‘Vikings’ Season 5B: Duke Rollo Plans To ‘Hedge His Bets’ When It Comes To The Gods

Historically, Duke Rollo tried hard to appease both the pagan gods and the Christian god.

An image of Duke Rollo from Season 5B of History Channel's 'Vikings'
Jonathan Hession / History Channel

Historically, Duke Rollo tried hard to appease both the pagan gods and the Christian god.

Duke Rollo (Clive Standen) made a surprise return to History Channel’s Vikings in the midseason finale. So, why did Rollo decide to return to his Viking roots?

History Channel’s Vikings is based on the Viking sagas. While parts of it may be entirely fictional, some of the characters — like Duke Rollo — really did exist. Born a Viking, Rollo went on to become a Christian ruler in Frankia, just like fans of the TV series have seen. However, historically-speaking, Rollo had a foot in both religions and that is something that will be explored in Season 5B of Vikings when it returns at the end of the month.

Clive Standen recently spoke to Showbiz Junkies about his character’s return to Vikings. While many fans are curious to find out why Rollo returned to Kattegat and why he chose the side he did, Standen revealed that Rollo would be delving more into his religious side in Season 5B.

“Now he’s embraced another religion and he’s got that god, but who is he turning to in his old age?” Standen said.

“When you find god, if you find god, when you’ve got two entirely different religions, who do you turn to? Have they shunned him?”

Rollo and Ragnar, as seen in Season 4 of History Channel's 'Vikings'
  History Channel

While Rollo’s brother in the TV series, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), became an atheist in the end, for Rollo, it will be about trying to please both of the religions he is familiar with in his old age. And, this is something the historical Rollo also did.

“He’s now trying to prove to the gods that he’s going to put right what once went wrong. He’s going back and he’s trying to hedge his bets, as did the real Rollo in history. The real Rollo, Dudo of Saint-Quentin wrote – one of the historians – said that in his later years in life he lined up a hundred Christians soldiers in front of him in the town square and had them all beheaded. And at the same, he sent a hundred pounds in weight of gold to the Christian churches. So, in one way he’s trying to appease Odin by giving him 100 sacrifices. At the same time, he’s sending all that money to the church to kind of appease the Christian god.”

Standen further points out that Rollo is fearful of winding up in the Christian hell and that is part of his motivation for making sure he appeases the Christian god moving forward in Vikings. However, considering he was born a Viking, parts of his early beliefs still remain, hence why he is also considering that religion in his old age.

However, for fans of the historical drama, there is still another week and a half to wait until all will be revealed in Vikings.

Season 5 of Vikings will return to History Channel on Friday, November 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.