Vikings: 10 reasons why Ragnar is the show’s main character


For six seasons, Vikings covered a great deal of time, and fans saw that characters who seemed to be major players in season one were completely forgotten just a few seasons later. Rollo, for example, was one of the most important characters from the beginning, but he hardly appeared in the last few seasons (despite being alive). Other characters were removed surprisingly early, and the big jumps often aged characters many years between seasons.

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Because of this, and the show’s changing focus, it can be difficult to pin down a single central character. Ragnar Lothbrok seems like the obvious choice, but after his death in season four, this definitely turned into a contentious debate. For many fans though, Ragnar was still the main character, even after his death, here’s why.

10 He is the central figure of the first season

Vikings Floki Ragnar Torstein

While things definitely get significantly more complicated as the show stretches into later seasons, there can be very little doubt that Ragnar is the main character of the first season, and this usually sets the lead of a show. It is his life, his attempt to take over Kattegat, his ability to explore and storm England for the first time, and his actions that propel the series. And while there are plenty of other powerful characters, none of the major events of previous seasons would have happened without him, which shaped the major events of subsequent seasons as well.

9 He is the central character for most of the series.

While there are many other important characters in Vikings, Ragnar is consistently the character with whom others define themselves in relation. Rollo is Ragnar’s brother, and he defines himself by the desire to step out of Ragnar’s shadow. Lagertha is Ragnar’s wife (although, of course, she is much more than that). Bjorn is the son of Ragnar, and later on, his other sons are collectively known as the ‘Sons of Ragnar’. Even other countries, other rulers, are known as your allies or your enemies. The series as a whole simply revolves around Ragnar.

8 His decisions bring a huge theme to the show

Vikings why Athelstan does not go Valhalla Ragnar vision

One of the most important themes of Vikings it is that of faith and the questioning of religious beliefs, and this is largely accomplished through the interactions between the Vikings and Athelstan, but Athelstan would not have been part of the narrative without Ragnar’s curiosity.

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In fact, Ragnar’s curiosity about faith (sparked by Athelstan) constantly drives the plot. If another Viking had been the central figure, this topic would not have been part of the show, and simple raiding and exploration (and Viking politics) would have been the only focus.

7 The series follows him when the characters split …

One of the most obvious arguments for Ragnar as the main character is that while he’s alive (for the most part), when the characters split up, the main story usually sticks with Ragnar. The series still shows occasional updates on what other characters are up to (like Rollo in France, for example), but for the most part, the characters appear only when they interact with Ragnar. When Lagertha leaves Kattegat with Bjorn, fans don’t see her again in years, for example. Whatever happens, Ragnar gets the most attention compared to other characters.

6 He is in every episode (as long as he lives)

Ragnar Lothbrok enters Wessex after being invited by King Ecbert

Ragnar does not have the title of the character that appears in most of the episodes, but this is only due to his death mid-series. During the time of his life, each episode involves Ragnar, something that cannot be said by anyone else. He also appears repeatedly even after his death, in flashbacks, memories, and visions.

5 He is the ruler of Kattegat (for most of his life)

When first introduced, Ragnar is simply a farmer with big dreams, but he quickly overthrows his earl and becomes the leader of Kattegat, a position he held (in essence) until his death.

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Since Kattegat is the central location of VikingsIt is logical that the main character is the person who rules here, and who drives exploration, fights wars and makes alliances.

4 Fans constantly support him

One of the hallmarks of a main character, especially in a series with so many main characters, is that fans are constantly on their side (and when that changes, it changes quickly again). Certainly Ragnar doesn’t always make the best decisions and can do terrible things, but overall, he’s a fan favorite. It’s written to be understanding, even when you’re killing people or making bad decisions, and this is definitely proof that you are destined to be the hero of the story.

3 His presence is felt long after his death

Vikings Ragnar and Aelle

While the biggest argument for Ragnar not being the central character on the show is his death, there is no denying that his impact and personal presence is felt long after that. His children constantly have to live up to their name, or fight to overcome it, and the people of Norway turn to Bjorn’s call in part because of who their father was. In the finale, Loki has carved the stories of Ragnar into the trees, taking them to a new place. Ragnar’s decisions (with Athelstan, coming to England first) are pivotal in the birth of King Alfred and the massive changes he brought about in England. Everywhere (except perhaps Iceland and the Mediterranean), Ragnar’s impact lingers, until the final episode.

two His children are representative of parts of him

Viking Sons of Ragnar

Another way that Ragnar remains a central figure even after his death is in his children. The story changes to that of the Sons of Ragnar, and many fans have noted that his sons often seem to represent different sides of him. Ubbe is the leader and the ruler. Bjorn is the scout. Hvitserk is the one who questions faith. Ivar is his violent and manipulative side. And Sigurd doesn’t have much time to reveal what Ragnar would look like, given his death, but it might represent Ragnar’s risk-taking and lack of impulse control! His sons spend the rest of the series interpreting reactions to his death and life as Sons of Ragnar.

1 He is a legendary figure

Many of the characters in Vikings They are legendary figures, of course, but Ragnar is definitely one of the greatest. Not only is he a legendary figure in real life history (although his story on the show is only inspired by the truth, not a direct replay), he is a legend in the world of Vikings, also. It’s probably the most pronounced and most revered name in the entire show.

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