in Season 3 [[spoiler: Ecbert and Ragnar]] leave them all in the dust.
* MauveShirt: Erik Marteinn, who looked set to be The Big Guy in Ragnar's team, gets killed in Episode 4.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: It's not entirely clear where the MagicRealism ends and real realism begins. Many characters have experiences they ''believe'' are supernatural, but it's never confirmed to what extent those experiences are real. Of particular note is the Seer, whose prophecies all come true, but are often vague enough that many outcomes would fit the wording of his predictions. People call him out on this, but the Seer refuses to say more when people press him for details. When flat-out asked whether the gods actually exist, the Seer responds only with laughter. Michael Hirst's TrollingCreator antics certainly do not help.
* MeaningfulName: It is noted by Bjorn that Floki has a name that sounds like Loki. He resembles the trickster god's role in many ways: a close ally to the hero on his travels, as Loki is to Thor (Ragnar, in this case); not a muscular warrior, but his intelligence is of great help (Floki is an engineer and imparts important advice to Ragnar); frequently causes mischief and trouble (needlessly burning down the monastery, causing a battle by ripping a crucifix off a soldier). In Season 2, he openly associates himself with Loki and names his daughter after Loki's first wife. [[spoiler: In Season 4, his punishment for killing Athelstan is pulled straight from what happened to Loki for killing Baldur -- caught in a river, chained up in a cave to be tormented by dripping with only their loyal wives to avert their torment.]]
* MenGetOldWomenGetReplaced: Over the course of the first four seasons, about 20 years pass. Main male characters such as Ragnar, Floki, Rollo and King Ecbert all visibly age over this time, while female characters such as Lagetha, Aslaug, Helga and Judith show no signs of aging.
* MercyKill: Athelstan mercifully slits the throat of a bishop who the Vikings had tied up and are firing arrows into.
* TheMillstone: Horik becomes this to Ragnar. He goes back on a deal with Jarl Borg, which jeopardizes their upcoming raid and involves Ragnar in a pointless and costly feud with Borg. He sabotages Ragnar's negotiations with King Ecbert and then leads the Viking force into a trap. At first he is motivated by RevengeBeforeReason but by the end of Season 2 he is actively conspiring against Ragnar.
* MushroomSamba:
** Athelstan seems to hallucinate when the details of Ragnarök are told to him. It might have something to do with what they put in the fire to make it smoke.
** Ragnar's group eats mushrooms at the Uppsala temple. We see some of Athelstan's trip from his perspective. Humrously enough, the mushrooms themself look suspiciously like chanterelles, and not [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybe_semilanceata psylocybe semilanceata]].
** Ragnar eats "Chinese medicine" (probably opium) and has a surreal, hallucinatory experience.
* NeverLearnedToRead: All of the Vikings (except Floki who knows runes), which is TruthInTelevision since RealLife Vikings were illiterate and unable to record their own history, especially in the earlier years of paganism. The only main character who can read or write is the Anglo-Saxon monk Athelstan.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: [[spoiler:Ragnar has Horik stabbed repeatedly before delivering a deathblow himself and then pummeling his corpse with head-butts and nearby objects]].
** The Hammerman who get's impaled with two swords and runs around for some time before he dies.
* NonActionGuy: In spite of being Ragnar's wife and the descendant of heroes, Aslaug is one of the few adult female characters who is not a shield maiden and has no skill in fighting.
* NotAllowedToGrowOld: Applied to some characters but not others, which grows more noticeable as the series progresses:
** Other than changes in wardrobe and makeup, both Lagertha and Aslaug look exactly the same by the time of the timeskip midway through Season 4, even though by that point [[spoiler:both have sons who are grown men]].
** Rollo remains exactly the same, without even the benefit of wardrobe changes.
** All of Ragnar's children on the other hand are shown to age between timeskips, even when they are played by the same actors.
* NotSoDifferent: "Sometimes your God sounds like one of our gods." The similarities between Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Frankish cultures are occasionally remarked upon. {{Justified|Trope}} as all three are different offshoots of the same Germanic roots.
* OffScreenMomentOfAwesome: The Great Heathen Army's defeat of the Northumbrians.
* OhMyGods: ''We been to [[TheUnderworld Hel]] and back!''
* OminousLatinChanting: Norse chanting, in this case. During the second Viking raid, a song by {{Music/Wardruna}} is played using authentic Viking-age instruments. It features men and women chanting quotes from the rune poems in Old Norse about how wealth is the joy and source of discord among men and the path of the serpent. This chanting becomes more and more common as Season 2 progresses.
* {{Omniglot}}: One of Athelstan's most valuable traits, both to the Vikings and King Ecbert. Thus far, it's been shown that he's either fluent or semi-fluent in reading, writing, and speaking Old English, Old Norse, Latin, Greek, High German, and possibly several other dialects and languages native to the main continent.
* OneSteveLimit: King Aelle's brother and King Ecbert son are both named Aethelwulf. However the former only appears briefly in Season 1, whereas the latter appears throughout Season 2.
* OnlyAFleshWound: The main characters receive quite a few grievous wounds, but always bounce back to fighting shape.
* OutDamnedSpot: Athelstan guiltily leafs through the Bible of a monk he's killed and hallucinates that an illustrated Jesus bleeds real blood. The blood oozes onto Athelstan's hands, causing him to frantically wipe at them, but the blood has disappeared.
* PetTheDog:
** Rollo. After all his previous Kick the Dog moments, in the fourth episode Rollo is seen giving a sick, old Englishman water instead of killing him (he then steals the cup and pitcher, however) and testifying on behalf of his brother in court, when he could have betrayed him for treasure and a good marriage.
** Ragnar hides a child from his own men during a raid.
** Aslaug frees one of her slaves so that her step-son Bjorn can woo her. It's one of the rare times that Aslaug has an opportunity to do something selfless.
** Aethelwulf threatens to torture an enemy soldier, but as soon as he's got the information he needs, he lets the man go and even offers him a drink. It's his attempt to distance himself from his Viking allies (whom he has pegged as total savages). In Season 4, he's revealed to be a loving father to his wife's bastard, Alfred.
** Ecbert's final scenes include him bidding warm and fond farewells to his family.
* PlayingGertrude: Katherine Winnick (Lagertha) and Alexander Ludgwig (Bjorn Lothbrok), playing her son, are only fourteen years apart. In this case though it's due to a TimeSkip, since Bjorn is aged up from a child to an adult. Travis Fimmel, who plays Ragnar, Bjorn's father, is even closer-twelve years older.
* PregnantBadass:
** Thorunn, in an irresponsible way. If you're pregnant, then going into battle is a bad idea. [[DeconstructedTrope Ragnar tells her boyfriend just how easily this can go wrong in real life.]]
** [[spoiler: Lagertha has this in Season 4. It results in her having yet another miscarriage.]]
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: John Kavanagh who plays the blind seer is promoted to the opening credits in Season 4. Same with Moe Dunford.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: All of the Vikings. Their idea of paradise is fighting all day and feasting all night.
* PublicDomainArtifact:
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriflamme Oriflamme]]. It’s first recorded historical appearance is in the 12th century, but legends place it as far back as Charlemagne’s reign.
** The [[{{Mooks}} mook]] to the [[http://vodzilla.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Vikings_S2_1.jpg left of Rollo in the opening battle of Season 2,]] wears what looks like a [[http://www.barringtons-swords.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/1200x1200/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/d/gdfb_paul_chen_hanwei_medieval_armour_ultuna_helmet_image_1.png crude replica of the Swedish Ultuna Helmet.]]
** The soliders of Earl Bjarni carries faithful replications of Coppergate helmet. Which is neighter the right place or culture.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Q-S]]
* RapeAsBackstory: Kwenthrith was raped by her uncle and older brother, along with numerous men the former brought. This is why she despises her uncle so much.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Rape is always used as a KickTheDog moment for characters, but Norse culture is ambivalent about it. Rollo rapes a slave girl and is teased as a villain. Knut's attempted rape of a free Norse woman is played as a clear indication of villainy. Our hero Ragnar's only mention of rape is to condemn its use against his wife.
* RapePillageAndBurn: The Vikings' original intention in England is to simply loot it for wealth before returning home. The more broad-minded Ragnar realizes there's more wealth in its fertile soil and wants to colonize it instead.
* RatedMForManly: It's a show about Vikings based off Old Norse poetry and legendary sagas.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: The common characteristic of every non-Viking princess on the show. Kwenthrith, Judith, and Gisla are all very pale, dark-haired beauties.
* RealityEnsues: Whatever insane view Lagertha has of Aslaug and of herself, the fact is her "army of liberation" is in fact an invading army. The people of Kattegat react to it as such.
* RealMenWearPink: Floki, the Seer and the shamans of Uppsala wears [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohl_(cosmetics) Kohl]] eye makeup.
* RealSongThemeTune: "If I Had a Heart" by Fever Ray.
* RecycledSet: Observant viewers will catch on to that the cliff where Ragnar stages the portage scheme is later reused as the location of Harald's capital.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler:Floki griping about Ragnar to Helga gives credence to his apparent betrayal of Ragnar, but his betrayal was a ruse]].
* RedOniBlueOni: A defining theme in the series is the contrast between pagan Viking traditions and Christian traditions. Viking customs tend to be more raucous, bloody and aggressive, while Christian customs are more somber, ethereal and reserved.
* RiteOfPassage:
** In the first episode, Ragnar's son has become old enough to attend and vote in a Thing. He also pledges fealty to the Earl and receives ceremonial rings. In Season 4, Ragnar repeats the ritual with Sigurd and Ubbe.
** Athelstan earns the right to call himself a thane after displaying bravery in battle.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: [[spoiler:Ragnar's death at the hands of the English sets this off for almost all of Scandinavia, with warriors coming from all over to avenge him]].
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething:
** Basicly any Norse king that has appeared in the show or been mentioned is personally leading his men in the field. If they don't, it's because they are busy fighting elsewhere.
** King Aelle and King Ecbert are both active in the defense of their realms.
* RousingSpeech: Princess Gisla gives an impressive one that rallies the defenders of Paris during the Norsemen's attank on the walls:
-->'''Princess Gisla''': Soldiers! Citizens of Paris! Behold the Oriflamme. Behold the sacred flag of Saint-Denis. Behold the sacred flag of Frankia. Behold, soldiers of Christ. That wherever the Oriflamme is, no quarter is to be given to our enemies. Soldiers, show no mercy. Fight on! ''(Soldiers screaming)'' Fight to the death!
* RuleOfSymbolism: See that funny V symbol? It incorporates the Valknut, the stripes on a longship's sail and the symbol of Yggdrasil and the blade of a sword to fully encompass the beliefs and traditions of the Norse as a people.
* SayYourPrayers:
** King Aelle's brother does this while Ragnar and his men attack his camp, rather than try to rally his soldiers or resist the massacre.
** Also done by the priests of Lindisfarne when the Vikings invade. This leads to their undoing, as the sound of their prayers causes the Vikings to find their hiding place.
** In the Season 2 finale, the waterfall scene of Ragnar and Athelstan praying together foreshadows and intermeshes with [[spoiler: Horik's invasion of Kattegat. In this particular case, the prayer works.]]
* SceneryPorn: Viking Age Scandinavia is so pretty...
** There are those sweeping scenery shots in Episode 8, and also the shot of the temple of Uppsala sitting majestically on a hill. Inaccurate in that Uppsala is flat-land, but ''damn'', it looks gorgeous.
** The shot of the mountains when Athelstan is first brought to Kattegat. So feral, so untamed, so ''glorious''.
** Each of the waterfall backdrops in the Season 2 finale are absolutely beautiful.
* ScyllaAndCharybdis: [[spoiler: Astrid is the lover of Lagertha. Astrid is kidnapped by Harald who then proposes to her. Astrid accepts. When she realizes that Harald and Ivar are going to invade Kattegat and kill Lagertha she tried to warn her-the men she recruits end up gang raping her. Astrid is shown to be pregnant soon afterwards, and thus as a possible result of the rape. Astrid is left with the choice of defecting to Lagertha again and face the wrath of Harald, or risk him finding out of the rape and thus of her secret betrayal and face his wrath.]]
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Earl Haraldson offers his wife to one of his spies. The man accepts, so the Earl has him executed.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: The Seer told Lagertha that she would never give birth to another child. Because of this, come the time for the second raid on Paris [[spoiler: Lagertha does not take any precautions to safeguard her pregnancy, participating in all the fighting and in the extremely demanding physical exertion of helping move the boats across the hills, resulting in another miscarriage]].
* SexyPriest: Athelstan has quite a few admirers in the fanbase. And some on the show now, too.
* ShownTheirWork: One of the problems the show's creators faced when making this was that there are just so few sources that accurately represent the Norse. After all, like the Mongols, their history was written primarily by the people they beat the shit out of. So, the showrunners had to rely primarily on Scandinavian sagas to paint a somewhat factual representation of them. Even so, this show has gotten a lot of things right in regards to history:
** Ragnar is shown waiting until villagers are at Mass before raiding a Christian settlement. This was indeed the favorite tactic of Ragnar Lodbrok, according to the sagas.
** The duel between Haraldson and Ragnar, a holmgang, is very accurately represented. Down to Svein's formal recitation of the rules of the duel, and the two parties meeting on a pre-specified plot of land. Even the shields are right, with both men having helpers who give them their shield replacements. The back-up weapon rule is also historically accurate. Historically, early holmgangs did indeed end with death. Though later on, first blood and other such measures were implemented to curb that. The only thing that seems to be missing is that a sheet was supposed to be placed on the ground to mark the area, and four posts were to be placed at each corner of the sheet.
** Floki's shipbuilding lecture in the first episode is legit.
** The description of the Uppsala temple is taken directly from Adam of Bremen, althrough that source has been questioned as Adam of Bremen never went there himself. The temple, or a building used for religious cermonies, was probably real but we will probably never know if it look like that. However, it makes nods to reconstructions of the Uppåkra-temple.
** Incidentally, [[NotSoDifferent do note how similar the Uppsala temple is to the stave churches of Norway.]]
** Way back in the first episode, Ragnar tells Bjorn the story of how he won Lagertha's hand in marriage -- by killing an enormous bear with his spear and strangling a giant hound, the animals who guarded her home. This is taken word for word from the ''Literature/GestaDanorum'' as penned by Saxo Grammaticus.
** In one episode, the Vikings land in England and are mistaken as traders by an official, who they then murder when he attempts to lead them to the Royal Villa of the King so that they may pay a trading tax upon their goods. ''This entire sequence actually happened according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.''
** The practice of a heathen converting to Christianity in order to seal a deal when the Vikings dealt with the Saxons is one that appears in many historical instances. For instance, to seal the Peace of Wedmore, the Viking Guthrum was baptized into Christianity with the Anglo-Saxon name of Athelstan and accepted King Alfred the Great as his adoptive father. The Vikings treating the baptism in a non-serious manner as seen in the show also has some basis in historical fact; the conversions were commonly seen as merely a legal binding, and often did little to reduce the Viking's hold on the areas they conquered in England.
** Ragnar accurately and beautifully quotes the ''Runatal'', the story of how Odin found the runes by sacrificing himself with his own spear on Yggdrasil.
** Rollo's tattoos seem to be representations of Sköll and Hati, the sons of Fenrir Hrodvitnir.
** Rollo's war chant in one of the first battles against the English is closely based on a death poem by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9E%C3%B3rir_J%C3%B6kull_Steinfinnsson Þórir Jökull Steinfinnsson]] (though he lived [[ArtisticLicenseHistory some centuries after]] the events of the show.)
** Ecbert's desire to become ruler of all England is grounded in reality, as Ecbert made numerous overtures to conquer neighbouring Saxon kingdoms, and actually succeeded in adding Mercia and other places to his domain.
** There are frequently scenes in which characters are quoting Scandinavian lore. For example, when Lagertha or Aslaug tell bedtime stories, or the seer is trying to make a point clear.
** The runes Floki carves are accurately depicted.
** [[http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/wedding.shtml Floki retrieving a sword from his deceased forebear (his father, in this case) for use in his wedding ceremony is true to history.]]
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bl%C3%B3t blót]] that Ragnar and company attend in 1x08 is portrayed accurately, almost adapted word-for-word from blóts described as taking place in UsefulNotes/{{Sweden}}, like in the Gutasaga or Adam of Bremen's account of Uppsala.
** The ritualistic washing and nose-blowing in the same bowl that Ragnar's crew participates in before setting sail is adapted from one of the most famous contemporary depictions of Vikings, that of the Arab traveler Ahmad ibn Fadlan, who encountered a group of ''Rus'' (Vikings) in the the Volga area in the 10th century and, among many other observations on their looks and customs, describes just such a scene (which he finds quite disgusting).
** The king or community leader performing the sacrifice. That is as far as we know how it really would have happened.
** The massacre of the Norse settlers by Christian Saxons depicted in ''Usurper'' was likely inspired by the infamous Saint Brice Day massacre where Aethelred the Unready had every Danish settler in England slaughtered, many of whom who were pagans [[note]]Scandinavia was not fully Christianised at the time, and among those who carried out retribution beside Knut Seweynsson were the infamous Jomsvikings, who were known for being fiercely pagan[[/note]]
** In "Breaking Point," a Christian missionary arrogantly declares the Norse gods false and accepts a test involving the handling of red-hot iron bars set by Aslaug to prove the power of his god. This is derived from chronicles of the Christianisation of the Norse, which lionize the missionaries. These chronicles assert that the missionaries were easily able to handle the iron due to the blessings of God and thus easily convinced Norsemen to become baptized. This is referenced in an ImagineSpot contrasting how the missionary ''thinks'' the ordeal will go (without him getting burned) and then showing the reality ([[RealityEnsues his hands getting burnt to a crisp]]).
** The Anglo-Saxons' belief that the Romans were a race of giants is based on real medieval reactions to the massive and mysterious Roman ruins.
** Rollo's dismemberment of a captured Mercian soldier's leg and later explanation, "it was the angle of the leg, I couldn't help myself." is taken wholesale from a scene in Fóstbrœðra saga, where Torgeir cuts off the head of a shepherd with almost the exact same justification.
-->“He had not done me any wrong, but the truth is that I could not resist when he stood so convenient for hewing.”
** Ragnar Lothbrok never converted to Christianity in any of the sagas he appears in, even as a ploy, yet the baptism in S3EP09 may contain a kernal of truth as it may be inspired by an instance during Ragnar's siege of Paris. In a nutshell, there was a plague that was ravaging the Vikings' side, and when sacrifices to Odin and Thor proved ineffective in alleviating it Ragnar "questioned" a Frankish captive who suggested that they should try fasting (it was Easter). By sheer coincidence, the plague began to lift as they did so.
** In the Season 3 finale, the warriors in [[spoiler: Ragnar's]] funeral procession sing the famous 77th stanza from ''Hávamál'''s ''Gestaþáttr''.
** Arabs traveling on trade journeys to Scandinavia? While it was rare and they only got as far as Hedeby, yes that happened.
** The song Harald and Halfdan sing after slaughtering the farmers is a real Skaldic verse composed by Egil Skallagrimsson when he was six years old.
** The smith in Season 1 has a replica of a Viking-age cooling stone bearing the image of Floki.
** Ivar's murder of another boy over a game brings to mind a similar incident from the life of the legendary Icelandic Skald, Egil Skallagrimsson.
* TheScourgeOfGod: The Church and some nobles of the kingdom of Northumbria believe the Vikings have been sent by God to punish the Saxons for their sins. Other nobles, however, believe that they might have been instead sent by Satan. [[TakeAThirdOption And yet others have this crazy notion that they're just savage men come to plunder on their own whims, with no supernatural origin.]] Ragnar is personally dubbed as this after his conquest of Paris.
* ShutUpHannibal: In the second season, Jarl Borg tries again to seduce Rollo into treachery, but Rollo simply punches him in the face.
* SiblingRivalry: Ragnar and Rollo.
* SlapSlapKiss: Ragnar's favourite type of sex with Lagertha seems to be make-up sex.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: A particularly bloody example. The conflicts between Vikings and Christian Europeans are depicted this way, with Vikings as the earthy, wild slobs and the Christians as the stiff, refined snobs.
* TheSmartGuy:
** Floki, the shipbuilder, who designs a state-of-the-art boat that can make the trip to England. He also turns out to have a fair bit of medical knowledge. He's still a Viking, however, so he's more interested in seeing how parchment burns than studying its detailed drawings.
** Athelstan is probably the most well-educated character on the show. Unlike the Vikings, he can read and write multiple languages as well as speak them, spent time in Charlemagne's court, and displays a great deal of knowledge on cultures and religions outside of his own. By the time of Athelstan's capture in Wessex, he has also become the foremost expert of Saxon blood on the Norsemen, their culture, and paganism in general. And while living there, he also acquires knowledge of Roman battle tactics for good measures.
** Ivar the Boneless's characterization as being intelligent starts in Season 4, when he is apprenticed to Floki and is shown winning Hnefatafl games at a very young age. He's also later shown playing a game of chess with Alfred, who was renowned in real life for being TheChessmaster and will eventually become Ivar's martial and intellectual rival.
* SmartPeoplePlayChess:
** King Horik and Ragnar play [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hnefatafl Hnefatafl]] while discussing future plans.
** Ivar is shown winning Hnefatafl games as a young child to start establishing him as a GeniusCripple.
* SnakePit: King Aelle uses a pit of venomous snakes to execute capital punishment.
* SnowMeansDeath: [[spoiler: Siggy]] drowns in the winter, with snow falling all around her.
* SoapOperaDisease: In Season 3, Ragnar's health starts gradually failing, either as the result of an illness, the accumulation of battle wounds, or a combination of the two. He's in such bad shape that his death is faked and all his family and friends believe it. In the beginning of the fourth season, he's bedridden at home. However, he gradually gets stronger and seems to more or less make a full recovery.
* SomewhereAHerpetologistIsCrying: King Aelle's pit of venomous snakes is actually filled with non-venomous and non-indigenous pythons.
* StandardHeroReward: Even though she had already refused his proposal, Count Odo clearly hopes to win Princess Gisla's hand after successfully repealing the Viking attack on Paris. When he personally asks her about this, Gisla refuses to give a clear answer and only ensures him that she will be deeply grateful if he indeed manages to defend the city from invaders. [[spoiler:Subverted as she ends up marrying Rollo instead]].
* StealthPun: Given how many [[DeliberateValuesDissonance people wouldn't recognize it]]. When Ragnar says "when the little pig teaches the boar how to listen," he wasn't calling himself a pervert. The boar is the symbol of the fertility God Frey. Given the scene right before the quote is said, he's saying he's still horny, thus why Lagertha shoves him.
* StockholmSyndrome: Athelstan's respect and affection for Ragnar's family grows over time in spite of the fact that Ragnar violently enslaved him. However, part of the reason Athelstan sticks around is because Ragnar treats him well and he has nowhere else to go. By Season 2, he feels like a part of the family, and Ragnar's family [[LimaSyndrome feels the same way]].
* AStormIsComing: Invoked heavily in the promotion for Season 1. In Season 2, before the climactic battle, Aslaug and Lagertha notice storm clouds gathering over Kattegat and state, "The gods are coming."[[note]]The [=Æ=]sir are also known as ''the gods of the slain''[[/note]]
* SuicideByCop: [[spoiler: Torstein]] essentially does this after losing his arm, approaching the Mercians alone. He manages to take one of them along with him before being cut down. This insures he'll go to Valhalla under Norse belief, since he died in a battle.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:T-Z]]
* TeensAreShort: Bjorn, who is much older than his half-brothers, is also significantly taller than them.
* TelevisionGeography: The animated SceneryPorn EstablishingShot of Uppsala displays the settlement on a mountain. RealLife Uppsala is located on a plain, the only nearby elevations being some burial mounds; appropriately from the Viking Age.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler:Ragnar's final raid of England]] as he wants to die, but wants it to be on his own terms. To wit, he [[spoiler:embarks in an ill-prepared expedition he knows is doomed to fail, and then he turns himself in to King Ecbert and convinces him to hand him over to Aella. Ragnar knows that his death at Aella's hands will galvanize his sons into revenge and trigger a Norse invasion of England.]]
* AThreesomeIsHot:
** Norsemen seem curiously fond of double-teaming their women.
*** Ragnar and Lagertha invite Athelstan to join them in bed.
*** Floki invites another of Ragnar's raiders to bed with him and Helga.
*** Jarl Borg recalls sharing women with his brother.
*** Ubbe shares his new wife with Hvitserk, even on his wedding night.
** Ragnar tries to get Lagertha to agree to a three-way marriage arrangement with Aslaug, but gets soundly rejected before he can even hint at a threesome. A scene in Season 2 showing Ragnar waking up next to a naked Aslaug and Lagertha would have implied some ThreeWaySex, but it was deleted from the US airing of the episode.
* TimeshiftedActor:
** In Season 1, Ragnar's son Bjorn was played by Nathan O'Toole but is swapped out for Alexander Ludwig after a time skip in Season 2.
** Ragnar's other sons are all swapped out for older actors in the mid-season finale of Season 4.
* TimeSkip: Four years passes between Episodes 1 and 2 of the second season. There are also shorter time skips several times throughout the series, so each season spans about a year or two. The mid-season finale of Season 4 has the largest timeskip to date, with somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten years passing.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood; By law, Ragnar must obey Earl Haraldson and sail east to RapePillageAndBurn. However, he believes that he should do the right thing and sail west to RapePillageAndBurn. He goes to a seer for advice on what to do and the seer tells him that if he can gain the favour of the gods, they will override the laws for him. Ragnar seems to interpret this to mean that if he is highly successful in his endeavor, the Earl will not be able to successfully punish him for disobedience.
* TokenGoodTeammate: Athelstan is the only completely moral, kind, and non-murderous hero, though he's also the most naïve. He even shows respect and great interest in the Norsemen's religion despite being a devout Catholic priest. As he immerses himself in their way of living however, his virtue begins to dim as he finds himself torn between the humble Christian scholar and the savage Viking raider.
-->'''Lagertha''': Then you are still innocent. It does not seem to matter how many experiences you have, Athelstan. In the end, you are still like the young monk I first met.
* TooDumbToLive:
** King Aelle's brother. At first he seems competent enough, refusing to fight the norsemen where they have the advantage, but then he fails to put sentries around his camp; when the Vikings attack that night, Aelle's brother starts praying instead of going out to fight, and by the time he's done his entire force has been defeated.
** [[spoiler:Yidu threatens to expose Ragnar's dark secret and tries to run off, causing Ragnar to drag her to the water and drown her]].
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth:
** Gyda, Ragnar's only daughter, died when the plague hit Kattegat.
** [[spoiler:Athelstan arguably qualifies as this, having been reborn into Christianity before his death in "Born Again".]] Since he's by far the most morally good character in the series, it's rather fitting.
** [[spoiler: Angrboda]] as well.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Athelstan in the second season is brave and combat-trained enough to prove himself in battle and is accepted as a thane.
** Bjorn ages from a spirited boy to a hardened veteran warrior over the course of the show.
* TortureCellar: [[spoiler:Count Odo has one, where he likes to chain and whip women. The women are so eager for his favor, however, that they endure it willingly]].
* TranquilFury: Ragnar often couples this with DissonantSerenity when pushed far enough -- the situations in which he is personally involved with killing any major character serve to be a reminder that [[ALighterShadeOfGrey even though he doesn't resort to violence to solve his problems right away,]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes he can be twenty times more merciless than everyone around him when he wants to be]].
* TranslationConvention: The show will present whatever characters have the emphasis in the scene as speaking English. If there are other characters who speak a different language, it will not be translated. The language that is English can sometimes switch back and forth in a single scene.
* TriangRelations:
** Rollo is this to both Ragnar and his wife, Lagertha, as well is the Earl and his wife.
** Ragnar has this with Lagertha and Aslaug.
** Ubbe, his wife, and his brother Hvitserk
* UglyGuyHotWife: Haraldson's beautiful young daughter is married to an old and ugly Swedish Earl. Until she annuls it with a stabbing.
* UndignifiedDeath: Earl Haraldson's sons are brutally murdered, their heads cut off and set against their backside, and left in a shallow grave as a sign of disrespect for their father.
* TheUnfavorite: Sigurd speaks against avenging Aslaug because for as long as he can remember, she treated him coldly while pampering Ivar.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Ragnar tends to keep his plans from others and the viewer, and most of his plans succeed.
** His plan to [[spoiler:betray Jarl Borg goes off without a hitch. Up until the betrayal springs, it's not clear what Ragnar is plotting]].
** Averted with [[spoiler:his plan to have Athelstan sacrificed. Athelstan proclaims his Christianity at the last moment, precluding him from sacrifice. One of Ragnar's strongest warriors volunteers instead]].
** His plans to [[spoiler:betray Jarl Borg and King Horik are both sprung before the viewer becomes aware of them]].
** In Season 3, he plan to [[spoiler:fake his death and use his funeral to kidnap a member of the royal family to open Paris's gates is kept from the audience as well as all of his closest confidants except his son]].
** And earlier, the very detailed and explained-to-the-audience plan to assault Paris fails spectacularly.
** [[spoiler: Rollo's first plan to defend Paris is explained in detail and goes off without a hitch. However, when Ragnar conceives of a plan to move his ships by land and attack in the other direction, he discovers to the audience's surprise that Rollo has also planned for this tactic, and Rollo wins this battle as well]].
** [[spoiler: Emperor Charles' plan to cleanse the court of potential traitors is not revealed to the audience. He leads Roland, Therese and the viewers to believe that he is giving Roland the same favor he gave Odo and then some. Then when Rollo is out defending Paris he has the siblings for dinner where they are both promptly murdered.]]
* UrineTrouble: Kwenthrith micturates on Ragnar, ostensibly to treat a wound.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The second teaser trailer places the characters under the world tree Yggdrasil and is so full of references to Norse Mythology that one could make a competition out of naming the most. Ragnar is Odin, Aslaug is Freyja, Lagertha is a valkyrie, Athelstan is Tyr, King Ecbert is Fenrir, King Horik is Jörmungandr, Floki is Heimdal, Siggy is Sigyn, and Rollo is Loki. The red rooster is Fjalar and the deer is Dain. The tattoo on Rollo's left arm is of Sköll, the son of Fenrir that chases the sun. Sköll means "''Treachery''".
* VikingFuneral: Episode 6 has an example, taken almost entirely out of Ahmed Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus.
* WarriorPoet: Rollo chants a poem on the inevitability of death to lend courage and resolve to his shield-brothers during a battle with the Saxons. Ragnar quotes the Rúnatal -- the story of how Odin won the runes as given in the Hávamál. Historically, the Norse viewed poems and sagas to be very manly.
* TheWatson: As an outsider, Athelstan receives a lot of exposition about Norse society and culture.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: In Season 4, Ragnar's sons are united in their desire to [[spoiler: avenge Ragnar's death]] but there are clear divisions among them. Bjorn is the oldest and most respected but he is Lagartha's son and makes no secret of the fact that he will side with his mother over his brothers. Ivar and Sigurd despise each other and their arguments tend to end just short of one killing the other. Ubbe and Ivar are both adamant in their desire to kill Lagertha -- with Ubbe being more cautious of it, especially given Bjorn's position -- but both Sigurd and Hvitserk are more aware of their mother's flaws, with Sigurd being out and out resentful towards her, and don't believe that avenging her is worth it at all. In addition, Ivar believes that Ragnar meant for him to be the leader but Bjorn, an experienced warleader, finds the idea preposterous and is backed by the other brothers.
* WeCanRuleTogether: The Earl offers to make Rollo his son-in-law and thus presumed heir in exchange for Rollo testifying against Ragnar at trial. Rollo is certainly tempted to take the offer, but in the end supports Ragnar.
* WhamEpisode:
** The show was going fairly smoothly with the tension slowly rising... until "Raid": Earl Haraldson burns down Ragnar's farm and drives him into hiding, captures and tortures Rollo, and marries his daughter off to a Swedish Earl. A good five or six months go by while the characters heal from the damage.
** Season 3's Born Again has [[spoiler:the reveal that Ecbert isn't as friendly as he's presenting himself to be, with him ordering Aethelwulf to kill everyone at the Viking settlement. In Kattegat, Athelstan dies at Floki's hands]].
* WhatBeautifulEyes: Ragnar's IcyBlueEyes.
* WhatTheHellHero:
** Floki criticizes Rollo for allowing himself to be baptized by Christians, regardless of the fact that Rollo does it only as a ruse.
** Lots of people give Ragnar grief for his controversial decisions, including [[spoiler:marrying Aslaug and keeping Athelstan around. In particular, no one likes how he appears to convert to Christianity and fakes his own death]].
*** It gets even worse in Season 4 [[spoiler: when word of the massacre of the Norse settlers get out and that Ragnar knew about this and said nothing]].
* WomenAreDelicate: Of those attending the blood eagle, all of the women except Lagertha, the shieldmaiden, either turn away or faint.
* WorldOfBadass: It's a show about Vikings!
* WorthyOpponent:
** Earl Haraldson reveals that he likes Ragnar and that Ragnar is not much different from how the Earl was in his youth. However, due to Viking politics, the Earl cannot allow Ragnar to succeed since it would erode the Earl's power base and he cannot trust Ragnar not to try to usurp him. Ragnar sees Haraldson in a similar manner.
** King Ecbert and Ragnar seem to feel this way about each other, although there is [[AmbiguouslyBi something else]] going on between them as well.
* WouldHitAGirl: Most Viking raiders rape whatever Englishwomen they can find. Lagertha's second husband abuses her, to his peril.
* WouldntHitAGirl: We never see Ragnar personally abuse any women, in contrast to many other Vikings. He spares Siggy's life and says nothing when Rollo marries her and Lagertha allows her into his household. When he discovers an English girl hiding from his raiders, he helps conceal her from them. In the finale of Season 1, he seems to consider it briefly when he goes to Aslaug's sleeping quarter with a knife, but leaves her unharmed in the end. He does, however, [[spoiler:have Horik's daughters killed by proxy, and in Season 4, he slaps Aslaug when she pushes his BerserkButton by belittling Athelstan's murder]].
* WouldHurtAChild:
** Earl Haraldson has Svein kill a 13-year-old boy so as to protect the Earl's treasures in the afterlife.
-->'''Haraldson''': You've seen enough of this life, boy.
** [[spoiler:Ragnar has Horik's entire family killed, including his many young daughters]].
** [[spoiler:Aethelwulf and his men slaughter everyone at the Viking settlement in Wessex, and there are semi-graphic deaths of a girl being trampled by horses and [[HopeSpot a boy seeming to escape the raid]] only to be shot by an archer]].
** Erlendur threatens to murder Torvi's and Jarl Borg's son (which is his adopted son by default) if she does not do his bidding.
* YourMakeupIsRunning: Floki's kohl eyeliner runs [[spoiler:while he sits with Torstein's body and questions Ragnar about his continued loyalty to the Norse gods.]]
* ZipMeUp: The necklace variation of this trope plays out between King Ecbert and Lagertha, in which the former gifts a necklace to the latter and carefully fastens it around her neck (taking the opportunity to touch her hair while he's at it).
[[/folder]]

----
-->''"Each must die someday."''
----
early
6th Mar '18 4:03:55 PM fruitstripegum
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* AllThereInTheManual: You really have to be familiar with the mythology of king Harald to understand why he would cut his hair after marrying. They do explain it a bit, but it's rather vague.
** And unless you have read the first part of Literature/TheSagaOfThePeopleOfLaxardal you would not understand that Jorunn is Kjetill Flatnose's daughter and that Helgi the Lean's Eyvind's and the complex family dymanic their marrige implies in the show.
** A web tie-in has the Seer explained how Ragnar got the name "Lothbrok", featuring a interesting twist on some episodes in the sagas.
* ALoveToDismember: Jarl Borg not only listens to the advice of his beloved first wife's skull, he also lovingly strokes it. At one point, he gives it a somewhat one-sided French kiss.


Added DiffLines:

* AllThereInTheManual: You really have to be familiar with the mythology of king Harald to understand why he would cut his hair after marrying. They do explain it a bit, but it's rather vague.
** And unless you have read the first part of Literature/TheSagaOfThePeopleOfLaxardal you would not understand that Jorunn is Kjetill Flatnose's daughter and that Helgi the Lean's Eyvind's and the complex family dymanic their marrige implies in the show.
** A web tie-in has the Seer explained how Ragnar got the name "Lothbrok", featuring a interesting twist on some episodes in the sagas.
* ALoveToDismember: Jarl Borg not only listens to the advice of his beloved first wife's skull, he also lovingly strokes it. At one point, he gives it a somewhat one-sided French kiss.
6th Mar '18 3:47:08 PM Saveelich
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