Vikings character Ragnar Lothbrok is a man living on borrowed time. We know he’s going to die and die horribly. But when? Some Vikings fans didn’t expect Ragnar, played by Travis Fimmel, to make it out of Season 3.
Season 4’s midseason finale saw Lothbrok stumble into Kattegat a fallen legend and loathed king. It marked the first time in years since he’d seen his sons. And the situation ended with something of a cliffhanger.
With his popularity in shambles thanks to a failed siege of France and the abandonment of his people, now seems as good a time as any for Ragnar to meet his demise. So will Ragnar Lothbrok live to play a part in Season 5 of Vikings? Well, that depends on how the end of Season 4 goes. As of now, all signs point in the direction of his death well before the season finale.
One strong clue?
We are being encouraged to watch out for two specific storylines: The rise of Ragnar’s sons and the battle between his two lovers — Aslaug and Largetha — for power. There’s even a bit of attention paid to Lothbrok’s estranged brother Rollo. Yet Ragnar himself doesn’t seem to have much of a role to play aside from preparing son Ivar the Boneless to become the most famous Viking leader in history.
The stage is being set to move on from Ragnar’s personal journey, which seems to be coming to a violent end. Meanwhile, the perspective of the show is now shifting to other characters and their personal journeys.
Because this highly impactful change comes relatively late in the series (Game of Thrones got the “central character” notion out of the way in Season 1), there may be a bit of a backlash on the part of Ragnar Lothbrok fans. After all, Fimmel’s a solid actor who’s created a very fascinating and charismatic lead. His absence could create something of a void.
Still, the panic over the loss of Ragnar seems like a bit of an overreaction. After all, it’s not unusual for Vikings to focus on characters who aren’t Lothbrok. The issue is that it’s hard to claim that Ragnar’s storyline wasn’t the most central to the overall show. Despite the fact that it would be historically accurate to kill Ragnar and have his sons avenge his death, some fans are demanding the historical drama ignore this and keep the Viking king around indefinitely.
Unfortunately for these indignant viewers, the evidence that Ragnar is about to die could have been leaked via the San Diego Comic-Con trailer.
If you didn’t know, Ragnar Lothbrok supposedly was betrayed and died in a snake pit. The person allegedly responsible was King Ælla of Northumbria, a man we’ve already met. In the trailer, Ragnar gets taken prisoner by enemies, possibly King Ælla’s men. Although it might be King Ecbert who’s responsible according to the TV series. Another likely hint is that Ragnar’s youngest son –and apparent protege — Ivar reacted to something with rage and anguish.
One final clue is that the trailer revealed Ragnar’s intention of returning to England. His sons also journey to England — but not before assembling a massive heathen army used to overrun their English enemies. According to historical notes shared by Britannica, the latter event didn’t come about until after Ragnar’s untimely death.
Although Vikings is more historical fiction than fact, this is one sticking point that might be hard to pull off with a still living Ragnar. His death will likely serve as a catalyst for certain important things to come.
So there are very clear signs that Ragnar Lothbrok will not survive to the end of Season 4. Although this is disappointing, it should be noted that this doesn’t mean we won’t see the character again. As was the case with Ragnar’s friend Athelstan, it’s possible for a dead character to be featured on the show. Perhaps we’ll see the ghost of Ragnar or an imagined conversation with him.
In any case, we can only hope that the inevitable loss of Ragnar doesn’t hurt Vikings too much. Will you still watch the show if Ragnar Lothbrok dies? Share your feelings below!
[Images via the History Channel]