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The Norsemen

  • Badass Army: They're Vikings, and when they do partake in battles they really bring the pain.
  • Barbarian Longhair: If a Viking has long hair, it'll likely be this.
  • Beard of Barbarism: As Vikings, most of them have this style of beard.
  • Blood Knight: Because being such will allow them to enter the Halls of Odin, a Warrior Heaven.
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  • Genius Bruiser: They may not be book-smart, but watch any raid that happens over the course of the show, and it becomes clear that the Norsemen know what they're doing.
  • Grim Up North: That cold and barren place up north? They call it home.
  • Last of His Kind: The Norse are the last Germanic pagans left in Europe during the era this show is set.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Norse raiders.
  • Rated M for Manly: Par the course for Norsemen.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Odin in this case. Most of the Norse are very devoted to the Aesir and Vanir, and they can kick your ass pretty easily. Athelstan is the only one among them that loves Jesus specifically.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Vikings as a whole seem to have a very fatalistic outlook on life. Any misfortune in their lives is believed to have been predestined by the gods and the norns. This belief cuts both ways, positive and negative. Ragnar for example, uses it to bolster his courage in battle. Horik, on the other hand, uses it to dismiss criticism when he makes a tactically imprudent move or two.
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    • This is also regularly subverted, if you ignore the Seer’s predictions. As far as Ragnar's predecessors were concerned, he was "fated" to be a quiet farmer. As far as Ivar is concerned, he was "fated" to be a nameless cripple. Lagertha, "fated" to be a subservient wife. Rollo "fated" to be Ragnar's subservient brother. Floki, "fated" to be a loyal ship builder, and nothing else. Bjorn was "fated" to be Ragnar's official successor.

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Aristocracy (Jarls)

    Harald Finehair 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vikings_season4_cast_harald.jpg
Played By: Peter Franzén

"I decided that I had to make myself worthy of her by becoming king of all of Norway! Then she would marry me for sure!"

An ambitious petty king who wishes to swallow up all of Norway, which means he will have to annex Kattegat.


  • Abduction Is Love: Towards Astrid.
  • Actor Allusion: This is not the first time Peter Franzén played a Viking that was a good friend to a Skarsgård. He previously appeared as Eric Northman's fellow Viking and trusted friend.
    • More importantly he played the older brother of Jasper Pääkkönen in the The Lionheart, where they both played heavily tattooed racists.
  • Age Lift: Harald Fairhair's date of birth was circa 850. Historically, he would have been fifteen when Ragnar was executed and seventeen when Aella died two years later. The portrayal in the show is that of an older man.
  • Ax-Crazy: More so than his brother, who also invokes this trope. In the first river battle, they smile and giggle as they hide under their shield while Frankish arrows rain down on them.
  • Affably Evil: Harald smiles and is friendly to new people he meets and appears to be good with kids. On the other hand, he's also a sadistic warlord who rapes and kills Christians.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Has toppled multiple kingdoms on his path to become king of all of Norway.
  • Anti-Villain: His goal is to unify Norway, which like England at the time, is just a collection of kingdoms with each being the bitter rival of the next.
  • Badass Boast: See quote at the top.
  • Badass Cape: Often sporting a cape fit for a king, contrasting the more modest Ragnar.
  • Bash Brothers: With Halfdan. Perhaps best illustrated when they're sheltering from a hail of arrows behind a shield wall, yet still take a moment to grin gleefully at each other like little boys in the middle of a game having the time of their lives.
  • Cain and Abel: With Halfdan after he choses to side with Bjorn.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Usually dresses in red, which makes him stand out from the other Vikings. This is Truth in Television as Norsemen, and especially their chiefs and kings, dressed very extravagantly.
  • Characterization Marches On: In season 4A he is the Token Evil Teammate, but from season 4B onwards his more unsavory aspects are toned down and he comes off as a very flawed but likable character. It certainly helps that [[YMMV some viewers might find it hard]] to buy into the [1] of the later season were Harald is seemingly doing the same thing everybody else is doing. Which can make it jarring for some viewers when Harald rapes Ingrid in season 6A even tho he did things like that in season 4A.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Played with. Harald forms and breaks alliances on a regular basis but he does so openly and will not actually backstab a current ally. If he is your ally, you can trust him to have your back. However, once the goal of the alliance has been achieved, Harald will not hesitate to form a new alliance with his former enemies to attack his former allies.
  • Cool Crown: Rocks a crown made out of gold and shark teeth.
  • Cradling Your Kill: After he kills Halfdan.
  • Decomposite Character: "The Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan", one of many pieces of work that attempts to give some origins to the historical Rollo, portrayed him as the brother of Harald. Here Harald is unrelated to Rollo and Ragnar Lothbrok takes the role of Rollo's brother.
  • Villain In Plain Sight: Aslaug lampshades that his plans would involve conquering Ragnar’s lands.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He loves his brother and his princess. Too bad it's a one-sided romance.
    • He seems to have become genuinely protective of Astrid, particularly now that she's pregnant.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Ivar attempts to have Bjorn killed during the parlay, Harald steps down and declares it to be against their ways.
  • Exact Words: Harald assures Bjorn that he would never fight against Ragnar. As soon as Ragnar is dead, he moves to overthrow his family.
  • Friend to All Children: He's shown to get along with the Ragnarssons quite easily when he first meets them as children.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: What he intends to accomplish.
  • The Fundamentalist: The kind that sets fire to Christians for fun.
  • The Good King: He does seem to be well-liked by his people and when Olaf takes over his kingdom he points out he will never be able to make himself a popular ruler.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: First with earl Vik when he finds out Ellisif married him instead. Later when both Ellisif and Astrid are dead, he get's interested in Gunnhild, but Bjorn gets togheter with her when she becomes avalible and Harald is obviously not pleased.
  • Hates Being Alone: His primary driving force besides his ambition.
  • Heroic Lineage: He is descended from the Ynglings and by extension a decendant of Freyr.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Since his appearence, Harald has been on every Viking-faction except Lagertha's, but not for lack of trying.
  • Hidden Depths: In Season 5, he is on the verge of breaking into tears when Halfdan leaves to join Bjorn on another adventure. Later, he is also barely able to hold back his tears when Astrid says "yes" during their wedding ceremony. Both their subsequent deaths, the earlier at his hand, in battle haunts him.
  • Historical Domain Character: The semi-historical first king of Norway.
  • Hopeless Suitor: He was rejected by princess Ellisif for not being important enough. It turns out she was just not interested and Harald got the idea to conquer Norway and has almost completed the task, all for nothing.
  • Important Hair Cut: He won't cut his hair until he has married his dream woman. When he asks Astrid to cut it, it only fuels her shame about betraying him and her worry about what will happen when he finds out her child is not his.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: He is so blinded by his obsessive love for Ellisif that he is flat out blind to Ellisif's obvious intention to murder him after he killed her husband. Luckily for him (and unluckily for everybody else), Halfdan is not so blind.
  • The Mourning After: Harald forgets Ellisif quite quickly, but is quite upset about the death of Astrid and wears her earing constantly after her death as a Tragic Keepsake.
  • The Napoleon: Harald is shorter than most of the Norsemen and seems to suffer from an inferiority complex.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Sort of averted. Through obviously upset, his brother expects him to kill Ellisef, but Harald firmly rejects this because he loves her. This does not stop him from murdering the hypotenuse.
    • Played straight with Ingrid.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: He usually dresses in black and red.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Halfdan's blue. And as stated above he likes to dress in a red tunic.
  • Self-Proclaimed Love Interest: It's heavily suggested that he is this actually. He even invokes it himself.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In Season 6, after saving Bjorn's life while overthrowing Ivar, his wounds are so great that Bjorn and company in Kattegat were led to believe he'd died until he sends his men to tell them otherwise.
  • Tattooed Crook
  • Token Evil Teammate: Played straight in Season 4, but he is much more nuanced in the last two seasons. He is never supposed to be seen as a hero but his many (and often pretty nasty) negative sides are somewhat balanced by loyalty, honor and genuine love for his family.
  • The Rival: To Bjorn.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: In Season 4, Harald is meant to come off as a big jerk, originally conceived as a "ultra-right Viking". But a lot of viewers found his ultimate goal to be with the love of his life and constant failure to do so sympathetic. Even Micheal Hirst admitted that it became hard for him to paint Harald as a straight villain and in Season 5, he becomes right-up likable.
  • Villain Song: No, really. He and Halfdan has a theme song (ironicly based on a poem written by the grandson of one of the historical Harald's enemies) which they sing when they are out and raiding.
    My mother told me
    Someday I would buy
    Galley with good oars
    Sail to distant shores
    Stand up by the prow
    Noble barq I steer
    Steady course for the haven
    Hew many foemen, hew many foe men!
  • What You Are in the Dark: Harald's true nature comes out when he rescues a fallen Bjorn and takes an arrow for him, despite being his rival in love and power. If he just stood back and did nothing for a minute, all his dreams could have been fulfilled but doing so is not in Harald's nature.

    King Horik Gøtriksson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/horik79798_1660.jpg
Played By: Donal Logue

"I share your appetite for adventure, Ragnar Lodbrok, and I will gladly join forces with you. Since as King, I'm naturally not in favour of individual enterprise!"

The people of Denmark benefit from his just rule, and Skalds are well favoured at his court. When his family was killed by his treacherous uncles, Horik rose up to challenge them to battle and drive them away from his land. Enamored of Ragnar's legend, he is quick to join his strength to that of the rising Earl in order to gain the upper hand against his adversary, Jarl Borg of Götaland. And yet, though a Norseman born and at one with their ways, Horik's true agenda remains as double-edged as the sword by his side. Knowing that Ragnar's strength has already undone two kings, the son of Gøtrik awaits the time to reveal his true cunning.


  • Actor Allusion: Donal Logue once again plays an a-hole whose name rhymes with Toric.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In order to become King, he defeated his six uncles in combat one by one.
  • Backstab Backfire: His scheme to betray Ragnar and slaughter his family hinges on the aid of Floki and Siggy. They were actually loyal to Ragnar all along, which ultimately costs Horik and most of his family their lives.
  • Badass in Charge: Of all of Denmark (historically, he was the sole King of Denmark).
  • Barbarian Longhair: Long hair was a sign of manliness in Old Germanic societies.
  • Because Destiny Says So/You Can't Fight Fate: When Ragnar, who had suspected a trap and wanted to wait, challenges him on this, Horrik declares that the outcome of the battle was fated and that he cannot be held responsible for their defeat, as it was the will of the gods.
  • Berserk Button: Christianity is a big one for him. He hates the idea of being amongst Christians and will simply murder them in cold blood or even torture them before killing them.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He tends to come off as rather jovial and carefree, and the first time we see him, he's playing a prank on the local priests. Beneath that he is shown to be a very ruthless and cruel man, who does more harm than help to his allies.
  • Big Good: He's the King of Denmark and Ragnar pledges his loyalty to him. Thus, he's the highest authority among marauding warriors.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Has the bishop of Winchester tortured to death by tying him down and shooting him full of arrows. Truth in Television to an extent, as the Vikings allegedly did this to King Edmund of East Anglia.
  • Composite Character: With Harald Greycloak and Sigurd Hring, as Ragnar's predecessor as King of Denmark. Some historians and academic minded audiences have pointed out Horik and Ragnar are possibly the same person in the same place, with Ragnar being a more badass identity invented by Horik's descendants.
  • Death by Adaptation: In real life, he outlived Ragnar by a decade. Specifically, he outlived someone called "Reginherus", who is believed by historians to possibly have been one of the candidates for the historical Ragnar. There are even some historians who posit that Horik I and Ragnar might have even been the same person.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Ragnar and his men have him surrounded, Horik calmly resigns himself to his fate, and only asks Ragnar to spare his son, before serenely walking up to Ragnar and embracing death.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He truly loved his son.
  • General Failure: Horik's lack of attentiveness at his camp in the first raid of Wessex (As in his men freely going hunting and him drinking and feasting in camp) and his Leeroy Jenkins attitude in the second raid leads him to being squashed by Ecbert twice. Especially irking, for both Ragnar and the viewers, is that on account of his fatalist attitude, Horik refuses to take responsibility for any of his fuckups. According to him, his men lost not because of his terrible tactics, but because the gods had fated them to lose.
  • The Good King: Deconstructed. Ragnar remarks on how his people appreciate his just rule. However, this is likely because he pays skalds to make sure his reputation stays good; the man himself isn't exactly everything the songs portray him as.
  • Heroic Lineage: Horik I was a Scylding, and a descendant of motherfucking Harald Wartooth — the ultimate Viking badass (aside from Ragnar and Egil Skallagrimsson).
  • Hidden Depths: Exhibits knowledge enough of Norse legends to impress even Floki.
    Horik: Of course, I do. These things interest me.
  • Historical Domain Character: Yeah, that Horik. Loosely.
  • Historical In-Joke: Of course, he would know about Christians! Historically, Horik I's predecessor converted to Christianity and Horik himself historically resisted attempts to proselytize the Danes by Ansgar of Hamburg-Bremen.
  • Kill 'Em All: Tries to pull this on Ragnar's family. It backfires. Hard.
  • Large Ham: Shows himself to be a bit theatrical.
    Horik: I have heard about Christians! And their god! And... are you still Christian?
    Athelstan: No.
    Horik: OF COURSE NOT! How could you be a Christian and walk among our gods?!
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Believes that Floki and Siggy can be trusted to help him bring down Ragnar. They can't.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: His approach to battle is essentially to say "To Hel with planning, let's just charge straight at the enemy!"
  • Papa Wolf: He gets pissed when one of his sons die in the raid on Wessex.
  • Pet the Dog: Any intereactions with his sons show the kinder side of his personality. He even dies begging for his son to be spared.
  • Poisonous Friend: He has a highly negative influence on Floki, attempting to convince him to murder Bjorn.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Viking.
    "Do not despair. Meet everything head on. Whether we live or die this day is already in the hands of the gods! They know whether we sup with tonight so fear not! Fight well. And should you die, surely Odin will take you to Valhalla!"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Unless he sees you as a potential threat to his power, he's fair and affable.
  • Rousing Speech: See Proud Warrior Race Guy above.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: In addition to his exploits that won him the throne, Horik also fights in the shieldwall alongside his men.
  • Supporting Leader: Ragnar is The Protagonist and pledges loyalty to him at the end of first season.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Plays hnefatafl with Ragnar to pass the time. They both use it as an opportunity to suss each other out.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ragnar gives both him and Borg one of these after their battle, chiding them for wasting lives against each other when they could be conquering new lands in the West.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Sensing that Ragnar has a weakness for his family, he tries to get Floki and Siggy to murder Ragnar's children.
  • You Killed My Father: Towards his uncles. His mother and siblings were also thrown into the mix.

    Earl Haraldson 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/earl-normal_vikings-promo-13_1051.jpg
Played By: Gabriel Byrne

"A man lives or dies by his honour"

Once he was as Ragnar is now — Restless, ambitious, and eager for battle. Now the years of grief since the death of his sons has made a ruin of a once mighty man. Stern and patriarchal, he sees daggers drawn in the shadows around every corner, true or otherwise. Holding only dwindling faith in the gods, he claws and struggles to retain his temporal power, yet deep down he is a dead man who desires only peace from the world.

When his struggle with Ragnar's rising power comes to head, the two face each other in holmgang, the preferred protocol for such rivalries. Ragnar defeats the Earl in single combat, thus allowing him to at last enter Valhalla and be reunited with his sons, and also takes the fallen warrior's role as chieftain of Kattegat.


  • Arch-Enemy: To Ragnar, and vice versa. Ragnar was even described as his nemesis by Gabriel Byrne.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Downplayed. We don't see him fight until his duel with Ragnar (who was injured at the time).
  • Bad Boss: Due to Earl Haraldson's greed and paranoia, it can be just as dangerous to be one of his loyal followers as being one of his enemies. He goes as far as to give one of his men the permission to sleep with the Earl's wife and then have the man executed when he takes the Earl up on the offer. This gradually reduces his powerbase until by his fight with Ragnar he has only one man loyal to him personally and not the office.
  • Badass Boast: Gives an epic one when he invades Ragnar's village.
    "Let the man who believes himself to be descended from the gods learn he is but human after all."
  • Badass in Charge: Of the Norse tribe before Ragnar succeeds him.
  • Barbarian Longhair: He's the Earl of the Norsemen of Kattegat, and has shoulder-length hair. Though rather well managed, given his status as a noble.
  • Big Bad: He is the source of the initial conflict and Ragnar's direct antagonist.
  • Blood Knight: Going so far as to deliberately disadvantage himself to draw out the fight with Ragnar — casting aside his first shield and letting him destroy the second after Ragnar breaks his sword.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Dishes some of this out to Rollo, resulting in his permanent scarring.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Sees enemies behind every corner.
  • Control Freak: Because of his paranoia he needs to be in control of everything. Someone uncontrolable like Ragnar drove him up the wall.
  • Crisis of Faith: Expresses some doubts about the gods, which furthers the contrast between him and the deeply religious Ragnar. However, he seems to overcome them in the throes of death because he believes that he will finally see his sons again in the halls of Odin. His return of faith prior to death has been confirmed by Word of God.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A few times.
    "Oh yes, yes, choice, yes. I have heard these rumors, these stories, that if we sail westward we will somehow find a land that is rich, and plentiful."
    "You want to eat in my hall, sail on my ships, is there anything else you want from me?"
    (upon hearing that Ragnar wants to face him in single-combat) "Well, he is a descendant of Odin!"
    (at the trial) "Well, it's unfortunate we can't find out who did it because they both take credit for it."
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Ragnar defeats him midway through the first season.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Seer tells him that he and Ragnar are destined to face each other and only one will survive that battle. Haraldson decides to take care of that, but he decides to do so by not only trying to kill Ragnar but also by torching an entire village.
  • Duel to the Death: Faces Ragnar over the earldom in ritualized combat.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His two dead sons, primarily, because of his mourning for them. To a lesser extent, his wife and daughter. He wasn't happy about the arranged marriage either, but viewed it as necessary for his ambitions.
  • Evil Overlord: Far less outright evil than other examples but he's still a jarl with a fair amount of corruption in him.
  • Evil Is Petty: As described by Gabriel Byrne, he's a man who believes deeply in temporal power and will fight to the death to hold on to it.
  • Evil Plan: He sees a threat to his powerbase, (I.E. Ragnar) and wants to snuff it out.
  • Face Death with Dignity: He was perfectly composed when he lost his duel with Ragnar. He even asked Ragnar to deal the finishing blow.
  • Fallen Hero: According to him, he was similar to Ragnar in his youth, being a fearsome raider.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He tries to play a Benevolent Boss, but does a very, very bad job of it.
  • Freudian Excuse: The murder of his sons and desecration of their bodies. We don't really get a look at what he was like before their deaths, but his wife's attitude seems to suggest he wasn't nearly so bad.
  • Foil: To Ragnar. He's conservative, irreligious, paranoid, and dominating. Ragnar is forward-thinking, deeply religious, is blinded to his brother's less than noble characteristics out of love for him, and treats his warriors as equals. In spite of this, it is said that they were not so different in other respects. Generally, neither man despises each other at all, instead possessing mutual admiration for one another. It goes one further when Haraldson says that Ragnar is basically what he was when he was young. Indeed, it is because of their similarities, rather than their differences that they come into battle with each other.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The first time in the series where he seems in any way happy is when Ragnar kills him. He's happy because at long last he'll be in Valhalla with his sons.
    Ragnar: Lord Odin is here... He is waiting to see which one of us he will take to his Great Hall.
    Haraldson: Then... then I shall dine after all at the high table of the Aesir... [[to his grieving wife]] Tonight, I will be drinking with our boys...
  • Heartbroken Badass: He had nightmares about finding his son's dead bodies.
    Siggy: You need to rest to sleep.
    Haraldson: I know. I will. There's always time to sleep. I was thinking about our boys... what they would look like now...
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Historically, the Norse and other Germanics were among the first to use patronomyics from which modern names like 'Johnson' and so on are derived. Such is the case with Haraldson. Of course, in the Norse usage, his name should be 'Haraldsson'. This patronoymic also would not have served as a surname, and he should be called 'Earl First Name'. Then again, we never ever learn his first name in any case. So you could say that he fits this trope half-way.
  • It's Personal: Always had the intent to one day kill Ragnar and take his means of navigating the open seas, but when his illegitimate brother Canute was killed by Lagertha (to his knowledge, Ragnar), it became this for him.
  • Jerkass: See Bad Boss above.
  • Kangaroo Court: Is found of using this procedure to destroy his enemies.
  • Kick the Dog: The first instance is when he shamed a man who had been executed. He had nothing to gain from it and Ragnar calls it excessive.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Which he uses to find 'traitor's in his midst'; of course, most of these threats are imagined ones. Also towards Rollo, his method of playing to his insecurities and strained relationship with his brother was pretty good but he didn't count on Rollo's ultimate loyalty being so great, which truthfully, came out of the blue for everyone. On the other hand, if you instead believe that Rollo did it solely for Lagertha's sake...
  • Misery Poker: When Siggy objects to him marrying their daughter off to an old, fat, ugly Swedish noble, Haraldson counters that not only had he found their sons' corpses after a battle, but found their heads cut off and placed against their buttocks' as an insult. Compared to that, he argues, marriage to an old man isn't so bad. Of course, this also ignores how his daughter is still trapped in a loveless marriage with a man who regularly exercises his Marital Rape License, orders her around, then threatens to beat her if she doesn't obey.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Shows himself to be highly proficient with swords and axes. Switching comfortably between them during the duel with Ragnar.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He is essentially a Viking Gille Coemgain of Moray story wise. Ragnar is the equivalent to Macbeth, Haraldson to Gille Coemgain and Horik to Duncan.
  • Noble Demon: He's a vengeful, sadistic man but he has his principles, such as personal honour, bravery, loyalty and love for his children.
  • Old Retainer: He is much older than Ragnar and still fights him in a duel. Granted, Ragnar was injured, but even lasting as long as he did puts Haraldson in a high echelon of badassery.
  • Old Soldier: According to Tostig, Haraldson personally lead many raids into the Baltic lands (perhaps even the Turkic ones as well). Given that Tostig also says that Haraldson fought alongside him, we can determine that he must have been an even better warrior in his youth if he was able to keep up with a guy like him.
  • Parental Favoritism: While his son's deaths were genuinely traumatic, Haraldson spends so much time mourning them that he barely seems to remember his daughter exists, except as chattel he can marry off for a good price.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Say what you will of Earl Haraldson, but the man doesn't shy from taking on a man half his age in single combat. The fact that he fearlessly fights Ragnar despite seeing his battle prowess first hand also contributes to his already extensive badass credentials.
  • Screw Destiny: Tries to get out of fighting Ragnar personally as the Seer foretells by zerg-rushing him with troops, it fails and he faces Ragnar in a holmgang anyway.
  • The Shadow: Of Ragnar and Lagertha. Ragnar ends up just a bitter non-believer like him.
    • Lagertha likes to speak of Ragnar's grand dream of a better future where the people in Kattegat could live as peaceful farmers in a off-Scandinavian colony. When Floki shows up and has found an uninhabited land awaiting settlement, Lagertha forbids him from recruiting because she needs every man she can get in order to fight Harald Finehair and keep the power over Kattegat.
  • Starter Villain: He is Ragnar's first opponent and many more follow.
  • Tragic Villain: Ultimately revealed to be like Ragnar +20 or so years that was done in by paranoia and heartbreak.
    • Indeed, almost two decades after the events of the first season, Ragnar has become as much of a irreligious shell of himself as one might assume Earl Haraldson was. He even get's some of Haraldson's Bad Boss tendencies.
  • Viking Funeral: A full episode is centered around his funeral, including setting him in a boat which they push off and torch.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Orders a child (legally a child because he didn't have an arm ring) killed so he would protect his treasure in the afterlife.
  • Worthy Opponent: He privately reveals to his wife that he holds Ragnar in the utmost respect, that he always knew in his heart that Ragnar was right about the lands to the west, and that he sees much of his younger self in Ragnar. Indeed, it's for these very reasons he saw Ragnar as a threat, and feared that if he supported Ragnar, the men would turn to him and his own power would erode.
    Siggy: Don't think about [[our sons]], think about tomorrow...
    Haraldson: Where I must kill a man for whom I have the utmost respect for?
    Siggy: Respect? (scoffs) You respect Ragnar Lodbrok?
    Haraldson: Why not. He is what I used to be: restless, ambitious.
    • Ragnar shows that the feeling is reciprocated, hence why he honoured him with a Viking funeral.
      Athelstan: I don't understand... why have you given Earl Haraldson such a big funeral? Was he not your enemy?
      Ragnar: He was also a great man and warrior. He earned his renown in this life and now in death, he deserves such a funeral.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Tried to kill Ragnar without facing him in battle, failed to do so, and ended fighting him face to face like the Seer prophesied. He was remarkably calm about this.
    "It's true our fates have brought us together. And maybe he's opened the western lands... for me... That is my hope, after I kill him."
  • You Remind Me of X: As mentioned above, Haraldson is reminded of his glory days when he sees Ragnar.

    Gunnhild 

Played By: Ragga Ragnars
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gunnhilds_fight_vikings_s6e10_7.jpeg
"My heart is unmoored"

Once the wife of jarl Olavsson, she is now competed over by both king Björn and king Harald. A living giantess, Gunnhild is one of the fiercest sheildmaidens to walk Midgard.


  • Action Girl / Lady of War: A tall, sinewy woman who screams at her men on the battle field for not being brave enough.
  • Billing Displacement: Starting in season 6, Gunnhild is a main character but is only credited as a supporting character until episode 6.10.
  • Crusading Widower: After her husband Olavsson is killed by an arrow in the eye she goes after the Saxon leaders on the battle field despite the viking army being routed.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Gunnhild appears in second half of season 5B and by and by season 6A she is for all intents a main character even if she is not credited as one.
  • Hero Killer: In her second appearance she kills off Heahmund after he has been wounded by arrows.
  • One-Man Army: During the siege of Kattegat she manages to scale the wall and fight her way to Björn to save him when he gets trapped behind the gate.
    • During the first battle with the Rus she mows straight through the causeway to climb aboard Oleg's flagship to clear the deck and is only stoped when she meets her match in Prince Oleg the Prophet.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Björn falls in love with her after she almost cuts out his eye in battle.
  • Statuesque Stunner: At 6.1 former olympic swimmer Ragga Ragnars is the third tallest actor on the show, only beaten by a centimeter by her onscreen love interest Alexander Ludwig.
  • Super Swimming Skills: In a obvious Actor Allusion, Gunnhild is a great swimmer.
  • Together in Death: Invokes this when she drowns herself.

    Jarl Borg 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jarl_c164466_3750.png
Played By: Thorbjørn Harr

At the moment, my price is the King's head.

A fearsome warrior, cunning tactician, and powerful Jarl, Borg is a force to be reckoned with. Rival to King Horik for the lands of Götaland. Jarl Borg intensely hates King Horik (a feeling that is reciprocrated) and seeks to better his kingdom's position, whatever the cost.


  • Affably Evil: Perhaps closer to "affably morally ambiguous". He is a rather civil guy, overall. Prior to his Sanity Slip and decent into a Cloud Cuckoolander, he would probably be a pretty good guy to have as a friend. He insists on tasting Torvi's wine in case the wine was poisoned.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: His death scene is shot very emotionally and respectfully to the character, and he even gets to go out with a grin. Come Season 5, decades have passed and he's still remembered by Torvi and Bjorn as a great warrior worthy of respect, and they speak positively of him to his son, born after his death.
  • An Axe to Grind: His Weapon of Choice.
  • Animal Motifs: He takes the eagle as his symbol.
  • Anti-Villain: Borg is only a villain in that he opposes the protagonists. Also, his invasion of Kattegat was caused by Horik's last-minute breaking of their agreement.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Jarl and fearsome warrior.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "What is it that you want, Rollo? What is it that you want?"
  • A Sinister Clue: Jarl Borg sometimes fights left-handed.
  • The Atoner: After Ragnar "forgives" him he realizes his mistakes and sets to make amends. Sadly it does not end well for him.
  • Badass Boast: "His vanity will destroy him (Ragnar)...No, not his vanity. I WILL DESTROY HIM!"
  • Berserk Button: Oath-breaking is a big one for him. As shown when he asks Rollo to fight against Ragnar which he doesn't do for very long time and the he surrenders. Also the alliance between him, Horik, and Ragnar was broken as King Horik couldn't trust him so he tells Ragnar to tell Borg that the pact was broken and as usual Jarl Borg didn't react well.
  • Breaking Speech: Efficiently breaks Rollo's mind with one.
  • Brutal Honesty: With himself. He freely admits that Ragnar is a better man than him, and that he doesn't deserve a second chance. Little does he know...
  • Canon Foreigner: Jarl Borg is neither historical nor mythical, being created specially for the show.
  • Character Development: After being defeated (and subsequently forgiven), Borg tries to rekindle his friendship with Ragnar and forgets the crimes of the past.
  • Character Filibuster: His long speech about brothers (quoted below) in "Freudian Excuse".
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He is slowly losing his mind through out the series.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: He speaks to the skull of his first wife.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Very much so.
    Ragnar: You continue to humiliate him.
    Borg: If I invade and conquer, will he not be humiliated more? (his friends chuckle)
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted. While he agrees to join forces with Ragnar and Horik after an unsuccessful battle against them, it's clear that there is still a great deal of mutual dislike, particularly between him and Horik. Ultimately, the differences between the two men cause the fragile truce to fall apart, and the violence resumes.
  • Defiant to the End: He never asks to be spared or tries to make his captors sympathize with him. Jarl Borg pretty much faces his execution headfront.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Literally goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge because a simple oath wad broken.
  • Dual Wielding: Dual-wieldes axes.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: It's hinted he did not scream in his execution, meaning he went to Valhalla for his bravery in the face of death.
  • Dying Smirk: As he takes his last breath, Jarl Borg grins as he stares into a nearby eagle (with the implication he may have become one with the eagle).
  • Even Morally Ambiguous Has Loved Ones: He seems to love his second wife pretty dearly, and if his speeches are any indication, he loved his first one even more.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: His face when he sees Ragnar has betrayed him for a second time is of genuine betrayal, and he can only repeat futilely "No". This may be as much because of what Ragnar was telling him his eventual fate would be: Blood Eagle.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He does not look kindly upon oath-breaking.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Despite the absolutely horrific manner of his death, he rises to the occasion when the time for his execution finally comes. It's ambiguous whether or not he screamed at the end, but he still took it one hell of a lot better than most would. It could even be interpreted that when he and Ragnar saw the eagle, he laughed.
  • Fiery Redhead: Prone to going on a rampage for a simple oath being broken. Also he is a Viking so it's natural and his hair his red.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: When he raids Kattergat, Borg sees Rollo in the other side of the battlefield. Then he does a Unflinching Walk as he cuts down some twelve people in his path.
    • When Ragnar and his warband ambush he and his men, he has his men do a literal version of this by ordering a flank of his men to fall back, then suddenly charge forward again.
  • Freudian Excuse: His brother murdered his wife and most of his guests, making him a lot less trustful of people. He even has a long Character Filibuster on it:
    Borg: Not all brothers get along so well, I know that by personal experience. I too had a brother, and I loved him. We were very close, as befit of all brothers, we fought together in the shield walls, shared the same women. When my father was killed there was fierce competition to replace him as Jarl, and although I was the eldest son, I was not sure I was going to succeed. However, I was elected, and we had a feast to celebrate... My wife was there, my young beautiful wife. We'd just gotten married. And all the others who stood in the election against me. My brother poisoned them...all. I only survived because my wife took the cup I was about to drink in celebration. I will never forget the screams. It's my wife's screams that will haunt me for the rest of my life. My brother denied responsibility, but his guilt was too obvious, so I blinded him with my own hands and then I burned him alive. That is what I know of the love between brothers.
  • Genius Bruiser: He is a fine warrior, but also a great tactician and politician.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: He gladly accepts Ragnar's forgiveness, and appears to be wholeheartedly committed to joining forces with him. However, this merciful act was only a ruse to draw Borg back to Kattegat, where Ragnar plans to carve the blood-eagle on him.
  • Heel Realization: Remorse hits him after his defeat at Ragnar's hands.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: As he dies, a suspiciously apropos eagle appears (given The Seer told Borg he'd become an eagle) and the way the scene proceeds indicates a hint of supernatural link between the eagle and Borg, but it's never really shown either way.
  • Not Afraid to Die: On the contrary, he seems quite eager to see how a Blood Eagle works. Even if he's the subject of it.
  • Opt Out: In the battle with Ragnar, he realizes his army is going to lose, so he orders a tactical retreat and flees to fight another day.
  • Prophecy Twist: He learns a little too late the Eagle the Seer spoke of is a Blood Eagle, a nordic method of execution.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: He tries becoming an ally of Ragnar once again. Ragnar is on a very unforgiving mood, however.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Rollo, Ragnar, and Horik have broken their oaths twice he's had enough and takes his anger out on Ragnar's home Kattegat.
  • Sanity Slippage: Jarl Borg starts consulting with his first wife's skull and starts having hallucinations.
  • Shirtless Scene: He fights the battle against Horik's forces bare-chested, much like Rollo.
  • Tragic Villain: His wife's death and his brother's betrayal make him quite a tragic figure.

    Torvi 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screenshot_2016_04_15_at_54949_pm_edited_5.png
Played By: Georgia Hirst

"I'm Viking."

Torvi is the widow of Jarl Borg and the mother of his son Guthrum. After leaving her abusive husband, Erlendur. Torvi becomes the wife of Bjorn and a shieldmaiden.


  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Given that she show does not obviously "age" the female characters through make up, Georgia Hirst looks like a mid-20's mother of a boy in his mid-teens. Hirst was 20 when she joined the show and still looks like that despite her character being atleast a decade older.
  • Action Mom: At the end of Episode 9 of Season 4, Torvi becomes a shieldmaiden.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Jarl Borg is not abusive to Torvi (if any, protective), but completely ignores her pleas that they leave Kattegat and he is more in love with the skull of his dead wife than with her. Played straight during her second marriage to Erlendur. Her marrige with Bjorn starts off fine, but becomes cold through the years. Torvi simply has bad luck with her men.
  • My Beloved Smother: Towards Guthrum.
  • Battle Couple: Torvi becomes this with Bjorn, when she joins him on the attack against Paris.
  • Character Development: Torvi goes from being a wallflower in Season 2 to becoming a shieldmaiden in Season 4.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Borg wonders how he will be received in Kattegat, Torvi asks why he did not ask the skull of his wife.
  • Fantasy Forbidding Parent: Forbids Guthrum from joining Floki's expedition to Iceland, arguing that Floki is insane.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: As a shieldmaiden, Torvi uses a crossbow.
  • Informed Attribute: Bjorn says he's drawn to her wildness and free spirit. While this might be true after some Character Development, the point at which he says it, Torvi is still basically a Shrinking Violet and doormat whose been trod on by both her husbands.
  • Meaningful Name: Torvi which was derived from the name of the Norse god Thor.
  • Mama Bear: After Erlendur threatened her son's life Torvi killed him.
    • Torvi keeps two of Ragnar's sons safe after Frankish soldiers attack the Viking camp while all the warriors are away fighting.
  • Remarrying for Your Kids: Why she ended up with Erlendur.
  • Serial Spouse: Borg, Erlendeur, Bjorn, Ubbe. Girl can't seem to find a long-lasting stable relationship.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Shoots Erlendur once she has the chance and the nerve to fight back.
  • Woman Scorned: With Jarl Borg, who causally ignores her; and the abusive Erlendur, who she kills.

    Earl Kalf 
Played By: Ben Robson
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kalf.png
Lagertha’s second-in-command at Hedeby, he is left in charge when she goes to England in Season 3.
  • Asshole Victim: While he seems to really love Lagertha, he ultimately betrays her trust and takes her Earldom from her, and then later on plots with Erlendur to kill Bjorn. Lagertha makes good on her promise to kill him.
  • A Threesome is Manly: He is seen sleeping with two beautiful women.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He pretends to be loyal and supportive of Lagertha, while planning to usurp her all along.
  • Deadly Hug: Lagertha kills him like this on their wedding day after a servant told her about him trying to assasinate Björn.
  • Genre Savvy: When the outer gates of Paris are breached and there's nobody in the corridor leading to the inner gates, he is the only one to realize it's a trap.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In comparison to Borg, Horik, Ragnar, and Lagertha, each of whom while good rulers are often blinded by vengeance, pride, jealousy, ambition, and anger, Kalf seems to be the only ruler who truly has his role in perspective with the bigger picture (well, aside from Ragnar) and his logic on his being a better claim to the earldom due to actually being a son of Hedeby is pretty much unassailable. He also cold-cocks Lagertha in order to save her during one of her Leeroy Jenkins modes, having correctly anticipated the Franks leading them into a trap.
    "Title is only an excuse to do good things for the people here. I want to do that."
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Lagertha raised him to a position of authority over Hedeby. He repays her by stealing her fief. That being said, he does emphasise that he shares the world's admiration for her and does save her life during the siege of Paris.
  • The Usurper: He takes over Hebedy while Lagertha is away, crowning himself Earl.

    Halfdan the Black 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vikings_season4_cast_halfdan.jpg
Played By: Jasper Pääkkönen

It appears, the Gods are not much interested in fairness.

The younger brother of King Harald.


  • Ax-Crazy: More so than his brother, who also invokes this trope. In the first river battle, they smile and giggle as they hide under their sheild while Frankish arrows rain down on them. When Ellisif firmly rejects Harald, Halfdan pulls a knife and later tells Harald they should kill her.
    • When he kills Ellisif to save his brother, he has a psychotic Slasher Smile on his face while his brother is left speechless.
  • Bash Brothers: With Harald.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Between Bjorn, his new best friend and his brother Harald.
  • The Dragon: To Harald.
  • The Fundamentalist: His main reason for joining Ragnar's second raid on Paris is to kill Christians. Unlike Floki or Aslaug, who hate Christians but also don't mind them so long as they're kept out of Scandinavia, Halfdan wants to go to their homes and kill them.
  • Hidden Depths: In Season 5, he splits away from Harald to travel with Bjorn to the Mediterranean. He explains his reasoning in surprisingly self-aware and philosophical terms when Bjorn asks about why he would leave Harald when they had been completely inseparable before.
    • Later when Bjorn opens up about his insecurity regarding Torvi, Halfdan shows again to be much more thoughtful than he appears.
  • Historical Domain Character: Loosely based on Halfdanr Svarti, the father of Harald Hairfair.
  • Memetic Hair: With that hair, Halfdan look like he is going to drop the darkest album of the Dark Ages.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Halfdan the black! (On the other hand, "halvdan" means something like "half-done"/"mediocre" in Swedish.)
  • Ironic Nickname: Is called the black, but is blonde.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Harolds's red. Fittingly, Halfdan likes to dress in blue.
  • Sadist: While his brother cheerfully burns Christians, he says he will put out the fire. And proceeds to pee on one of the burning Christians.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: His final moments suggest he has PTSD, as he believes he is back in the desert only to snap back to reality and realize he is still on the battlefield.
  • Tattooed Crook: He has a prominent one on his head and face.

    Erlendur 
Played By: Edvin Endre
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/erlendr.jpg

The last surviving child of King Horik. He is married to Torvi, the widow of Jarl Borg.


  • Aristocrats Are Evil: A wife-beater, who is not above murdering children and enjoys watching people get killed in sadistic manners.
  • Blood Knight: He's pretty ruthless and bloodthirsty, even by Viking standards.
  • Canon Foreigner: We know nothing about the possible children of King Horik I. Erlendur is completely invented for the show.
  • Domestic Abuse: He has no qualms about beating Torvi to make her do what he wants.
  • The Dragon: To his father, King Horik. Later, to Earl Kalf.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: An interesting variation. Erlendur starts out as a attractive youngster in his mid-teens. As the story progresses his beard starts to grow, but is uneven and not impressive at all compared to the other Norsemen and is scared in battle. This coincides with his increasingly jerkass behaviour
  • The Dragon: To King Horik, especially after his older brother's death.
  • Jerkass: He is literally a mix between King Joffrey and Viserys. But unlike those two, he can actually fight.
  • The Quiet One: Save one line, Erlendur never spoke in Season 2. This was because all his dialogue got cut, although he speaks occasionally in the extended cuts.
  • Too Dumb to Live
  • Unknown Rival: Erlendur is obsessed with killing Bjorn. Bjorn, frankly, doesn't care about him to the point he even lets Torvi kill him instead of himself.
  • Weapon of Choice: His modified Frankish crossbow, using a bird skull as a viewfinder.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Threatens to murder Guthurm if Torvi doesn't do his bidding.
  • You Killed My Father

    Siggy 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/siggy_c1_7208.png
Played By: Jessalyn Gilsig

"You are all power. All authority."

Once the gods had favoured her well, but now with the death of her husband, Earl Haraldson, Siggy has found herself cast from the light. With the ascension of Ragnar, she finds her only path back to comfort lies with the brutal and impulsive Rollo. Yet nonetheless, despite her love for the late Earl and now for the great warrior, Siggy is driven alone by her desire to reclaim that which she once had, and will go to any lengths to escape the darkness and make her way back to the light.


  • Good Parents: Implied to be to her late sons and currently to her daughter, Thyri. All the more tragic when Thyri dies of the plague in the finale.
  • Graceful Loser: Though she is shattered after Haraldson's death, she is nonetheless the first resident of Kattegat to hail Ragnar as the new Earl.
  • Happily Married: She loved Haraldson deeply, but his depression and cruelty often drove her away. She tries to make something like this possible with Rollo, but his unfaithfulness makes it difficult.
  • Lady Macbeth: Somewhat. She encouraged Haraldson's paranoia and cruelty, but mostly as a result of her efforts to give him confidence and make him feel positive. Though once she gets together with Rollo, she starts playing on his envy and insecurity to manipulate him, showing maybe she hasn't changed that much after all, though she also genuinely loves and comforts Rollo, and when he is brought back to Kattegat in chains, she convinces him to stay and continue his rise to power. After Rollo's disgrace, she ingratiates herself with none other than King Horik. And in the Season 2 finale, she turns against Horik when he asks her to kill Ragnar's young sons and the rest of his family. It turns out that she was on Ragnar's side the entire time while also setting up Horik and his family for capture/murder.
  • Mama Bear: To rival Lagertha. As soon as Haraldson is dead, she stabs the Earl he married their daughter off to in the stomach, killing him. This also extends to children that aren't hers. Asking her to kill Ragnar's young sons was a stupid move, Horik. Siggy also saves Hvitserk and Ubbe from drowning when they fall into a frozen lake, which ultimately costs her her life.
  • The Mole: As part of Horik's covert efforts to check Ragnar's growing power, he has Siggy feed him secrets and information about his supposed ally. And she's secretly feeding it right back to Ragnar the whole time.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one of these to Rollo after he blatantly cheats on her several times at a festival, telling him that Ragnar's meeting with the king while he's nursing a hangover.
  • Undying Loyalty: Like Floki and Rollo, she's not always 100% happy with Ragnar. Nevertheless, like they, she is unwaveringly loyal to him. To the point that she only pretends to defect to Horik so she can be The Mole for Ragnar. In Season 3, she gives her life saving his sons from drowning in a frozen lake.

    Thyri 
Played by: Elinor Crawley
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thyri.png
Thyri is a young daughter of Earl Haraldsson and Siggy. Married against her will to Earl Bjarni.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Her father arranged a marriage for her. She's forced to marry old Earl Bjarni to increase her father's wealth and to get him an ally.
  • Divorce Requires Death: After Haraldson is defeated by Ragnar Lothbrok, Thyri is saved from her horrible marriage by her mother Siggy who kills Earl Bjarni in front of everyone. Thyri looks beyond grateful.
  • Mal Mariée: Earl Haraldson's young daughter Thyri is married off to an old man, Earl Bjarni. Both Thyri and her mother Siggy are dissatisfied with this decision and Thyri is visibly repulsed. During their wedding night, the fat, old and drunk earl passes out before he can consummate the marriage. In "Burial of the Dead", he complains about Thyri's lack of enthusiasm in bed and threatens to beat her for disobeying.

    Earl Siegfried 
Played By: Greg Orvis
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/seigfrid_1.png
A earl who joins Ragnar in his raid on Paris.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Which becomes a plot point.
  • The Big Guy: He is even bigger than Rollo.
  • Decapitation Presentation: He is last seen as a head on a spike.
  • Defiant to the End: Riffing on the Long Ships, he asks for someone to pull his hair out of the way so the executioner can make a clean cut. Emperor Charles accepts and a mook pulls his hair. But as soon as the axe falls, Siegfried pulls his head back, causing the mook to get his hands cut off.
  • Die Laughing: He laughs his belly out after embarrassing the emperor at his execution.
  • Historical Domain Character: Loosely based on the historical Norse warlord Sigfred who along with Sinric and Rollo attacked Paris in 886.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He is one of the Viking-leaders and the only non-extra to die during the siege of Paris. His death scene is his only large scene and what he is remembered for.

    Earl Bjarni 
Played By: Trevor Cooper
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bjarni_s1.png
An earl from Svealand who Earl Haraldsson sold his daughter Thyri into marrige to for 20 pounds of silver. He is a cousin of King Horik.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Earl Haraldsson married his daughter Thyri off to him to increase his money chest and get an ally.
  • Divorce Requires Death: A recurring theme in Vikings.
  • Domestic Abuse: Threatens to beat Thyri when she does not want him to eat in bed.
  • Fat Bastard: He holds the distinction of being the fattest Norseman to ever appear on the show.
  • Scary Teeth: His teeth are rotten black stumps.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Even though he didn't get a chance to enjoy it that much, the woman he married was young and gorgeous.

    Earl Sigvard 
Played By: Morten Sasse Suurballe
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sigvard_s2.png

The earl of Hedeby and Lagertha's second husband. He really dislikes hearing about Ragnar.


  • The Alcoholic: Can't handle his drinking at all.
  • Always Second Best: Probably why he hates Ragnar so much. He knows that he is the number 2 option and his jerkass behaviour partly stems from his trying to assert his dominance.
  • Asshole Victim: An Alcoholic who abuses Lagertha, attempts to rape her and tries to rip her dress in front of a large crowd to show her breasts. Both among audience and in-universe, no one sheds a tear when Lagertha stabs him in the eye and Einar, his own nephew, decapitates him.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Did he ever consider what a bad idea it was to abuse and humiliate Lagertha?
  • Domestic Abuse: Slaps around Lagertha when he is angry with her.
  • Eye Scream: To further humiliate Lagertha, he publicly boasts about her breasts and tries to rip her dress off to show them. She just has enough of him and stabs him in his eye with a knife.
  • Marital Rape License: Tries to enforce this on Lagertha.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While his domestic abuse is completely uncalled for, he has the right to be angry with Lagertha for running away with his warriors and leaving his heir in Kattegat without even asking him.
  • Never Say That Again: His general reaction to Ragnar.
  • Off with His Head!: After getting stabbed in the eye by Lagertha, his nephew Einar comes over apparently to punish her. He decides instead to decapitate him.

    Guthrum 
Played By: Ben Roe
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/guthrum_vikingss5.jpg
The son of Jarl Borg and Torvi.
  • Blood Knight: Rejects Floki's colony in Iceland because it's land without war. Then how can he get to Valhalla?
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: He is built up as a future important character, akin to Ragnar's son and shares the name of a historical Viking leader. He is killed as canon fodder during the battle at the midpoint of Season 5.
  • Historical Domain Character: Averted. He is initially teased that he is the same Guthrum who will go up against Alfred of the Anglo-Saxons. His death in Season 5 shows he is just some other individual with the same name.
  • Last of His Kind: He is the last of his father's house being a posthumous son. With his death Jarl Borg's dynasty is completely extinguished.

    King Olaf the Stout 
Played By: Steven Berkoff
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/olaf_the_stout.jpg
An old, crazy king of a mountainous region of Norway.
  • Adipose Rex: Stout is a kind way to put it.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Like most Vikings. As soon as Harald is too weak to fight him off, he takes his kingdom in Season 6, despite having just fought alongside him not too long ago.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Becomes a instrumental character very late in season 5B, having major effect on the plot.
  • Historical Domain Character: He shares the name of Olaf II of Norway a notoriously a deeply devout Christian, who (often brutally) converted a huge part of Norway during his rule. The Olaf in the show shares no characteristics other than his name. A character actually based on Olaf II appears in the spin-off Vikings: Valhalla.
  • Mistaken Identity: When Hvitserk first meets him, he mistakes Olaf for the Buddha. Adding to it is that his appearance is clearly based on Budai.
  • Old Master: Of the Norse kings, he is by far the oldest. This means he has been able to keep his kingdom much better and longer than any of the other Norse kings in the show, or at least kept himself alive long enough to reach the top while others fell.
  • Secret Test of Character: When questioning Hvitserk about Ivar's style of rule he ask very leading questions about Ivar being a monster. When Hvitserk reveals his true opinion about Ivar as a tyrant and asks for Olaf's help in overthrowing him, Olaf has him seized and tortured by Canute. After Hvitserk refuses to give up on his wish to overthrow Ivar, Olaf agrees to fight him.
  • Too Important to Walk: He is carried into battle by several servants.
  • Trickster Mentor: Olaf toys mercilessly with Hvitserk to get the measure of him.

Commoners (Karls)

    Floki 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/floki79769898_138.jpg
"I can tell which trees are going to make the best planks just by looking at them. I can look inside the trees!"

Thought by some as a madman, Floki sees more clearly than most. He is the adviser and confidant to Ragnar, freely offering his knowledge and skills to the warrior. His loyalty to the Ynglinga is unquestioned, but even the Trickster shall be buffeted by the coming storm. For just as Heimdall is foreseen to be the first to witness Ragnarok, the great battle upon the plain of Vigrid that marks the end of the world, Floki must bear the weight of alone knowing a vision so dark, it threatens to ruin Ragnar.


  • Action Dad: As of the Season 2 finale.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He invites Torstein to bed with him and Helga. However, Torstein and Helga had been making googly eyes at each other earlier, and Floki might just be doing it for her sake. As the show isn't very explicit with the sex scenes, it's up to the viewer's imagination as to just how the threesome was consummated.
    • Whether he is only platonic for Ragnar is up to debate.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: He definitely has some sort of undiagnosed mental illness — on some level he's aware of it, at one point fearing that any children he fathers will be like him.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's not made clear if he's dead or just unconscious after the volcanic eruption that occurs while he's underground in Iceland. The final season reveals he survived.
  • An Axe to Grind: Wields a small hatchet.
  • Ax-Crazy: When he goes into battle, comes off as crazy.
  • Badass Bookworm: His forte is ship building and medicine but he still a Viking. During the battle between King Horik and Jarl Borg, he fights both Borg and Rollo simultaneously.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Should you ever; this guy says he can talk with trees and jumps out from hiding to scare people but he is also a Viking warrior and a shipwright.
  • Big Eater: Seems so.
    Jarl Borg: So. What has King Horik told you? What compromises is he willing to make?
    Floki: Can't I eat dinner first?
  • Broken Bird: Becomes a heartbreaking male version after Helga dies. He goes so far as to lament the gods are nowhere to be found.
  • The Bully: Even after Athelstan had lived among the Norsemen for years and proved his usefulness to them, Floki continues to harrass and insult him, convinced that he hasn't completely given up Christianity. However, it's unclear how much of this reflected Floki's genuine feelings, and how much of it was simply part of the ruse to ingratiate himself with Horik.
    • Season 3 makes it clear that he really does hate Athelstan for being a Christian, and thinks that allowing a Christian among them will bring doom to them all.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Floki is... weird and a brilliant shipwright
  • As You Know: Explaining basic Viking mythology to a ship full of Vikings. To be fair, he was being dramatic at the time and it isn't that gratuitous.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: A weird dude, to say the least.
  • Cool Uncle: Effectively this for a young Bjorn and, later, Ivar.
  • Dance Battler: When not locked in the shieldwall, his fighting style tends to be very quick and agile, making up for a lack of a shield by sheer evasion.
  • Dual Wielding: Wields a hatchet and a dagger to deadly effect. After his wedding, he trades the dagger for a sword.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Leaping out of the bushes with a mask on and shrieking.
    • This happens a second time, setting up his new character arc. Up until the mosque scene, he was used to worshipers abandoning their church in fear. In the mosque, when a worshiper is killed by a Viking, and it does nothing to stop the prayer taking place, Floki is suddenly confronted by worshipers whose dedication to their religion rivals his own, and stops any further killing.
  • Fake Defector: Convinces King Horik that he is going to betray Ragnar and kill his son only to reveal that he is playing him and has always been loyal to Ragnar.
  • Faux Affably Evil: It is only because the story is largely told from the Viking point of view that he is a protagonist. He is a violent psychopath, more than happy to murder anyone with smile on his face. Imagine The Joker as a Viking, and you've got quite lot of his personality down.
  • Foreshadowing: In Season 2, he freely admits that he can't keep a secret. Horik will eventually learn this the hard way.
  • Fauxshadow: His name and behavior led people used to conventional storytelling to believe early on, he would eventually become an antagonist. Instead, the plot made him a major protagonist, and he always followed his moral priorities: 1. The god pantheon 2. Ragnar.
  • Friend to All Children: Despite Floki's reservation about becoming a father and fear he will not be up to the task, he has been shown to be quite good with the kids he has interacted with: Bjorn, Ivar, and Tanaruz.
  • The Fundamentalist: See Religious Bruiser, below.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: As Season 2 progresses, he becomes increasingly jealous and resentful of Ragnar's success. And when Bjorn openly laments Athelstan's supposed death, Floki cruelly badmouths the priest and accuses him of being a traitor, all of which seems to stem from jealousy and resentment. In the Season 2 finale, it's revealed that he was playing up this trope all along to win Horik's favor and trust, purposely making himself look resentful of Ragnar's decisions and Athelstan's presence. In reality, he was acting as The Mole and feeding information back to Ragnar the whole time.
    Horik: You have betrayed the gods.
    Floki: No, I have only betrayed you.
    • Season 3 makes it abundantly clear that he resents Athelstan and is uncomfortable with how much faith Ragnar has in him, primarily because of Athelstan's religion.
  • Hidden Depths: You'd think that he was a crazy madman by looking at him (Skarsgård does play him as though Floki has severe bipolar disorder, according to interviews) but he is in fact an excellent shipwright and warrior. As well as knowledgable of medecine. He is a very generous man, and a loyal and great friend to Ragnar and his family, and dotes on his woman (later wife), Helga. He's also almost fanatically religious and quite good with children.
  • The Hyena: Laughs quite a bit, especially after playing a trick on someone. But when in the thick of battle...
  • Knife Nut: Wields a dagger to lethal effective alongside his axe in battle. He upgrades to a sword after he gets married.
  • Large Ham: The Gods love my boat!
  • Last of His Kind: By the very end of the series Floki is the last main member from Ragnar's original crew and generation of Norsemen (with the possible exception of Rollo who doesn't appear after the start of Season 5), with him casually noting to Ubbe that he doesn't expect to live much longer.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Out of battle, it's kind of hard to remember this guy is a hardened warrior. In battle however, all joviality goes out of him and he becomes driven only to kill his enemies.
  • Lean and Mean: He's notably lankier than the other Vikings, but is rather tall, he just tends to hunch a lot. As for the "mean" part, Beware the Silly Ones.
  • The Medic: Possesses medical knowledge of how to clean and treat wounds. It's advanced enough that Lagertha refers to it as magic.
  • Mythology Gag: Floki has many parallels to Loki, but the most easily overlooked is that they are both shipbuilders. When introduced, it was pointedly mentioned his name bears a strong resemblance to that of a certain Trickster God.
    Bjorn: Floki? Like Loki? The god?
    Ragnar: Yes. Only different.
    Bjorn: How is he different?
    Ragnar: He's not a god.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Whenever he's not acting crazy, it's an indicator that shit's about to hit the fan.
    • The most notable instance is after being told by Helga that she is carrying his child. He has a literal "Odin, what have I done," moment upon realizing he is too much of a loony to be a good father, but she manages to convince him otherwise.
  • Pyromaniac: Floki exhibits a fascination with fire. He's positively giddy when he ignites the writings of Lindisfarne and uses them to burn down the monastery and then he dances in place in anticipation for the burning of the ship bearing Haraldson's body.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Does this sometimes.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Don't piss in my mouth, you gods! You know who I am!
  • The Reliable One: He could not show it, but his loyalty to Ragnar is out of doubt.
  • Religious Bruiser:
    • He seems to take the Viking faith more seriously than any other character matching even Ragnar.note 
    • He holds open disdain for Christianity, whereas most other Vikings are shown to be either amused or dismissive of it. When Rollo agrees to be converted, Floki spits on his baptism and later accuses him of abandoning the gods and inviting Odin's wrath, and seems fully prepared to fight Rollo over the matter.
    • He is the first to try to offer himself up as a human sacrifice in "Sacrifice", which is a tremendous honour to the Norse. It's only the pleading of Helga that keeps him from doing it.
    • He mocks and scorns (a supposedly dead) Athelstan for never fully abandoning his Christian faith, calling him a traitor right in front of the visibly upset Ragnar and Bjorn and his Earl's most dangerous rival.
    • Throughout Season 3, he continually tries to convince Ragnar to stop taking Athelstan's counsel so seriously, in fear that Athelstan is not loyal to the other Northmen and that the gods will rain down punishment on them for being so accepting of a Christian.
  • The Smart Guy: He's a brilliant shipwright and an excellent medic. This is his role in Ragnar's raiding party.
  • Spiteful Spit: His reaction to Rollo's baptism scene. In contrast to the other Vikings who mockingly laugh at it, and Ragnar who watches with silent but smoldering disapproval.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Possibly surpassing Rollo, Floki has shown a bullying and murderous streak that remains unequaled amongst his fellow Norsemen.
  • Undying Loyalty: To the gods. As he explains, while some men lust for women or treasure, he only has lust to please the gods. As a case in point, this exposition is spoken to his wife.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He undergoes one during the siege of Paris when his wooden towers end up failing.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: An example in-universe and out. After he goes missing in the Icelandic colony, the last we see of him is falling unconscious underground after a volcanic eruption. Both his friends and viewers have been wondering where he's been ever since. The final season reveals he survived.

    The Seer 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/seer_c156546_8810.png
Played By: John Kavanagh

The laws of men are far below the workings and shapings of the gods.

A mysterious and eerie figure, the village's seer is their link with the supernatural and outwordly. His (often cryptic) warnings and words provide guidance for many, both good and evil.


  • Above Good and Evil: As per his quote, he considers the gods as this. This is also possibly why he never interferes in any of the show's main conflicts.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Referred to as "Ancient Woman" in the script for the first episode yet is played by male actor John Kavanagh. Curiously, Real Life Norsemen of the time thought that prophetic sorcery was almost exclusively the domain of women, and any man who practiced it risked becoming a social pariah.
  • Blessed with Suck: He laments how he is forced to see all the sorrow in people's destinies.
  • Blind Seer: See Body Horror.
  • Body Horror: His eyes were either sewn shut or skin grew over his eyes, in either case quite disturbing.
  • Character Death: Ivar kills him rather abruptly in Season 5 with an axe to the face. His death had been hinted at for a while, but it looked like it was to come from disease or his immense old age.
  • Creepy Good: Not a bad guy, but he looks nightmarish.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Making sense of his prophecies is quite a task.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He wears a dark cloak and usually hangs around in environments with very poor light, but he does not seem to be an evil figure (if mildly terrifying).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oh yeah.
    Earl Haraldson: Do the gods speak?
    The Seer: Do they ever stop?
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: His death can feel this way since it seemingly comes out of nowhere and already illustrates the known fact that Ivar is an unpredictable psychopath.
  • Exact Words: As par the course with his Vagueness Is Coming warnings. He tells Jarl Borg he will become an eagle. It is only too late that he learns this refers to the Nordic punishment of the Blood Eagle
  • The Fundamentalist: For Norse religion.
  • Large Ham: He can get pretty hammy when he predicts things (mainly related to Ragnarok).
  • Mad Oracle: Gives this feelings sometimes.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's ambiguous whether he possesses actual magic powers, but the accuracy of his predictions is remarkable.
    • Example: Ragnar asks if Athelstan resides in Valhalla or Hel. The Seer states that he is in neither, but is actually alive. Cue Athelstan working in Wessex and noticing that a raven is apparently watching him from the window. If that is a coincidence, it's a Hel of one!
    • A Deleted Scene in "Mercenary" has him correctly identify that Björn will not be harmed easily in battle.
  • Older Than They Look: Ambiguous. It is difficult to tell his age by appearance because of his various deformities, but he implies that he may be "hundreds of years old." Or maybe he doesn't, see Vagueness Is Coming below.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Always called "The Seer" or "The Ancient one".
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: After guest starring for three seasons as a small but important character, John Kavanagh is promoted to starring member in Season 4.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The Seer is not really a main character, but every dialogue of his is crucial to driving the actions of the majority of the cast.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Appears to be suffering from this in Season 5, as he becomes ill and slowly starts to die, although this also might be just because he's dying of old age. Subverted when Ivar kills him before the disease can.
  • Staff of Authority: Signifies his role as the respected town seer. And indeed, virtually all characters treat him with reverence and respect.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The Seer has a knack for being unclear with his warnings. Lampshaded by a few people he talks with.
  • You Didn't Ask: Frequently, much to the annoyance of his subjects.

    Erik Marteinn 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/erik_c1_1386.png
Played By: Vladimir Kulich

"If this is their god, and he's dead, nailed to a cross, what use is he, then?"

A great warrior, dwarfing all but a few in battle, long haired and long bearded, his might and wisdom is plain to see. An old friend of Ragnar, who gathers men to aid his cause, his dishonourable death by the hands of Haraldson's thugs drives Ragnar to seek vengeance upon the Earl.


  • An Axe to Grind: There's a lot of axe-grinding in this show, you know.
  • Anyone Can Die: If there's anyone who can symbolize this trope as far as Vikings is concerned, it's Erik.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Seems to have his share of authority, given that he more or less gathered everyone who took part in Ragnar's initial voyage.
  • Badass Cape: Wears one when he and Ragnar raid Lindisfarne. It's rather reminiscent of a longcoat.
  • Badass Baritone: As one would expect from Vladimir Kulich.
  • Badass in Charge: Was a second-in-command to Ragnar.
  • Badass Longcoat: His cloak resembles one.
  • Badass Boast: "Even so, he was my kinsman. We must avenge his death. It was done in the name of King Aelle, and King Aelle must suffer for it." To put this in perspective, he's talking about going up to the King of Northumbria and killing him himself to avenge the death of his brother.
  • Barbarian Hero: He's one of the most powerful fighters in the hird, as indicated by how he easily he chews apart Saxons in "Dispossessed" and "Trial". A shield bash from this guy sends Saxons flying, too. It's also notable that while everyone else scurries in battle, Erik strides slowly and confidently like a god of war.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Easily has the longest, most Death-Metal looking hair-do of all the Vikings.
  • The Big Guy: You know you're this when the group of badass Viking warriors consider you their resident tough guy. He towers over every other man in Kattegat, is built like a tank, and is a One-Man Army. note 
  • Blood Knight: Though he prefers it against worthy adversaries.
  • Braids of Barbarism: His beard is tied into two forks, most prominently.
  • Co-Dragons: Could essentially be seen as Ragnar's Dragon alongside Rollo before his death.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He doesn't approve when Rollo and the other raiders start hacking apart defenseless monks.
  • Happily Married: As seen in "Dispossessed". It only makes his death all the more heart-wrenching.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: As striking as Ragnar's.
  • The Lancer: To Ragnar, similar to Rollo but less bloodthirsty.
  • Large and in Charge: The tallest and most powerfully built of the Vikings (which is saying something). Also seems to be Ragnar's second.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Erik is towering, a single hit from him is like ten from anyone else, and he usually kills his enemies before they can even raise their swords.
  • Mauve Shirt: His death is what really sets off the Ragnar/Haraldson conflict, as Ragnar hadn't intended to move against Haraldson directly until the Earl had Erik murdered.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Downplayed, for all he and the others knew the Saxons may have been leading them into a trap (we, as viewers, know this isn't the case), so murder really was the most rational solution to their problem.
    "Let's just kill them all and be done."
  • Old Friend: Of Ragnar, who is old enough to be in another generation.
  • One-Man Army: More effective than Ragnar in this capacity.
  • Rated M for Manly: Everything about him symoblizes the manliness of the Vikings.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He was introduced as The Big Guy of Ragnar's Raiding Party, but dies early in the series.
  • Tranquil Fury: His state in battle is like a focused, cold berserker rage.

    Tostig 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/photo_tostig_01_8955.png
Played By: Angus MacInnes

"Give me the chance to die with honour in battle, and join my friends in Valhalla!"

Death is of no fear for a Northman, and in none is this more clearly embodied than in Tostig. Many years did this hoary bearded warrior sail eastwards at the side of Earl Haraldson, fighting countless battles with the easterners. In those many raids, he bore witness to the deaths of his companions, and though he fought with him in the shield-wall, never once was he touched by a blade. Forsaken, he appeals to Ragnar that he be given one last chance to die with honour in battle, his sword red with blood, and thus be found worthy to feast at Odin's side in Valhalla.


  • Badass Baritone: One assumes that decades of battle cries and berserker screams only made his voice deeper and more intimidating instead of hoarse.
  • Badass Cape: Wears one when raiding.
  • Badass Boast: "Yes, I am old. But I have been a warrior all my life!", which means, "the mere fact that I am an old man in spite of being a warrior means I can kick all of your asses".
  • Battle Cry: He screams the name of Odin in battle, as if to let him know he'll be coming soon.
  • The Berserker: He's like a raging wildfire in battle. Even Ragnar is in awe of him.
  • The Big Guy: A tall man (Angus MacInnes is 6'2), but also big, broad, powerful, and imposing.
  • Blood Knight: He has to be, he wants to die an honourable death and enter the gates of Valhalla.
    Rollo: When do you think they'll come?
    Ragnar: Soon enough.
    Tostig: I hope they do. I can't wait for Valhalla.
  • Braids of Barbarism: That plait he's tied his beard into.
  • Cool Old Guy: The other Vikings think being old makes him useless, i.e. uncool. He soon proves otherwise.
  • Death Seeker: After the night raid on the Saxon camp, he kills many enemy soldiers and fights in the thickest of the battle. The next day, he's sitting sullenly on a tree stump and lamenting that none of them can give him a worthy death.
    Ragnar: What ails you, my friend?
    Tostig: The gods won't lift my curse. I'm fated to live forever on this miserable earth...
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: If there's ANY justice in the One-Eyed God, he'll stand at the doors of Valhalla and welcome him personally, for there was no greater warrior who walked the land.
  • A Good Way to Die: He longs after an honourable death with blade in hand and the corpses of his enemies around him; an end to make both gods and forefathers proud.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Dies with a smile, knowing that he will experience the glory of Valhalla that has been too long delayed.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: In contrast to the other Vikings. Given that swords were relatively expensive in that era, it means he must have been a very wealthy man from his prior raiding. Or he simply killed the original owner in battle and took it from his cold dead hands.
  • In Harm's Way: There's only one way for a Northman to live and to die: in glorious battle.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He's old enough to be Ragnar's father.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In battle, Tostig exhibits incredible strength, a great deal of stamina, and ferocious speed that all belies his extreme old age.
  • Mauve Shirt: He gets a lot of characterization in his introduction and quickly dies. This is why he joined so he's happy about that.
  • Old Master: When the other Vikings see his fighting skill, they realize that the position of baddest motherfucker is already filled.
  • Old Soldier: Such a superlative warrior, that the only way he could have been killed was from behind.
  • One-Man Army: He gets a body count of half a dozen at the end of "A King's Ransom".
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Of all the Vikings he's the most eager for battle and a glorious death.
  • Retired Badass: Ragnar wisely brings him out of it when Tostig asks to come along.
  • Reluctant Retiree: Oh, what's that? You think you can keep him from the battlefield? Get between him and the fight. See how long you last.

    Leif 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_mloqyrn1co1s6cq0po1_r1_500_1195.png
Played By: Diarmaid Murtagh

"Lord Ragnar, I come to offer my allegiance and fealty — to you and to your family."

The son of Erik Marteinn, and a loyal ally to Ragnar. He fights at his lord's side valiantly until he is called upon to sacrifice himself at the Temple of Uppsala, lest the gods punish the world of men for their faithlessness. Accepting the honour gladly, Leif gives up his life for the sake of his friends and all the men of Midgard.


  • An Axe to Grind: This is the weapon he carries but is plently powerful without it.
  • Badass Baritone: Has a deep, grunting voice.
  • Barbarian Hero: His reaction to losing his axe in the thick of a battle is to roar and start NeckSnaping Saxons.
  • The Berserker: Goes into a rage in battle, roaring and snapping the necks of Saxons.
  • Braids of Barbarism: Has his beard braided thrice.
  • Character Death: In "Sacrifice".
  • Dies Wide Open: At his sacrifice.
  • The Dragon: To Ragnar, after "Burial of the Dead" to replace Erik.
  • Co-Dragons: With Rollo.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: The sacrifice scene was hauntingly magnificent.
  • Go Out with a Smile: He gives his friends one last smile before he is sacrificed. Ragnar and Athelstan shed tears at this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He offers himself for sacrifice at Uppsala in order to appease the wrath of the gods and does so gladly and bravely.
    "Before anyone else can claim this honour, I desire to be sacrificed. For my family, for you, my friends, and more importantly; for the sake of all the humans in Midgard. And, with the knowledge that the gods will find my sacrifice pleasing, I look forward to it gladly."
  • Lightning Bruiser: He swings that several lb axe of his like it was stick.
  • Neck Snap: Does this to armed and armoured Saxons in the thick of battle after losing his axe.
  • Screaming Warrior: During the battle at the climax of "A King's Ransom".
  • Undying Loyalty: To Ragnar.

    Svein 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/svein_c1_5183.png
Played By: David Pearse

"I'd advise you all against such rash action. There is no way you could prevail."

Bondsman to the late Earl Haraldson, Svein seems devoted to the failing lord in all ways. Cruel and sadistic by nature, he nonetheless falls quickly beside his lord when Haraldson is slain.


  • The Archer: The one time he participates in battle. He's the one to deal Ragnar his most severe wounds during the Earl's raid.
  • Bald of Evil: All the other Vikings have full heads of hair. note 
  • Beard of Evil: Because he's an unrepentant child-murderer.
  • Character Death: Just a few seconds after Haraldson.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Perhaps as a result of being around Haraldson for extended periods of time. They make a pretty good team.
    Floki: (to Haraldson) Ragnar Lothbrok challenges you to personal combat.
    Svein: Ragnar Lothbrok has a very high opinion of himself.
    Haraldson: Well, he is a descendant of Odin.
  • The Dragon: To Earl Haraldson he's the Number Two in his evil doings.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Defied. After Ragnar kills Haraldson in the holmgang he calls upon the assembled to kill him (technically justifiable in that later holmgangs were not meant to be fatal confrontations, so Ragnar may have possibly overstepped himself there). He gets an axe buried in his chest courtesy of Rollo for his trouble.
  • Non-Action Guy: In contrast to everyone who's not Athelstan or a child, Svein seems content with his administrative role as Haraldson's servant, instead of actively seeking glory on the battlefield like a regular Norseman. Whenever Haraldson orders violence upon anyone with the ability to resist, Svein delegates those tasks.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Astoundingly for a man who has no qualms about killing children, Svein never seems to have an emotional connection to what he's doing, and approaches murder and torture with a clinical efficiency; like a butcher preparing an animal for slaughter. Even when he's about to kill a man on the verge of tears on his Earl's orders, his face betrays absolutely no hint of emotion. He just sees it as work. In fact, the only time he shows any high emotion whatsoever is when Haraldson is killed, implying that his coldness towards murder may be solely due to his loyalty to him.
  • Smug Snake: A lot of his behavior comes from his elevated posiiton in the earldom.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Chillingly polite and mild-mannered while carrying out brutal murders remorselessly and without emotion.
  • The Stoic: A very cold man but he roars and screeches for retribution when his earl is killed.
  • Torture Technician: Dishes out long and painful torture to Rollo before Haraldson steps in to take over.
  • Undying Loyalty: His loyalty to Haraldson was genuine, as was his shock when the Earl was slain.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Earl commands and he is nothing if not loyal to the Earl.

    Sinric 
Played By:Frankie McCafferty
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sinric_vikingss5.jpg
A wanderer who told Ragnar about England and led him to the Seine, and onto Paris.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Starts laughing after Earl Siegfried trolls the Franks by moving his head during his execution, cutting his guard's hands off instead. Sinric is trying to unsuccessfully stifle giggles in the background
  • Ambiguously Gay: Acts the most campily effeminate among Vikings and likes to dress himself up. Nothing really indicates whether he is Camp Gay or Camp Straight. After the timeskip he has grown a beard and is much less effeminate in appearance.
  • Combat Pragmatist: As he's not a fighter, he has to improvise when he, Bjorn, and Halfdan are threatened in the Mediterranean. The other two punch and stab while Sinric bites the wrist of the man trying to kill him.
  • Historical Domain Character: There is someone named Sinric along with a Jarl Siegfried in history who invaded Paris in the 9th century, though he is known as the second in charge.
  • Meaningful Name/Only Known by Their Nickname: The modern Swedish word for being clever is "sinnrik". Because of how little modern people know about him, this might be his nickname instead of real name.
  • Mr. Exposition: Explains the politics of the Mediterranean to Bjorn (and the audience).
  • Non-Action Guy: He is not suited to actual fighting or combat. Nevertheless, during the second attack on Paris, Earl Siegfried forces Sinric to accompany them into battle, saying that Sinric is their "map of the city." Sinric is petrified at this and Siegfried has to drag him.
  • Pet the Dog: After being captured by the Franks, they try to keep him after using him as a translator. Rollo, in a rare moment of compassion, frees him instead, daring them with a glare to try and take him back.
  • Put on a Bus: Season 4 opens with him leaving Rollo in Paris. He later reappears on Bjorn's and Halfdan's ship during their new adventure in the Mediterranean sea. How is never explained.
  • Omniglot: Knows Norse, Old English, Frankish, and Arabic, which is the most languages of any Viking on the show.
  • The Smart Guy: Acts as Bjorn's advisor in the Mediterranean. He is quick to get a grasp of the situations and realises when he and his friends are in danger much sooner than everybody else.
  • True Neutral: Has nothing against leading people to sack places he enjoyed visiting.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After his adventure in the Mediterranean sea, he again disapears from the show, this time for good and with no explanation of what happened to him.

    Harbard 
Played By: Kevin Durand
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hardbard_s3.jpg
A mysterious storyteller, dreamed of by Helga, Aslaug, and Siggy before he arrives at Kattegat.

  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Let's Siggy drown when he could have easily saved her. It's implied he's letting her reunite with her dead family.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: His arrival comes after the three main women left in Kattegat all share a repeated dream of a man that might be him. Also, if he is being honest when he says that he saw the tale of Utgard-Loke with his own eyes, that means he may be one of two people: Thor's retainer Thjalfi or Loki himself. Assuming, of course, he is not a liar. Floki seems to believe he is actually Odin, despite him having both of his eyes.
  • Meaningful Name/Shout-Out: In The Lay of Harbardr, a poem in the Poetic Edda, Thor encounters a ferryman named Harbard, who is really Odin in disguise, and enters a flyting contest — a contest in insults — with him. It remains to be seen, if Harbard is the same person, or just someone who is very funny. For this reason, Floki believes him to be Odin in disguise.
  • Really Gets Around: Much to Aslaug's dismay, he's shown as seducing nearly every woman in Kattegat.

    Torstein 
Played By: Jefferson Hall
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/torstein.jpg

One of Ragnar's friends who becomes one of his top followers as earl and later king.


    Arne 
Played By: Tadhg Murphy
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arne.jpg

One of men that followed him on the first raid to the West. He befriends Ragnar and becomes one of his housecarls when he takes up the role as earl of Kattegat.


  • Archer Archetype: Functions as missile back-up during the Hexham raid.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Rollo killed him.
  • In-Series Nickname: He is called "One-Eye" so often by his friends one would be forgiven if one thought that was his official character name.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: In universe he is remembered as one.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: He is killed by Rollo in the battle following Rollo's defection to Borg and his death is still remebered by the character long after he is gone, but he is given very little characterization prior and it's his death that is his most important role in the show, besides being one who spots Aslaug.
  • Screaming Warrior: Often screams Odin's name in battle.

    Helga 
Played By: Maude Hirst
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/helga_new_pic.png
Floki's devoted and tormented wife.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: She has one with her future husband Floki and Torstein.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted. She faces lots of opposition from Floki over the matter of settling down.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Even though she gets seriously injured in at least one Viking raid, and dies from a gruesome stab wound to the neck, she always recovers and looks as stunning as ever.
  • Devoted to You: Through sun and snow, she never leaves her husbands side.
  • Expy: The Signy to Floki's Loki.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: One of the nicest, most selfless characters on the show.
  • Happily Married: So much so to Floki as it causes tension between them.
  • Killed Off for Real: She dies in Season 4 when her adopted daughter stabs her in the neck.
  • Love Martyr: Her love for Floki.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: She's so desperate for a child that she's willing to essentially kidnap a traumatized orphan girl who wants nothing to do with her.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: She also then drags Tanaruz to England with them, making her experience even more violence and death, not realizing this girl associates everything around her with the people who killed her parents. This eventually leads to Tanaruz killing her.

    Angerboda 
Played By: Rosalie Connerty
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/angrboda_s4.jpg
The daughter of Floki and Helga.

    Astrid 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/astrid.jpeg
Played By: Josefin Asplund

The lover and righthand of Lagertha and wife of King Harald. She is killed by Lagertha during the final battle between Lagertha and Ivar's forces for Kattegat.


  • Action Girl: In her first appearance, she's seen training in unarmed combat with Lagertha and holding her own reasonably well.
  • Badass Boast: This exchange.
    Ubbe: Forgive me, Astrid... but I'm afraid—
    Astrid: You should be. Afraid.
  • Bifauxnen: Astrid's hair style and clothing lend her an androgynous look by the standards of her time in Season 4. She becomes more feminine-looking in Season 5.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Stuck between her husband and her former lover.
  • The Dandy: Always dresses in various fancy outfits. Harald uses this to try to get on her good terms.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Openly makes threats with a smile on her face.
  • The Dragon: To Lagertha.
  • Sexual Karma: When she betrays King Harald to warn Lagertha of the impending attack, Hakon expects sex as a payment. Astrid reculantly agrees, but then Hakon invites his family members into the hut and they proceed to gang rape Astrid.
  • Suicide by Cop: Pulls the medieval version by having Lagertha kill her rather than have a child that was possibly conceived from rape.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Threatens Ubbe and Sigurd after Ubbe's attempt to kill Lagertha.

    Kjetill Flatnose 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kjetill.png
Played By: Adam Copeland

A famous warrior and patriarch of a large family.


  • Adaptational Villainy: Not that Ketill Flatnose was a positive character, Kjetill of the series is one of the most frightening characters on the show.
  • An Axe to Grind: Kjetill always keeps an axe close at hand.
  • The Big Guy: To Floki's Icelandic colony.
  • The Dreaded: Ubbe and the other settlers flee from the fight rather than fighting Kjetill, despite them outnumbering him 20 to 1. Given he is 6 ft 5 hulk with zero limits that is understandable.
  • Evil All Along: At first, he seems like a perfectly decent dude and intent on following Floki's ideals. Then when Eyvind and his family are too sick and hungry to fight back, he shows his true colors and massacres them without hesitation. In season 6 he is essentially the primary antagonist for Ubbe's story arc.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After showing his true colors and slaughtering Eyvind and his family. For bonus points, Kjetill is also played by former professional wrestler.
  • I am a Humanitarian: It's implied that Kjetill cannibalized and ate some of the members of Eyvind's family.
  • Kick the Dog: Killing Helgi and then his utter indifference to Aud's death.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Kjetill crosses the line from Anti-Hero to fully fledged villain when he decapitates Helgi who was just as devastated by Thorunn's murder as Kjetill was. It was arguably worse for Helgi since the killer was his own brother.
  • I Have No Daughter: In a really jerky way, as he states that he felt Aud was more Floki's child than his and does not even bother digging her grave leaving Floki to do it so Aud's mother will have somewhere to greave.
  • Number Two: To Floki, again. Then he promotes himself to Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Sanity Slippage: He is last seen standing atop a beached whale, laugh-screaming that he is the king of Greenland while surrounded by corpses and the sound of his wife crying over the body of their last son. Then, it's not safe to assume that Kjetill was sane from the beginning.
  • Papa Wolf: You seriously do not want to mess with his children. As Eyvind finds out the hard way.
  • The Pollyanna: Despite things looking grim, he refuses to give up hope. He goes as far saying he can not live without hope.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kjetill's fate is left unknown. Given that Kjetill already is known to have made it from Iceland to Norway on his own before (a much longer journey than Greenland-Iceland) and he has access to a massive source of food, in theory he could make it home.

    Eyvind 
Played By: Kris Holden-Ried
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eyvindseason5.jpg
A grumpy patriarch and Viking.
  • Association Fallacy: We don't actually know if Eyvind did anything bad personally. Most if not all of the murders of Kjetill's family where carried out or implied to have been carried out by his sons and wife. We get little impression that he ordered these things, where aware of them or if he approved of them. In fact, he is just as worried when Thorunn vanishes as anyone.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Eyvind of the sagas where a less prominent character and a much less antagonistic one.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Not that Eyvind was a small man, but did he really think it was a good idea to mess with a 2 meter tall hulk like Kjetill?
  • Face Death with Dignity: Having already crossed the Despair Event Horizon he shows no fear when he is taken to be executed.
  • I Have No Son!: Certainly treats Helgi like a categorical traitor for marrying Thorunn.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Most of Eyvind's criticism of Floki is perfectly valid. Floki has screwed priorities such as erecting a temple to Thor (not even Kattegat had such a temple) before their own houses where finished.
  • Papa Wolf: Like many of the Norsemen he is violently protective of his children.

    White Hair 
Played By: Kieran O'Reilly

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dxqfxoyx0aekqlb.jpg

The captain of Ivar's housecarls.


  • Blood Knight: Like many of his fellow Norsemen, he is determined to reach Valhalla. He even invokes this when his men start to retreat.
  • Barbarian Longhair: One of the few straight up examples, complete with Braids of Barbarism.
  • The Bus Came Back: He appears early in season 5A, sporadicly appears mostly in the background, is gone for most of season 5B only to appear redesign in time for the final battle.
  • The Dragon / Number Two: To Ivar. His absence in season 6 is somewhat Hand Waved with him being away to consolidate Ivar's rule.
  • Dragon Ascendant: In season 6, when Ivar is driven from Kattegat he leads the remnants of Ivar's bodyguard as outlaw raiders.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: To a degree. His motivations to kill Lagertha is in line with Ivar's wishes, but he has personal reason to do this rather than just doing his master's bidding.
  • Dual Wielding: His preferred method of fighting.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: His initial appearance in season 5A is a lot less dramatic than his reappearance in season 5B were he has a white eye, huge scars and a beard.
  • The Exile: Is made an outlaw by Björn and marked, meaning he can never rejoin society again.
  • Final Boss: To Lagertha. He is the strongest opponent she faces through the entire series and is the villain in her last arc.
  • Hero Killer: He kills Magnus and later Bjorn's son Hali, as well as inflicting wounds on Lagertha that leads to her being open to be killed by Hvitserk. He also nearly kills Gunnhild.
  • Horny Vikings: The only viking in the show to actually use a horned helmet in battle. He was initially recruited from the Great Heathen Army.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: To Lagertha since he killed her grandson.
  • Just Following Orders: He uses this a defense for his actions while supporting Ivar: according to his reasoning he was just following who was the current leader of Kattegat and could just as well have served Ragnar with the same loyalty under the same circumstance.
  • Mark of Shame: Is marked with a runic "O" for "outlaw" by Björn after Hvitserk witnesses against him and Ivar's other housecarls.
  • Mystical White Hair: His name is derived from his long, Snow White hair.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Often wears a large cape of fur.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In season 6 everybody talks about White Hair as if he is some kind of established character, despite having barely been introduced properly in season 5B.
  • Off with His Head!: During the final raid on Lagertha's village he decapitates Skadi with a single slash of his sword.
  • Villainous Friendship: Through his interactions with Ivar are limited, their interactions suggest more that they have a quite chummy relationship.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He and his men kill several children in their raids.

    Aud the Deep-Minded 
Played By: Leah Mc Namara
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aud.jpg

Kjetill's gentle daughter.


  • The Heart: Of the Icelanders, she is the most gentle and pure and tries her best to keep the feuding community together. She does not take it well when she finds out what kind of a man her father is.
  • Like A Daughter To Me: She is this to Floki.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: When Aud finds out what her father and brother has done she commits suicide by jumping into the Gullfoss.
  • White Magician Girl: Downplayed, as she does not seem to have any actual abilities but is the priestess of Thor.
  • Women Are Wiser: Aud makes a long point about this which seems to convince her father.

    Ingvild 
Played By: Kelly Campbell
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ingvild_s5a.jpg

Kjetill's wife.


  • Alone with the Psycho: Her final scene leaves her alone with the psychotic Kjetill on Greenland.
  • Break the Cutie: By the end of the series All of her children have been killed or committed suicide and she is left to live out her life with an insane, hulking husband. That's harsh.
  • The Chick: She is one of few female characters that is not royalty and/or a Action Girl.
  • Only Sane Man: In Kjetill's family, she's the most levelheaded. Aud clearly got most of her genes from her.

    Canute 
Played By: Connor Rogers
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/canute_the_sinful_dwarf.png
King Olaf's stewart and torturer.
  • Affably Evil: He is seemingly sympathic to Hvitserk's plight when torturing him and tries to give him advise.
  • The Dragon: To king Olaf the Stout.
  • Depraved Dwarf: A troll (not literally), the steward of a seasoned Viking warlord as well as the king's personal torture technician.
  • Torture Technician: He tortures Hvitserk at Olaf's behest.
  • Troll: When Hvitserk asks him to take him to king Olaf, Canute has him strip naked. He does not tell him it's because the king is in the sauna, he has him do it front of the entire court and then has him walked naked through the snow to take him to the sauna.

Slaves (Thrals)

    Athelstan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zvfsqz0qwky_6472.jpg
Played By: George Blagden

"Where are you, Lord? Tell me. Is it Your will that I’m here with these heathens? How does it serve You? I don’t understand."

Athelstan of Northumbria looks to the skies, but which god hears his pleas? Taken from the doomed monastery of Lindisfarne at sword-point and dragged across the seas, he finds himself thrust into a place where the ideals he has lived his life by protect him no longer. A cross in his left palm and a blade in his right, torn between the life of a humble Christian scholar and the need to become savage in order to survive in this new world, he faces a grave choice that threatens to tear him away from all that he once was.


  • Anglo-Saxons: A former monk of Lindisfarne.
  • Audience Surrogate: He zigzags on this trope. During Season 1, he possessed a moral outlook broadly compatible with 21st century television viewers. In Season 2, he's embraced Norse culture and accepted Odin as his god. Then he becomes even more of a surrogate later in the season, as he is now shown to have a wider religious outlook than previously, and while still predominantly Christian, he is starting to appreciate other cultures and their religions in a way that resembles modern multiculturalism. King Ecbert puts his Roman relics in Athelstan's care because unlike his other subjects, he wouldn't consider them unholy.
  • Badass Bookworm: If there's one thing that Athelstan appreciates, it's books and anything that involves writing or painting. Unlike the Vikings, he's capable of reading and writing in multiple languages.
  • Badass Preacher: The Vikings tend to shoot him down whenever he tries to lecture on his faith, but he's still a holyman with guts. Jumping into a river without a second thought and saving Ragnar's life earns him that title.
  • Badass Longrobe: His priest habit has a Badass Pacifist vibe.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: At the beginning of the episode, his son (he doesn't know of) is born. At the end of the episode, he dies.
  • Celibate Hero: Being a monk, he has a vow of celibacy, but he may have had sex in "Sacrifice". It's ambiguous if he did or not.
  • Character Death: Killed by Floki, who believed he needed to be sacrificed for turning against the old gods.
  • The Chew Toy: His home is burnt and all of his friends are either murdered or enslaved by the Vikings. He's then thrust into a foreign culture where many of the people dislike and mistrust him. He then finds out that Ragnar, one of the few Norsemen who had showed him kindness, intended to use him as a human sacrifice. After succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome, going pagan, and joining the Vikings on their raids, he gets captured and crucified by the English.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Truth in Television for the time period. note 
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He's thought by many of the Vikings, specifically Floki and King Horik, to suffer from this considering his Going Native after finding himself in Scandinavia and then his switching teams again during his return to England. In this case, he was kidnapped in the first instance and essentially held hostage in the second with no viable means of escape.
  • The Conscience: To Ragnar. He's one of the few people who Ragnar truly listens to and with his death, almost all moral restraints placed on Ragnar disappear with him.
    "Forgive me, my friend. Not for what I have done, but for what I am about to do."
  • Crucified Hero Shot: After going apostate and getting captured by the Saxon soldiers, he gets one of these in the most literal sense possible.
  • Cultured Badass: He's the only member of the warrior cast that can read and write, and has a deep appreciation for the Roman texts and relics that King Ecbert has in his possession.
  • Decomposite Character: Aethelwulf's historical role of biological father of Alfred the Great is given to this here fictional Northumbrian turned Norseman.
  • Doomed Hometown: The monastery of Lindisfarne, as depicted, went down in history as the first recorded Viking raid in England.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Maybe; some guys at the Ritual Sacrifice might have been interested in him.
  • Expy: He shares some noticeable similarities to Uhtred of Bebbanburg from The Saxon Stories. Both are Northumbrians by birth who were abducted by Vikings, both convert to paganism and embrace Norse culture, and both find themselves torn between their Saxon and Norse identities.
  • Face Death with Dignity: He calmly lets Floki drive an axe into his skull, with a simple "Lord receive my soul."
  • Going Native: He comes pretty close to doing this in "Sacrifice", adopting the Norse dress and hairstyle, taking part in a pagan festival, and even denying his Christianity (though he wasn't completely sincere about the latter). Fully cemented in "Invasion", when he goes on his first raid. Then again in "The Choice" when he decides once and for all that his home is in Kattegat with Ragnar and his family.
  • Good Shepherd: Athelstan takes his vocation seriously; his "greatest treasure" is an unadorned Bible, and he refuses to join a threesome with Ragnar and Lagertha because of his vow of celibacy. Ragnar is so impressed with his character he puts him in charge of the family farm while he's gone. With the encouragement of Ragnar and his family, Athelstan continues to retain these ideals and philosophy throughout the series, even after Going Native with the Vikings.
  • Guile Hero: Athelstan very rarely encounters physical confrontations and only attacks in defense of his friends or himself. He instead overcomes challenges using a combination of his natural intelligence, chameleon-like survival instincts, and cultural knowledge of both Christian and Norse values.
  • Happiness in Slavery:
    • Downplayed. He doesn't have much interest in escaping, but would very much like to be a free man. Ragnar leaves it ambigous whether or not he's a slave and he isn't really treated as one either, in fact, he's shown eating at Ragnar's table.
    • To a lesser extent, he had this in effect as a brother in his Church, but this was more like happiness in servitude.
      "I remember very well how I served the father of my Church, and it did me no harm. In fact, in service I found a great freedom and honour. Once I accepted that I should forget about myself and serve Father Cuthbert, well, then I became happy."
    • Averted as of "Invasion", Ragnar gives him an arm-ring and thus declares him a free man. Then in "The Choice", Ragnar asks Athelstan to come back to Kattegut, clearly showing that he's free to live and practice where he pleases.
  • Hearing Voices: In Season 2, the internal conflict between his Christian and Norse beliefs leads to him having hallucinations, especially in regards to his crucifixion scars.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: This door has a Heel–Faith Turn set of hinges. Athelstan begins the series as a Christian monk, but after spending a prolonged period of time among the Vikings, he claims that Odin is his god. Later, he's captured by the English of Wessex and taken into the court of King Ecbert, where he seems to at least nominally re-convert to Christianity. In "The Choice", Athelstan finally admits to Ragnar that he's torn between the Norse gods and Christianity, both of which speak to him and his spiritual side. After Ragnar assures him that this isn't a problem, Athelstan willingly returns to Kattegut with the Vikings.
    Athelstan: In the gentle fall of the rain from Heaven, I hear my God. But in the thunder, I still hear Thor. That is my agony.
    Ragnar: I hope that someday our Gods can become friends.
  • Impaled Palm: Athelstan bears the scars and aches of crucifixion upon his palms and feet, the former of which Ragnar notices when he returns his arm ring in "The Choice". They still pain him by the end of Season 2, but writing and painting appears to have reduced the stiffness somewhat in his dominant hand.
  • Important Haircut: Or more like important hair growth. The longer Athelstan lives with the Vikings, the longer he allows his hair and beard to grow, including the tonsure atop his head. Even after being captured by King Ecbert in Wessex, he still doesn't cut his hair or beard into the traditional style of a Christian monk.
  • Made a Slave: When his monastary is raided but is treated substantially better than most other examples.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The original reason why he was placed in the Lindisfarne monastery. Athelstan's parents already had four sons and a daughter when he was born and couldn't afford yet another child in their home.
  • Mercy Kill: He stops the brutal torture of the bishop of Winchester by slitting his throat before the Norsemen can put any more arrows in him.
  • Morality Chain: Like Bjorn, he has become this more and more to Ragnar as the series progresses, especially in regards to religion and attempts at negotiation instead of charging straight into battle. It completely shatters with Athelstan's death, unleashing a vengeful Ragnar on Paris and even some of his friends.
    Ragnar: "Forgive me, my friend. Not for what I have done, but for what I am about to do."
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Doesn't necessarily agree with everything Ragnar does, but he'll not gainsay him.
  • Nice Guy: He's a monk for a religion based around love and forgiveness and is living with Vikings.
  • Non-Action Guy: Put in charge of taking care of Ragnar and Lagertha's household despite having demonstrated no capacity for violence. He can still grip an axe when the need arises, and saves Ragnar from drowning at one point.
  • Odd Friendship: With Ragnar, despite their radically different countries, cultures, and religions. One does not expect a raider and a priest to get along so well. After Athelstan's death, Ragnar completely falls apart.
    Ragnar: I hope that someday our Gods can become friends.
  • Omniglot: Due to his background as a Catholic monk and scribe, Athelstan has a fluent or working knowledge of several languages, including Old English, Latin, Greek, Old Norse, and probably High German because of his time in Charlemagne's court. He's also shown to have a natural gift for picking up dialects. It was this demonstrated ability that initially caught Ragnar's attention and resulted in him sparing Athelstan's life.
  • Parental Substitute: He acted as this to Bjorn and Gyda whenever their parents were away on raids. Since Ragnar became Earl of Kattegat, Athelstan appears to have been exercising the duties of a Stivardur, or steward, in Ragnar's household.
  • The Philosopher: He can be quite poetic and philosophical at times, which probably comes from his background as a Christian monk. It's most evident when he's speaking with Ragnar or King Ecbert.
  • Shipper on Deck: He provides translation between Lagertha and a besotted King Ecbert, and judging from his reactions, is on board with the idea of them getting together.
  • The Smart Guy: Of a more academic shade than Floki. Due to his upbringing as a monk, Athelstan is 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, including Ancient Rome and its predecessors. 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. He continues to exhibit a thirst for knowledge of all kinds as the show progresses.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Judith.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Appears to be falling into it, under Ragnar. It's intentionally left ambiguous by Ragnar whether or not he's still a slave. Lagertha also contributes to this as her wisdom and kindness clearly has earned Athelstan's admiration.
    Ragnar: Perhaps you'd prefer to stay here and worship your own God?
    Athelstan: No. I'll gladly go with you.
  • Threesome Subtext: Jesus Christ, Athelstan...
    • First, there's subtext between Athelstan, Ragnar, and Lagertha. The two even invite him into a threesome in Season 1.
    • Second, with Judith and Ecbert. The former actually carried his child, and Ecbert is seemingly obsessed with him at all points. The two even comfort each other after Athelstan's death.
    • Third, with Ragnar and Ecbert. The conversation they have about his death almost seems like two lovers arguing over who is responsible for another's death.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After years of gradually assimilating into Norse culture, he decides to take up arms and fight in the shieldwall along with the rest of the Vikings.
  • Tragic Keepsake: A Bible that he saved from Lindisfarne is the only reminder that Athelstan has of his old life. He's understandably upset when it's destroyed.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Ragnar. However, Athelstan also makes it clear that if he thinks Ragnar is making a stupid or irrational decision, he'll tell him about it.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ragnar manipulates him into telling him more about England and other possible raiding targets.
  • White Sheep: 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 their religion despite being a devout Catholic priest. Even after becoming a full-fledged Viking, he's still noticeably more humane and compassionate than the other raiders.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Because it was burned to cinders.

    Þorunn 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thorunn.jpg
Played By: Gaia Weiss

"You don't understand. When I was a slave, I loved you. You were the first to treat me as if I was not a slave. But now, I have choices."

A slave turned shieldmaiden who became the wife of Björn. Her name is Norse suggesting that she was captured in a war somewhere else in Scandinavia.


  • Action Girl: After being given her freedom, Þorunn wants to become a shieldmaiden so Björn will respect her as a warrior rather than like her for her looks.
  • Barbarian Heroine
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Horribly averted.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Many fans where not happy with this, especially since she was replaced by the showrunner's daughter.
  • Don't Look at Me!: Towards Björn, after being deformed in battle.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Woman: Aslaug pulls one on her.
  • Heroic BSoD: After being maimed by a Saxon, she loses confidence in herself as a warrior and having lost her looks, believes herself to be completely worthless. Aslaug tells her to woman up and pray to Freyja, but instead Þorunn abandons her infant daughter and husband.
  • Heroic Wannabe: She's a capable fighter, but is unable to handle the very real aftermath of war.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She has Björn sleep with Torvi because she doesn't believe he would want to sleep with her after being deformed.
  • Meaningful Name: Þorunn means Thor's wave. Both the women Björn is involved with have names relating to Thor.
  • Long Bus Trip: After leaving Kattegat in the night, she has not been seen missing since the end of Season 3, which in the show is well over a decade and in real life over 3 years. She has only been mentioned once since she vanished.
  • Romantic False Lead: She is built up as Bjorn's love interest, but is replaced by Torvi.
  • Slave Liberation: She is freed by Aslaug to better her relationship with Björn.

    Yidu 
Played By: Dianne Doan
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/yidu.jpg
A slave from distant China, who comes into the possession of Ragnar Lothbrok after the raid on Paris.
  • Big Sister Instict: Despite her few interactions with Ragnar's children, she always seem to show this sort of behaviour towards them. At the journey to Frankia, she lulls them to sleep with a Chinese song and when the Franks attack the camp she immediately gets Ubbe and Hvitserk to safety and stays with them until the threat is over.
  • Dr. Feelgood: Of the medieval variety. Although it is never specified exactly what is in the "medicine" she gives Ragnar, it has narcotic and hallucinogenic properties, on top of being highly addictive.
  • Historical Domain Character: Loosely based on or named after Princess Yidu of the Tang Dynasty, who never left China during her 30-year long life and died in 803 AD.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Because of her manners and lack of skill with household tasks, Ragnar speculates that she made have been nobility before becoming a slave. Later, she admits being the emperor's daughter.
  • Made a Slave: Pirates captured her and her brothers, selling her into slavery.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Yidu (foreign slave, later at least semi-freed by Ragnar, from a distant land who can speak many languages and has a keen intellect) has become Ragnar's replacement for Athelstan (foreign slave, later at least semi-freed by Ragnar, from a distant land who can speak many languages and has a keen intellect), opening his heart to her.
  • Tempting Fate: After feeling used and mistreated by Ragnar, she threatens to tell his army about how he covered up the massacre in Wessex. He drowns her.
  • Unexpected Character: A Chinese woman in Carolingian Frankia would've been surprising enough, but she ends up living among the Vikings. Not impossible since she was sold by Arabic merchants, but still highly improbable.

    Margrethe 
Played by: Ida Nielsen
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/margrethe.jpg
A beautiful slave girl in Kattegat. She eventually becomes Ubbe's wife.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Every time she tries to better herself, it ends up all the worse for her. All the way up to her death.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: She is so beautiful that all of Ragnar's unmarried sons are attracted to her.
  • Defiant to the End: When Ivar starts strangling Margrethe to prevent her from telling people about his impotence, she manages to keep her composure and talk him out of it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: She is killed rather abruptly by Ivar's forces because he feels she is a threat.
  • Hidden Depths: She is initially a fairly passive character and little more than fanservice. In Season 5, however, we start to see another side of her. She tries to manipulate Ubbe into taking over as king, implying he should arrange the death of Bjorn in battle. This is so she can be queen. Never mind the chance that Bjorn may come about from Ivar winning the war meaning they will have no chance of becoming the rulers of Kattegat.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: She might be crazy as a bag of cats and considered killing Torvi's children, but she does point out to Ubbe and Torvi that it was pretty shitty for her husband to start up a relationship with another woman mostly for the weak reasoning that he felt he married "too young" and basically that Torvi was the first available woman.
  • Lady Macbeth: Tries to be this to Ubbe. Later for Hvitserk as well.
  • Mad Prophet: What she seems to become in the second half of Season 5.
  • Sanity Slippage: Starts to fall into this in Season 5, a combination of her own ambitions, Ubbe's infidelity, and possibly receiving seer-like visions.
  • Second Love: After Ubbe abandons her fully to be with Torvi, Hvitserk still loves her.
  • Sex Slave: Through she's into it, most of the time.
  • Slasher Smile: After the Seer tells her that she is mad.
  • Really Gets Around: She regularly has sex with Ubbe, Hvitserk, and Sigurd. Ivar tries to have sex with her as well, but his disability prevents him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Openly suggests that she should murder Bjorn's children.

    Tanaruz 
Played by: Sinead Gormally
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tanaruz.jpg

A Moorish girl from Spain that Helga wants to adopt as her own daughter.


  • Conveniently an Orphan: Deconstructed in that she's only a readily-available orphan because the Vikings killed her parents.
  • Cute Mute: It's not clear if she just doesn't understand the language, or is too traumatized by what happened to her to talk, but she never speaks, only screaming or whimpering.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Helga dragging her around to battlefields in England is traumatizing enough, but walking around a castle on fire and having a beam nearly land on her is Tanaruz's breaking point.
  • Driven to Suicide: Her final fate.
  • Love Hungry: Helga is determined to make the girl love her at all costs.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Helga wants to make her into her new daughter after Angrboda dies.
  • Taking You with Me: She kills Helga just before she kills herself.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: This one may be deliberately invoked—one of the reasons Helga gives to adopt her is that she's the same age Angrboda would have been had she lived. But Angrboda was born about the same time Ivar was, which means she would have been sixteen or seventeen in the current timeline of the show, not the ten-year-old girl Tanaruz is. Given Tanaruz's storyline, though, this might just be a sign that Helga is delusional.

    Freydis 
Played by: Alicia Agneson
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/freydisimage.jpg
A beautiful, compassionate, and very wise slave girl who is possibly the only one besides Ivar's family who isn't afraid of him. She may even have feelings for the Viking warlord.
  • Ascended Extra: She was initially only called "Ivar's slave girl", but was given an expanded part because she impressed the producers.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: A very lovely woman, to the point where her beauty initially made Ivar want to sacrifice her to the gods to ensure victory over the English.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Ivar is feeling quite lonely and isolated when he talks with her. Her wise words do so much to inspire him (plus having her sit in his lap naked and unafraid of him helped too) make him so grateful he frees her on the spot.
  • Birds of a Feather: She and Ivar are both crazy, ambitious, manipulative, and cunning. No wonder they're a couple.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Is...odd to say the least. This makes her a good match for Ivar.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Ivar holds her body after he strangles her to death, clearly heartbroken she betrayed him like everyone else in his life has.
  • Conceive and Kill: Freydis had sex with one of Ivar's slaves to become pregnant and then had him killed as a cover up.
  • Dying for Symbolism: Ivar leaves her body in a sleeping pose and Baldur's bones displayed on his bed, showing that what he really has lost and given up isn't the power and crown, but the family he's always yearned for.
  • Face–Heel Turn / Heel–Face Turn: It's debatable which one it is depending on whose side you favor but she betrays Ivar after she's unable to forgive him for killing their son by allowing Bjorn and his forces into Kattegat through a secret entrance.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Appears in a single scene in the first half of Season 5, but is Ivar's love interest in the second half.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: While it's appropriate for the time period, they still get engaged in record time.
  • Love at First Sight: Well, second sight technically. While Ivar is clearly attracted to her when they first meet, when he sees her a second time, he's smitten right from the expression on his face.
  • Meaningful Echo: Her words are similar to what Ragnar told Ivar in Season 4, about how he's special and destined to do great things.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Possibly the most obedient slave ever seen on the show. She unhesitatingly tells Ivar that she will gladly sacrifice herself to the gods if that's what he really wants.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The first thing Ivar asks her to do in her scene in take off her clothes, with the shot lingering quite a while on her rather nicely formed derriere.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When she's sitting naked on Ivar's lap, she blatantly runs a hand over his crotch. The scene cuts to a shot of Ivar's wrists bending upwards while his hands clutch the arm rests of his chair, suggesting he's not quite as impotent as he thought he was.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Her main character trait. She's shown to be able to see things in Ivar that very few others do, his potential for greatness, and how he is destined to become a great leader. She claims she always sees these things in people that others dismiss.

    Ingrid 
Played By: Lucy Martin

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ingridseason6.jpg

One of Gunnhild's slaves that starts an affair with Björn.


  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Could there be any other kind in Vikings?
  • Femme Fatale: Manipulates Björn into starting to sleep with her and does quite a bit of manipulation to better her position after marrying Harald.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: It's implied that her rule of Kattegat will not be a tolerant one as she orders the killing a christian king and for the re-militarization of Kattegat.
  • Hot Witch: A very attractive woman who dabbles in witchcraft.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She is quite often shown naked of half-naked.
  • Rags to Royalty: Through her marriage to Björn and later Harald.
  • Slave Brand: Carries a slave tattoo give to her by Erik the Red.

Gods

    Odin 
Played by: André Eriksen a& Eddie Drew
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/odin_in_vikings3.jpg
The Allfather and King of the Aesir.
  • Badass Baritone: When he finally speaks to the Ragnarssons to tell them of Ragnar's death, he does so with a bass rumble worthy of the King of the Gods.
  • Badass Cape: Made out of raven feathers, by all appearance.
  • Creepy Crows: Or ravens rather. Hugin and Munin, Thought and Memory, accompany him. Later, after Ragnar's death, his approach is heralded by an entire flocks of them.
  • Doting Parent: In an understated way, when he appears to Ivar, who is his descendant, he touches him gently on the cheek when he tells him of Ragnar's death. He does likewise with Sigurd, putting a hand to his shoulder.
  • Dramatic Thunder: When he speaks, his first word is underscored with a roll of thunder.
  • Eye Scream: He gave up an eye to gain knowledge. In his latter form, it's not covered up, and it is not pretty. It's simply gone.
  • Old Master: Oddly enough, subverted. Despite his initial appearance in Ragnar's visions fitting this appearance, when he appears to the Ragnarssons, he looks middle-aged and even lacks a beard.
  • Unexpected Character: Whilst he had appeared in beforehand, it was only in visions and possible hallucinations. Nobody expected him to appear unambiguously to the Ragnarssons, in order to tell them of Ragnar's death.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: His appearance to Ragnar and to his sons are completely different, implying this.
  • Walking Spoiler: He appeared in the very first episode, but since his latter appearance is tightly interwoven with Ragnar's death, he has become this.

    Idunn 
Played By: Jerry-Jane Pears

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/011fdb03125a5b738ff6ae2435331d76.png

The godess of Youth.



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