10 Character Additions That Hurt Vikings (And 10 That Saved It)
The History Channel took television to a new level with the premiere of its series Vikings. The show quickly became a fan-favorite and now, five seasons later, it has been announced that it will take a final bow after the sixth season. Fans of the series were saddened by the news but are hopeful at the rumors of a spin-off series.
Vikings follow the life of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons. Though the historical accuracy is debated, the series does bring to light an intriguing look into the lives of Vikings. A gambit of characters have been introduced on the series. While some have been based on historical figures, others were created for the series. However, not every character is made equal. There are some characters that have brought a lot to the show, while others didn't bring anything. However, this has nothing to do with the talent of the actors involved. Instead, it is a shame that they weren't given more to work with.
With that said, here are the 10 Character Additions That Hurt Vikings (And 10 That Saved It).
23 Saved: Yidu
Yidu did not have a long stint on the popular series but she still made an impact all the same. Yidu was introduced in season 4. She was one of the slaves who was captured in Frankia and brought back to Kattegat. Yidu was the only Asian among the slaves, which garnered the attention of Aslaug, who decides to buys her. It is the same foreign appearance of Yidu that catches the attention and attraction of Ragnar, as he had never seen someone like her before. Yidu provided the series with something different and added another layer to Ragnar.
Yidu eventually reveals to Ragnar that she is the illegitimate daughter of the emperor of China. She also provides Ragnar with a substance to cope with pain that he becomes heavily addicted to. Together, they share this secret and eventually become lovers. Yidu meets her end at the hands of Ragnar, however, after she refuses to give him the substance and threatens to reveal his secret addiction.
22 Hurt: Magnus
Magnus is the son of Kwenthrith of Mercia, who claimed that Ragnar was his father. Having no reason to doubt her, Magnus believes it to be true, though Ragnar stated that he did not lay with Kwenthrith. Magnus is not able to convince Lagertha nor Ubbe, though, since Ragnar told Lagertha the truth. Bjorn, however, believes Magnus. He is driven by revenge for Ragnar's fate at the hands of the King and attempts to convince Lagertha, Ubbe, and Bjorn to join with King Harald against King Alfred.
Magnus has come across as an annoying character that does not provide real substance to the series. Viewers who know that he is not the son of Ragnar are more likely to dismiss scenes with him, as they do nothing for the overall story.
21 Saved: Astrid
Astrid was introduced in the second half of season 4 as a part of Lagertha's court at Hedeby. Lagertha trained her to become a shield maiden and the two end up in a relationship. Astrid was by Lagertha's side when she took back Kattegat from Aslaug. However, Astrid later has a tryst with Bjorn, which might be out of spite for them both, as they are both upset with Lagertha at the time. Astrid is later abducted by King Harald and forced to marry him.
During her time on the series, Astrid is a strong, intelligent, and loyal to Lagertha. Later on, she becomes desperate with the arranged marriage and pleads with Lagertha to end her life when the two met on the battlefield. This is yet another heart-wrenching event for Lagertha.
20 Hurt: Horik
King Horik was introduced during the first season of Vikings. He meets Ragnar during a pilgrimage in Uppsala. He saw Earl Ragnar as a threat. Horik asked Ragnar to help settle a dispute with Jarl Borg, knowing that it would only end in a battle. Horik was a master manipulator and, throughout his time on the series, he makes several deals and promises that he has no plans of keeping.
Horik made a deal with Jarl Borg and Ragnar in season 2, saying that they will raid England together. However, he later persuades Ragnar to leave Borg behind. King Horik's fatal mistake is believing that he can manipulate Floki and Siggy to turn on Ragnar. He consistently betrayed other characters, and, because of this, it was a relief when Ragnar turned the tables on him.
19 Saved: Harald
Harald wanted to be the King of Norway in order to gain the affection of a princess. In season 4, King Harald arrives in Kattegat to meet with Ragnar, as he wants to join their raid on Frankia. Harald then tries to get close to the sons of Ragnar. While he fights alongside the Lothbrok's on many occasions, he is always motivated by his goal to become king. He soon turns his gaze on Kattegat.
Though this character is often in conflict with Lagertha and Bjorn, it was hard not to feel sorry for him when the princess he so dearly loved rejected him. This feeling is short-lived, however, as he abducts Astrid and later ends his own brother's life in battle. King Harald is still a key player in the series and, though not everyone is a fan of him, he keeps things interesting and often furthers the plot of the show.
18 Hurt: Aethelred
Being passed over for the role of King because your little brother is better suited would be a kick to anyone's ego. Aethelred exudes this animosity in every scene. Aethelred is the true heir, as he is the son of King Athelwulf and Queen Judith. His half-brother, Alfred, is the son of Athelstan and Queen Judith. Upon his father's passing, Aethelred is told that he must renounce the crown, as it was his grandfather's wishes for Alfred to be king.
Though he greatly loves his brother, Aethelred is driven by resentment and plots against him. Though his resentment may make sense, he often comes across as a toddler stomping his feet in the corner. He, unfortunately, meets his end by his own mothers doing, after she learns that he was behind a plot to take the crown, and has lost trust in him.
17 Saved: Gisla
Gisla's appearances on the series have been limited, but, whenever she appeared, she commanded everyones attention. Introduced in season 3, she is the strong-willed, independent, and intelligent Duchess of Frankia. Her father is Emperor Charles. As one of his most trusted advisers, Gisla shows her leadership and fierceness by motivating her father's troops against an attack on Paris by Ragnar and his Viking warriors. She commands them to victory, though her father soon makes a deal with the Vikings so that they will leave Frankia.
Gisla is eventually forced to marry Rollo, though she fights against it verbally and physically. Gisla eventually falls in love with Rollo after he takes the time to learn her language and fully embraces her faith. We last saw Gisla in season 4 when she punches Rollo for going on a voyage with Bjorn. She and Rollo have three children together, and she is angered by his inability to leave the Viking lifestyle behind.
16 Hurt: Þorunn
Þorunn, pronounced "Thorunn," was a character that the show would have been fine without. Introduced in season 2, Þorunn was a slave who caught the attention of Ragnar's oldest son, Bjorn. Þorunn wants to be a strong shield maiden like Lagertha, and Aslaug grants her freedom. She and Bjorn pledge their love to one another at the end of season 2.
However, Þorunn quickly becomes annoyed with Bjorn, who is worried about her fighting in battle, as she may be pregnant. Failing to listen to him, Þorunn is deeply wounded in battle, though she and the baby both survive. Following this, she pushes Bjorn away and eventually disappears into the wilderness. In doing so, she abandons both Bjorn and their daughter.
15 Saved: Alfred
Many fans of the series were excited to see what would become of the son of Athelstan. To be sure, his reign as king has taken a much different course than his brother's would have. Alfred does not swiftly make decisions without thinking them over first. He is also open to alliances with the Vikings instead of engaging in war. Though his character appears weak at times, this is likely only because everyone else wants to fight a war. Even after finding out that his own brother was part of the plot to take the crown, he forgave Aethelred.
Seeking to become a king who can lead his people into battle, Alfred enlists the help of Ubbe. Alfred, along with Ubbe, Torvi, Lagertha, and a reluctant Bjorn, finally see the dreams of Ragnar brought to fruition. Together, they battled against Ivar and King Harald and were victorious. We will have to wait and see what else King Alfred will do in the remaining season.
14 Hurt: Eyvind
Eyvind is a thorn in Floki's side, as he is not as passive as Ragnar's friend. He is a strong warrior who agrees to take his family with Floki to settle in the new land. Floki promised them that it was the land of the gods and that they could start new with a democratic approach to life. However, Eyvind does not trust Floki, as the land is harsh and bitterly cold. His son Bul unfortunately loses his life, which only drives Eyvind's rage and distrust further.
Eyvind is driven by hatred and revenge, creating a never-ending wheel of destruction among the settling families. He and his family are banished from the settlement, as Floki and the rest are hopeful that they can live without violence. He is Floki's main enemy in the new land.
13 Saved: Aethelwulf
Aethelwulf was first introduced in season 2, as the son of King Ecbert and leader of his army. He did not shy away from voicing his opinions to his father in regards to Ragnar and other Vikings. However, though he and his father disagree, this does not stop him from following his father's wishes. Aethelwulf is forever loyal to King Ecbert and is often used as his pawn.
Aethelwulf learns that not only is his wife pregnant by Athelstan, but that his father is sleeping with her as well after Athelstan's demise. He takes over for his father as king and, along with Bishop Heahmund, battles the Vikings in York. Aethelwulf eventually meets his end after he is stung by a bee and it is revealed that he is extremely allergic.
12 Hurt: Hvitserk
Hvitserk is the second son of Ragnar and Aslaug. He is a strong and skilled warrior who has grown up without his father, which makes him angry at Ragnar. This turns into the desire to end Ragnar, but when provoked by his father to do it, Hvitserk can't. He sees that his father is broken and is finally able to spend time with him.
As one of the famed sons of Ragnar Lothbrok, Hvitserk has yet to show any strong characteristics. His character is seen more as a follower than a leader. He often followed brother Ubbe's side, who he admired and wanted to be like. When a rift between the brothers formed, he decided to side with Ivar, though he quickly questioned his choice. Hvitserk is soft-spoken and has only just begun to find his voice, as he has started to speak up to Ivar. We hope that Hvitserk will finally stand up to Ivar, though it may take a tragedy to do so.
11 Saved: Torvi
Torvi has steadily become one of the strongest characters on the series. First introduced in season 2, she was wife to Jarl Borg. Following his passing, she is wed to the abusive Erlendur. During this time, we see her starting to become a strong shield maiden. Erlendur threatens the life of her son so that she will assassinate Bjorn, but, at the last minute, she ends his life instead. Torvi and Bjorn had become intimate and fell in love with each other. The pair later wed and have two sons and a daughter.
Torvi then works in secret with Lagertha to dethrone Aslaug. She is a skilled warrior who has led waves of warriors on the battlefield and is Lagertha's most trusted confidant. Torvi, like Lagertha is strong, fearless, and intelligent. Though her marriage to Bjorn did not last, we hope that she finds her happiness with Ubbe.
10 Hurt: Aslaug
In season 1, Ragnar has an affair with Aslaug while in Gotaland. Though he tells Lagertha about her afterward, when Aslaug shows up in Kattegat pregnant, everything changes. Aslaug was to be a "volva," one who has visions of the future. Through her time on the series, Aslaug, though a loving mother, is often distracted and consumed by other ideas, like Harbard.
She has an affair with Harbard twice while Ragnar is away. Aslaug and Ragnar become estranged and it is obvious that their love is gone. When he is forced into hiding for nine years, Aslaug rules Kattegat and turns it into a wealthy port. We can thank her for that, but let's be honest, most of us were Team Lagertha. Later, Aslaug met her end at the hands of Lagertha.
9 Saved: King Ecbert
King Ecbert forms an unlikely kinship with Ragnar, though they understandably do not trust each other. Ecbert comes across as an open-minded and trustworthy King, though in reality, he is cunning and manipulative. He promises lands to the Vikings, but has no intention of letting them stay and sends his son to eliminate all of the settlers. Ecbert has affairs with Judith, his son's wife, as well as Lagertha, who he is intrigued by. He, like Ragnar, is also mesmerized by Athelstan. Ecbert suffers greatly when Athelstan loses his life, but takes comfort in Alfred's birth. Ecbert later chooses Alfred to take over the crown from him.
Over the years, King Ecbert grows closer to Ragnar and sees him as a friend instead of foe. Following the execution of Ragnar, Ecbert falls into a deep depression. Because his role in it, the sons of Ragnar seek revenge. However, they allow Ecbert to go out in a way of his choosing.
8 Hurt: Kwenthrith
Introduced in season 2, Kwenthrith is thought to have poisoned her uncle, who was King. Possibly due to abuse she suffered from during her childhood, Kwenthrith is manically obsessed with becoming intimate and mentions that she would love to breed with the Vikings. She states that the "offspring" would be "giants." Kwenthrith desires to rule all of Mercia.
Kwenthrith claims that her son, Magnus, was fathered by Ragnar, though few believe her for long, as Ragnar denied her advances. Her character is crazy and at times anecdotal. We are glad that Ragnar did not father Magnus, though the poor boy doesn't know this. Kwenthrith meets her end at the hands of Judith.
7 Saved: Heahmund
Bishop to the King, Heahmund is also a skilled warrior, matching the talents of Bjorn and Lagertha. Unlike other Bishops, he does partake in sins of the flesh. He begins his time on the series fighting against and even humiliating the sons of Ragnar. After he is captured by them, he and Lagertha bond and soon fall in love.
He vows loyalty to her and fights alongside her in a battle against Ivar. Heahmund, who is also loyal to his King, convinces Ubbe and Lagertha to seek refuge in Wessex. His character was a gift to the series, though admittedly, viewers were worried he was toying with Lagertha and wasn't truly faithful. However, this never came to be, and it was his passing that seemingly drove Lagertha to disappear.
6 Hurt: Margrethe
Another character on our list who we were happy to see go was Margrethe. She aids Lagertha in taking back Kattegat from Aslaug, and becomes involved with Ubbe, Sigurd, and Hvisterk. The three "share" her, and it is obvious that she wants power. Margrethe marries Ubbe, though she soon becomes mad with jealousy and suspicion after seeing him comfort Torvi. This frustrates her so much that she forgets to watch over Torvi and Bjorn's children while they are at a battle. At first, we think that she has done something horrible to the children, as does Torvi. However, thankfully, she has not, though her state of mind has deteriorated.
Margrethe then attempts to manipulate things so that her husband Ubbe can be King of Kattegat, if Lagertha is usurped or loses her life. This continues when Ivar is King and she attempts to have Hvisterk, end Ivar so that he can become hing and she can be his Queen. However, Ivar sees to it that she is permanently eliminated as a threat.
5 Saved: Athelstan
Athelstan, more than any other character, impacted the lives of other characters on Vikings. Athelstan was introduced early on in season 1. He was a monk who Ragnar captured after laying waste to his monastery. Ragnar keeps him as his slave and the two begin to form a bond. They both learn from each other, as Ragnar is mesmerized by the priest's religion and ideals. Over the course of his time on the series, Athelstan becomes Ragnar's most trusted friend and ally. Athelstan later fathers a son, Alfred, with Judith while he is in Wessex.
However, Floki puts an end to Athelstan, and Ragnar is driven into depression. Athelstan's burial scene is one of the most gut-wrenching moments in the series. Later, Athelstan appears to his son as a ghost on several occasions. Though he is gone, his presence is still felt on the show through Alfred.
4 Hurt: Freydis
Freydis was only recently introduced in season 5. She seemingly appears from out of nowhere. She is a slave in Kattegat and she manipulates Ivar into thinking that he is a god and convinces him that she will bear his child. He takes her as his queen, though in secret, she sleeps with another man to become pregnant. It was an emotional moment when she tells Ivar that she is with his child. Though Ivar is a crazy tyrant, he is brought to tears, as he never thought it was possible for him to be a father. Freydis ensures that her secret will be kept by eliminating the real father.
During her time on the series, we have seen a different, vulnerable side to Ivar. This may be nice to see, but knowing that she is manipulating him makes it difficult to not to dislike her character. Sure, we want to see Ivar put in his place, but we'd rather see it done by his brothers. We have yet to see what will come of Freydis.
3 Saved: Ubbe
All hail Ragnar 2.0, Ubbe. Though it may have seemed like Bjorn would take over Ragnar's mantle, it is Ubbe who has become the most their father. Not to mention the fact that he looks the most like his father. Ubbe is open-minded and willing to think about what is best in the long run instead of acting on emotions first. This is something that Bjorn seems to be doing more and more. Ubbe is Ragnar's second son and his and Aslaug's first child. Ubbe is a skilled fighter and teaches King Alfred the ways of battle.
Ubbe falls in love with Torvi and becomes a strong supporter of not only Lagertha, but also King Alfred as well. In order to create an alliance with Alfred, Ubbe and Torvi both agree to become Christians and are are baptized. He earns Alfred's trust and is made the leader of his army. Ubbe commands the room with his presence and is ever watchful of threats. Because of this, he is extremely like his father. Ubbe seeks peace rather than war.
2 Hurt: Ivar
Ivar the Boneless has become the villain of the series, as he seeks revenge against Lagertha for the passing of his mother. He is also driven by greed and power. As a child, everyone made fun of him or rejected him due to his disability. However, now, everyone cowers at the ruthless fighter that he has become. He is willing to sacrifice or eliminate anyone who challenges him, including his own brother. In an angered reaction, Ivar throws an ax into Sigurd's chest, after Sigurd calls him "crazy." He showed no remorse.
Ivar has been convinced by his wife that he is a god, just like Odin, and he is blinded by this idea. However, he does not see that Freydis is simply manipulating her, as she also seeks power. Ivar is now King of Kattegat and awaits the arrival of his first child, the child of a god -- or so he thinks.
1 Saved: Harbard
Harbard is still shrouded in mystery. He has not appeared on Vikings in a while. He was a wanderer who made his way into Kattegat when he sought aid from Aslaug while Ragnar was away. Harbard’s arrival was foreseen in Siggy and Aslaug's dreams. He was a storyteller who captivated Aslaug because of his ability to calm young Ivar.
While he is in Kattegat, strange things occur and the bodies of two boys are found. Harbard later leaves Kattegat only to return when Ragnar is away once more. Aslaug falls in love with him, and later finds out that she is not the only woman in Kattegat who he has been sleeping with. It seems that he has slept with a vast number of women while their husbands are away. Aslaug makes him leave and rumors are spread that he is actually Odin in human form, though this is never brought up again.
Are there any other characters who were added to Vikings? Let us know in the comments!