Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Vikings - Ragnar's Family

Go To

    Ragnar 'Lothbrok' Sigurdsson
Played By: Travis Fimmel

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

Ragnar Lothbrok 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 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. Through later he rejects this belief.
    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.
  • 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: Zig-Zagged. The historical Ragnar Lothbrok 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. And 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.note 
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • Boobs of Steel: Notably chestier than Non-Action Girl Aslaug, and most of the female cast for that matter, and is one of the deadliest warriors in the whole cast of either gender.
  • Canon Foreigner: Much like Gyda, she doesn't appear in the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok. 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 the one 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 go 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 through out the course of the series, losing her daughter to disease while he husband had an affair, having several miscarriages, being seriously wounded in battle several times and gangbeaten in her bedroom but manages to keep her self together, but when Ivar and Harald defeated 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.
  • 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. In the end, she lets them leave peacefully.
    • Lagertha hates rapists and stops 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 due to her divorcing Ragnar.
  • 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 time-skip 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 man, 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 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. He briefly 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: Gets 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. This 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.
    • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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:

  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Norse sources actually indicated Bjorn as another one of Ragnar's sons from Aslaug, which would have made him full brother, rather than half-brother, of Ubbe, Hvitserk, Sigurd and Ivar.
  • 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 Pet: For all of Rollo's flaws he loves his nephew and treats him kindly.
  • 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, exemplified by the fact that Ziyadat Allah had heard of him all the way in north Africa. Among his own people, him merely stepping into Kattegat was enough to shock the entire hall into submission, ending Ubbe and Ivar's plot against Lagertha. Ubbe himself is visibly cowed, while the Ax-Crazy, Blood Knight Ivar is the only person not visibly frightened. (And even Ivar would later admit to Heahmund that Bjorn is the only one of his brothers he actually fears, however little.)
  • 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 five times now. In order, his first wife Thorunn left him, the marriage with his second wife Torvi ended when they grew apart, his third wife Snaefrid dies in battle, and he starts cheating on Gunnhild only after a few months of them being married and ends up taking a co-wife with Ingrid.
  • 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 share 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.

    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.

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.

    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:
    • Many scholars suggest that Hviteserk might have been the same person as Halfdan, another one of Ragnar's sons, on the basis that every source mentioning one of them systematically omits the other. It makes further sense considering that Halfdan is a first name, while Hviteserk is a nickname, making it likely that they applied to the same person. The fact that no other Ragnar's son in the show is called Halfdan implies that the authors went along with this theory.
    • 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Kinda. His historical name was likely Halfdan, Hvitserk was probably just a nickname of his. But the show already has Halfdan the Black with that first name.
  • 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.
  • 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 pale blond, chances are great that not only will he 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; 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 too 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 when 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 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 rest of the soldiers surrounding him as he 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.