The History Channel epic Vikings may not be done yet, but the show’s status as a television legend has long been secured. It has epic battle sequences, heartbreaking endings, and more carnage than you ever thought you’d see outside of a premium network like HBO. The show is also known for its huge cast of fascinating characters with long-running arcs that often don’t pay off for seasons at a time.
The show started off with a rather limited scope. The first season had few raids, a couple of battles, and played it easy with the gore. Most of those early days were kept with a tight look on exclusively Vikings culture and politics. The series really kicked into gear in the second season. The invasion of Essex and the inclusion of characters like King Ecbert showed that the series could do much more than just a few well-choreographed fight scenes.
From there, the show further developed the world’s cultures and its increasingly large cast of iconic characters. The show may have started in Game Of Thrones‘ large shadow, but it didn’t take long for it to make a name for itself on its own. That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t stumbled along the way. Vikings has made more than its fair share of mistakes on its trip to television Valhalla. Some huge characters and plot points were swept under the rug and never heard from again. Others left a long mark on the show that’s hard to let go of.
Here are 20 Storylines That Vikings Wants Us To Forget.
20 Lagertha’s Husband
The beginning of season 2 of Vikings did not start off well for Lagertha. She’d already been told that Ragnar had an affair with another woman, but being a liberated Viking lady, she chose to move on. That became a lot harder when the woman showed up at their doorstep so pregnant she was about to burst. Ragnar tried quite terribly to smooth it over (points for trying to have his cake and eat it too, though the cake wanted none of it). The whole thing ended with Lagertha taking Bjorn and heading for the hills. (Luckily Ragnar didn’t own a truck or she would’ve gone full Carrie Underwood/Beyonce on that thing)
Sadly for her, the bad luck kept on coming. She ended up remarrying as well, but her significant other wasn’t as good as Aslaug. Earl Sigvard was a bad husband, and an awful stepfather to Bjorn. Lagertha’s time with Sigvard was generally miserable with her regularly getting beaten by the man. That was his last mistake though. Lagertha ended her second marriage by eliminating him.
19 Bjorn And Thorunn
The relationship between Bjorn and Thorunn (or Porunn depending on however you want to spell it internet) started as one of the cutest relationships in the series. Bjorn was a pretty tough cookie so he needed a tough woman to challenge him. For a while, it seemed Thorunn was up to the task.
Their romance was pretty endearing (raiding was their love language) and even resulted in a pregnancy. This seemed like the final piece of their meant to be romance. That is until her face got smashed to bits. The show hinted that there was more sweetness to come with Bjorn loving her despite her disfigurement, but she just couldn’t get passed it. She left the series and no mention of her was ever made again. Quite a disappointing ending for what started as an adorable romance. Though, in retrospect, it was creepy that the fact that Bjorn wanted to marry a woman whose dream was to become just like his mother. You might want to consult someone about those mommy issues Bjorn.
18 The Wanderer
One of the major problems throughout Vikings was the struggle the show had to balance both the raiding plotlines and the stories back home. This is very understandable though. The raids were made of huge action set pieces and featured all of the most interesting characters sailing away for glory. It’s nigh impossible to make something that interesting.
The Wanderer story was one of these odd plots. In it, a strange man named Harbard comes to town where he has various interactions with the characters back home. Most notably, he has a rather close relationship with Aslaug. He even somehow has the ability to take young Ivar’s pain away. This leads many to assume the man is actually a god walking around in the form of a human. He sleeps with most of the women in town before promptly getting out of there once this was discovered. There’s been little mention of him since.
17 Floki eliminates Athelstan
From his first appearance in the first season of Vikings, Athelstan’s importance to the plot grew steadily. His friendship with Ragnar and then subsequent friendship with King Ecbert led to some of the show’s most complex discussions on religion and morality. Ragnar soon viewed Athelstan as more of a brother than as a servant, slave, or countryman.
This is why it was a bit of a right turn when Floki decided to end him. Floki tends to take matters of religion very seriously (he thought he sailed to Asgard even though it was just another island) so he didn’t care much for the very Christian Athelstan. Finally, he had enough of the former monk and cut him down as he finished praying to his god. After this, Floki was tortured once Ragnar discovered what was up. For a half second this looked like the end for Floki. The show, not eager to get rid of one of their fan-favorite characters, had him eventually forgiven instead.
16 Bishop Heahmund
The inclusion of Bishop Heahmund was a pretty on the nose way of making up for the serious lack of Travis Fimmel after Ragnar’s untimely demise. The show’s solution was to bring in The Tudors actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers to take on the handsome charismatic void. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy.
The show clearly couldn’t figure out what it wanted to do with Heahmund. At first, he was depicted as a cunning enemy of the great heathen army. Then he was enlisted into Ivar’s army. Instead of dying in battle, he was taken by Lagertha and then taken by Lagertha. His stint as Lagertha’s love interest (is anyone in the show not in love with her?) was short lived as well. This year the character was written off rather unceremoniously. We’ll just call it karma for all the crap King Henry VIII did in The Tudors.
15 The French Court
Vikings sure does love to show what politics was like in all of the other countries to contrast against the titular Vikings. These elements are often some of the best parts of the series. The King Ecbert evil plots were some of the most interesting stories the show has produced.
The French court wasn’t quite that good, but it was still interesting. (It traded extended bath sequences with extended medieval BDSM sequences. It was straight up Fifty Shades Of Francia.) When Rollo joined in on the drama, it seemed as though the French story would be here to stay. Not so much. After the second battle of Paris, the whole extended story was more or less dropped. Which is sad because the great heathen army taking on Paris would’ve been pretty epic.
While most of the Vikings were on quests of religion, glory, or blood, Ragnar actually had a much more down to Earth motivation for his conquests. Like, literally down to earth. His primary goal in all of his invasions was to establish Viking settlements for farming. His early days on the series saw him as a not so humble farmer instead of a king and he was always a farmer at heart.
Once Ragnar was written off though, no one really cared about the whole farming thing anymore. His sons picked up his quest for conquest both within and without the Viking community. Sadly, none of them really picked up on what was the motivation behind his fame though. A show about Ivar trying to farm a field isn’t nearly as interesting though, so we’ll let it slide.
13 Prince Ecgberht
King Aelle was the first major English villain in the series. It was his land that Ragnar initially raided. So, it was fitting for Aelle to be the one responsible for Ragnar’s passing. To him, his victory was absolute when he saw Ragnar pass away in that snake pit. Unfortunately, it was all part of his plan to unite his sons. They formed the great heathen army and Blood Eagled Aelle hard.
Before Aelle or Ragnar’s passings, we met a third character who seemed as though he’d be very important. Aelle introduces Ragnar to his son Ecgberht. It seemed at the time that the show was setting him up to be a major threat in the future. When the great heathen army attacks, however, Ecgberht is nowhere to be seen. It’s plausible that he simply was written off screen but it’s more likely the show just forgot about him entirely. It’s known for that, especially when children are concerned.
12 Aslaug’s Parents
When Ragnar meets Aslaug, he’s in a very emotional place. Lagertha had just had a miscarriage of his son and he was feeling lost. That’s when he met the beautiful and cunning woman. They quickly became lovers before separating forever. Ragnar went back to Lagertha and the two had seven more children. Then he took his children and conquered all of England and Francia. He passed away happily surrounded by his wife, his kids, and his Viking empire.
Oh, wait, no…that’s not what happened. Aslaug showed up very much pregnant with Ragnar’s son. This caused a split with Lagertha and a marriage with Aslaug. The marriage between Ragnar and Lagertha wasn’t the only thing that was swept away by the new relationship though. After Aslaug joins the rest of the Vikings, little to no mention is ever made of her family or past again. It’s surprising that at no point during all of her fights with Ragnar that she never rushed home in protest. She is said to be a daughter of the gods, but there is never much proof given. It’s also sad that we didn’t get to see Ragnar dragged into the wedding by Aslaug’s father shotgun style.
11 We Met Odin
After Ragnar passes away, a one-eyed traveler goes around the world telling all of his sons of his demise. Either the show is confirming that there was an ancient sect of half-blind identical twins who delivered bad news telegrams all over the world or it confirmed that Odin actually exists. One would think that meeting a literal god would be a huge deal for everyone on the series, but it’s rarely ever discussed.
Characters on the show literally convert to Christianity after this happens. You literally met the Allfather, how are you praying to Jesus right now? Though this could also be said of the MCU. No one converts to the Norse religion after seeing Thor literally fly through the streets of NYC, so maybe the Vikings can be forgiven.
10 The Cairo Story
Vikings loves to explore other cultures. Usually, when they do it, it’s almost as if the show is crossing over with a completely different series. (Every episode of Wessex is just a talk show that takes place from Ecbert’s bath.) While it’s one of the elements the show does well, sometimes it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
The Cairo storyline is a pretty big swing and a miss. The story is paced incredibly fast so that Bjorn can both accomplish his long-running Mediterranean plotline while also bringing him back for the big battle with his bros. While we get caught up with other countries and their political interplays over a series of years. Cairo, instead, doesn’t get any updates. The show just moved on pretends like that whole thing didn’t happen. Though we all pretty much do the same.
9 Sigurd’s ending
The sons of Ragnar all united as one to form the great heathen army. For half a second, it seemed as though the sons would be able to create a Viking empire that overshadows anything their father ever dreamed of. Then Ivar ended any thought of that by throwing an ax in Sigurd’s chest.
To be fair, Sigurd is an idiot. Ivar is a psychopath. When you’re brother is a psychopath, maybe don’t insult him in front of literally everyone in the army. That’s exactly what he did though and it was the last mistake he ever made. It seemed for a second like this would be a big deal. Several characters appeared to be upset about it. Except no one cared. The show doesn’t even mention Sigurd anymore. He was the Jan Brady of the group though.
8 Bjorn’s Children
Throughout the first season, young Bjorn has a very love/hate relationship with his father. He frequently critiques the way his father handles himself and seems to wish he was a better parent. So when Bjorn’s turn to become a parent comes around, he does better, right?
Not at all. Bjorn seems to care little for his first daughter. She passes away with little fanfare and he seems very unaffected by that. He has many other children that he could give a crap about. Ragnar gets a lot of criticism for repeatedly abandoning his children, but Bjorn does the same and doesn’t even seem to care.
7 Rollo’s Children
Rollo has a strange story in Vikings. He is technically the second leading character through most of the series. Then he is relegated to several cameos here and thereafter he goes off to become a French noble. It’s almost as if the actor had a short-lived TV show based on a Liam Neeson movie…
One of the few times we see Rollo, we actually get to meet his new family. Bjorn and some of the other Vikings get introduced to his wife and their children. Unlike his brother though, very little is made out of Rollo’s progeny. They’re mostly just for show. That is unless you count Bjorn…but that’s a whole other thing.
6 Rollo’s Betrayal
If anyone else betrayed the Vikings as regularly as Rollo did, they would be Blood Eagled with extreme gusto. Rollo literally betrays them to a foreign power, causes the passing of dozens of his countrymen, and nearly gets his brother eliminated as well.
When the great heathen army assembles, they go forth to rid the world of all of Ragnar’s old enemies that caused their father’s fall from grace. Everyone except the man that caused to lose his fighting spirit in the first place. No, they’re all good with Rollo. He then goes on to betray Lagertha and Bjorn for Ivar then betraying Ivar for Lagertha and Bjorn. It must be true what they say, you really can’t trust a Viking who turns on his people and becomes a French nobleman. That’s a saying, right?
5 Lagertha and King Harald
King Harald has lots of reversals of fortune throughout the series. His brother betrays him, his wife betrays him and then passes away in battle, and he never gets a chance to rule over Kattegat like almost everyone else does at some point in the series.
The lowest point for him in the series is undoubtedly when he is held captive by Lagertha. Say what you will about him, but his plan to get out of his confinement was pretty bold. He literally proposes to Lagertha while chained on her floor. She doesn’t accept his proposal but does have her wedding night against his protests. This scene plays out and really never comes up again. In any other series, this would be kind of a big deal. In Vikings, it’s just another Tuesday.
4 Lagertha Is Bi
Lagertha has a lot of love interests in the series. So. Many. Love. Interests. You’ve got Ragnar, Rollo, Ecbert, Heahmund, Sigvard, and Kalf. The men of Vikings get a lot of flack for how much they get around, but Lagertha’s got them all beat. Hell, even Bjorn seems like he’s in love with her at least a little bit! His first love was basically a Lagertha wannabe.
One of her various love interests that does stand out is Astrid. Their love reveals quite a lot about both of the characters and Vikings culture in general. Though she never has any other female lovers, her relationship with Astrid shows that she is indeed bi. Of all her various loves, the only one that ever could be argued that competes with Ragnar is Astrid. But like most of Lagertha’s relationships, she ends up eliminating Astrid.
3 Ivar eliminating Children
Often when adults become monsters later in life, you wonder what they were like when they were children. It’s quite a normal thing that an evil person showed no warning signs that they would turn out that way when they were children. Many bad people were just normal kids who had perfectly happy lives. Ivar is not one of those people.
As far as warning signs go, Ivar gave a pretty big one. When he was a kid, he really wanted to play with the other children. With him being crippled, they wouldn’t let them. Everyone gets bullied or left out and that can be pretty upsetting. Not everyone eliminates the kid who was mean to him. One would think that lil’ Ivar eliminating a kid with a hatchet would be an upsetting thing, but no one really seems to care.
Siggy was a big character during the beginning of the series. She was the wife of Earl Haraldson and seemed as though she’d be one of the biggest political players in the series. Her husband initially seemed like the series antagonist and she would be a Cersei Lannister of sorts.
Unfortunately, her husband passes away before the first season even ends. Her child passes away and she gets downgraded to a relatively unimportant supporting player. She does have a romance with Rollo and helps with the strife in Kattegat. Her passing is also pretty epic. She passes away saving Ragnar’s children from drowning/freezing. While she goes out a hero, like many passings in the series, no one really cares in the long run.
1 Ragnar’s attempt at his own life
Ragnar is known for a lot of awesome things in the series. Moments like the invasion of Paris, the defeat of King Horik, and the Jarl Borg Blood Eagle scene are all among the best parts of the series. No matter how the show ends, Ragnar will definitely go down as the series’ most famous Viking for all of his deeds.
The one moment most people forget, however, is that time old man Ragnar tried to end his life. When the show had a time skip after the invasion of Paris, the Ragnar who appears is very different from the one who we’d last seen. The biggest indicator of this was the scene where he rides up to a tree, throws a noose around one of its branches and then ushers the horse forward. He dangles there for a second and the viewers wonder for a second if this is really how the character is going to go out. Fortunately, it doesn’t take, and Ragnar still gets to live for a few more episodes.
What about you? Was there any part of Vikings you wish you could un-see? Let us know in the comments!