Ragnar Lothbrok was a Danish Viking warlord and a renowned hero of Norse history who lived in the 9th century. The legendary Viking, who was also the king of Denmark and Sweden, was also known as Ragnar Sigurdsson as he was told to be Danish King Sigurd Ring’s son (or Hring) in some accounts.
Both the name Ragnar and the nickname “Lothbrok”, which must not be confused with a surname, had many variations in the accounts of the age. Sometimes his name could be written as Regnar or Regner whereas his nickname/epithet could be written as Lodbrok or Lodbrog.
Ragnar’s epithet Lothbrok could be interpreted as “hairy breeches” in the Old Norse language. It could also mean “dirty breeches” according to some.
The epithet is believed to be derived from the breeches he wore while fighting a poison-breathing serpent (or a dragon according to some accounts) in one of the sagas featuring Ragnar Lothbrok.
Is Ragnar Lothbrok Real or Just a Myth ?
Yes, he is real. That being said, who Ragnar really was is a matter of debate among historians. At this point, the better question would be “How close is History Channel’s Ragnar to the actual historical figure ?”
Although he is known as the father of the most famous Viking heroes like Ivar the Boneless and Bjorn Ironside (who eventually became even more successful and famous than their father), there is more than one theory about the real identity of Ragnar Lothbrok.
Some historians suggest that the stories telling us about the legendary deeds of Ragnar Lodbrok/Ragnar Lothbrok are actually a compilation of the accounts regarding several different Viking historical figures and there may be more than one Viking warlord that might have inspired the sagas.
Ragnar Lothbrok Raiding France and England
Stories in medieval literature regarding Ragnar Lothbrok differ in terms of details, however, the part about his raids on France and England is almost identical in every account.
In addition to that, a chronological account of the age which is considered a highly reliable source, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle comprehensively describes Ragnar Lothbrok’s deeds that made a significant impact on the history of the 9th century.
The records regarding Vikings in Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not end with Ragnar Lothbrok. It features somes tales about his sons and how they carried on his legacy.
According to the accounts of French historians, Ragnar ruled as a king in Denmark and he and his sons raided France ruthlessly.
Another account links Ragnar to Reginheri (Reginherus), the Viking who attacked Paris, hanged 111 Christians and died of a disease shortly thereafter.
Ragnar Lodbrok became famous as a warlord and made his fortune by raiding lands and kingdoms in the west. He allegedly attacked people while they were praying in churches.
Ragnar was known as a witty leader and sometimes used blitzkrieg (sudden charge) tactics to surprise well-organized and disciplined forces of his enemies, especially during his attacks on France.
As the main target of his raids, France suffered badly in the hands of Ragnar Lodbrok and his Northmen. It is told that Ragnar and his men captured Paris and made King Charles pay 7000 pounds as ransom on one occasion.
Ragnar Lothbrok’s Sons, Daughters and Wives
Ragnar Lothbrok had three wives; Lagertha the Shieldmaiden, Aslaug the warrior queen and Thora Town-hart (Borgarhjort), a noblewoman who was the daughter of Earl Herrauðr of Götaland. It should also be noted that some accounts mention a fourth wife.
Read more on Lagertha in our detailed post here: Shieldmaiden Lagertha, Ragnar Lothbrok’s Wife
Ragnar’s wives gave him many sons, the most famous ones being Bjorn Ironside, Ubba (Ubbe/Hubba/Husto), Hvitserk/ Hvítserkr, Halfdan Ragnarsson/Halvdan Ylving and Ivar the Boneless (Inwaer/Yngwar).
If you would like to know more about Bjorn Ironside’s story, check out the following post: Bjorn Ironside, Ragnar Lothbrok’s Son
If you would like to learn more about the real-life historical figure, Ivar the Boneless, read here: Ivar the Boneless, Ragnar Lothbrok’s Son – The Real Story
Eric, Agnar, Hastein, Rognvald, Harald and Fridleiv/Fridleif Ragnarsson (his son from Shieldmaiden Lagertha), Dunvat Ragnarsen and Radbard Ragnarsen are other names recorded as Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons.
Ragnar had two daughters from Lagertha the Shieldmaiden and several daughters from his other wives but there is no accurate information regarding their names. Only two names, Ragnhild Ragnarsdottir and Åløf Ragnarsdóttir appear in some accounts as the possible names of his daughters.
Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha
Although there are not that many resources detailing who Lagertha really was, there is one that can shed some light into the life of the shieldmaiden: Gesta Danorum (“Deeds of the Danes”).
In Gesta Danorum, it is told that Ragnar met Lagertha when he was taking back Norway from Frø, the King of Sweden who killed Ragnar’s grandfather, King Siward of Norway during the invasion.
Along with the women in King Siward’s family and others living in his court, Lagertha was taken prisoner and put in a brothel to be humiliated.
These women fought bravely when Ragnar Lodbrok came to rescue them and take back his grandfather’s lands. That is where Ragnar met Lagertha. Lagertha is mentioned in Gesta Danorum as “a woman with the courage of a man who fought fearlessly”.
According to the story, Ragnar was so impressed by Lagertha’s bravery and he wanted to marry her. But it was not that easy. Ragnar killed a bear and the hound guarding Lagertha’s house to be convinced for marriage.
As an interesting side note here, unlike how it was depicted in History Channel’s Vikings, Björn Ironside is not featured as Lagertha and Ragnar’s son in most of the historical accounts. He was Ragnar and Aslaug’s second son after Ivar the Boneless. Yes, Ivar is told to be the oldest one.
Lagertha and Ragnar had a son but he was named Fridleif.
Ragnar Lothbrok and Aslaug
History Channel’s depiction of Aslaug, who was also known as Kraka and Randalin, is more accurate compared to some other characters in the TV series.
According to Saga of the Völsungs, Aslaug, the third wife of Ragnar Lodbrok, was the daughter of the legendary Norse hero Sigurd and the shieldmaiden Brynhildr.
When her parents died, her mother’s foster father, Heimer thought it would be dangerous if anybody knew who Aslaug actually was.
He made a big harp and carried Aslaug inside it as he wandered around posing as a harpist. That went on until one day Ragnar Lothbrok’s men discovered her as she was bathing.
Mesmerized by Aslaug’s beauty, Ragnar’s men forgot about the bread they were baking and they had to tell Ragnar about her when Ragnar asked what happened.
Ragnar sent his men to bring Aslaug to him. Wanting to see if she was not only beautiful but also smart, Ragnar put her through some kind of a test.
Aslaug managed to impress him and Ragnar asked for her hand in marriage. At this point Ragnar had no idea that she was the daughter of two legendary Viking heroes.
When Ragnar visited Eysteinn Beli, a viceroy of Sweden, Eysteinn convinced him to marry his daughter Ingeborg instead of Aslaug. However, birds have already informed Aslaug (who was told to have “powers”) about Ragnar’s change of heart and that is why she had to tell him the truth about her real identity.
Aslaug told Ragnar Lothbrok that she was the daughter of the shieldmaiden Brynhildr and the legendary Viking Sigurd who killed Fafnir the dragon (or serpent) according to the myth.
She told Ragnar that she would give him a child with a dragon/serpent in his eye to convince him of her lineage. She succeeded as that came true when she eventually gave birth to Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye who was born with the ouroboros mark in his left eye.
According to the legend, Aslaug also tried to warn Ragnar Lothbrok when he decided to set sail for England unknowingly for the last time. That was kind of depicted in History Channel’s Vikings as Aslaug saw visions of Ragnar and Ivar falling into the sea.
On another interesting side note, Aslaug, who was known as some kind of sorceress, supposedly enchanted Ragnar’s armor and that is why the snakes in King Aella’s pit could not kill Ragnar Lothbrok until his men removed Ragnar’s armor.
Ragnar Lothbrok and Rollo – Was Rollo Ragnar Lothbrok’s Brother?
Accounts regarding these times are comprised mostly of sagas and oral stories. Therefore, it is not that possible to know the exact birthdates of the real-life figures that inspired the characters in History Channel’s Vikings.
That being said, Ragnar Lothbrok’s assumed year of death is known as 840 and that is 20 years before Viking chieftain known as Rollo was even born.
Rollo and Ragnar Lothbrok were not brothers and these two historical figures lived in different times.
On an interesting side note, some historians argue that it was Rollo and some other Viking chieftains who raided and captured Paris. You can read our detailed article about Rollo here: Rollo, The Viking Duke of Normandy
Ragnar Lothbrok and Floki
The character named Floki in History Channel’s Vikings is loosely based on a real-life historical figure named Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson. But was he really Ragnar Lothbrok’s best friend ? That he was not.
The birth year of Floki is written as 830 in the accounts and that is only 10 years before Ragnar Lothbrok died as an old man. So, it is safe to say Ragnar Lothbrok and Floki of the Ravens (“hrafna” means “raven”) probably never even met and were not as close as depicted in the series.
Read more on the real-life historical figure, Floki Vilgerðarson here: Real Floki (Vikings), Raven/Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson
Ragnar Lothbrok’s Death – How Did Ragnar Lothbrok Die?
There are two different stories telling us about Ragnar Lothbrok’s death. The first one identifies him with Reginheri and suggests that he died of a deadly disease similar to diarrhea right after he ravaged Paris.
The description regarding the disease in question and the manner of his death given in several accounts point to dysentery as his cause of death.
The second story, as it is told in some historical accounts, particularly the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, tells us that Ragnar Lothbrok meets death in the hands of his enemies.
It should also be noted that this is also how Ragnar’s death was depicted in Ragnars saga Loðbrókar (The Tale of Ragnar Lothbrok) that comprises a part of the Völsunga saga (Saga of the Völsungs)
According to this version, on his way back home after he was forced out of Paris, Ragnar’s ship washed ashore on the coast of the Kingdom of Northumbria where he previously attacked and held to ransom numerous times.
Longing for getting revenge on Ragnar Lodbrok for a long time, King Aella of Northumbria captured and threw Ragnar into a pit of snakes, leaving him to a painful and gruesome death.
Legend has it that, right before he died, Ragnar Lothbrok sang a Norse hymn and told King Aella that his sons would avenge him.
In some versions of this story, Ragnar said “How the little piggies will grunt when they hear how the old boar suffered” right before he died (SPOILER – That is something History Channel included to the show as the fans who have watched season 4 already know).
King Aella sent envoys to let Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons that he killed their father after which the sons made a vow to avenge their father.
The Great Heathen Army (The Great Viking Army, a combined army of Vikings from Denmark and Sweden) led by Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons invaded England and killed King Aella in 866.
Ragnar Lothbrok’s legacy continued and his descendants kept on making an impact on the structure of the region even long after he was gone. About two centuries after his death, descendants of Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons settled in the west coast of France turning this area into “the Land of Northmen”, Normandy as we know it in the present day.
Ragnar Lothbrok in Popular Culture
As the protagonist of the historical drama series, Australian actor Travis Fimmel plays Ragnar Lothbrok in History Channel’s Vikings.
That being said, the historical figure depicted in History Channel’s Vikings should not be confused with the characters in BBC Two’s The Last Kingdom which is another TV series about Vikings adapted from the historical fiction works of Bernard Cornwell. Both Young Ragnar and his father, Ragnar the Fearless are unrelated to Ragnar Lothbrok.
Fans of The Last Kingdom must have already noticed that only Ivar the Boneless and Ubba/Ubbe are called as “Lothbrokson” in The Last Kingdom. Partly based on real-life events, that story takes place during the time of Ragnar Lodbrok’s sons and The Great Army’s invasion of England.
If you would like to read more about Ragnar Lothbrok, The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok translated by Ben Waggoner includes three different texts telling the story of the legendary Dane (The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons and the Sögubrot, an Icelandic text regarding Danish and Swedish kings) along with extensive commentary and notes to complement them.
89 thoughts on “Ragnar Lothbrok/Lodbrok (Vikings),The Real Story: His Life, Death, Wives and Children”
My book “The Ring: The Legend of the Niebelungenlied: The Volsungr Saga and The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrokr” has a complete translation of the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrokr.
The book is a retelling of the Ring Saga (much bloodier than Wagner’s Teutonic Ring Cycle). Most storytellers end with the deaths of the Sigurdr and Brynhildr. However, the saga ends when the last Volsung is dead, and that would be Sigurdr and Brynhildr’s daughter, which is part of the Saga of Ragnar. Ragnar’s first wife is Sigurdr and Brynhildr’s daughter. But, he’s a lousy husband.
I have unfortunately just learned that Heilan Yvette Grimes passed away a short time ago. May your soul rest in peace Ms. Grimes. I am eternally thankful for your works and contribution to this world.
Dysentery is a much believable death for the time, actually, and one must take into account what writers want to push forward about their ancestors. Of course we want to believe the pit of snakes, but history and logic support dysentery. Besides, dysentery would account for the hairy breeches (dirty breeches) nickname: in more than one account, Ragnar’s death was described as his bowels spilled to the earth.
Hello Daphne, first of all, thank you for the detailed info. Ditto on the dysentery situation. My sources mentioned a disease but not a “specific” one. This will be included to the article soon. About beliefs; of course, the pit of snakes version fascinates people more and they settle the story like that in their minds. Plus, there are almost always at least several versions of a story if it involves mythology/myths or parts of history about which there may not be enough information. That is why I am always writing “according to some accounts ..” etc. Thanks again for your insight.
Happened all the time in Oregon Trail. Damn dysentery!
Watched every single episodes…too incredibly facinating n too awesome…
Hi Rozi, yes, one of the best shows on TV as of now in terms of acting and directing.
Norse History is fascinating. There is so much more to be known. There are records of islands where some Norsemen lived a 1000 years ago that are presently under water, in the higher northern latitudes. I’m happy the Viking program on the History Channel is being presented.
Hi Adrienne, yes, definitely. Haven’t heard about the islands in question, but will definitely make some research now. And yes, we owe the History Channel 😉
Haven’t missed one episode! Best historical drama on television in some decades!
True that Mari! Same here.
This has been the best series that has ever been told about the Norsemen. History Channel I thank you and hope the series carries on for another season. Even though it looks like Ragnar may meet his end according to History I would like to see his sons carry on as well as his family. With my family from Norway its fun to think f the Vikings as distant relatives.
Love this series, I have watched each series twice. I would like to see more docu-dramas that deal with the Norse people.
Great show always a great pleasure to watch
My uncle has spent a few years researching our ancestry. He has it linked to Ragnar Lothbrok. Even further but Ragnars father apparently had a son by a mistress of which her name was not recorded. This made going back further difficult to trace.
That’s interesting to hear (about Ragnar’s father) and you should definitely be proud to be his descendant since Ragnar Lothbrok was a real Viking hero. 🙂
Could have been Rollo’s mom instead of Ragnar’s mom…
Did you do the DNA ancestry one?
I am really enjoying the series, I do wish they would make it a bit more realistic though.
The victories on the first series are rather cheap considering how poorly the opponents conducted themselves.
The first encounter is understandable, they where taken by surprise, the second time Saxon troops famed for shield war battle decided to attack in a column and throw themselves against the shield wall, what really would have happened is shield wall would have fought against shield wall and more Viking casualties.
The night raid on the King of Northumberland’s brother who was a competent commander, was just ridiculous… if camped near the enemy, many guards are usually posted to watch at night, yet they did not show any being quietly bumped off.
The lack of convincing victories in this series pretty much it’s only downside.
Hi there Kielan, thanks a lot for the insight. True that, the series is amazing but yes, actually weak about that and the battle scenes. Mostly, victories were a bit too easy. I should also add I expected more crowded battles, especially after Ragnar Lothbrok/Lodbrok became the king and took command of more territories. Who knows, might be a budget issue. Thanks for noting the details, much appreciated.
What do you think of the new series “The Last Kingdom” In it they have Ragnar’s death by burning to death. He is asleep and a former viking which Ragnar banished blocks the doors and sets fire to it. Ragnar exits fully engulfed in flames. He does manage to kill a couple men but succumbs to the flames.
As they are only one episode in, it seems like a cheap attempt to recreate the Majesty of Vikings.
Hi there Benjamin. Yes, I also watched the pilot of “The Last Kingdom” – which mostly impressed me as a production. There are two Ragnars apparently in that show; the Young Ragnar and his father Earl Ragnar (who probably is the protagonist of “The Vikings” by the History Channel). His death and the events before that were not close to any myth or belief I’ve read about real Ragnar Lodbrok’s death. I have searched about any possible relation and the thing is “The Last Kingdom” is a TV series adapted from fiction; Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Chronicles Seriesand although some characters in the TV show were important real life figures (the main character Uhtred of Bebbanburg was inspired by Uchtred the Bold, the ealdorman of Northumbria), the events, as they were/will be displayed in the series, might contradict what really happened in history as it was adapted from the book (“the books” actually as there are more than one). Thanks for dropping a few lines, I was kinda expecting someone to comment about Ragnar in that new show 😉
I believe “the last kingdom” takes place a generation after Ragnar Lothbrok. In the show, the main Vikings are Ubba, Ivar, and Halfdane, Ragnars sons. The Ragnars in the show are in no why related to Ragnar Lothbrok.
Hello Nick, thanks for the input. Truth be told, I did not continue watching the Last Kingdom to see what you just stated. Now, it became more interesting though considering Ragnar’s sons left a more significant trail in history. In any case, we should not take what happens in the Last Kingdom all vrey so literally since it is adapted from an actual literary work. Thanks again.
The only problem I have with this series are the battle scenes. Each opponent is basically hit once, and then dies on the spot. Even if you’re stabbed in the gut, you still have some fighting left in you. If I was mortally wounded, I’d definitely go down swinging – as I’m sure most men trained as warriors would also do.
Hi Brad. That made me smile 🙂 And yes, that is true indeed. Maybe, it is the budget of the show or the total time they can allocate to each episode. Also, maybe it is just me, I don’t know, but it seems to me the number of fighting men never change in spite of a lot of deaths and Ragnar becoming king and gathering all troops under his command (except when they travel to Paris in many boats).
Brad – I wonder, have you ever been wounded? I have I’ve been stabbed twice. Once in the forearm and again in the chest. Believe me when I say that going down swinging is not what goes through your mind, that is left to action movie heroes and fanciful dreams of teenage boys who never faced death. When steel cuts through your skin and opens an artery the first thing you feel is shock, you actually can’t believe what has happened, when the blade is removed, what you hear is the hiss of the cardinal red blood spraying out of your body and the only thing you think of is I don’t want to die. Within seconds the loss of blood causes you to become dizzy and begins to diminish your ability to think or react with purpose. Be happy you never had to go through something so traumatic, and just enjoy the show.
Hi George, first off, sorry to hear that you had such unfortunate things happen to you. I had such an encounter, too, actually. You’re 100% right about blood loss affecting your ability to think and what not. Ditto on the shock also, I remember walking towards and talking to people while bleeding. Brad said it in “if I was a Viking warrior fighthing in a battle” sense probably 😉 I’m glad you guys both enjoy to show and dropped a few lines here. Thank you.
I loved every episode! I love history and this is a great way for kids to learn since it’s so hard to get them to read.I hope they continue the saga with his son.
Hey Darla, yes, it is an amazing show. I think they will continue the saga with Bjorn and Ivar’s stories. Not many people know that (as of now) but Ivar and Bjorn’s success outshone Ragnar’s achievements. On a side note, there are things to know as to what is real and what is slightly changed to adapt the storyline better for a TV show. You can read about the individual stories of Bjorn, Ivar and Lagertha here as I finished writing about them a short time ago. Thanks for dropping a few lines 😉
I love the show and have seen every episode at least twice. lol I am fascinated by history and love to learn about it and be entertained at the same time. I am so glad they put together a 20 episode season this year cause 9 months is just too long to wait in between. lol
Hey Jim, oh yeah, tell me about it. It was way too long to wait. Plus, a 20-episode season is something the Vikings can easily handle considering the own stories of Bjorn, Ivar and Lagertha. Now, we will enjoy our time knowing a Vikings episode will come out every week for almost 5 months in a row 🙂 Thank you for dropping a few lines & enjoy the show! It just came back last night!
Im pretty sure they will drag Ragnar out through the seasons as most people will stop watching if they kill him off… Even though his sons outshone his success in history. Or they will need to find someone good enough to carry the show cuz Bjorn isn’t it
Hey Mike, yeah, I agree, at least for this season they will do it. Although, they broadcasted a somewhat mysterious trailer with Bjorn giving a big speec etc. (like Ragnar died). I read online that they intend to carry on the show after Ragnar Lothbrok’s death and they should. Because, although Ragnar is a fan favourite by far, Bjorn and Ivar’s stories are also very interesting. Just like you pointed out, they outdid their father in terms of success, actually. We’ll see, but first 20 episodes of a 4th season! Enjoy the show, thanks for dropping by the blog.
Thats so true Mike, I myself would stop watching if Ragnar were to be killed off. He is the reason that keeps me watching!
I gotta catch up on these, but i claimed from the get go that im done watching iff they kill off floki. By far the best character.
They plan to carry the show long after Ragnar dies. They likely will carry it through the season. Why wouldn’t they? I assure you, Mike, viewership won’t drop. Though his son isn’t half as compelling as he is, who the hell would stop watching knowing that his son will have his vengeance? This show will continue, though Ragnar is the best character on it. Bjorn and Ivar are going to carry the show.
Hi there 🙂 Ditto on both; they will drag Ragnar’s death through the season and also continue the show with Ragnar’s sons. The first reason is, of course, they will process this revenge theme into the story (through some hard work but beautifully I’m guessing since things are going to grow bigger and get much more complicated after Ragnar dies). As for the other reason, well, if they want to tell the story of Vikings as accurately as they can, then they should concentrate on Bjorn and Ivar’s stories,too (even more than they did for Ragnar since his sons’ success outdid Ragnar’s own deeds). We’ll see how it turns out, let’s enjoy the season, second episode just got in! Edited the typo “caddy”, no need to apologize 😉 Thanks for dropping a few lines.
just saw s04ep04 and Bjorn is a real force to be reckoned with, he has done over a bear and an the veteran berzerker! he is the dark horse and seems to me to be even more of a soldier than his Dad.Cant wait to see bjorn taking apart more enemies.Also in wessex is Alfred going to grow up and get involved in the mix! Vikings is the best show ever made and can easy go on for years and years
Hi Tom, indeed mate, he and his brothers carried on raiding and overdid the success of their father. Here you can read about Bjorn and his older brother Ivar (yes, in reality, Ivar was the older brother). I agree, Vikings can go on for many years, and I certainly hope so 🙂
what was the historical account for Athelstan? I have also found him fascinating. But was he real?
Hello there Roberto. I think it is impossible to not be fascinated by Athelstan’s character if you are a Vikings fan. That is why I made a detailed research about him also, but to no avail. I do not think Athelstan is based on a real life figure. However, I am quite sure Vikings and Ragnar Lothbrok encountered many men of the cloth during their raids.
I breed, raise and sell Norwegian Forest Cats which are said to have originated with the Vikings. They would take the cats with them on voyages to keep any rat and mice infestation down. I noticed on one of the episodes, that Lagertha was holding a cat, ever so briefly. In just that short time, it did not look like the typical Wegie, but I was kinda thrilled to see it anyway.
Hi Karla. That must have been a nice surprise for you. Just checked Norwegian forest cats, amazing creatures indeed, saw a 30-pound one 🙂
Spoiler alert ! I very much respect the people of these times, aside from the rapests & people in power who were bullies, but I enjoy reading about such times & times prior. I have not watcher much of the Viking series but want to & I have read all the Saxon series. It is very good. Book 1 grabs you & though your sad to see a great character go ( Ragnar) Uhtred becomes a very interesting & like able character himself, even though he ends up fighting for the foolish, hippacritcal, backstabbing, simple minded Christians. He becomes & remains a pagan but is loyal to his country, while most around him are fighting over religion. If anyone has suggestions for other books about this era or similar ones, such as “The walking Drum” by Louis L’amour which is another wonderfully written book of a great character, I would very much appreciate it. I can’t get enough of good historical fiction or fiction that is mixed w/true events etc. btw – another book/series that is very good, especially the audio version is the 1st law trilogy by J.Abercrombie. Its probably characterized as fantasy but to me, it’s similar to the lord of the rings, characters & topics relating to real life.
Hi Greg, thanks a ton for the input & of course, putting a “spoiler alert” warning right there at the beginning. Not many people are as thoughtful as you 😉 I know what you mean about even a TV series being not long enough to contain and give everything to the fans. Game of Thrones did this and I find it to be an awful mistake, I for one would love to see (SPOILER ABOUT THE BOOKS) Lady Stoneheart. About similar books, I got nothing on my mind, but I hope someone reading this will * * TELL US ABOUT BOOKS SIMILAR TO THE LAST KINGDOM SERIES * * 😉 Thanks again for dropping a few lines, great info.
We all know the books are almost always better than the movie/tv show and that will most certainly be the case w/The Last Kingdom. Again it’s a series of about 8 books, & even w/a tv series being longer than a movie, much is left out. And that can never be avoided. Once again for those who are interested in audio books, Joe Abercrombies’ 1st law books, w/ Logan 9 fingers & so many wonderful characters as well as great plots, comedy & real life topics is a great listen as is The Walking Drum by Louis L’amour, the famous western writer. I’m looking for similar books, audio or not & would greatly appreciate it if anyone who knows these titles could give me some suggestions.
I can’t wait to see the story of Rollo played out. He is the most significant historical figure of the entire show. He becomes the “father” of both the English and French crowns.
Hi Jenny. Yes, Rollo in the history becomes a really powerful figure. However, the character in the show is very loosely based on actual Rollo. I made a comprehensive research about this and could not find anything that connects Rollo you and I mention to Ragnar Lothbrok. But, I think they will progress with the story as if these two Rollos were the same person.
Vikings is absolutely the most compelling series I have ever watched . I become so involved, when the episode ends, I’m shocked. It always seems much too soon. I rarely watch tv shows or films more than once, but I’m sure Vikings will be an exception.
Hi Gloria. Absolutely agree, very compelling and addictive series. I know what you mean, I also rarely watch something twice, but some things are worth that second time 🙂
In scenes from the TV series Vikings, women are depicted rowing Viking ships and engaging in hand to hand battle with the Anglo Saxon armies. Is this historically correct or is it artististic licence
by the director to appease our modern day sensibilities?
Hi Rob, sorry that I replied so late. Some accounts say there were women fighting side by side with Viking men while some say only very few women wanted to be (or maybe “could be accepted as”) warriors and trained. The safest determination in this case would be, yes, there were female warriors but there is a good chance that it was not so common, not even close to how it is depicted in the show.
Hi! I started watching Vikings a few weeks ago and absolutely love it! I don’t have much background about the vikings’ history, just read what was on wikipedia and I’m trying to find something about the mortality rate of women in the show or in its sources. I wanted to know if you knew anything about that aspect, since I see a lot of people complaining about their deaths. Honestly, they do die a lot, but I don’t know if it’s just for the shock value or if it was really that way. Sorry if it’s a bit confusing but I don’t know how to explain it better.
Thank you! 😀
Hi Vanessa, first off, sorry that I could not reply earlier. It might be about the shock value as you said. According to sources related to Vikings’ history, there are only some accounts mentioning actual female warriors. Even Lagertha for example was rescued from a brothel by Ragnar – you can read more about her here. Some people who have made comprehensive researches about this have written that women did not take part in battles, not even close to how it is like in the TV show while some mention women training and even dressing like men and go to war. However, it was not a situation of “leaving wives home” I believe, when Vikings went to raids – not all raids at the very least. Near a grave, which is believed to belong to Ivar the Boneless, skeletons of 50 women were found along with those of 200 warriors. Personally, I’d love to have Lagertha and her shieldmaidens fighting beside me, as they are a force to be reckoned with 😉
Thanks for dropping a few lines.
Recall that the Seer’s visions and reading of the runes have foretold that Rollo will become a grand and exalted ruler. The Eddys tell of his bargaining with Charles II to colonize lands at the mouth of the Seine, there to block any future Viking efforts to assail Paris/inland Francia. Alfred, Ragnar’s son by Queen Kwenthrith, will become Alfred the Great, consolidating the British Isles. Bjorn Ironsides proves a fearsome field commander, but brother Ivar (he of useless legs) is the Ike of his times, remotely orchestrating grand invasions and conquests. Viking fleets of longboats, the stealth technology of those times, establish trade routes all the way to Constantinople, supplying free labor (captured Slavs; Caucasians to thence be known as “slaves”) to the Islamic World in swap for silks, herbs, and other Asiatic desirables. Scandinavia converts rapidly to a Christian stronghold, but not until the Viking Era of some 700 years compels Europe to consolidate into armed kingdoms, and infuses Russians, Gauls, and Britain with Viking bloodlines. The Northmen were MUCH more than manic marauders, although they did found the Summer Cruise industry, fueled by lutefisk, lingonberries, lefse, boiled spuds awash in drawn butter, and washed down with horns and tankards of Aquavit. OOF-dah, just the thought makes me want to go pillaging, plundering, and wenching.
Hi Douglas 🙂 Thanks a lot for the input. It is really nice to see fellow Viking enthusiasts here with such level of knowledge. So very true, Vikings were not marauders only. They played a very important role in shaping Europe. Ahaha, you’d be a fine Viking warrior, I believe, the way you describe all this 😉 Thanks again for reading and contributing, musch appreciated.
Hi. Watch the show and absolutely love it!! You spoke about how the show will most likely continue after Ragnar’s death and will follow Bjorn and Ivar’s stories. How do you think the show will get around Ivar not being able to walk and showing him as a fierce warrior? Will they show him as a great strategist and leader? What are you thoughts?
Hi Alan. Well, yeah, I strongly believe they (History Channel) will tell us more about Ivar and Bjorn’s adventures and deeds, even more than Ragnar’s own story, maybe. The truth is Ragnar’s sons achieved more success and fame than their father and played more important roles in the history of Europe. So, if the TV show is actually about Vikings, the show should continue for long years to come. Of course, some time jumps will absolutely be necessary since Ivar is a child now but that is nothing they did not in the show (remember Bjorn was a boy in the first seasons). There are a lot of rumors about Ivar being actually disabled just as much as there are rumors suggesting this was not the thing and the nickname had another meaning – you can read about Ivar and Bjorn in detail here and here, respectively – if you have not already. However, since Ivar is shown to be disabled in the show, yes, I think that they will concentrate on Ivar’s other aspects, such as his wisdom in giving counsel to his brothers (as many sources cite) and being a great strategist. You will already read this in the Ivar article so it is not much of a spoiler but Ivar is the son behind the revenge scheme as a result of which Ragnar’s sons kill King Aella (who supposedly killed Ragnar according to some accounts). He is very cunning and skillfull in devising this plan. I hope I could be of help 😉 Feel free to ask if you have any other questions. Thanks for dropping a few words.
Hello, i am looking to read about the show. What book is the show based on? And do you know any other good books based on this peroid and ragnor and co.
Hi Matt. If you mean Vikings on History Channel, the show is not based on any book but historical accounts. If you mean the Last Kingdom – you might have seen it in the comments – it is based on Bernard Cornwell’s book with the same name. About Ragnar and co. the best resources would be a modern English version of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, translations of the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok and the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok’s Sons.
I just finished season 3 on Aussie Netflix can’t wait for season 4
Ah Philip, it is worth it, believe me 😉 First 10 episodes of the 4th season already were released in the US. Also many thanks for sharing the blog on Facebook 🙂
Just learned through genealogy that I’m a descendant of aslaug, Ragnar, Sigurd, Ivar, and Bjorn Ironside. As well as Alfred the great, aethelwulf and ecgbert as well as Rollo Duke of Normandy and William the conqueror so my family tree inspired me to watch the show. Even though a lot of the story lines are fabricated…..I love watching it’s amazing the things that they accomplished and endured!!!! Made me really start loving history
Given that the only poisonous snake in England is the Adder, which is not very aggressive, unless the snakes in the pit were imported, I believe dysentery was more likely to e Ragnar’s cause of death. Ragnar shows up as my 29th GGF.
Hey Warren, thanks for dropping a few lines. Yes, dysentery is the most possible reason indeed. Myths spread very fast around those times, hence the story about the snake pits.
Hey Metin, could you please post a list of all sources you got the info from?. For instance Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is one source, what other sources did you use?
Hey there Ara, sorry that I replied a few days late. You can also cite Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok (Ragnars saga Loðbrókar) and Gesta Danorum (Deeds of the Danes) as the resources. I’ll add a citation section to the site soon as it became a popular resource for people to use in their works.
Could you please tell me what was the written language that Ragnar woul have used?
Hi Amy, that would most probably be the Old Norse language, a form of North Germanic language that was used during the Viking Age
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