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The Franks

  • Church Militant: The Catholic Church was extremely powerful in Frankia, what with the Emperor being crowned by the Pope and all. Then again, Charlemagne did rig the Papal elections that one time.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Once the threat of the Norsemen is gone, the Frankish nobles at Paris immediately go back to plotting against each other. On the whole, they are mostly a gaggle of pretty repulsive individuals. Charles himself is an effete weakling, his daughter is bloodthirsty, Rollo is an unabashed traitor to his own people who has no problem killing children, and Roland and Therese are incestuous sadists. Odo's worst vice is his BDSM fetish, but that was at least safe, sane, and consensual.
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  • Dysfunctional Family: The three brothers who rule the remains of Charlemagne’s empire do not get along.
  • The Empire: Though no more evil than any other entity at the time (YMMV though, Charlemagne ''did'' massacre thousands of Pagan Saxons for rebelling against his rule).
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In-universe, Charlemagne is seen by the Franks as the best guy since Jesus. In spite of his virulent hatred of his peoples' ancestral religion, megalomania (seriously, historians opine that the aforementioned Massacre of Verdun was partly because he wanted to pretend to be an Israelite king), and general douchebaggery. Then again, Values Dissonance and the fact that the "good guys" basically do the same sorts of things.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne has been divided amongst his three grandsons.
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    Emperor Charles of France 
Played By: Lothaire Bluteau

The King of West Francia and Holy Roman Emperor. Grandson of the Emperor Charlemagne.


  • Ambiguously Gay: He shared a bed with Count Roland in Episode 9 of Season 4. Also, it can explain why he stayed widowed when he had a single daughter.
  • Anti-Villain: It’s hard to see him as the villain when the protagonists are laying siege to his capital for no reason other than glory and greed. However, his cowardice, selfishness, and his taking credit for all the good work his subjects and daughter do keeps us from sympathizing with him all that much.
  • Composite Character: He is mostly based on Charles the Bald, but includes several aspects of Charles the Simple, who was king of Western Francia during the other famous Viking Siege of Paris.
  • Decomposite Character: His role as Judith’s father is given to King Aelle.
  • Dirty Coward: Whenever the Norsemen attack the walls, he cowers in his throne room and doesn't come out until the battle is over, even when Count Odo specifically begs for his presence to bolster morale.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Orders for both Roland and Therese to be executed by garrote while all three of them are at dinner.
  • Facepalm: He exhibits an hilarious one when his daughter utterly insults Rollo at their engagement.
  • Foil: To virtually every other ruler on the show — Haraldson, Ragnar, Aelle, Ecbert, Horrik, Harald, Borg, Kwenthirith. Each of them is some combination of wrathful, warmongering, ambitious, manipulative, conniving, treacherous, and mentally unstable. Charles, however, is cautious, cowardly, conservative, and spineless, with no apparent interest in expanding his power or domain. However, Season 4 shows that he can still be shrewd and ruthless when he needs to be.
  • Hero Antagonist: Charles's just a King trying to protect his nation from the Vikings.
  • Hidden Depths: He may seem cowardly and weak, but he can be a ruthless statesman when it's needed and can put his fiery daughter in her place, like when he adamantly refused to dissolve said daughter's engagement.
  • Historical-Domain Character: He is based on Charles the Bald. Mostly.
  • It's All About Me: 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.
    • Zigzagged in that he eventually reveals to his daughter that he did send word to his brothers for help, but claims that none of them responded. It's apparently less humiliating for him to claim that he didn't ask them for help out of pride, rather than admit that he asked for help only to be refused.
  • Nerves of Steel: As of the mid-Season 4 finale, has finally decided for himself who to trust, and has the last threads of potential threats in his court eliminated while he's having dinner with them.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He yearns to be considered a worthy successor to his grandfather Charlemagne. Considering that Charlemagne is called the father of Europe, it's quite a tall order.

     Princess Gisla of France 
Played By: Morgane Polanski

The daughter of Emperor Charles.


  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: While at first she's terrified of her wedding night and threatens Rollo with a knife, when he actually respects her wishes and goes to sleep instead, she's rather insulted, asking him, "Are you asleep? How dare you!"
  • Arranged Marriage: She's married off to Rollo as part of the bargain to get him to join the Franks. She initially hates the idea, saying she'd rather give her virginity to a dog than a pagan. After Rollo learns the language and they can communicate, it starts turning into a Perfectly Arranged Marriage instead.
  • Composite Character: As mother of the future William Longsword, Gisla is a combination of Poppa of Bayeux and Gisela of France.
  • Death Glare: She's a master of this, mostly toward those barbaric Vikings.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: She tries to strangle Ragnar when he emerges alive from his simulated Christian funeral and kills the bishop, while everyone is too shocked to do something. Of course, she had no chances but one should admire her spunk.
  • The Fundamentalist: Vehemently against her father's plan to marry her off to Rollo to save Paris purely because pagans are disgusting and practice barbaric acts that are against her own beliefs.
    • This extends to her marriage life with Rollo — much to his frustration, she won't have sex with him while pregnant with their child and she asks him to respect this.
    • Prior to this, she was adamantly against the idea of making any kind of truce or deal with the Vikings to break the siege — not out of a strategic distrust for them to hold up their end (which they don't), but rather because she sees it as a test of faith for them not to surrender or compromise with pagans. Odo's pragmatic insistence on cutting a deal is what causes her to utterly reject him.
  • Heroic Lineage: The great-granddaughter of Charlemagne, no less.
  • The High Queen: Since the Empress is nowhere to be seen she is revered by everyone as such, constantly sitting at her father's side (and advising him rather well, actually)
  • Historical-Domain Character: She is based on Gisela of France.
  • Lady Macbeth: Constantly advises Rollo to be more manipulative and paranoid, which isn't bad advice given the nature of the Court; Rollo's straightforward nature makes him blind to Odo and Roland's maneuvers against him, which Gisla plainly sees.
  • Marriage Before Romance: She absolutely loathed just the suggestion of marrying Rollo, but hey, you find love in the most improbable places.
  • Nerves of Steel: She stands by the Oriflamme in the midst of the battle, mere meters away from the enemy until they are driven back. The entire time she doesn't even flinch.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Not at first, but once she and Rollo can, y'know, actually talk to one another, she winds up falling for him fast.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: As the Emperor's daughter, she probably wears the most lavish gowns of the whole series such as the gown for her engagement, her wedding day, and when she seduces Rollo on Christmas Day.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Along with other non-Viking ladies in the show, she's a refined dark-haired beauty.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Realizing that morale is shaky in the face of the Viking onslaught, she personally takes the Oriflamme to the city walls, gives a Rousing Speech to the troops, and then waits beside the standard while vicious fighting rages around her.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She has the spine that her father lacks, convincing him to stay in Paris during the Siege.
  • The Woman Behind the Man: Her father makes no important decision without consulting with her first.
  • You Got Spunk: She definitely does and that's why Rollo is instantly smitten with her.

     Count Odo 
Played By: Owen Roe

A Frankish noble in charge of the defense of Paris.


  • Anti-Hero: Odo may be defending his homeland from foreign invaders but his initial motive was to win Gisla's hand in marriage.
  • Brains and Bondage: He is into BDSM and so happens to be the smartest person in the Emperor's court.
  • Crazy-Prepared: For every single trick the Norse pulled during the first assault on Paris, he already had a deadly effective countermeasure in place.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Breaking Point when he unleashes a spiked-wheel contraption on the Norsemen that could've come straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.
  • Frontline General: When the Norsemen launch their first assault on the walls, he is in the thickest of the fighting, repelling the ladders.
  • Hero Antagonist: By all moral standards, Count Odo is a just man trying to defend his homeland from foreign invaders.
  • Historical-Domain Character: He's based on Odo of France.
  • Historical In-Joke: He and Therese eventually married, according to history.
    • Also, the real Odo did succeed in becoming King of West Francia.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Emperor Charles. He was the one who prepared the defenses of Paris and made sure the city was provisioned for a siege.
  • Karmic Death: Whipped to death in his own bondage dungeon.
  • Number Two: Odo seems to be the king's enforcer for all regards.
  • Only Sane Man: He gives very sound advice... which is promptly ignored.
    • He warned the Count of Flanders and other allies along the Viking invasion route that they were coming, but he was ignored until it was too late.
    • He asks the Emperor to call on his brother the Co-Emperor of East Francia for help, but Charles refuses because of his pride. Though it turns out that Charles did actually ask his brother for aid and was refused, and only pretended otherwise in order to save face.
    • Once sickness and hunger begin to spread, he urges Charles to negotiate with the Vikings rather than continue to push their luck in a siege.
  • Power Fist: He has a literal iron fist replacing his right hand, which he seems to have lost.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He is the sole defender of the city of Paris.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Odo hopes that if he can successfully defend Paris he will gain Gisla’s hand in marriage.
  • The Starscream : Therese manages to get him to admit that he wants to be Emperor.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: As if the fact that he has a BDSM dungeon in the palace wasn't surprising enough, the Count places a very modern emphasis in consent and safety with his partners.
  • Worthy Opponent: He develops a quick respect for Rollo during the siege. After Rollo joins the Franks, Odo becomes quite sincere about working with him, and is quickly impressed with his aptitude for strategy and warfare. This changes later on.

    Therese 
Played By: Karen Hassan

A Frankish noblewoman at Emperor Charles' court.


  • Brother–Sister Incest: She's reveled to be Roland's sister.
  • Honey Trap: She becomes Odo's lover in order to spy on him on behalf of her real lover.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Like all non-Viking female characters she is a gorgeous brunette.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: She doesn't bat an eye when Odo introduces her to his BDSM dungeon and seems quite into it. Subverted in Season 4 when she is shown not to enjoy it at all and only pretends to in order to seduce Odo.
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    Roland 
Played By: Huw Parmenter

A Frankish nobleman and Odo's second in command.


  • Ambiguously Bi: Is in an incestuous relationship with his sister Therese, but he also shared a bed with Charles.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Therese is his sister.
  • Brother-Sister Team: He and Therese work for bringing down Count Odo and get the Emperor's trust.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ambitious as he may be, he didn't make a move against Odo while the siege was going on.
  • The Starscream: He craves to usurp Odo's position as the Emperor's right hand man and is conspiring with Therese to achieve this.
  • Unholy Matrimony: He and Therese seem to be quite in love, even as they conspire and intrigue together and she is his sister.
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