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- Every time Rollo has an opportunity (and good material reason) to betray Ragnar and doesn't, it's definitely this.
- Anytime Ragnar dotes on Bjorn. He may be a merciless, bloodthirsty warlord bent on looting and slaughter; but he is still a good family man.
- When the Vikings are raiding Northumbria, Rollo barges into the house of an old and sick man. The Saxon is helpless and frightened. Rollo stands over him...and gives him a drink of water. Then takes the cup and pitcher as part of his booty.
- When the Earl raids the Lodbrok farm, the Lodbrok family grabs daggers and axes and swords. Athelstan grabs his bible; his weapon is the Word of God. The heartwarming continues when Lagertha nonetheless hands him an axe despite being a slave.
- Bjorn refusing to leave his father alone to Haraldson's warriors. And Ragnar's insistence that he leave with his mother and sister and get to safety.
- The Lodbrok family arrive at Floki's home and Bjorn says his father is dying. Immediately all the silliness goes out of him and focuses 100 percent on treating Ragnar's injuries.
- There's also this conversation from the same instance;Floki: You are alive. Ragnar is alive. Your children are alive. You have everything left.
Lagertha: We're eating your winter supplies, Floki. I am ashamed...
Floki: [shakes head] The gods will provide.
- There's also this conversation from the same instance;
- Haraldson saved two locks of hair from his sons' heads and kept them as a keepsake since their deaths. He later gives them to his wife. Even Evil Has Loved Ones, indeed.
- Athelstan asks questions about the Norse religion like a fascinated schoolboy. Despite being a priest, he doesn't look down on the Vikings for their paganism and instead shows them a great deal of respect.
- Athelstan jumping into a river and saving Ragnar's life. And later, praying over his body."Mary, Mother of God, listen to me... Do not let this man die..."
- The moment between Ragnar and Lagertha when the latter tells him that she's pregnant.Ragnar: I know you're a boy. The Seer told me. By all the gods, my son, you've made me a happy man.
- Lagertha taking Siggy and her daughter under her protection when she asks to serve her, and then telling her she will never treat her as a servant. This is the wife of the man who nearly killed her whole family, by the way.
- When Tostig is felled from behind (after killing several Saxons at once, to reiterate), Ragnar rushes from one end of the battlefield to the other to help him and kill the Saxon coward who struck him in the back. After dispatching him, Ragnar kneels beside Tostig; Travis Fimmel's look of sheer distraught is heart wrenching enough on its own, and shows the sheer depth of the friendship between the two characters. Tostig's contented smile that he will finally enter Valhalla is the only thing that lifts some of the pain of his passing from Ragnar. And it is also a great performance by his actor, as well. All in all, it's a beautiful scene.
- Leif helping Athelstan up in episode eight. Also the resulting exchange, it shows how far the Vikings have come to accept him as a fellow.Leif: Surely you're not tired, Athelstan? On this great journey you've begun and must finish. [helps him up]
Athelstan: Leif, if you let me go... I'll fall down again.
Leif: No... You won't. The gods shall hold you up.
- Leif lets go of him, and despite being stoned the fuck out of his mind, he does remain standing. Leif's belief once again reiterates the respect he has for Athelstan. It makes his later volunteering for the sacrifice all the more emotional.
- Similarly, in Burial of the Dead, Athelstan is being his curious self. Floki will have none of it, of course, but rather than mocking him as has happened before, Floki chides Athelstan and hands him dinner."Just eat your soup, priest."
- Ragnar denying Aslaug's advances for the sake of his son.
- When Gyda and Athelstan are ill, Gyda asks her mother to make a sacrifice for Athelstan. He survives. She doesn't.
- When Athelstan wakes from his illness, the very first thing he does is scramble up and crawl over to Gyda's pallet. Only to find her dead.
- When Ragnar drops the blanket over the child at Winchester to hide him from the others, there's a beautiful half-second shot of the child's smile before it falls over his head.
- Lagertha showing nothing but respect to Aslaug, despite having every reason to loathe her.
- Also, how Lagertha is still holding Ragnar in high esteem, even though it was her own decision to divorce him: Defending him when her new husband is badmouthing him, and even helping out with troops and personally fighting for him whenever Ragnar is in need of helping hands.
- The reactions of Ragnar and Bjorn to Athelstan's supposed death. And then, when Horik and Floki both call him a worthless individual and traitor, Bjorn doesn't hesitate to defend the priest's honor. There's no doubt after this that Athelstan was very much loved and cared for by Ragnar and his family.Bjorn: Poor Athelstan... My sister and I grew to love him when we were children.
- Aslaug refusing to let her deformed son Ivar be killed or left to die in the woods.
- The absolute happiness and excitement on Ragnar's, Lagertha's, and Bjorn's faces when they're given Athelstan's arm ring and Aethelwulf offers to use him in a hostage exchange, which confirms the Seer's words and proves that Athelstan is alive. Extra points for Ragnar immediately grabbing the arm ring, checking its design and then putting it on his own arm, so that he can keep caressing it. Awwwwwwwww.....
- Ragnar is very proud of what a great warrior Bjorn has become and he even nicknames Bjorn "Ironside".
- Athelstan's simple reasoning for returning to Kattegat.Athelstan: I came back because you and Ragnar, all of you, are my family.
- Aslaug giving Thorunn her freedom and a new dress. Sure, it was more likely than not an attempt to get in Bjorn's good graces, with Aslaug practically presenting "free Thorunn" to him like a shiny new toy, but the moment of freeing her is nevertheless heart-warming, because Thorunn never even considered the possibility that she might be truly free one day.
Episode 1 Brother's War
- "I cannot fight you." For all his faults, for all his jealously, that moment reaffirms that Rollos is Ragnar's brother first and foremost. And yet a shame that Arne had to die to make him realise it.Rollo:I wanted to step out of your shadow. [...] But when I stepped out of it, there was... there was no sunlight. No sunlight at all.
- Ragnar bribing the Law-Giver to spare Rollo's life, even after his brother had taken up arms against him.
Episode 4 Eye for an Eye
- Ragnar and Bjorn's reunion.
Episode 6 Unforgiven
- Torstein wishing Rollo a safe journey. After what Rollo did, Torstein was the one who hated him the most, and his approval is proof that Rollo has redeemed himself.Torstein: I, too, wish you well.
Rollo: Those words mean a lot coming from you.
Torstein: They were hard to say. Now they are said.
Episode 7 Blood Eagle
- In a bizarre sort of way, it is heartwarming to see Jarl Borg carry his wife's skull to his execution, hammering home just how much he valued his lost bride. He has been stripped of his title, men, power and most of his clothes, but he will not depart from this world without his beloved wife by his side.
Episode 9 The Choice
- The entire reunion between Athelstan and the Vikings.
- Although it may come across as slightly morbid to those unfamiliar with the show, Bjorn's response to Athelstan's arrival is downright sweet. At least by his standards. And despite being much older than last time he'd seen him, Athelstan instantly recognizes Bjorn from the rest of the Vikings.Athelstan: Hello, Bjorn. Do you remember me?
Bjorn: Of course, I remember you. I wanted to kill you when I was a child. And then I loved you.
- Although it may come across as slightly morbid to those unfamiliar with the show, Bjorn's response to Athelstan's arrival is downright sweet. At least by his standards. And despite being much older than last time he'd seen him, Athelstan instantly recognizes Bjorn from the rest of the Vikings.
- Ragnar's relief when he finds out that Rollo survived the battle.
- Ragnar comforting his brother, who is in tremendous pain when a healer cauterizes his stomach wound and sets his broken leg straight.
- When Athelstan prepares to return to Ecbert's castle, Ragnar offers to escort him part of the way and casually wraps his arm around Athelstan's shoulders, effectively using himself as a human shield against Horik's archer in the nearby woods. It's made very clear that Ragnar knows about the archer and his intentions, but doesn't care about putting his own life at risk to protect Athelstan.
- Ragnar's easy acceptance of Athelstan's torn and confused loyalties between the Norse gods and Christianity. He doesn't pressure him to convert, but instead offers words of compassion to Athelstan's religious plight.Ragnar: I hope that someday our Gods can become friends.
- After escorting Athelstan to safety and then returning his arm ring, Ragnar promises to see him again very soon. Less than a day later, Ragnar, Lagertha, and Bjorn arrive for peace negotiations at Ecbert's castle with a very petulant-looking Horik in tow. And then, after the negotiations are finished and the Vikings are about to return home, Ragnar begs Athelstan to return with them.Ragnar: Will you come back with us or will you stay here with... your people? I want you to come back.
- When Athelstan is sailing back to Kattegat as a free man, he looks genuinely, uncomplicatedly, happy, for maybe the first time in the series.
Episode 10 The Lord's Prayer
- The waterfall scene of Ragnar and Athelstan praying together.Ragnar: I see you praying to your God. Will you teach me one of your prayers? So I can learn?
- Floki and Siggy turning out to be Fake Defectors after all — especially considering the very tempting offers given by Horik.
- The look on Lagertha's face when she sees the land Ecbert has gifted to her and Ragnar; after years of putting up with the frankly paltry land in Scandinavia, she now owns exceptionally fertile lands to feed her people properly.
- Assuming that Ecbert's pursuit of Lagertha is genuine and not tempered with politics or as a chance to wind up Ragnar, then his courtship of a woman he seems to be utterly besotted with is surprisingly charming.
- After the death of Aethelstan, Ragnar starts wearing a crucifix despite his ardently Pagan faith as a display of sheer respect and kinship for the memory of his departed friend.
- Cynric the wanderer is captured by the Franks, and brought back into the Viking camp as a prisoner with hands bound to act as a translator. When that's done, his guard tries to leave with him, but Rollo isn't having any of that. He cuts the rope off Cynric's hands and then walks him away with an arm around his shoulders.
Episode 9 Breaking Point
- The final scene is Ragnar, who has been pissing and coughing blood since being thrown down from the walls of Paris, becoming convinced that he is going to die and asking to be baptized so that he and Athelstan can be reunited.
Episode 10 The Dead
- In the season finale, Lagertha stands alone besides Ragnar's coffin, believing him to be dead. Despite the fact that Ragnar had been baptized so he could go to Christian heaven, Lagertha whispers to the coffin "I think Odin will ride like the wind and rescue you and take you to Valhalla where you belong, my sweet Ragnar. And there we shall meet again, and fight and drink and love one another."
- There is also Ragnar's Shoo the Dog moment when he doesn't need a certain hostage anymore. In hindsight though, it probably would have been better to kill her.
- The relationship between Rollo and Gisla. What begins as a political marriage that Gisla actively hates, even demanding a divorce, slowly and naturally grows into a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Rollo learning Frankish definitely helped.
- For that matter Rollo's relationship with his tutor, which started off pretty badly (by Rollo hurling the tutor over the table when the latter started insulting him) — when he's about to speak to Gisla for the first time, he sends him away with a clap on the shoulder, implying that the two men actually learned to get along.
- In The Profit and the Loss, the ship Floki is on is capsized by Rollo's chain and he is stranded in the river and drowning. Ragnar sees this and personally dives in to the hail of crossbow bolts and flaming arrows to pull him out. Despite everything they had been through, Floki is one of the last surviving men of the first raid on England, one of the last men alive who knew Ragnar before their rise to power. Despite everything, Ragnar couldn't let Floki die.
- 'Of course, Ragnar. Everything I do is for you.' After a season and a half of getting increasingly distant from Ragnar, becoming more and more opposed to him, Floki once again returns to his side. Ragnar saving his life probably helped.
- During the meeting of the Ragnarssons, Bjorn explains the truth of Ragnar to them. He was not a god, which many people began to believe, but rather a man of many dreams and just as many failings. But for all that?Bjorn: He's still the greatest man in the world to me.
- In Season 4B's premiere, Ragnar finally tells Floki that he does love him. Floki practically breaks down in joyful tears immediately.
- All of the interactions between the Ragnarssons', barring Sigurd: Ubbe and Hvitserk, as the two eldest, are obviously very close. And their relationship with Ivar, despite his disability, is obviously very strong: Ubbe smiles and congratulates Ivar when he lands a bullseye during archery practice, and Hvitserk obviously holds no resentment towards being forced into a draw when dueling with his crippled brother.
- Helga being the only one to bid Rollo farewell (Bjorn and Hvitserk are stony-faced, and Floki is actively scornful) when they return to Frankia after Bjorn's voyage to the Mediterranean.. You can tell it means something to Rollo that at least one of his former comrades and countrymen doesn't out-and-out hate him.
- Ragnar and Ecbert getting drunk together and the scenes slightly before and afterwards, talking about the afterlife, Athelstan, and the future. The two of them are mortal enemies, and yet, they both are probably the only ones in the world who understand one another, to the point where, even though the both of them know that Ragnar's death is part of a plot to undermine him, Ecbert is fighting back tears at the thought of executing him, and Ragnar has to lovingly embrace his hands in order to get him to send him to King Aelle. It speaks volumes that, before he is sent off, he tells Ecbert that their mutual friend may have chose Ragnar, but he chose the christian god instead of theirs.
- Ragnar and Ecbert hatching one last Batman Gambit together: Ecbert will have Aelle kill Ragnar since he knows Ragnar must die and Ragnar will see to it that his sons spare Wessex in their vengeance. This is subverted in the next episode when Ragnar tells Ivar that their vengeance should be aimed at Ecbert. Which is an even more fitting cap on their relationship.
- The scenes between Ragnar and Ivar in Wessex. Ragnar repeatedly tells Ivar that he is proud of him and that he thinks that Ivar has the biggest potential for greatness among Ragnar's sons. He even says that he was completely wrong for ever thinking that Ivar's disability might make him weak. They are probably the happiest days of Ivar's life.
- Pretty much every interaction between Alfred and Ivar, who are very much Like Father, Like Son when it comes to friendship. Neither speak the same language nor practice the same religion, but that doesn't stop them from playing a game of chess together, both smiling and looking quite pleased with themselves by the end of it.
- When Ivar departs for home, Alfred gives him a black chess piece as a token of their friendship, something Ivar is obviously touched by. Aside from his oldest brothers, it's quite possible that Alfred is the first true friend Ivar's ever had.
- In Crossing Floki stops Harald and Halfdan from killing a mosque full of people at prayer. Aside from the truly epic balls it takes to stare down a king and his brother along with all their warriors the fact that Floki, of all people, was the one to do it makes this a very touching moment of humanity in a string of scenes that doesn't pull back from the horrible brutality of the Viking life.
- When Ivar and Floki are both back home in Kattegat we finally get to see the student and teacher interact — Floki is very much a father figure to Ivar if the scathing sarcasm (reminiscent of Ivar's barbs with Ragnar) is any indication. And as a gift for Ivar Floki makes him "legs:" a war chariot.
- Alfred and Aethelwulf have a heart-to-heart where the audience learns that, despite everything, Aethelwulf respects Athelstan deeply. Not only that, Alfred, despite knowing Aethelwulf is not his real father, still loves him as such.
- Edmund chooses to stay with Ecbert and die with his king. Becomes even more poignant when Ecbert commits suicide and remembers the voices of his loved ones. Edmund is one of them.