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The Norsemen

  • Badass Army: They're Vikings, and when they do partake in battles they really bring the pain.
  • Badass Beard: There's no shortage of epic beardage in this show because they're Norsemen.
  • 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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Ragnar’s Family

    Ragnar 'Lodbrok' Sigurdsson
Played By: Travis Fimmel

"Odin gave his eye to acquire knowledge. But I would give far more."

Ragnar Lodbrok is perhaps the greatest Norseman of his generation. A great warrior who rose to become king of the Northmen, he is driven in ensuring a glorious future of conquest and prosperity for his people, no matter the cost. Ragnar is deeply devoted to Odin, god of war and the slain, and sees himself as a descendant of this mighty deity.

Ragnar earned his fame in Earl Haraldson's many raids in the Slavo-Baltic lands, but swiftly became disillusioned with the Earl's insistence in raiding the east when the far more plentiful lands of the west lay untouched and ripe for the taking. Ragnar slew the Earl in personal combat, thus becoming lord of Kattegat. His later raids on the Angle and Saxon kingdoms of Britannia proved wildly successful, gaining him the patronage of King Horik I of Denmark. However, the alliance between the two quickly soured as Horik began to fear Ragnar usurping him as king and began to plot against him. Ironically, this sealed his downfall, as Ragnar was able to outmaneuver him and slay him, thus becoming King of Denmark.

Ragnar later enacts a final raid on the kingdom of Wessex in the fourth season, purposefully engineering his own death to unite his sons and subjects into a Great Army of warriors to invade Britain and at last destroy his adversary, King Ecbert.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Briefly, Ragnar suffered this when the fate of the Wessex settlement finally came to light and his role in covering up the massacre so he could go and conquer Frankia. However, he still commands sufficient respect in the North that most people still outwardly treat him with honour. And his legend was still so strong that his sons forbade the election of another king in his absence. Of course, he later engineers his death in Britain in such a way that it completely rehabilitates his reputation and incites a massive horde of Norse warriors to destroy the kingdoms of Wessex and Northumbria.
  • Action Dad: What is a Viking man? Someone who fights and takes care of his family.
  • A Father to His Men: Ragnar treats his closest warriors as well as his own family and makes it a point that all in his warband are to be seen as equals. This is the main quality that marks him out from the likes of Haraldson and Horik. Ragnar genuinely commands loyalty from his followers as a result of this approach, while they don't. Truth in Television as far as Nordic and Germanic warbands went. These guys didn't get a wage like regular soldiers in say, Roman Legions did, they were paid in loot and gifts. If a leader wanted loyalty, he had to be generous.
    • Later on, he's considered to be the spiritual father of the entire Norse race.
      Unnamed Norsemen: [to Ubbe] Your father was a great hero! Perhaps the greatest hero of our race; and that is why we have answered your summons and come to avenge his death.
      Unnamed Norsemen 2: He was also like our father. We have all lost a father.
  • Ambadassador: He acts as King Horik I's emissary to Jarl Borg in "All Change". Apparently, he's the latest in a long line. Borg is initially dismissive of him, though he wises up after he realizes he is indeed speaking to the man who single-handedly defeated a king of England.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's not nearly as blatant as with Floki, but Ragnar has some very strange speech patterns and mannerisms and often seems to have trouble finding even simple words to express himself, accompanied by an assortment of facial tics. He's also probably the least articulate character on the show despite his undeniable charisma. If this is tied to a disorder then it casts his friendship with Floki in a new light.
  • An Axe to Grind: Favours an axe in battle.
  • Animal Motifs: Ravens. This is most likely symbolic of the god Odin, who was said to have raven familiars. More specifically, Odin in his capacity as the god of knowledge, which Ragnar seems to most closely identify with.
  • Anti-Hero: Out of all the pillaging and ransoming Vikings, he's the most heroic.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: To Athelstan, when he talks about how Christians give their wealth to the Church in order to save their souls; "What are their souls?".note 
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He became the Earl and later, king, through Klingon Promotion.
  • A Threesome is Manly: He and Lagertha invite Athelstan to join them in bed. At the moment, it's unclear if Ragnar intended to have any sexual contact with Athelstan himself — he doesn't make any personal advances, rather, he uses Lagertha to tempt the monk.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • When he slays Haraldson and is hailed as the new Earl of Kattegat.
    • Again when he headbutts Horik to death and is acclaimed king of the North, atop the Preikestolen, no less.note 
  • Badass Beard: Grows it further every season. By the time of his death it was no longer regulated merely to his neck.
  • Badass Baritone: A borderline example, but particularly noticeable when he raises his voice.
  • Badass Boast: A surprisingly low key one after King Aella tries to double cross him, he has this exchange with the king's brother, whom he was holding hostage;
    Ragnar: Why should I not just kill you now?
    Athelwulf: Then you'd have nothing left to bargain with.
    Ragnar: [lifts his axe] I have this.
  • Badass in Charge: Of much of Scandinavia, where exactly is never elaborated upon. In Season 4, it is revealed to be a part of Norway, but he holds clout in all land ruled by the Norsemen.
  • Badass Cape: Wears a big cloak of wolf-skin at times. Justified, since it's worn to ward off the cold.
  • Badass Family: Fathered one. Also claims descent from Odin, the king of Norse gods.
  • Bald of Awesome: After shaving his hair off in memory of Athelstan. It's also a callback to when the latter tried (and failed) to regain his tonsure in the first season.
  • Barbarian Hero: Very much so in the show, though quite a bit more cerebral and intellectually curious than the standard. He's still extremely savage and warlike regardless. note 
  • Barbarian Longhair: A long, plaited scalp braid. Averted in Season 3, where his hair gets progressively shorter until he decides to go for a full-on Bald of Awesome look after shaving his head in mourning for Athelstan.
  • Berserk Button: Mocking Athelstan's death is a good way to piss him off, as Floki did and he was the one to kill him but wouldn't admit it. Also it's what Aslaug did as well and Ragnar slaps her for it.
  • The Berserker: Shown most clearly during the first attack against the walls of Paris, where Ragnar, seeing Bjorn in danger, switches to beast mode and proceeds to slaughter his way further up the ramparts than any other Norseman, including Rollo. It takes about a half-dozen men to finally throw him from the walls, but before he was, he had the Frankish princess and count dead in his sights.
  • Big Bad: From the Frankish perspective he certainly is.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Same thing but he's the younger of the two. Ragnar is extremely protective of Rollo.
  • Big Good: He served as this for a time, as earl and later king, to his fellow Norsemen. Then the news of what he had done came to them and he, like Haraldsson, is just another Fallen Hero.
  • Blood Knight: VIKING!
    "We fight. That is how we win, and that is how we die."
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Every time he gets into battle, he swiftly becomes covered in blood. None of it is ever his own, of course.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Rollo's Cain because he isn't treacherous.
  • The Chains of Commanding: His choice to hide the destruction of the Wessex settlement in particular is a crushing weight on him. So much that, by midway through Season 4, he's in a deep depression and lacks the "passion to win" that drove him to discover a way to cross the open ocean, despoil Northumbria, Wessex, and Paris, and become king.
  • Challenging the Chief: Becomes earl through a formal challenge to the death. Now, after slaying King Horik of Denmark, Ragnar's inherited that title as well.
  • Composite Character: To an extent, with Gurim, who was the real brother of Hrolfr Ganger (Rollo) in history.
    • He also possesses traits of Erik the Red, Leif Eriksson, and Thorfinn Karlsefni, being a discoverer of a new land as well as participating in the attempted settlement of these lands, which yielded violent results.
    • The fake-out dying conversion to Christianity was actually a trick by his son Bjorn. It was not used against Paris but rather, Luni which Bjorn believed at the time to be Rome.
    • Historically, Horik I was slain by his nephew Guttorm and his successor was his possible son Horik II.
  • The Conqueror: One of the greatest Viking conquerors to ever live. Over the course of the series, he comes to rule a large kingdom in Norway and possibly Denmark, ravages Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex, and has even conquered the heart of West Frankia itself.
  • Cool Sword: The Sword of Kings, taken from King Horik of Denmark who has no further need of it.
  • Crisis of Faith: After his ten year long exile, it's clear that Ragnar privately has serious doubts about the existence of the gods and pretty much becomes an existentialist. When he realises that the Seer's last prophecy to him (that he will die when the blind man sees him) apparently has come true, he enters a discussion with the Seer and rants about how the gods are simply the invention of man to answer questions they were to afraid to answer themselves. To his surprise, the Seer does not correct him and suggests that Ragnar is right and that the Seer himself looked "among the dead" for answers. Ragnar wants to know what the Seer found, but then the Seer vanishes. It's completely unclear whether it was a "real" conversation or simply a figment of Ragnar's imagination. Ragnar himself seems confounded by this and it's left to to audience to interpret if Ragnar firmly rejected the gods or had a last minute change of heart like Earl Haraldson. Though Ragnar states that he will await in Valhalla for his sons, this might just be a scare tactic. In the end, only Odin knows.
  • Darker and Edgier: While he was never a softie, a series of personal hardships has led him to become progressively more ruthless and bloodthirsty. It culminates finally with Athelstan's murder, where Ragnar fully becomes a much darker and vengeful man.
    "Forgive me, my friend. Not for what I have done, but for what I am about to do."
  • Deadpan Snarker: He doesn't waste words, but he still has his moments of acerbic wit.
    Ragnar: [after Rollo suggests they attack the Saxons] Attack, attack, attack. That's all he ever says.
  • Decapitation Presentation: He does this to an unfortunate Saxon in "Invasion".
  • Defiant to the End: Facing execution and despite being tortured, he refuses to ask for absolution and instead yells a badass poem at Aelle.
  • Dented Iron: In Season 4, Ragnar is a shadow of his former self. The injuries he sustained at the Siege of Paris took months to heal and he uses an addictive drug to keep himself going. He is still a tough warrior, but it's clear that he is mostly spent. After the Time Skip, he has aged rather ungracefully and his back is giving him problems.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Athelstan's murder hits him really hard.
    Ragnar: [talking to Athelstan's corpse] There is nothing to console me now. I am changed.
  • Determinator: Ragnar is a very determined man, to say the least.
  • Divine Parentage: Claims descent from Odin.
  • Doting Parent: If there's one good thing that can be said of Ragnar, it's that his children mean all the world to him.
  • The Dreaded: Seriously, everyone knows not to fuck with Ragnar.
    Kalf: I have had a dream where Ragnar Lothbrok stands before me, eating my liver with my blood all over his mouth. I beg him to stop, telling him that the liver is the seat of all life but he does not. He only smiles, and keeps eating. [...] Who would not fear a farmer who rose to become a king?
  • Dual Wielding: Seems to favour this fighting style, though he can go for Sword-and-Board as well.
  • Duel to the Death: His personal combat with Haraldson.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Destroying several Balto-Slavic warriors in rapid succession in the show's first episode, to drive home what a badass he is.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Much like Erik, he wasn't as gung-ho about killing the defenseless monks at Lindisfarne. While he doesn't seem to disapprove of some of the more brutal antics of his fellow Norsemen (ie: torturing the bishop at Winchester to death) he seems to prefer to abstain from such acts.
  • Faking the Dead: He conquers Paris by pretending to be dead.
  • Fallen Hero: Just like Haraldsson before him, Ragnar ends up like this. It causes you to wonder if the throne of Kattegat is cursed or something.
  • The Fatalist: Played with. Ragnar embodies the ideal of a religious Norseman, and part of that is his complete submission to the will of the gods and his acceptance of how the skein of his life is already woven. Ragnar also believes that he can also influence how that skein unfolds through his actions.
    Lagertha: Never fight unless you know the odds are in your favor. That is our way.
    Ragnar: Who sets the odds? Our fates are already decided.
    Lagertha: You don't believe that... and neither do I.
    Ragnar: You are wrong. I do believe it.
    • Through later he rejects this belief.
  • Faux Affably Evil: If you piss off Ragnar in any way, expect his demeanor to remain icily cool, but do not take that as a sign of forgiveness. This man is hard and heathen and kills without conscience. Just ask the now dearly departed Jarl Borg and King Horik.
  • Foil: He and King Ecbert are foils for each other; he is a Viking intrigued by Anglo-Saxon culture, while Ecbert is an Anglo-Saxon intrigued by the Vikings. Both are simultaneously more than willing to fight each other on the battlefield, but also to negotiate a pact that would be mutually beneficial.
  • Four-Star Badass: Ragnar more or less ended the Mercian civil war single-handedly, within a few days, something that not even King Ecbert and Princess Kwenthrith with all their resources and the aid of Norse mercenaries could do. Every engagement where he's personally in command inevitably results in a Curb-Stomp Battle in the favour of the Vikings, with himself often accounting for at least half of the enemy's extensive casualties — In fact, the only times where he was ever in a losing battle were almost directly due to him relinquishing command to a lesser general (ie: Horik or Floki). He single-handedly conquered the impregnable city of Paris, something that until that moment had never been accomplished. Not even by the Huns.
  • Front Line General: Ragnar is always where the fighting is thickest. During the first siege of Paris he basically carries the walls by himself before being thrown off by ten other guys.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ragnar is likely the greatest warrior in all of Europe in the era the show is set, but in addition to that is a keen intellect and deep tactical understanding.
    Ragnar: These are interesting times. The world is changing, and we must change with it.
  • Genre Savvy: Exhibits a great deal of it in how he analyzes battles.
    • Most prominently in his siege of Paris. He sees that Athelstan was right, it is nigh impregnable. What does he do? Pretend to convert to Christianity and infiltrate the place from the inside of course!
  • Glory Seeker: A rare positively depicted example, as renown was perhaps the most important thing to the Northmen.
  • Good Parents: To all his children. The death of his daughter absolutely devastates him, for one thing.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has scars on his face, and on the bridge of his nose. He also has several large gashes on his body.
  • Guile Hero: Has shades of this, tricking Haraldson into giving him Athelstan as a slave, tricking Athelstan into telling him about England and other lands to the west ripe for plunder, and using subterfuge to learn about his enemy's plan of attack. By the end of the second season, Ragnar's wholly willing to play politics and negotiate with the Saxons to ensure peace and much needed farmland for his people.
  • Guttural Growler: Veers into this when he's raising his voice or is angry.
  • Hard Head:
    • In the Season 2 finale, Ragnar literally smashes Horik's face in with his own head. Repeatedly.
    • By Season 3, although he doesn't use it for murder as much, he has kept the headbutt habit. A single headbutt from him is enough to knock someone down to the ground and give them a black eye.
  • Heroic Lineage: Much like his historical personage, Ragnar is a descendant of Odin. Of course, given that the show depicts him as first being a farmer and later becoming a king, it's intentionally kept vague as to what his lineage really is. His father is never mentioned except in one of the extended universe comics, where Ragnar is shown as avenging his death in battle.
    • In real life, Ragnar was the son of Sigurdr Hringr, who was in turn the son of Randver, who was in turn the son of Rathbathr who was a Geatish king of Garthariki, which was the Old Norse term for the Norse-Slavic/Turkic states of Kievan Russ. As a result, Ragnar's family descended from the line of Volsungs and thus the direct descendants of Odin. In turn, this would mean that Ragnar and Aslaug were actually distant relatives.
  • Historical Domain Character: The historical Ragnar Lodbrok is regarded as a hero in modern Scandinavia.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: More in the sense that the show attributes to him a lot of things the real Ragnar (if he existed at all) was never claimed as doing: Rediscovering England, entering deals with King Ecbert, stimulating good Pagan-Christian relations (or at least attempting to), killing the tyrannical King Horik and so forth. He did kill several kings though, but the saga depicts him as doing so mainly for glory as opposed to altruism.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: His justification for sleeping with Aslaug. Word for word, this is what he says when Bjorn calls him out on it. He doesn't seem to think it compromises his relationship with his wife. It's justified in that fidelity to one's spouse (at least for men) is a mostly Abrahamic thing. Hell, what Ragnar did isn't even considered adultery by the laws of his time; for a man, adultery is defined under most versions of ancient Scandinavian law as sleeping with a married woman. Unmarried ones like Aslaug are fair game. Women don't get the same privilege though, even unmarried ones.
  • Instant Expert: Becomes functionally bilingual impressively quickly. It's justified, as Old English and Old Norse are very similar languages, having both grown from the same source and being spoken by two people with the same cultural origin. Particularly, this is evident in how both languages share similar words, like the word for 'king'.note  So, Ragnar becoming fluent in Old English would have actually been pretty easy.
  • In Harm's Way: Given how Ragnar is often the first into the fray when battle comes, one could say he fits.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: By itself, his gaze is fairly unique. When combined with Blood-Splattered Warrior, he's pretty frightening to look upon.
  • Kick the Dog: After his warband vanquishes the Northumbrian force, he teases one of the prisoners with the possibility of him being spared. Ragnar laughs and has Rollo cut his head off. He later tries to manipulate Athelstan into becoming a human sacrifice. Of course, this is also a major case of Values Dissonance as well since becoming a sacrifice for the gods was considered an honour amongst pagan Scandinavians.
  • Large Ham: Ragnar's a mostly reserved guy, but if a speech must be made, then it shall be a SPEECH!
    Ragnar: For it is always good to travel with hope and with courage, but better still TO TRAVEL WITH KNOWLEDGE!!! GRAAAAAAGH!!!!
  • Living Legend: Ragnar is considered in-universe to be something akin to an Icon. Hell, even a number of Anglo-Saxons are in awe of him if they aren't busy being terrified of him.
  • Lightning Bruiser: While Ragnar isn't as big as some of the Vikings, he's shown to be capable of out-muscling his larger brother Rollo, and demonstrates both remarkable speed and resilience in battle.
  • Licked by the Dog: One of the few indicators that Ragnar is more than a brutal warrior is how his wives and children utterly adore him. His ability to become close friends with a Christian monk while also accepting their religious and cultural differences says a lot about Ragnar's curious and forward-thinking personality, too.
  • Made of Iron: As evident in "Raid", where he sustains immeasurable wounds from fighting through a dozen of Haraldson's men and barely breaks his stride. The only thing that seems to faze him is an arrow impaling itself through his shoulder. Then he just tears it out and goes back to cutting down multitudes of foes.
  • Maniac Tongue: He did this when he shanked the archbishop of Paris inside a cathedral, in full view of a Frankish king and all the city's nobility. By far, his most outwardly unhinged trait. Unsurprisingly, Ivar inherited this in spades.
  • Mangst:
    • He goes through this after Erik's untimely death. You get the feeling that the wood blocks he was chopping were supposed to be Haraldson's head. He then goes one further and spends a whole day brooding on a mountaintop making oaths to his father Odin. Goes through it again after Lagertha miscarries.
    • Yet again when Lagertha leaves him.
    • Ivar's disability.
    • Then again when he's informed of Athelstan's supposed death at the hands of King Ecbert.
    • Again when Athelstan truly does die.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • In the second half of Season 2. Ragnar weaves a web of deceit and spies all around Horik, whom he's come to despise due to his actions in Wessex, flagrant lies and abandonment of Athelstan, and growing threat to Ragnar's family. Blind to Ragnar's manipulations, it ultimately ends in the slaughter of Horik's forces, wife, children, and himself.
    • What makes this even more awesome? This was during a full-on attack of Kattegat by Horik's men. His men are slaughtered as soon as they're within the town, his children are put to death at the same time, and by the time he staggers all the way to the great hall, he sees that all the people he had tried to manipulate into working for him had been playing him all along on Ragnar's orders where he is promptly massacred by Ragnar himself. In other words, Ragnar manipulated Horik into willfully walking into his own annihilation while still deluding him into thinking he had everything under control. Seriously, Ragnar must be Walter White's distant Scandinavian ancestor or something.
  • Marry Them All: Rather than choose between Lagertha and Aslaug, Ragnar instead proposes a polygamous marriage, pointing out that such arrangements are not uncommon amongst Earls, which they aren't. Lagertha divorces him.
  • Messianic Archetype: Seriously. Ragnar ultimately makes the choices he does for the sake of others, never for himself — surrendering where he knows he needs to, with many followers questioning his choices, and ultimately choosing death for a larger picture. This is most obvious in "All His Angels" — Ecbert, who can't bring himself to pass judgment on Ragnar, passes him off to somebody else for judgment, much like how Pontius Pilate passed Jesus to someone else..
  • Modest Royalty: After ascending as Earl, Ragnar more or less continues to dress as he did when he was still a raider. Of course, that's because most Norse leaders of the time ''were'' also raiders and he still is one. It also contrasts the rich fur cloaks and fine clothes that Haraldson wore.
  • Morality Chain: Athelstan was his for much of the series. With his death, it's completely shattered.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Ragnar exhibits masterful command of swords, axes, and spears. He often switches between weapons in the middle of combat with absolutely no loss of expertise.
  • My Gods, What Have I Done?: Downplayed, but he seems genuinely troubled after murdering Yidu, mainly because he unknowingly did so right in front of Hvitserk and Ubbe, who are obviously disturbed by this act of brutality.
  • Odd Friendship: With Athelstan; one does not expect a raider and a priest to get along so well, and much less so when they're from different countries and cultures. Ragnar reacts very emotionally when Athelstan suggests leaving Kattegat after having rediscovered his Christianity. And then he completely falls apart when Athelstan is murdered.
  • Older Is Better: Became an actual grandfather by the third season. Then became a straight example after the fourth season timeskip, where his mere presence is enough to petrify an entire crowd of Norsemen.
    • Taken to extremes in S4B, where Old Man Ragnar massacres his own entire warband, though with a little help from Ivar.
    • It's worth noting that the entire Saxon world seems incapable of looking upon Ragnar when he returns to England without shitting themselves, even heavily armoured warriors armed with spears and numbering in the hundreds seem to jump back when he lifts his head. As Ecbert put it: —>Ecbert: To all of the people in this palace, and also many of those outside of it; you are the most dangerous man on this Earth. They're terrified of you.
  • One-Man Army: Ragnar is personally responsible for over 100 on-screen kills over the course of the season, making him the defining example of this trope for the series as a whole. During the assaults on Paris and the conquest of Mercia, he singlehandedly takes on and slays more men than any one of his warriors, including Rollo, the next best example of this trope in the series.
  • Papa Wolf: If you value your life, don't screw with his family. His children in particular.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Like the rest of the cast, he is a Viking. Unlike the rest of the cast, he believes himself to be Thor's brother. See also Blood Knight.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Used as a form of psychological warfare. Particularly when negotiating with the Saxons. It works well.
    • There's also that approving smile after the giant battle at the end of "A King's Ransom" when he watches Rollo slaughter the remaining Christians.
  • Rags to Riches: Subverted in the sense that Ragnar was upper-middle class by the structure of his society, but his rise from raider to Jarl to King certainly counts as one of the biggest in history.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Played with. Ragnar is pretty much the ultimate Viking and is thus very good at killing people, plundering cities and conquering lands. However, the true essence of his character is that he's someone who can simultaneously embody that aspect of his culture while also embodying the curious, adventurous, exploratory side and can look beyond merely fighting and raiding to a point in time where his people might actually be able to be and do more. His raids on the lands to the west and south are therefore not only to plunder, but also to provide land to allow his people to move beyond mere violence as a way of life.
    • Of course, the destruction of his settlement, which in many ways embodied his long term hopes for his culture, acts as the ultimate Cynicism Catalyst. Ragnar no longer believes in accommodating or negotiating with the Christians to improve the lot of his people; but rather realises that the only way to realise his dreams is to forcibly take what he needs. Thus, he passes his torch to his most cunning and bloodthirsty son, Ivar, and intends for him to wash away the Saxon kingdoms in a tide of blood and death so that their people might at last prosper.
  • Rated M for Manly: He's a Viking, and not just any Viking, one of the most significant Vikings in Scandinavian history.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He's a Norse pagan so it's more like Real Men Love Odin. He identifies closely with Odin in his aspect as the god of wisdom and in how he represents the curiosity and thirst for knowledge that resides in men. It's worth noting that there's an element of ancestor worship in this since Ragnar believes Odin to be his ancestor.
    • Though he has a serious crisis of faith S4B which in never definitively resolved. Though Word of God states he still made it to Valhalla. In the end however, it's up to the viewer to decide whether he kept to his new convictions or rediscovered his faith in the end. Regardless, Odin himself thought enough of him to ensure he was avenged by his sons.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Generally he's the blue to Lagertha's and Rollo's red because he is more cool and strategic. Though when his blood is up he needs to be restrained by the former two. He is also red to Athlestan's blue because he may be more rational and cool than other Norsemen but he still is a Blood Knight Viking and is more willing to fight rather than Athlestan who is more peaceful.
  • Reluctant Ruler: "Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best. Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up."
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • He gave a massive one to Horik and Borg for wasting lives in petty disputes over land when they could be conquering new worlds in the West.
    • Bjorn, for letting his pregnant wife come with him to Wessex. It's especially poignant because Bjorn had essentially endangered his family because he couldn't put Thorunn in line. When Ragnar needed Lagertha to look after the children when he raided way back in the first season, he physically fought her. That Bjorn couldn't show the same backbone, especially when it could have cost him his child, is absolutely disgusting to him.
      Ragnar: She is with child, and you still let her come? [slaps Bjorn harshly] She will most likely die, both her and your child inside her. Why? Because you have the strength of a man, but the will of a little girl! I cannot believe you are my son. [hits him again] I can't stand to even look at you.
    • He gives an absolutely EPIC one to the rest of the Vikings, letting them know he's had it up to here with their disunity and jackassery. He's also takes this as an opportunity to intimidate the self-styled "leaders" of the thus far failed siege (Erlendur, Floki, Rollo, and Lagertha) into line.
      "I have something to say. I did not become Earl because I aspired to be one. It came about because of other peoples' actions [death glares at Lagertha]. And I did not become King out of ambition, but once again I had no choice, as a result of other peoples' actions [turns to regard Erlendr, who flinches]. But nonetheless, I am King. KING RAGNAR! THAT IS MY NAME! KING RAGNAR. What does a king do, Bjorn? [...] YES! Good. He rules. And as ruler [turns to Lagertha again, who is silent] I have the last say. ME!!! [turns to Lagertha, Rollo, Erlendr, and Floki in turn] NOT YOU! NOT YOU! NOT YOU! AND NOT YOU! You have all had your "ideas" AND THEY HAVE ALL FAILED!!! I WILL NOT. [Stunned Silence] Now, with no more discussion, we shall meet the Franks tomorrow."
    • A fair shorter, yet in many ways, quite heart-wrenching one to Rollo when he finally betrays him to the Franks.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: In a society that so closely equates warrior-skill with leadership as the Norse did, being one is practically a job requirement for Ragnar, especially as his authority begins to rise as he progresses from earl to king. Not for nothing was the sword considered the symbol of a Germanic king's temporal power.
    • He also engages in the more boring aspects of preparing for raids and general living in the far North, which makes sense as he's both Modest Royalty and a genuinely unpretentious man.
  • Sanity Slippage: In Season 4, he's still dealing with his wounds from last season and Yidu's "medicine" doesn't really help, either. He gets better after the midseason timeskip; becoming the master of getting shit done once again/
  • Screaming Warrior: He's managed to weaponise this as a form of psychological warfare. Also when he basically reduces King Horik into a fine, slightly runny paste on the meadhall floor.
  • Self-Made Man: He was a farmer, though quite renowned even from youth, who by dint of determination and cunning manages to raid West and amass riches and wealth undreamed of. By those same virtues he rises to the position of Earl and then King, though he never wanted authority.
  • Social Climber: Over the course of two seasons, he goes from a farmer, to an earl and finally to king. Though he arises due to circumstances he genuinely doesn't want.
  • Stepford Smiler: Most evident in his talk with Athelstan shortly before the Earl raids their village. Athelstan knows that Ragnar is 'preparing himself' and has much on his head, but Ragnar pretends that nothing is going on until he is directly pressed.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • It's quite obvious that he has nothing but distaste for the Anglo-Saxons (well, so long as they're not named Athelstan), but he goes along with them for the purposes of peace because he knows his people can't make enemies out of everyone they meet. He's visibly exasperated at Ecbert's attempts to get them to weigh in on Mercia's Succession Crisis and it's clear he doesn't trust him and has no respect for him as a man. He makes it very clear he only plays along for the sake of his people getting their land. Of course, when he finds out that Ecbert ordered the settlement destroyed, Ragnar makes it very clear that the kid's gloves come off.
    • He also doesn't think highly of Aethelwulf.
      Aethelwulf: My friend— [gets shoved backwards]
      Ragnar: [smiling] I don't like you.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Takes several from the beginning to the end of Season 3. In the first season, he is a Happily Married devoted husband. By Season 3, he engages Would Hurt a Child, and Would Hit a Girl after murdering Horik's daughters.
    • In fairness, he personally did not kill those children and spared Erlendr when Horik asked him too. He also takes pains to avoid harming children during his raids on the Anglo-Saxons even after S3, too.
  • Tragic Keepsake: He takes Athelstan's cross pendant and arm ring as one after the latter's murder.
  • Tranquil Fury: This is Ragnar's preferred form of blood-lusting rage. As he himself puts it, and quite cogently too, "beware the fury of a patient man."
    • When he explains the Blood Eagle to Jarl Borg, who of course already knows but Ragnar is just reminding him to be cruel. He very calmly outlined exactly what he is about to do.
      Ragnar: [seething with fury] Since you consort with eagles, I will carve a Blood Eagle on your back.
      Borg: No... No.
      Ragnar: [still seething] Yesss. I will tear the meat from your back and tear your ribs outward, and rip out your very lungs and set from upon your shoulders... Like wings...
    • After being informed by Prince Aethelwulf through words and the tangible proof of his arm ring that Athelstan is alive, Ragnar reacts with an icy glare and grim face, all of it aimed at Horik, who Ragnar now knows was lying about what happened in Wessex. The anger continues to fester throughout the remainder of the season, and then it finally explodes in the season finale when Ragnar calmly deals with Horik's attack on Kattegut and his family... and then beats him to death with his own head and a shield. The fact he literally says not a word before the trap is sprung makes it all the more terrifying.note 
    • Also has this reaction when he finds out their settlement in Wessex was destroyed.
      Ragnar: [embracing the weeping Sole Survivor] I tell you this, Floki, both Ecbert and his son shall feel the wrath of the Gods.
    • Once he discovers that Floki was responsible for Athelstan's murder, Ragnar begins to orchestrate Floki's downfall, all while watching him from afar with silent hatred. When speaking to Athelstan in "To The Gates", he wonders how Floki could even consider that Ragnar wouldn't have his own agenda and seek vengeance against him.
      Ragnar: If I was him, I'd worry less about the Gods, and more about the the fury of a patient man. And as well you know, I can be very patient.
    • By Season 4, he appears to be in a constant state of this; with the drugs he's taken from Yidu exacerbating his mental problems significantly.
  • Tribal Facepaint: The shaven parts of his head bear tattoos depicting the raven familiars of Odin; Huggin and Munnin. As Ragnar's hair diminishes, so too do these tattoos become all the more elaborate and runic.
    • There's also the markings that he and the Vikings make on their faces and beards before raiding the Lindisfarne monastery. Those were made with blood.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
  • Villain Protagonist: It's possible to view him as this, depending on your view of Norse culture and Saxon culture, as well as schemking tendencies on Ragnar's part. As happens in a lot of Norse sagas, the farther along the story goes the farther onto the "villain" side of things he seems to slide, so far in Season 3 he has begun alienating his wife, son, and amicable ex-wife by doing things to consolidate his power and fame. In Season 4, he is also straight up murdering people to keep the secret of the Wessex settlement.
  • Warrior Prince: Of his aett (clan). Bonus points for winning that role in battle with the old jarl. This is actually a qualification for being a leader in Germanic societies, as battle-prowess was considered the most valued quality in a leader. That and generosity.
  • Warrior Poet: As is to be expected from one descended from the God of battle and poetry, Ragnar can recite the Runatal from memory. His death song while he hangs suspended off Aella's snakepit was spontaneously composed on the spot, by him, in the more complex Skaldic style of Norse battle-poetry (compared to the less prestiigous Eddic style in which the mythic sagas are written). This death poem, the Krakamal, is infact so significant that it is perhaps single-handedly responsible for shaping the modern perception of Vikings as fearsome, death-hungry warriors even into the present day. Ragnar may well be the crowning example of this trope in Western literature.
  • We Wait:
    • Is more fond of using this tactic when raiding than you'd expect for a Viking. When attacking Hexam, he waits and reigns in his men until Sunday when the Christians will be attending Church and thus leaving the town more vulnerable. Then, he waits to see what Lord Athelwulf does when trying to deal with them, and then plans his strategy around that decision, attaining victory and torching Athelwulf's camp while he sleeps and takes him prisoner.
      Ragnar: Well, we could charge in and end up losing half our man by being stupid. We wait, until the odds are in our favor.
    • By the end of Season 2, Ragnar's patience and willingness to negotiate or wait for his enemy to make the first move is contrasted with Horik's more gung-ho method of Leeroy Jenkins attacks. The latter results in the Vikings being curb stomped by King Ecbert's cavalry in "The Choice", and it's only Ragnar's and Lagertha's desire to negotiate that saves them from leaving Wessex dead or empty-handed.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • It's outright stated that if not for his wounds, he would have completely dominated Haraldson in their duel. Injured as he was, they were more of an even match.
      Ragnar: He is old. What are you so frightened of?
      Lagertha: You cannot fight. You're still too weak...
      Ragnar: Perhaps that makes us equal.
    • Also when he fought Rollo in Frankia. He was going through a state of detox from Yidu's drugs, and the last stash he brought with him to counteract that didn't actually do much to relieve him.
    • Such as it was, his battle with Rollo was fairly even, and he might have won had the Vikings not have to retreat. He also successfully managed to disarm Rollo before it devolved into fisticuffs, showing himself to be at least the better swordsman.
    • He gets back on his feet much easier and quicker than Rollo, and looked and set to rip him to shreds before the other Vikings had to drag him off the battlefield, much to his very vocal dismay.
  • Worthy Opponent: To Ecbert, primarily. Ragnar returns the favour and still thinks of Ecbert as something approaching a friend, even while setting in motion the events that will utterly destroy him and everything he's built.
    Ecbert: You and I, we understand each other. That is why we are allied, and will remain so. note 
  • Thanatos Gambit: During the middle of S4B, Ragnar, having in many ways lost his will to live, facilitates his death in a way that benefits himself, his sons, and ultimately, the future of his people. He asks Ecbert to kill him, though Ecbert can't bring himself to execute Ragnar due to their friendship. Ragnar tells Ecbert to hand him over to Aelle, who has vowed to kill Ragnar in revenge for Ragnar's raids on Northumbria. In return for granting Ragnar's request, Ragnar tells Ecbert he'll order his sons to go after Aelle, but really orders his son Ivar to seek revenge on Ecbert in the grand scheme of things.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ragnar is the younger of the Sigurdssons, but while Rollo has aged gracefully, Ragnar, on the other hand, has not. By the time of the second half of the fourth season, he looks more like he could be the elder brother. Justified in that Ragnar lived hardscrabble in the wilderness for 10 years after the Second Siege of Paris, whereas Rollo merely got his face smashed in but was still able to retire to a life of luxury for roughly the same time.
    • A great deal of his aging might also be traceable to the constant depression he feels since Athelstan's death in S3.

Played By: Katheryn Winnick

"You couldn't kill me if you tried for a hundred years."

First wife of Ragnar. Rises to become earl of Hedeby after leaving Kattegat. A fearless warrior and bold leader in her own right. Later she becomes the queen of Kattegat.

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Lagertha is fifty-three in Season 5 but one would never know it. She looks more like Bjorn's older sister than his mother. No aging make-up whatsoever is used on her and a half-hearted attempt at giving her a head of grey hair is the only acknowledgement she's not a spring chicken anymore.
  • Action Girl: How DARE you even THINK of going adventuring without me!
  • Action Mom: Whenever it is possible, Lagertha accompanies her husband and fellow Vikings on raids; Athelstan's eventual presence allows this to happen more often since he's left behind to watch over the children. After the second season's timeskip, she is an Earl herself and fights right alongside Bjorn in battle.
  • Ambition Is Evil: While she would refuse to admit it, Ivar correctly points out the only reason she conquered Kattegat was out of ambition. On the other hand, the first step anybody takes in climbing the ladder is to seize Kattegat. It's low-hanging fruit despite Lagertha's attempts to fortify the place.
  • Amicable Exes: Even after leaving Ragnar, she's still shown to have great affection for him (possibly because her second husband was simultaneously abusive and pathetic) and while she isn't quite as forward thinking as Ragnar is, she backs his decisions up almost instantaneously. They're also willing to work together to co-parent Bjorn, are on the same wavelength about safely retrieving Athelstan from Wessex, and she's openly affectionate with Ragnar's younger sons.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: She always kicked ass, but after Ragnar became Earl, she gained a measure of authority in her own right as well. Then she attained status as the Earl of Hedeby, effectively leading a corps of shield-maidens and raiders against western lands in Season 2.
  • Badass Boast: "You couldn't kill me if you tried for a hundred years." Though it wasn't a boast, more like an objective statement of fact.
  • Badass in Charge: When Ragnar's away, she calls the shots. By the end of Season 2, she's an Earl in her own right, has an army of shield-maidens, and fights alongside her men in battle. In the first half of Season 3 she is in charge of the Northmen settlement in Wessex. In Season 4B, she overthrows Aslaug to become the ruler of Kattegat, and Queen of Kattegat.
  • Barbarian Heroine: Just like her first husband; she was offended that he went raiding without her.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Lagertha's personal bodyguards are all female.
  • Canon Foreigner: Much like Gyda, she doesn't appear in the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok. She seems to be only mentioned in Saxo Grammaticus' account of semi-mythological Danish history; the Gesta Danorum.
  • Cartwright Curse: Lagertha has had a lot of lovers both male and female. She's outlived every single one of them. Bonus points for killing her second husband Earl Sigvard, Kalf, and Astrid herself.
  • Death by Irony: She is killed by Hvitserk, one of the Ragnarssons, originally least interested in killing her because he mistook her for Ivar.
  • Dented Iron: Towards the end of Season 5, a lifetime of war starts to show.
  • Designated Girl Fight: In the Season 2 finale, she is sent to kill Horik's wife, who is a famous shieldmaiden in her own right.
  • Doting Parent: Also like Ragnar, but we see it more often because she's home more often. She continues to be very affectionate and motherly with Bjorn even after he reaches early adulthood in the second season.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Beating the crap single-handedly out of two would-be rapists.
  • Fatal Flaw: Lagertha has two major ones that cause problems for her on multiple occasions; her inability to fully think things through and lack of tact/diplomacy. She frequently acts, says things, or jumps into bed with people on impulse or for short term gratification without considering the long term implications and consequences. (Just a few examples include her inadvertently destroying Ragnar's alibi when Earl Haraldson put Ragnar and her on trial, rebounding from her divorce with Ragnar by getting involved with an abusive and mentally unstable Earl, sleeping with Ecbert once before blowing him off and telling him how little she thinks of his character, insisting on holding bloody pagan rituals in front of fundamentalist Christians in the short lived Wessex settlement, and most crucially, killing Aslaug rather than accepting Aslaug's surrender when Lagertha reconquered Kattegat. However, given the norms of the time, Lagertha couldn't leave Aslaug alive to act as a focus point for any resistance.) All of that might not be so bad if not for the fact that Lagertha's direct bluntness and lack of tact tends to rub salt in the wounds that her actions created. Many of the listed situations, (or the situations that evolved from them) might have been either resolved or mitigated if Lagertha had the ability to smooth the feathers she ruffles or to win people over, but again, directness and bluntness are her style. Long story short, Lagertha is exactly the sort of person you want on your side in battle, and pretty far down the list of people you want handling any kind of diplomacy or long term planning and policy.
    • And as it happens, not thinking things through gets her killed when she decides to die back to Kattegat despite being seriously wounded.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Lagertha gives one of these to a would-be rapist in the Season 2 episode "Boneless." He threatens her with a dagger while she has no weapon and is wearing only a towel. She verbally emasculates him and walks away completely unscathed.
  • Happily Married: To Ragnar. She was very excited when he came home in the first episode. Events in "Sacrifice" and "All Change" complicate it and eventually they divorce.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lagertha goes through quite a few traumatic events throught the course of the series, losing her daughter to disease while he husband had an affair, having several miscarraiges, being seriously wounded in battle several times and gangbeaten in her bedroom but manages to keep her self togheter, but when Ivar and Harald defeates her in battle, seeing Hvitserk kill Guthrum and a pregnant Astrid running into her sword Lagertha can't take it any more and finally snaps. Soon she is seriously shell-shocked and has severe PTSD.
  • Heroines Prefer Swords: Ragnar sometimes uses an axe but she always has a sword.
  • The High Queen: Has the attitude; wise, reasonable, definitely not arm candy.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Deconstructed. Lagertha is a brave and ferocious warrior with an unbreakable code of honour, but she's also very impulsive and prone to poor decision making. Her knee-jerk reaction to Ragnar taking a second wife as a personal insult to her leads her to becoming trapped in an abusive relationship with Earl Sigvard, who was apparently insane. This eventually culminates in her murdering Sigvard in front of the entire hall, after one abuse too many. So far so good, she's Earl now and a power in her own right. However, whatever Sigvard was, Lagertha murdered Hedeby's chieftain, her lawful husband, in front of his oath-sworn warriors. Whatever she did afterwards, in an honour-bound society that takes fidelity to its lord quite seriously, Lagertha was always going to be unpopular after that. This eventually culminates in Season 3, where Lagertha is quite easily usurped as Earl of Hedeby and literally has nothing left to do but live with Ragnar anyway.
    • It also came up in the first season, where Lagertha attempted to keep Knut from raping a Saxon woman. Leaving aside the fact that this was basically the most normal thing that could happen during a raid, Lagertha's murder of Earl Haraldson's man aboard their ship would have been viewed with great suspicion at best. Granted, Knut tried to rape her, too, so she was ultimately justified in killing him, but that would have been hard to explain without at least one witness to the event. In fact, the first thing that Ragnar exasperatedly asks when she tells him is "did anyone else see it happen?". Come the return to Kattegat, Haraldson of course notes Knut's absence and Ragnar, in an attempt to spare his wife any punishment, takes the fall for it. He is then arrested and tries to argue before a court that he had to kill Knut for trying to rape his lawful wife, which seems to work out at first, before Lagertha is provoked by Haraldson into blurting out the truth, in an attempt to save Ragnar. In doing so, she basically ruins his case and makes them both look like liars. You can really see this in Ragnar's expression during the scene, he basically has a "What the hell, Lagertha?" look on his face. Had Rollo not come forward and corroborated Ragnar's version of events, they both likely would have been found guilty.
  • Hypocrite:
    • 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. She justifies this by saying she wants to protect Kattegat. [[spoiler: In the end, she lets them leave peacefully.
    • Lagertha hates rapists and stopes one Viking guy from raping a woman on their raid. This does not stop her from raping Harald. As rape is defined as "the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will" it certainly counts due to Harald having been bound.
    • She says Ivar would be a usurper never mind she is one herself and Ivar has a better right to the throne of Kattegat herself since due to divorcing Ragnar she lost all right to it.
  • Klingon Promotion: In Season 2, her second husband the Earl of Hedeby sends men into her bedchamber to beat her after she aids Ragnar without his permission. After that, the Earl of Hedeby tries to humiliate Lagertha by exposing her breasts to his entire royal court, but she finally snaps and stabs him in the eye with a dagger. The Earl is then beheaded by one of his own retainers. The next time we see Lagertha, she is the Earl.
    • Then she invokes this to become queen.
  • Lady of War: The barbarian variation of this trope. In other words, a regal woman with a heavy emphasis on the war.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: The dark (ruthless and bloodthirsty shieldmaiden) to Aslaug's light (elegant high ruler) and the light (supportive and respectful of Ragnar's decisions inside and outside of battle) to Siggy's dark (Lady Macbeth and calculating and manipulative at all times) causing Lagertha to be the grey area between the two.
  • Locked into Strangeness: After being defeated by Ivar and Harald's forces, watching Guthrum being killed by Hvitserk and killing a pregnant Astrid Lagertha visibly ages several years and her hair turns grey.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Fights primarily with a shield.
  • Mama Bear:
    If any harm befalls my children, I will tear the lungs out of your body, priest.
  • Modest Royalty: Wears the same clothing she did before becoming an Earl's wife. At the very least, she was far less ostentatious than Siggy. Subverted when she becomes the queen of Kattegat and starts to dress the part.
  • The Mourning After: She never let's go of Ragnar, despite being the one who divorced him.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: It's implied that she became barren. The miscarriage of Ragnar's unborn son seems to convince him that Lagertha can no longer bear children.
    "Frey, lord of lords, fill me with seed, give me a child. And then do whatever it is you want with me; make me deaf or blind if you want to. But please, give me a son before it's too late."
  • Oedipus Complex: A reversed variation with Lagertha lusting after Ubbe, who greatly resembles her ex-husband and his father Ragnar.
  • Odd Friendship: Although not as strong as Ragnar's, Lagertha is consistently shown to have a good friendship with Athelstan and unlike the other Vikings, never displays any disdain for him after the first season. When Athelstan's survival is revealed in "The Choice", she doesn't hesitate to follow Ragnar in retrieving him.
  • Pet the Dog: If you are an unarmed woman, a child, or woman with a child in need of help (especially from a would-be rapist or abusive husband), you can count on Lagartha to offer you and/or your child protection.
  • Pretty in Mink: On few occasions, she makes an appearance wearing a snow-white wolf fur on her shoulders, which reminds of her ascension from a humble farmer to high social position.
  • Rags to Riches: As a by-product of Ragnar's success. However, after the timeskip and death of her second husband, Lagertha proves that she is fully capable of this trope all by herself, too. Then she went back to rags, since she was usurped by her steward Kalf in Season 3. Then she's back to riches again when she shanks him on their wedding day. She did warn him she would kill him, after all.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Once Ragnar becomes Earl, she stands in as the local authority figure in his absence. Then, several years later, Lagertha becomes an Earl in her own right, which firmly establishes her into this position.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Lagertha was not Bjorn's mother in the sagas, Aslaug was. Actually, none of Ragnar's famous sons were with Lagertha in the sagas.
  • Screaming Warrior: She yells more often than others in battle.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Ragnar not only tells her that he won't cast Aslaug out but insists that Lagertha will have to simply put up with Aslaug's presence because she's carrying Ragnar's child, Lagertha chooses to leave him rather than live in such an environment.
  • The Usurper: By definition a usurper is "a person who takes a position of power or importance illegally or by force" and by the latter is how Lagertha came to be the sole ruler of Kattegat.
  • Woman Scorned: Her second husband, the Earl of Hedeby, sends out several of his men to beat her. So she kills him at the dinner table, surrounded by his warriors. When we next see her, she's the Earl of Hedeby now.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Lagertha fell madly in love with Ragnar after she watched as he killed a bear with his spear and strangled a hound to death with his bare hands. This is taken almost word-for-word from the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus.

    Rollo Sigurdsson
Played By: Clive Standen

"Your death is on its way!"

No Norseman is more desperate to be his own men, to forge his own legend than Rollo, whose very name means 'Famous Wolf'. Trapped in the long shadow of Ragnar's greatness and longing for escape, the spirit of the wolf has claimed him. He was born to kill, yet without Ragnar's presence what light is there for him? Rollo's days are bloody. His nights bleak. But let us see if the berserker can beat back the tides of despair.

  • Age Lift: The historical Rollo was fifty-one, formerly believed to be sixty-five, when he became the Count of Rouen, the initial title of the Duke of Normandy. He appears to be younger in the series.
  • Animal Motifs: The Bear. In the script for the first episode, he is initially referred to as "Bear Man" and the Seer even says "the bear will marry a princess" or something along those lines in Season 3.
  • Anti-Hero: As Duke of Normandy, Rollo defends Paris from the forces of the Blond Hun that is his brother. He just isn't the most virtuous of characters.
  • Anti-Villain: As Duke of Normandy his job is to defend Paris from the Norwegian hordes led by his brother, the Blond Hun known as Ragnar Lothbrok.
  • The Atoner: He betrays Ragnar in the Season 1 finale, and the first episode of Season 2, but realizes his mistake after four years as a drunkard, and is now looking 'to be wise'.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: When Ragnar ascends to the status of Earl;
    "How will we ever be equal now, my brother?"
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Prefers offensive strategies.
    Rollo: We should attack while they are weak. How long will it take for them to raise another army?
    Ragnar: Attack! Attack! Attack! That's all he ever says.
  • Axe-Crazy: When he gets angry... You can only hope to outrun him.
  • An Axe to Grind: Uses a Daneaxe, the BFS of axes.
  • Badass Baritone: Speaks in a deep booming voice along with a low growl.
  • Badass Beard: In a similar vein to his brother; thick and long.
  • Badass Cape: A fur cloak, when it's cold.
  • Badass Creed: Chants one during the pitched battle on the Northumbrian shore in "Trial".
  • Barbarian Hero: He's more of the stereotypical 'attack attack pillage rape ARRGHH!' in the first season than his brother because he's more into it and lacks a desire for knowledge. Character Development in the second turns him into a more philosophical character. He still loves his killing, but the same could be said of everyone on this show.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Managed more conventionally than Ragnar's.
  • The Berserker: His state in battle. Particularly noticeable in the battle with the Northumbrians Saxons when they double-cross the Norsemen.
  • The Brute: If one is of the opinion that Ragnar and the other Vikings are Villain Protagonists, then Rollo is the intimidating thug that follows his leader around.
  • Boisterous Bruiser; He is a manly Hot-Blooded warrior who loves to fight.
  • Blood Knight:
    "I want to raid and fight. It's what I was born to do."
  • Body Paint: Has some knotwork designs tattooed on his body depicting two snarling wolves on either arm chasing after a sun and a moon. They're probably meant to be representations of Sköll and Hati.
    • They may also be the wolves of Odin, Geri and Freki (ravenous and greedy), and represent Rollos connection with Odin in his bloodthirsty aspect. In contrast his brother has the tattoos of Odins ravens (thought and memory) and emulates Odin as a god of knowledge.
  • Byronic Hero: He's cynical and jaded, intensely passionate and ambitious, driven by his perceived inferiority to his brother, and is quite charismatic.
  • Cain and Abel: Subverted. All the potential is there, Rollo is envious of Ragnar's fame and glory as well as lusting after his wife. He has the anger issues combined with an impulsive nature that say he was going to turn, but in the end he stays loyal to Ragnar even after being offered a handsome reward or tortured.
  • Character Development: He began the series as an impetuous warrior of dubious allegiance. By the middle of Season 2, he's ditched his Heel–Face Revolving Door tendencies, goes out of his way to ensure the safety of his brother's family, and counsels caution to Ragnar when the latter wanted to immediately attack Borg's numerically superior forces.
  • Cool Uncle: He and Bjorn had a good relationship before he defected to the Frankish side; he was more supportive of Bjorn where as Ragnar tended to give Bjorn harsher(if sometimes necessary) criticism and advice, and was more involved in training Bjorn how to fight than Ragnar was. Even after his defection, while Bjorn hates him, Rollo maintains a soft spot for him; it's revealed that this is because Rollo actually believes Bjorn to be his son, which isn't impossible.
  • Comforting the Widow: After Haraldson's death, he starts comforting Siggy who is receptive to his advances.
  • Commuting on a Bus: After the midpoint of Season 4, Rollo's is seen much more infrequently, appearing for only a few episodes for the second half of Season 4 and only once in the first half of Season 5, with the focus of the series now firmly on Ragnar's sons and Alfred, and Rollo being firmly established in Normandy allows form him to be largely absent, especially with Clive Standen now busy playing the lead role in the Film/Taken tv series. It appears that he's come back to Kattegat in Season 5B.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: He's torn between his need to realize his own ambition and potential and his love for his brother.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: When he steps up to swear allegiance to his brother, Ragnar tells him he doesn't have to in light of everything he's already suffered for his loyalty. Rollo swats his hand away and swears, anyway.
    Ragnar: There's no need for you to swear. You've already paid a great price for your loyalty to me...
    Rollo: Nevertheless, I will swear, brother.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Hits the bottle hard after Siggy's death.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: Went over to the side of Jarl Borg, then surrendered when he realized he couldn't bear to fight Ragnar and his old friends. Has staunchly been in his brother's camp ever since.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Throwing Ragnar his battle-axe when he's disarmed and then annihilating a heavily armoured enemy warrior with nothing but a hunting knife. The former emphasizes his love for his brother, the latter gives a taste of his incredible badassery.
  • Genius Bruiser: Takes a level in this in Season 4, showing an exceptional strategic mind. He outmaneuvers or matches Ragnar move for move.
    • Not only they, but he is quick to pick up other languages. He learns at least some English and learns French making him one of the most learned people his time.
  • Glory Seeker: Primarily out of a desire to move out of his sibling's shadow. Haraldson tries to tempt him with this.
  • Going Native: Deconstructed. In Season 4, he seems to embrace Christianity and marries Princess Gisla of Frankia, but his Viking nature isn't dead at all and literally jumps at the call when there's a raid to do in the Mediterranean, much to his wife's horror.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Get some nasty facial scars from Haraldson's torture.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: While a mighty warrior in his own right, he is overshadowed by the exploits of his brother. Both Haraldson and Borg try to play on his resentment and jealousy in order to turn him against Ragnar. Borg succeeds, or so it appears.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Switches sides at an alarming rate. This is why Ragnar chastised Bjorn for placing the Vikings who remained outside Paris under Rollo's command. Ragnar knew Rollo would betray them to the Franks.
  • Hero Antagonist: His job as Duke of Normandy is to defend Paris from his brother's hordes.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffers quite a few, though notable ones thus far are the one he suffers after Ragnar becomes Earl and the one after he receives news of Siggy's death.
  • Heroic Lineage: Assuming he shares Ragnar's belief that they are descendants of Odin.
  • Historical Domain Character: Yes. He's that Rollo. Fun fact, the current English royal family owes its existence to him, since he not only founded (rather, carved out) Normandy, but was also the great-great-great grandfather of William the Conqueror.
  • Honest Advisor: More than anything, this is what wins him favor in Charles's court, with the Emperor finding Rollo's honest and straight forward nature a refreshing change from the lying, conniving, backstabbing nobles he's used to.
  • Hot-Blooded: On the battlefield, it's what makes him into one of the most fearsome warriors in Ragnar's warband. Off the battlefield, it infuriates him to no end because it leads him to try to and play his hand in matters where he has only surface level knowledge; like political negotiation. It's worth noting that that this need comes primarily out of a desire to prove himself as equally gifted as his brother, thereby overcompensating.
  • Hypocrite: In "The Choice", he calls Athelstan a traitor and says that he'd kill him if he had the strength. This is coming from Rollo of all people.
  • In Harm's Way: One can tell he loves being in the thick of battle.
  • It's All My Fault: Says so word-for-word after Siggy dies.
  • Kick the Dog: He was more keen on kicking the dog in the first episodes.
    • He raped a helpless slave girl in the first episode;
    • He takes this almost to its literal conclusion in "Wrath of the Northmen", when he pulls a cowering monk out of his hiding place at Lindisfarne and curbstomps him to death!
    • The massacre of the other Norsemen staying in Frankia, including Eirik, who actually warned him about the discontent, and all the people who seemed to have no problem with Rollo working with the Franks. Season 1 Rollo is making a comeback.
  • The Lancer: To Ragnar; being brothers makes the contrast between the scholarly warrior and the bloodthirsty warrior all the more striking.
  • Large Ham: Has his moments like that glorious bellowing at the end of "A King's Ransom".
  • Lightning Bruiser: For being as tall and muscular as he is, Rollo can move very fast when he puts his mind to it, even rivaling his shorter and leaner brother on several occasions.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He tries to pull this on Bjorn. Bjorn doesn't care and denies it, rejecting him, despite this Bjorn's parentage is still in question.
  • Made of Iron: Survives being beaten by half of a dozen men at once as well as horrific torture; is still hale and healthy afterwards.
    • In "The Choice", Rollo is cut with a sword and then trampled by a LOT of horses. While he is really badly injured, Ragnar is only mildly surprised when word that he survived makes it back to the Viking's camp.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's a good-looking guy who gets a fair amount of shirtless scenes.
  • Multi-Melee Master: A master of swords, axes, and hunting knives.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He gets hit with this hard after he kills Arne. You can see it in his eyes as the adrenaline wears off and he realizes that he's just butchered his own people and, more than that, a close friend. Afterward, he just loses all self-respect, and he even gives up the hope of entering Valhalla.
    • Has another moment after he learns that Siggy died. It finally dawns on him how horribly he treated her during their entire time together, and blames himself for her death.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Rollo takes a lot of damage throughout the series, but being slashed across the chest and then being trampled by several horses definitely takes the cake. He manages to survive it, of course.
  • Not Afraid to Die: He doesn't seek it, but nor will he fear it when it comes.
    "Death was on its way to take Kauko. Do not pity him — envy him. For where he is now; Valkyries have taken him home to Valhalla. At this very moment, he's drinking ale with the gods."
  • Older Than They Look: Rollo is the older of the Sigurdssons, but he has aged much more gracefully in comparison to Ragnar. By the time of the second half of the fourth half season, all he has is a few grey hairs.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Often wields that two handed battle-axe in a single hand and a shield in the other. Which gives an indication beforehand of how strong this guy is.
  • One-Man Army: In every single battle he's effectively an army in his own right, and it's safe to assume that he and Ragnar on par with each other, and are the two best fighters on the show, bar none. Lagertha notes that he is a great warrior. He fights off several of the Earl's men unarmed, only being taken down due to both being out numbered and his enemies using weapons against them, and it still takes them a while. Once captured, he withstands Haraldson's tortures without giving up his brother's location.
  • Pet the Dog: When raiding a Saxon village, Rollo finds an elderly, bedridden man alone in a house. Instead of simply killing the man and looting the house, he pours the old man a cup of water and helps him drink it before stealing the cup and pitcher, sparing him and leaving.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Again like his brother, but he isn't claiming to be Thor's brother.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Rollo loves battle for the sake of it as much as the next Northman, but even he can see raiding the East is a waste of time.
      "Where do you think the Earl will send us next? Those bastards in the East are as poor as we are."
    • He later volunteers to convert to Christianity in order to broker the ransom of King Aelle's brother. As much as he loves battle, he's not about to argue with being handed two thousand pounds of gold and silver for one man without a fight. It is worth noting that he didn't mean any of it. Hell, he couldn't even understand what the priest was saying!
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He gives an ill, old Saxon man a drink of water in "Trial". He then steals the pitcher and glass, but still.
    • There's also the cute moments he shares with his nephew.
    • He also takes the time to pull Bjorn and Gyda out of the way before joining the fray himself when the Earl's men storm Ragnar's house.
    • After Thorunn is wounded in battle and Ragnar gives Bjorn a vicious What the Hell, Hero? over letting her come on a raid when he thought she was with child, Rollo is the one who reassures Bjorn that Thorunn will live and that he must be strong for her.
    • He doesn't go through his wedding night because his bride is scared and clearly unwilling.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Another contrast with his brother; while Ragnar's looking for intelligent slaves and priceless treasure, Rollo is killing as many enemy soldiers as he can find and burning their houses down.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Ragnar's blue because he is far more passionate in fighting and more given to drinking.
  • Red Right Hand: He has Hati and Sköll tattoed on him. The wolves in Norse Mythology that one day will eat the sun and the moon. Any Norseman carrying such a tattoo should not be trusted. Sköll means Traitor.
  • Really Gets Around: He has absolutely no trouble getting dozens of eager women into his bed. When Siggy joins up with him, she takes issue with it.
  • The Resenter: Somewhat towards Ragnar but not enough to turn against him or to sour their relationship, which is pretty awesome.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: In this case, Real Men Love Odin.
    • In a similar vein to his brother — but he instead venerates Odin solely in his aspect of a bloodthirsty war-god, while Ragnar balances both.
      "You have your Odin, and I have mine."
    • He later converts to Christianity in order to broker a deal between Ragnar and King Aelle. After Floki accuses him of turning his back on Odin, he slaughters more Christians than any other warrior during the following battle to prove the shipwright wrong. He was actually pretty angry that Floki would dare accuse him of forsaking the Northern gods, and looked ready to kill him for such an accusation.
      • "How many Christians did I kill?!! Is Odin still angry with me?!!"
  • The Starscream: Once again in "Burial of the Dead" is teased with a possible Face–Heel Turn now that Ragnar is the new Earl and he also wants the throne for himself. It doesn't stick, though.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Played with, He is given the princess and a piece of the kingdom BEFORE actually saving Paris. Payment in advance?.
  • Thicker Than Water: Unbreakable loyalty to his brother despite jealousy. Even after accepting Jarl Borg's offer to join him against Ragnar and Horik, he finds himself incapable of actually striking a blow against his brother in the ensuing battle.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Rollo is teased as this. He supports and follows Ragnar, but he's a rapist, hits on his brother's wife (even after she rebuffs him multiple times), and resents Ragnar's successes. His most redeeming quality is his Undying Loyalty through multiple opportunities to betray Ragnar.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Goes into this state in battle.
    • As King Aelle betrayed agreement between the Norsemen Rollo prooves to Floki that he is still loyal to the gods by slaughtering almost every Saxon in his way. Even killing the remaining survivors on the ground. Most of the Vikings are suprised by this.
    • During his betrayal of Ragnar and fighting along side Jarl Borg he enters a berserker rage like state and rampages through Ragnar's men and as he kills Arne he looses his trance to watch in horror what he's done.
    • During the first raid on Paris Rollo simply goes into a rage and fights simply a dozen men on the wall while roaring in their faces until his ladder is knocked down.
  • We All Die Someday: "ALL MUST DIE SOMEDAY!"
  • Worf Had the Flu: Not him in specific, but he benefitted from Ragnar suffering this trope duirng the Second Invasion of Frankia. Such as it was, despite Ragnar suffering both from detox and severe depression, Rollo still couldn't do more than bring him to a stalemate. Frankish numbers and the Will of the Gods eventually forces Ragnar to retreat under considerable protest.

    Bjorn "Ironside" Ragnarsson
Played By: Nathan O'Toole (Season 1), and Alexander Ludwig (Season 2 onwards)

"The sea is my mother. My father is Odin."

Ragnar Lothbrok's firstborn son by way of Lagertha and a great warrior in all respects, just as his father before him. Is given the kenning "Ironside" by his father, in light of his seeming invincibility in battle. He is poised to succeed his father as King of the Northmen.

As a child this character exhibits the following:

  • Adorably Precocious Child: For starters, he tries to keep his parents from fighting at one point. At another time, when Siggy tries to pledge her service to Lagertha, he's apprehensive and states that Earl Haraldson tried to kill his father. Lagertha uses the latter opportunity as a teaching experience. This combined with Troubling Unchild Like Behavior is meant to show how hard he's trying to become a real man by Norse standards. However, he's held back solely because he's 12.
    Athelstan: My lady Lagertha, I would ask if you could take some time out to speak with the wife of the late Earl.
    Lagertha: Of course. Hello Siggy, please, sit down and join us.
    Bjorn: Wait! Earl Haraldson tried to kill my father.
    Lagertha: I know. And if he had succeeded, I would be standing where Siggy is standing now. So, what would you like me to say to her?
    Bjorn: I... I would ask her to sit down.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Ragnar and Erik used to call him 'Little Man' when he was younger.
  • Age Lift: The historical Bjorn had been born in 777. Being 12 in 793 indicates that in the series Bjorn was born in 781.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Norse society adheres to this belief, and so Bjorn is eager for the chance to fight to prove his own manhood. It's also evident in how when he's asked what a man does, his first answer is 'he fights'. Ragnar approves, but nevertheless reminds him that they do more as well.
    Ragnar: Are you ready to receive your arm-ring and become a man?
    Bjorn: Yes.
    Ragnar: And what does a man do?
    Bjorn: He fights.
    Ragnar: Good. And...?
    Bjorn: And he looks after his family.
  • Bratty Half-Pint/Mouthy Kid: Has his moments, though especially around Athelstan. Like most of Norse society, Bjorn holds him in scorn for being a Christian and a slave. Thankfully, he grows out of it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first time he's seen is in combat training with Ragnar.
  • Momma's Boy: After his parent's divorce, he ultimately decides to go with his mother. Post-time skip, he decides he wants to live with his father.
  • Morality Chain: For Ragnar when he goes with the group to visit Jarl Borg, especially when Ragnar sleeps with Aslaug. Ragnar then swears never to let it happen again, and his efforts indicate that this is more for Bjorn's sake than Lagertha's.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Bjorn wasn't Lagertha's son in the sagas, he was Aslaug's.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years:
    • At times, Bjorn seems to be the reasonable one in the family; a 'little pig' teaching the boar how to listen. Unlike his father, he appears to be much more in-tune with the emotions of those around him, which becomes even more apparent after the timeskip. See Character Development above.
    • He can go into very philosophical tangents regarding the gods and fate at times. Rollo occasionally pokes fun at these tendencies.
    Rollo: How do you know so much about the gods?
    Bjorn: Because we're related to them. You, me, my father, all descendants of Odin!

As an adult this character exhibits the following:

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: His father's most trusted lieutenant and right-hand man, and just as able as him to kick asses.
  • Amazon Chaser: He becomes more attracted to Thorunn and Torvi as they grow more assertive and confident but his fourth wife Gunnhild takes the cake, being almost as tall and muscular as him.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Downplayed compared to his father. When it comes to Halfdan saying that his Mediteranean concubine "was not a she", Bjorn merely asks "And that was a problem for you?"
  • An Axe to Grind: Post-timeskip, he is almost exclusively seen wielding an axe thus far.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Post-timeskip, he is very happy when in Kattegat, but when in his stepfather's hall he is in a state of constant anger out of worry for Lagertha. With good reason, as her new husband does go in for some Attempted Rape and beats her.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Finally becomes a king after he defeats Ivar for control of Kattegat. His mother hands him the sword of kings.
  • Badass in Charge: Is the leader of the Viking expedition to the Mediterranean and one of the leaders of the Great Heathen Army until he leaves and Ivar takes complete control.
  • Birds of a Feather: There's evidence suggesting he and Magnus are not Ragnars sons which they both desire nothing more than to be. This is likely why Bjorn is the only one in the family to believe Magnus really is his brother.
  • Blood Knight: Like father, like son, like warrior culture. Most commonly shown during Season 3 where he says he's pumped up to fight and his blood runs hot.
  • Character Development: In the first season, he is shown to be indifferent or even cruel towards Athelstan and his status as a slave. Post-timeskip, Bjorn displays kindness and love towards a slave girl and openly laments Athelstan's supposed death, thoroughly rebuking Horik's cruel words about the priest being a traitor and worthless individual.
    Bjorn: Poor Athelstan... My sister and I grew to love him when we were children.
  • Dawson Casting / Playing Gertrude: Because the show spans decades, Alexander Ludwig plays Bjorn in his late teens, through Ludwig was in his early 20s when cast. As of Season 5, Ludwig is in his mid-20s and plays Bjorn as a man in his early to mid 30s.
  • Decomposite Character: Possibly, it depends on who the viewer believes Bjorn's biological father is. Historically William Longsword was born of Poppa of Bayeux who was either Rollo's wife, making him a legitimate child, or his mistress, making him an illegitimate child. Due to William being portrayed as a legitimate child of Rollo in the show proper, his portrayal as an illegitimate child of Rollo is possibly transferred to Bjorn.
  • The Dreaded: Both to the Christians and his own family on some level. With the death of Ragnar, he is arguably the most renowned Viking in Christendom aside from possibly his mother. With his own people, him merely stepping into Kattegat was enough to shock everyone. Ubbe is visibly cowed into submission the only person not frightened is the ruthless, Ax-Crazy, Blood Knight, Ivar. (And even Ivar will later admit to Heahmund that he is a little scared of Bjorn.)
  • The Dutiful Son: Absolutely adores his father and Ragnar adores him in return. Also evident in how he refuses to leave Ragnar when the Earl surrounds their home.
  • Fiery Redhead: His hair is stawberry blonde but he's very Hot-Blooded.
  • Future Badass: He becomes Bjorn Ironside. In Season 2 after the timeskip, we see that he's had quite a start.
  • Glory Seeker: Just like his father and most other Vikings, Bjorn yearns for glory on the battlefield and a place in Valhalla upon the time of his death.
  • Has a Type: His first three wives all have very pale blonde hair and blue eyes. Finally breaks the mold when he marries Gunnhild.
  • Hot-Blooded: Much like his uncle Rollo, Bjorn is very passionate about fighting and is very eager to fight. He tones down a bit after Season 4.
  • Irony: In order to get land for settlement from Alfred Bjorn has to defend Wessex from his own people just as his father/uncle Rollo was granted the position of Duke of Normandy on the condition he defend Paris from his brother's hordes. Bjorn may end up more like Rollo than the Sigurdsson he believes he is more like.
  • Killed Off for Real: As of "King of Kings", he has succumbed to his wounds. The possible Ragnarsson is no more.
  • Large Ham: He's actually one of the most emotionally stable of the Ragnarssons (for what that's worth), but after the death of his father he really cuts loose with a few epic speeches and a silent, absurdly emotive Death Glare
  • Love at First Sight: He becomes instantly smitten with Thorunn from the moment he first laid eyes on her. Considering who she resembles, this is not too surprising.
  • Made of Iron: He receives the nickname "Ironside" due to the fact that during a battle he was in the thick of fighting and received no wounds. With the exception of the Siege of Paris, where nearly every leader among the Norse had a brush with death, this continues all the way into Season 5 when he proves hard to wound in any battle.
  • Oedipus Complex: Adores his mother and tends to pick up women who are her spitting image. He's quite conscious about it.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Rollo asks Lagertha if Bjorn is his son instead of Ragnar's. Lagertha's answer is that there is no way to answer that or something along those lines. Upon Rollo's return to Kattegat in Season 5B, he tries to tell Bjorn that he is Bjorn's father. Bjorn promptly dissects Rollo's argument by pointing out that Lagertha had been with both Ragnar and Rollo at the time of his conception, and that he doesn't clearly resemble either of them over the other. He finishes by pointing out that Ragnar was the one who raised him and is the one he takes after, which is what matters most to him. Despite this, his parentage is still up in the air and a promo for a coming episode has him hypocritically asking Ubbe if he is Ragnar's son or not.
  • Rated M for Manly: But by Season 4, he definitely gets there, especially after his experience in the wild. And yes, he can grow a beard.
  • Really Gets Around: A lot. Like, a whole lot. And not just with his succession of wives.
  • Red Baron: After fighting a pitched battle without sustaining any wounds, he becomes Bjorn "Ironside", which is the name history will remember him by.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Is a prince and personally fights in many battles, just like his parents (after they become nobility and royalty)
  • Serial Spouse: Bjorn's been married four times now. In order, his first wife Thorunn left him, the marriage with his second wife Torvi ended when they grew apart, and his third wife Snaefrid dies in battle. His fourth wife Gunnhild at least seems to be going nowhere fast.
  • So Proud of You: At the first encounter after the time skip, it is very clear how pleased Ragnar is with how his son turned out.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Historically, Bjorn had been dead eight years by the time of the Great Heathen Army.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: After the time skip, Nathan O'Toole is replaced by Alexander Ludwig. They both look very much alike so it's a very good fit, even tho Ludwig does not chare his eye-color.
  • Took a Level in Badass: And is constantly leveling up. He starts out as a pubescent boy, has grown up at the start of Season 2, turns out to be a seasoned fighter after his first hostile contact with the English where he earns the nickname "Ironside", and in Season 4 spends the winter in the grim north with nothing but his weapons and clothes, soldiers through the hostile climate, kills a bear in melee combat, takes a dive into ice-cold water, and kills a berserker in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He's noticeably much more mellow and agreeable as an adult than as a child, when he had some serious Bratty Half-Pint moments. He's especially much nicer to Athelstan, and, like his father, seems to hold both Christians and slaves in much higher regard than his fellow Norsemen. Zigzagged after his experiences of living in the wilderness, as afterward he tends to act cold and distant to most people. While he still is a lot less willing than most Vikings and Norse leaders to kill or throw away lives without need, he has definitely been hardened since he first appeared as a kindly adult.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: While Ragnar loves his son, it's clear from the get-go that Bjorn doesn't have his father's intelligence or penchant for outside-the-box thinking. When he realizes that Ragnar doesn't in fact trust him to follow in his footsteps, this prompts Bjorn to strike out and do some traveling on his own to test himself and prove his worth to both of them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Gives one of these to Ragnar, after he sleeps with Aslaug.
    • Ragnar gives him a MASSIVE one in "Warrior's Fate" for allowing his girlfriend Thorunn to join the fights against Princess Kwenthrith's uncle and brother, resulting in a massive head injury that leaves her unconscious at the conclusion of the battle. What pisses Ragnar off is the fact that Bjorn let Thorunn fight AT ALL with the knowledge she may be pregnant with their child without much resistance on Bjorn's part.

Thank you for your good advice — but I would rather die myself than take it.

In any other story, Aslaug would be the protagonist, but don't think she's unimportant. Sweet and gentle she may be, but the daughter of Sigurd and Brynhildr has a wit to match Ragnar's, something Lagertha is incapable of doing since her primary expertise is in combat.

  • Alpha Bitch: Projects the air of one whenever nobody is around to call her out on her behavior and throws some rather epic tantrums when things aren't going her way — especially when she discovers Harbard is sleeping with half the village.
  • Baby Factory: Ragnar marries her mainly because he suspects she is the one the gods have fated to bear his many sons, after he suspects that Lagertha is barren, and because Lagertha left him. After the time skip, he is openly affectionate toward his sons and her pregnant belly, but rarely toward her. By Season 4, the two openly loathe each other, as Ragnar does not like or even respect her as a person, and Aslaug does not appreciate being treated like a brood mare.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In "Kill the Queen", Aslaug very unwisely taunts an already furious Ragnar about Athelstan's death, saying that he deserved to die at Floki's hand because he was a Christian. Ragnar slaps her across the face for it.
  • The Cassandra:
    • Supposedly, had Ragnar heeded her warning, Ivar would be able to walk.
    • On their first meeting they sleep together once, Aslaug tells Ragnar she's carrying his son, he doesn't believe her, then she turns up several months later heavily pregnant and indeed bears his son.
    • Post time-skip, he laughs off her claim that she can sense his interest in other women, so she vows that her next son will be born with a "snake in the eye," and sure enough...
    • When they're reunited after a long absence she warns him not to sleep with her for the next three days or she'll bear a "monster," he doesn't believe her, and sure enough: her next son is born with malformed legs. You would think that Ragnar would learn to listen when Aslaug makes a prophecy.
    • Ivar likewise ignores her warning about him dying if going with Ragnar to Wessex. He does not die, but it's more because she misinterpreted her vision, which was really about the storm which ruins Ragnar's expedition.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After Jarl Borg attacks Kattegut and Rollo and Siggy lead Aslaug to safety, she objects to taking refuge in a small village because it doesn't provide the wealthy lifestyle she's used to.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite having some less than intelligent moments, Aslaug has proven to be a very capable ruler. During Ragnar's bedridden period trade with Arabs, something that had not been seen in previous episodes, is actually going on and later when Ragnar just vanishes off the face of the earth Kattegat is shown to be doing far better with Aslaug as Queen Regent than it ever did with Ragnar as King. It is entirely possible she could be called the most competent of the Norse rulers on this show given Horik's numerous failures as a military leader, Lagertha's loss of Hedeby and the 0% Approval Rating Ragnar has recently gained.
  • Death by Adaptation: Aslaug outlived many of her sons.
  • The Fundamentalist: Almost to the same extent as Floki. In her capacity as regent, she has a Christian missionary go through a trial by fire to prove his faith, smirking softly when he fails. When Ragnar is angry about Athelstan's death, she said that his killer had done nothing wrong since Athelstan was a Christian.
  • Heroic Lineage: Like her husband, Aslaug is also descended from Odin. Unlike Ragnar, who is supposedly a son of Odin, Aslaug is a great-great-great-great granddaughter of Odin; thus, making Ragnar supposedly her great-great-great-great uncle. Her father was Sigurd the Dragon Slayer and her mother Brynhildr the Shield-maiden and Valkyrie.
  • The High Queen: More of a Helen and a Penelope than a Clytemnestra.
  • Hypocrite: She bitches at Ragnar for his affairs when she very much cheats on him as well. She also very clearly resents Ragnar for not helping her raise their children, but the moment he's gone on raids, she ignores her children in favor of sleeping with a random wanderer. This results in Siggy drowning in the river and she doesn't even seem to care that it happened when her own son calls her out on it.
  • I Am Not My Father: Before her murder at the hands of Lagertha, Aslaug admits she is not her mother Brynhidlr nor her father Sigurd. This has Aslaug point out to everyone that she is not a warrior and that if she were a warrior of her parents' caliber Lagertha would be dead.
  • Informed Flaw: Michael Hirst refers to Aslaug as being "frozen in the Iron Age" as Kattegat's ruler but with Kattegat being a thriving place with ongoing outside trade under her rule, "frozen in the iron age" seems to fit Hedeby under Lagertha more.
  • In the Back: After Aslaug gives up her position and just walks away, Lagertha dishonourably shoots an arrow into Aslaug's back.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: The light to Lagertha's dark.
  • Mama Bear: While Ragnar wanted to abandon Ivar the Boneless to dienote , Aslaug brought their son back from the wilderness, insisting that he be allowed to live. She even stands up to Ragnar, who by this point is one of the most powerful and feared leaders of the Norsemen.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Aslaug makes an awful lot of prophecies that wind up coming true (even if just From a Certain Point of View). They could just be lucky guesses, but then again...
    • The same goes for the wanderer she has an affair with in the third season. Is he really a simple wanderer, or Odin in disguise (as Floki believes). Does he end Ivar's pain through magic, or through some kind of hypnosis? We may never really know.
  • Reality Warper/Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Implied, at least with her children. She declares that her third son will be born with a "snake in the eye" and the fourth one will be a "monster" during both pregnancies, and both sons turn out at least partially so. She makes the former prophecy out of spite when Ragnar doesn't take her powers seriously, and confides in Siggy on the latter that she doesn't know why she said she would bear such a child, but now that the words have left her lips, the Gods have decided to run with them. It's implied in both cases that her words might have influenced her sons' development, rather than just predicting it after their fates were set in motion.
  • Smug Snake: Especially so once Ragnar disappears during the fourth season midseason finale — she's become vindictive enough to find amusement in the fact that the settlement that Ragnar helped set up in Wessex was completely obliterated, never mind all the people that lost their lives in the massacre nor the people that fought to make that possible.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Upon Aslaug's introduction, she was witty and intelligent enough to match Ragnar. Come Season 2, all that had changed, from her utter lack of social awareness and skill (her hamhanded and unsuccessful attempts to connect with both Lagertha and Bjorn come to mind) to her lack of common sense (unlike Rollo and Siggy, she didn't seem to realize that, being refugees wanted by a powerful warlord like Jarl Borg, keeping a low profile was necessary to survive).
  • Waif Prophet: She is very tall, thin, and waif-like, and has an unnerving habit of making prophecies that seem to end up coming true (in one way or another).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Pretty much everyone calls her out on neglecting her children so she can have an affair with Harbard in Season 3.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After years of indifference, Ragnar tells her he's grateful that she didn't turn their sons against him. This brings Aslaug to tears, but she's killed shortly after.

    Gyda Ragnarsdottir
Played By: Ruby O'Leary

"Pray to the Gods for him."

The lone daughter of Ragnar Lothbrok. Alone a voice of calm and harmony amidst furious, clashing hearts. Her death during the plague which grips Kattegat, Ragnar's Earldom, serves to exacerbate tensions within the already fraying unity of her family, causing father and mother to eventually part ways.

  • Adorably Precocious Child: Like her brother she is mature for her age.
  • Dies Wide Open: After she succumbs to plague.
  • Canon Foreigner: There's nothing to say that Ragnar didn't have any daughters, but she's the only one of Ragnar's family not to be named after someone from his real life family in history.
  • Doomed by Canon: She is the only one of Ragnar's family to die in the season finale. In fact, it's probably her lack of historical base that made her easy to kill off without disrupting canon.
  • Foreshadowing: Lagertha asks to hold Gyda one last time when Gyda announces she has her period, and Lagertha is unable to do so again because Gyda succumbs to the plague that sweeps the village.
  • The Heart: Of the family, she is the only one to be genuinely nice to Athelstan from the moment she meets him and everyone is a lot nicer to her than they are to each other. This makes it all the more heartbreaking when she dies in the Season 1 finale.
  • Kill the Cutie: She's an adorable girl who dies in a wave of the plague that sweeps through the village while her father is away.
  • The Quiet One: She doesn't talk as much as her family members.
  • Satellite Character: Other than to prove that Ragnar, Lagertha, and Bjorn are capable of showing affection without weapons or fighting, and that Athelstan has someone he gets along with in the family, she has nothing on her own.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: She and Bjorn have nothing in common in temperament, though they do share the same moral responsibility that slips from their parents every so often.
  • The Stoic: She's definitely the least hot-headed of Ragnar's home.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The most unambiguously good member of Ragnar's family dies due to plague.

    Ubbe Ragnarsson
Played By: Cormac Melia (Season 2-3) Luke Shanahan (Season 4) Jordan Patrick Smith (adult)

"And after all, doesn't someone have to be responsible for the care of our people?"

The firstborn son of Aslaug, and Ragnar's first son by her.

  • Adaptational Heroism: The historical figure was a staunch enemy of the Saxon kingdoms making it doubtful he ever would have fought for Alfred.
  • Age Lift: Historically, Ubbe was forty-two by the time of the Great Heathen Army. In the series he seems to be half as old.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Compared to his brothers, Ubbe is a compassionate soul and the one most who most desires Ragnar's dream of peace. He's still a Viking and his glee at King Aelle being blood-eagled almost rivals Ivar in sheer creepiness.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Ubbe's a very good-looking man, but after his fight to the death with King Frodo, he's still got scars and gouges all over his face even some time later.
  • Big Brother Instinct: As the oldest of Ragnar and Aslaug's sons, he's naturally protective of the others. When Sigurd is fatally wounded, he is the first to jump to his side.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: By modern standards, Ubbe is a good, honest, and moral man. All these qualities make him a pretty terrible at actually doing most Viking activities like pillaging.
  • Canon Foreigner: Much like Lagertha, Ubbe's role and relation to Ragnar is not in the Icelandic saga from which most of Vikings' plot is derived but is rather an invention of Saxo Grammaticus in the Gesta Danorum. To be sure, a figure named Ubbe is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, but he is described as a Frisian, not a Scandinavian, and while he is associated with Ivar the Boneless no familial connection is mentioned in the Chronicle. As far as we can tell, Saxo just took the implications of Ubbe's working alongside Ivar and Halfdan and ran with them, thus giving us the Son of Ragnar we know in the show.
  • Duel to the Death: Ends up in one in order to convince the Black Danes to farm in the lands he's acquired in West Anglia instead of fight the English. He wins.
  • The Dutiful Son: Much to his mother’s consternation, he adores his father and is completely loyal to him. He also acts like a father figure to his younger brothers and cares for Ivar. Ubbe later shows himself to have been loyal to his mother when Lagertha murders Aslaug and seeks to avenge her.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Seems to have inherited many of his father's facial expressions and overall behavior, such as when he jokingly splashes his brothers with water. He's also the son who has the most of Ragnar's positive traits like compassion and forethought for others.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Does Odin come to his grandson's aid during his fight to the death or does Ubbe just get lucky?
  • Mercy Kill: He kills a nun who has slit her wrists at her request when raiding York, so that she will go to Heaven instead of Hell for a mortal sin. This seems to start his fascination with Christianity.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Close to losing his duel with the Black Dane king, Ubbe forsakes his Christian baptism and prays to Odin. He credits this with helping him to win and completely turns his back on the struggle he's been having with Christianity.
  • Promotion to Parent: With Ragnar gone, and Bjorn having his own family, it appears Ubbe took over being a father figure for the younger three.
  • Really Gets Around: Implied.
    Aslaug:Ubbe, you should have children.
    Ubbe: I probably already have.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Surrounded by highly skilled warriors that have just overrun Kattegat, Ubbe still tries to make a beeline for Lagertha.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He vows to kill Lagertha in revenge for Aslaug's death.
  • Second Love: Like many of his family members, his first marriage with Margarethe doesn't last, and he ends up marrying Torvi as a second wife.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: While Ivar has his eyes, over all, Ubbe most closely resembles Ragnar — especially circa Season 1 Ragnar — out of all of his brothers.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: It would be an understatement to say that Ragnar was surprised when Aslaug showed up in Kattegat pregnant with him.
  • Tagalong Kid: During his appearances in Seasons 2 and 3, he barely has any screen time and doesn't slow down the main characters when on raids. This changes in Season 4.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Some of the stuff he does during the second raid of Paris is highly disturbing by modern standards.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of Ragnar's sons he is the most moral, compassionate and responsible. While he wants to invade England it's to avenge his father's death and when the Great Army starts engage in the actual Viking-stuff, he is disgusted.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Just barely averted. Ubbe and Hvitserk walk out onto a frozen lake, and the ice cracks from under them. Had it not been for Siggy, they'd have died.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: In Season 5, this really starts hitting hard when he starts scheming, and discusses things with his shieldmaiden wife. His tactics, relationships, views of religion, and subtle rise to power and are extremely close to that of Ragnar in Season 1.

     Hvitserk Ragnarsson
Played By: Cathal O'Hallin (Season 2 & 3) Stephen Rockett (Season 4) Marco Ilsø (adult)
Hvitserk: "Ubbe treated me like his little faithful dog. I am no one's dog, Ivar."
Ivar: "Woof woof."

The second son of Ragnar and Aslaug.

  • Age Lift: Can be said for the Ragnarsson's as a whole but Hvitserk's son Oleg of Novgorod would have been twenty-two by the time of Ragnar's death in 867. Oleg is set to appear in Season 6, but it's doubtful he will be the son of Hvitserk.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: To a lesser degree than Sigurd, but Hvitserk really disliked his mother and couldn't care less when Lagertha killed her.
    • Or so he claims. In Season 6, he admits that walking around the place where she was killed makes her remember it, suggesting he has similar visions of her dying like he has with Thora.
  • Because Destiny Says So: He believes he jumped ship to be with Ivar because their fates are linked. After exploring Buddhism, he begins to question this, but ultimately comes to believe that his fate is to kill Ivar.
  • Blood Knight: After Ivar, the most violent and bloodthirsty of Ragnar's sons and is quick to jump into battle. During the sack of York, he goes on a killing spree, hacking down people until he collapses out of exhaustion on the floor, covered in blood. Out of all Ragnar's sons, he seems to be the most like Rollo in this respect.
  • Composite Character: He takes the historical Guthrum's place as the Viking turned Christian Lord Aethelstan.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Hvitserk is very impulsive and doesn't tend to consider the consequences of his actions. This is shown in siding with Ivar when he and Ubbe have a falling-out or asking King Olaf to attack his brother, despite the line of questioning Olaf is using clearly being used as a test.
  • The Dragon: Becomes this to Ivar after he becomes king of Kattegat.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Despite being a definite follower rather than the leader his other three brothers are, he feels he deserves just as much honor and glory as they do.
  • Cartwright Curse: Both women he ends up with, Margarethe and Thora, end up dying horrifically thanks to Ivar killing them.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Downplayed. Hvitserk has a hard time staying on the side of one brother for too long. He's close to Ubbe at first, but jumps ship to be with Ivar. Tired of Ivar's abuse, he betrays him, attacking Kattegat with King Olaf, Harald, and Bjorn. This proves to have consequences, for Ubbe is still frosty towards him when he comes back to Kattegat.
  • Flat Character: In Season 4. Bjorn has had multiple seasons of development, Ubbe is the compassionate and patient one, Sigurd is the resentful one, and Ivar is ruthless and jaded. Compared to that, Hvitserk is just kind of...there. He starts to develop more during Season 5 and gets rounded out in Season 6.
  • In the Blood: Though he'd be loathe to admit it, Hvitserk is the son who resembles Aslaug the most both physically and mentally. Like her, he demands respect he hasn't earned, has a definite sense of entitlement purely born from being the son of a famous person, isn't that good at reading a room or the people in it, and tends to whine about his problems rather than take steps to solve them.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: He's clearly starting to get the feel of this in Season 5, where both Ubbe and Ivar have already gained far more glory and fame than he and treat him as little less than an especially close follower, or an extension of themselves.
  • The Millstone: Given a choice between the over bearing brother and the axe crazy brother, he chooses axe crazy. Defects later, and brings nothing of strategic value with him, despite having some of Ivar’s trust at the time. He leaves his wife with Ivar, despite Ivar’s repeated giddy suggestions that he sacrifice Hvitserk to himself. To top it all off, he does hear the obvious outcome took place, he reacts with genuine shock that he’s a bachelor again.
  • Noble Demon: He's a Viking which is morally dubious by nature and later working for Ivar but Hvitserk still takes vocal issue when Ivar begins to cross too many lines. This eventually leads him to ask King Olaf for help in overthrowing him.
  • Not So Different: Despite trying to distance himself from Ivar, the two are the most alike when on the battlefield. They're vicious, bloodthirsty, and enjoy killing far more than any of their other brothers. They're both shown smiling after massacring a church in York. If Ivar treated him better, they might get along.
  • One Steve Limit: Kinda. His historical name was likely Halfdan, Hvitserk was probably just a nickname of his.
  • Parental Abandonment: When Ragnar disappears for years after the second raid on Paris Hvitserk takes it particularly bad. He flat-out says he'd kill Ragnar if he came back.
  • Satellite Love Interest: His girlfriend Thora appears almost literally out of nowhere and is there mainly so Hvitserk has someone to complain about Ivar to.
  • Tagalong Kid: During his appearances in Seasons 2 and 3, he barely has any screen time and doesn't slow down the main characters when on raids. This changes in Season 4, where he is upgraded to a starring character.
  • The Quiet One: When compared to his brothers. In scenes with all of them together, he often says the least.
  • The Prophecy: The Seer gives him an interesting one in what turns out to be his last prophecy ever given. He says that Hvitserk will do what his brothers have failed to do, but the cost will be too high. Cue Wild Mass Guessing from the fans that this means everything from killing Lagertha to becoming king in Iceland.
    • He murders Lagertha in Season 6, thus fulfilling the Seer’s prophecy.
  • Rape as Drama: While most of his other brothers tend not to engage in such behavior during raids, Hvitserk is the one who tends to engage in raping women the most. It happens both when he's with Bjorn in Moorish Spain and in York, though all implied off-screen.
  • The Woobie: Hvitserk becomes this in Season 6.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Some of the stuff he does during the second raid of Paris is highly disturbing by modern standards.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Just barely averted. Ubbe and Hvitserk walk out onto a frozen lake, and the ice cracks from under them. Had it not been for Siggy, they'd have died.
    • A near-example occurs in his adult life where he laughs at Ivar saying he wants to have children. This results in his younger brother bring a knife to his throat as Hvitserk points out that he is impotent. He does this even though he knows that Ivar's impotence is a sore point for him and that Sigurd's cruel mocking of that was what got him killed.

     Sigurd "Snake-in-the-Eye" Ragnarsson
Played By: Faolán Pelleschi (Season 2 & 3) Elijah O'Sullivan (Season 4) David Lindström (adult)
"I don't want to follow you, Ivar. You are crazy. You have the mind of a child! [..] What's the matter, Ivar? You can't take it? No, I guess it must be hard for you now that your mommy's dead. Knowing that she's the only one who ever really loved you."

The third son of Ragnar and Aslaug, born with a misshapen serpentine pupil that seems associated with prophecy.

  • Adaptation Personality Change: Given their relationship in the show, it seems unlikely Sigurd would have named his daughter after his mother. There is absolutely nothing to imply he was ever resentful because of the death of a fictitious niece, favoritism or anything else.
  • Age Lift: Like it really needs to be said with how many times it has been said with his older brothers.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Sigurd detested his mother. On top of her blatant favoritism towards Ivar, he held both Siggy's death and her affair with Harbard against her for the rest of her life.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: He gets a pretty awesome moniker practically from birth: Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Ivar accuses him of "offering his arse to other men" during one of their sniping matches. The audience laughs, but Sigurd doesn't deny it and none of the Ragnarssons look surprised, offended, or amused to hear it, suggesting that either Sigurd actually does spend time with men and it's no secret amongst them, or Ivar just says that kind of thing when he's trying to be a dick.
  • Bullying a Dragon: His behavior towards Ivar. It does not end well for him.
  • Cain and Abel: His relationship with Ivar. He is Abel, an unusually cruel Abel.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: He very subtly calls out his mother on her behavior when his niece Siggy dies on her watch.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Margrethe is pushed by him to reveal Ivar's secret impotence. She begs him not to say anything, because Ivar will kill her. Cut to Sigurd telling his brothers.
  • Death by Adaptation: Sigurd was not slain by Ivar in real life.
  • Defiant to the End: His reaction to Ivar throwing an axe into his chest? Ripping it out, standing up, and marching over towards Ivar, intent on killing him with that same axe. He dies just steps away, but points for effort.
  • Famous Last Words: His character quote are the insults he tells Ivar right before his brother throws an axe in his chest.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted. His brothers end up mentioning him quite a bit, including Ivar saying during the parley with Lagertha and Ubbe that he's already killed one brother and not keen to kill any more.
  • Informed Ability: That "snake-in-eye" have not been seen for quite some time. It only reappears upon his death, as he lay on the ground bleeding out.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While he was repeatedly cruel to Ivar and a jerk to the point of being unlikable, Sigurd's actual verbal criticisms of Ivar, specifically his statements that Ivar is crazy and has "the mind of a child" look pretty prescient after the events of Season 5. During that season, Ivar repeatedly showed himself to be raging Psychopathic Manchild, is suckered multiple times by people feeding his ego, and becomes so over the top arrogant that he starts calling himself one of the Aesir.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Feels he is The Un-Favourite due to Ragnar bringing Ubbe and Hvitserk to Paris, while he was left behind and his mother spent all her time on Ivar.
  • Only Sane Man: With his father and older brothers gone for their second raid on Paris, Sigurd is the only one left on Kattegat who shows any concern for the bizarre situation going on.
  • Parental Abandonment: When Ragnar disappears for years after the second raid on Paris, Sigurd resents him a lot for it. And he's not much better towards his mother, who he views as favoring Ivar at the expense of her other children.
  • The Rival: He and Ivar do not like each other.
  • Tagalong Kid: During his appearances in Seasons 2 and 3, he barely has any screen time and doesn't slow down the main characters when on raids. This changes in Season 4.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Why yes, Sigurd, continuing to antagonize and insult your evidently insane little brother (who has already nearly killed you once before for similar comments) is a brilliant idea.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Tells Margerethe not to fear Ivar because "he's just a cripple." Boy, how he's wrong.

     Ivar "The Boneless" Ragnarsson
"You can't kill me! I am Ivar The Boneless!"
Played By: James Quinn Markey (as a child), Alex Høgh Andersen (adult)

"You still claim to be Vikings? Then ACT like Vikings! Come with me, be like the gods, AND REACH FOR VALHALLA!"

The youngest son of Ragnar and Aslaug, born with twisted, brittle legs from which he got his nickname.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Margrethe.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The end result of having been combined with Eric Bloodaxe and Harald Wartooth.
  • Age Lift: In the sagas, Ivar was the oldest of Aslaug's children with Ragnar. Here, he is the youngest.
  • A God Am I: His wife Freydis plants this idea in his head. The birth of their son is a cold splash in the face.
  • Annoying Arrows: Gets shot in the leg with an arrow during a battle at York and doesn't even flinch.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: in spite of being an insult, "Ivar the Boneless" sounds pretty cool. In reality, the meaning of the nickname has been forgotten. So it might have been in reference to something badass.
  • Ax-Crazy: He literally murders another child with an ax over a disagreement during a ballgame, and isn't any less unhinged when he grows up. This ruthless attitude he has makes him a feared viking. His bloodthirsty antics often show how people not to underestimate him just because he is labeled as cripple.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Joking about his impotence is a bad idea.
    • If you think he is inferior in anyway shape or form to his brothers he'll show you why he is the most ruthless Viking in all of Midgard.
    • Do not disrespect his mother and father in anyway shape or form. Sigurd and Aelle's army learned that the hard way after both made a mockery of Ivar's parents and he made them pay for it tenfold.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Igor.
  • Blood Knight: Ivar's love for war is one his greatest strengths as it allows him to unleash his wrath upon his enemies and has a chance to be greater than Ragnar as he wishes to be. The bloodshed that he causes really shows that he loves killing and it expresses his violent nature profoundly.
  • Cain and Abel: His relationship with Sigurd. He is Cain. By Season 5, this has also become his relationship with every sibling not named Gyda.
  • Calling The Old Woman Out: He does this to Lagertha accusing her of murdering his mother for no other reason than ambition.
  • Composite Character: Through much of Ivar's core character are interpretations of the figure in the sagas, show-Ivar takes on attributes of other sadistic (inarguably more so than saga-Ivar) Vikings. Ivar using a war chariot to compensate for his lack of legs is ironically an attribute of Harald Wartooth, who was the archenemy of Ragnar's father Sigurd Hring. In his old age, Harald could not walk by himself and was tied to a chariot in order to do battle. Ivar also takes on the personality of Eirik Bloodaxe, the son of Harald Finehair. Eirik is known for his penchant for axe-related violence, horrible temper, being badly influenced by his wife and his killing of his own brothers. Interestingly, the episode with the ball is a clear nod to Eirik Bloodaxe's archenemy Egil Skallagrimsson.
  • Creepy Child: Ivar the Boneless was not a well-adjusted kid, to say the least, and his peers give him a wide berth.
  • Disabled Snarker: Can't walk and definitely a sarcastic and snarky person. In Season 5, he actually is able to walk now.
  • The Dreaded: His brothers — with the likely exception of Bjorn — are terrified of him, as are his family's servants.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Despite being a vicious, bloodthirsty, kin-slaying conqueror, Ivar's complete and utter love and devotion for his father and mother are both very much redeeming qualities for him.
    • Also his relationship with Floki, whom he seems to regard as something of a surrogate father. Floki is probably the only uncomplicated relationship he has with anyone in the show and the only person he openly cries in front of.
    • His fatherly treatment of Igor mirrors how his own by Aslaug and Floki.
  • Evil Cripple: Ivar was born with a problem in his legs that kept him from walking, and as he grows older he becomes the most unhinged of Ragnar’s offspring. Subverted in Season 5 where he develops a new device to keep his legs stable and can support his weight along with the help of a single crutch. In the finale of Season 5, he is shown to actually walk regularly without the use his crutch and gives his men an epic battle speech while standing tall and showing that he doesn't fear death.
  • Friendless Background: It's implied that, due to being a cripple, only his family paid any sort of attention to him.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He himself confesses that he is jealous of Heahmund because the bishop is everything Ivar cannot be due to his disability.
  • Handicapped Badass: He's the best archer and axe thrower of Ragnar's sons, and is a match for at least Hvitserk and Sigurd with a sword, despite being unable to walk. His sheer rage and spite are enough to make him dangerous and feared.
    • He also has the most upper-body strength out of all the sons, due to having to drag himself by his arms to get anywhere. He manages to rather easily crush a massive wooden hnefatafl piece without much effort.
  • Has a Type: If you feed his ego, say how special he is and is pale blond, chances are great that not only be smitten with you but spare your life when he would have killed you otherwise.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Ivar has a lot of anger due to his past but he attempts to hide it, but Ivar shows his wrath to most people by acting out in violent rages. This is shown most of the time when Sigurd insults him and when he goes to far Ivar kills him for it.
  • Hot-Blooded: Ivar is at times reckless, impulsive, and more than a little unhinged. As shown he is also prone to raising his voice when he wants to be heard. Ivar is also a bit energetic as shown when it's time for a battle and will scream at the top of his lungs most of the time.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: He got his father's eyes. It certainly helps that his brittle bone disease makes the white in his eyes turn blue as well.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: This pretty much describes his rise to power. The series even does a good job showing the dissonance between him and others. Many people try to define him by his disability. This pushes him harder to extremes to position himself to that isn’t the case. Then the same people say he doesn’t need to try so hard, which causes him to parrot their earlier lines. This dissonance peaks when he kills Signurd with an axe in the middle of Sigurd publicly ranting about Ivar’s disability. This reaches its inevitable conclusion where his brothers are pissed, and he asks: “What would you have done?” None of them can provide an answer.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Under the psychotic rage, it's shown he desperately wants a family of his own. The last thing he does before escaping Kattegat is to display his wife's body and son's bones on his bed, showing that what he cares about losing isn't just his power, but the family he'd tried to create.
  • Kubrick Stare: He's frequently shown delivering this expression to show his seething rage. It helps that he's often looking up at people.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Ivar is impotent. This is, in fact, one of the theories of the meaning of his sobriquet, resulting in the show using two of them.
  • Momma's Boy: He is the closest of his full brothers to their mother, who in turn absolutely dotes on him. Though towards the end of Aslaug's life, he calls her out on her My Beloved Smother tendencies somewhat.
    Ivar: Mother, since I was born you have kept smothering me? Why? Because Ivar is a cripple. Poor Ivar. Now finally, Ivar has a chance to be with his father, and prove himself to the gods. [...] I don't care. One day with my father is worth more than a lifetime of pity.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Fratricide, uxoricide, familialcide, infanticide, live immolation, force feeding molten metal, sacrilege (declares himself a god), arbitrary killing of his own people, encourages Alfred to kill his own soldiers for sport... it keeps going.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ivar screams uncontrollably in terror when he realizes he killed an older child. He also looks horrified at what he had done when he throws an axe at Sigurd, killing him in front of the entire Great Heathen Army.
  • Nerves of Steel: During numerous battles, he refuses to take shelter under shields like other Vikings, instead standing there laughing maniacally.
  • Obviously Evil: He is the most bloodthirsty of the Norsemen, the cruelest and the only one who has a malevolent appearance.
  • Odd Friendship: With Alfred, who shows Ivar nothing but compassion and acceptance during his time in Wessex. Just like their fathers before them, one would not expect a Viking and a Christian prince to get along so well, but the pair are seen happily playing a game of chess together. And when Ivar departs for home, Alfred gives him a black chess piece as a token of their friendship, something Ivar is obviously touched by.
  • Offing the Offspring: Leaves his son Baldur to die of exposure after he is born deformed. Weirdly for Ivar, this is not an act born of maliciousness. Baldur would have been unable to feed, and Ivar couldn't bear the thought of him living the same life that he did.
  • Oh, Crap!: Actually has one of these moments after throwing an axe in Sigurd's chest. Partly out of horror of what he'd just done, and partly because Sigurd didn't go down and was making his way over to Ivar to return the favor, only to collapse steps away.
  • Ominous Foreshadowing: He kills his first victim as a toddler
  • The Peeping Tom: Spies on his brothers having sex with Margrethe on at least three occasions.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While he and Sigurd are exchanging insults with each other in front of the Great Heathen Army, he accuses Sigurd of 'offering his ass to other men', implying that it makes Sigurd less of a man than their father. This is in spite of the fact that we've seen no evidence of Sigurd being anything but heterosexual.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: In spite of being The Strategist, Ivar is also reckless and impulsive which also makes him prone to some tantrums.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Whenever Ivar has this look on his face he's planning something very sinister.
  • Red Baron: Ivar "the Boneless"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ivar is the red oni as he's ruthless, bloodthirsty, temperamental while his brother Ubbe is a calm, laid back, and kind blue oni.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • His first taste of blood lusting revenge is the death of his great father, Ragnar Lothbrok. When they learn of this he and his brothers assembled the Great Heathen Army to avenge the death of Ragnar and curb stomps King Aelle's army as shown when there were no survivors only Aelle himself but that doesn't last long as Ivar rules him to have a Blood Eagle drawn on his back.
    • His second revenge spree is when he starts a war between him and Lagertha after she kills his mother. This war causes his brother Ubbe to betray him and ally with their mother's killer. But during this war Ivar now cares nothing more but to kill Bjorn, Ubbe, and Lagertha.
  • Rule of Three: Three times he threatens Sigurd with an axe; the first while the brothers are practicing fighting, he throws one over Sigurd's head just close enough to draw blood. The second, he's stopped from murdering Sigurd only by the interference of the blacksmith. The third, he throws the axe directly into Sigurd's chest, killing him.
  • Sadist: Ivar enjoys seeing people seeing slaughtered especially if he's the one doing it. The man outright states he likes killing when strangling Margarethe when they were in bed. His extensive carnage and ruthlessness in the town of York really shows himself having fun torturing and murdering half of the town.
  • Screaming Warrior: In almost every battle Ivar is always seen screaming at the top of his lungs. One of his greatest examples is when he is surrounded by Saxons soldiers and is roaring at the them after mauling one of their men to death exclaiming that he is indeed is IVAR THE BONELESS and that they can not kill him.
  • Shoo the Dog: Though it's played off very creepily, Ivar seems to send Hvitserk away so that he won't be tempted to kill the only brother left on his side at that point. He flat out says that he loves him before he does so, something he'd only said to Aslaug and Ragnar up to that point.
  • Slasher Smile: Ivar's go to look when he is killing and at war.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: As Ivar’s story progresses and he gains tools which help him walk, his crawls become much more sinister, and snake like since his legs are usually bound together in these scenes. His crawls are usually shown out of focus in the background as he creeps up on someone, usually in their bed. After he scares the crap out of the person, he usually begins to imply threats in their conversations. Since his overt sadism has no limits, the threats are very very real.
  • Start of Darkness: The incident when he murdered another child over a ball.
  • The Strategist: Ragnar admits that Ivar's the most intelligent of his sons, and is therefore the most dangerous and capable of them. He's also shown to be a formidable chess player during his time spent with Alfred, foreshadowing their future clashes — both literal and intellectual — on the battlefield.
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Ragnar's death, Ivar receives Athelstan's arm ring while Alfred receives his pendent cross.
  • Tranquil Fury: He is constantly angry, but has learned to suppress and hide it from those who don't know him. When Ivar hears that Aslaug is dead, he doesn't cry or strike out in rage, but instead quietly sits while squeezing a wooden chess piece so tightly that his hand starts to bleed. Ragnar lampshades that this makes Ivar highly unpredictable and also gives him great inner strength and ruthlessness. According to Ragnar, if Ivar can channel his anger correctly, it will make him a great leader.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The most salient case in the show, as while the other cases can be attributed to Values Dissonance, even by the standards of his day killing another child is not considered normal childhood behavior at all.
  • Unstoppable Rage: During a brutal battle Ivar gets knocked off his chariot and goes berserk on the Saxon that knocked him off by repeatedly axing his face as he screams in his face and becomes a Blood-Splattered Warrior. After this he downright terrifies the the rest if the soldiers surrounding him as starts laughing and roaring as if he was possessed.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Born a cripple, ostracized for it, his mother and father murdered, and him being unable to help either of them. It's little wonder Ivar is the most vicious of Ragnar's sons when the world has given him so much to lash out at.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Sacrifices the two boys who they captured from York to guarantee they'll succeed in the attack.
    • He also killed Freydis' son when he found out he was crippled.
  • Zerg Rush: Unleashes a huge amount of reinforcements given to him by his uncle Rollo in order to defeat Lagertha's army.

Aristocracy (Jarls)

    King Horik Gøtriksson
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 Beard: Viking.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: 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!"
  • Not So Different:
    • He essentially is to Floki what Jarl Borg was to Rollo.
    • He is also very similar to Haraldson, in his occasionally petty decision making, and in that he's an established ruler who grows paranoid of the upstart Ragnar's growing fame and power, a paranoia that drives him to actions which lead to his death at Ragnar's hand.
  • 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.

    Harald Finehair
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 and 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.
  • Cool Crown: Rocks a crown made out of gold and shark teeth.
  • Cradling Your Kill: After he kills Halfdan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Rival: To Bjorn.
  • Tattooed Crook
  • Villain In Plain Sight: Aslaug lampshades that his plans would involve conquering Ragnar’s lands.
  • 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.

     Earl Haraldson
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.

     Jarl Borg
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!"
  • Badass Mustache: His distinctive trait is the fact his moustache is thicker and longer than his beard (and also braided), unlike most Vikings.
  • 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.

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
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
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.

Played By: Edvin Endre

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

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.

Played by: Elinor Crawley
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
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.
  • Fan Nickname: Earl Siegfried the Troll
  • 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
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.
  • 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.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Earl Haraldsson married his daughter Thyri off to him to increase his money chest and get an ally.
  • 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

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Played By: Ben Roe
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 Beroff
A king allied to Ivar the Boneless.
  • Adipose Rex: Stout is a kind way to put it.
  • Bald of Awesome: A sly, old trickster of a king with a shiny chrome dome on top.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Trickster Mentor: Olaf toys mercilessly with Hvitserk to get the measure of him.

Commoners (Karls)

"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.
  • 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.
  • Badass Beard: Kind of a theme by now, don't you think?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Famous Last Words: Possibly. The last thing he murmurs as he's trapped underground in Iceland is the name of his wife Helga.
  • 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!
  • 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 Seer
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
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 Beard: Truly so! His is tied into two separate plaits!
  • 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.

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 Beard: It's so big, he has to tie it into a massive braid.
  • 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".
  • Bald of Awesome: The first thing a viewer will notice is his lack of hair. The next is his blood thirst.
  • 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.

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.
  • Badass Beard: Notable even amongst his fellow Northmen for its length and girth.
  • 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.

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.

Played By:Frankie McCafferty
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.

Played By: Kevin Durand
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.

Played By: Jefferson Hall

Played By: Tadhg Murphy

  • 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 occicial 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.

Played By: Maude Hirst
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.

Played By: Rosalie Connerty
The daughter of Floki and Helga.

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
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.
  • Not So Different: Kjetill is not so different from Eyvind in the end, protecting his family through extreme violence and rejecting one of his children for not siding with him
  • 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 Dog: 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.

Played By: Kris Holden-Ried
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.

    Aud the Deep-Minded 
Played By: Leah Mc Namara

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.

Played By: Kelly Campbell

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.

Played By: Connor Rogers
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.

Foreign Slaves (Thrals)

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 Beard: Has grown one in "Sacrifice" as a sign of how close he is to Going Native.
  • 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.

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, Thorunn 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 Thorunn 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: Thorunn 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.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss
  • Slave Liberation: She is freed by Aslaug to better her relationship with Björn.

Played By: Dianne Doan
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.
  • Not So Different: Ragnar establishes in the beginning of "Yol" that despite having an opposite social standing with Yidu, they are both entrapped by their positions.
    Ragnar: In my world, I am constantly torn between killing myself or everyone around me.
    Yidu: I am a slave. So I have the same feelings.
    Ragnar: [chuckles] A king and a slave. It is both our duties to serve others, whether we like it or not.
  • 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.

Played by: Ida Nielsen
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.

Played by: Sinead Gormally

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.

Played by: Alicia Agneson
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.
  • 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.


Played by: André Eriksen a& Eddie Drew
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 Awesome: He appears first in terrifying visions of Ragnar's. Then, when he appears to the Ragnarssons, his coming is heralded by swarms of ravens, he walks through a crowded Kattegat apparently unseen by any others, and his appearance terrifies or disturbs the usually unflappable Ivar.
  • 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.


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