'Vikings': Fans Weigh in on Why 'Ragnar Loved Athelstan so Much'

In the hit series Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) meets his greatest friend in season 1. Athelstan (George Blagden) is a Saxon monk when they first cross paths. Fans have been known to discuss their relationship, and a fan recently asked why “Ragnar loved Athelstan so much.” What did fans have to say? We have all the details.

How did Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan meet in ‘Vikings’?

In season 1, Ragnar sails west for the first time with a group of trusted warriors. They land in Northumbria at Lindisfarne, and they raid a monastery. During the raid, Ragnar happens upon Athelstan, who is hiding behind an altar with the gospel of Saint John. He speaks Ragnar’s language as he’s traveled. Ragnar is intrigued, especially because Athelstan’s trying to save the book over everything else. Ragnar abducts Athelstan, taking him as a slave originally. However, their relationship soon changes.

Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan become best friends

Athelstan teaches Ragnar many things, and Athelstan in turn learns from Ragnar as well. He teaches Ragnar his language and information about the Saxons, which aids him many times. Athelstan even teaches him about Paris, which comes in handy when Ragnar raids it.

Athelstan even saves Ragnar’s life at one point when he’s been wounded and falls in the water from a cliff. Athelstan jumps in and saves him from drowning, and who knows what could have happened if he hadn’t?

They become best friends who are more like family, and their friendship is strong. They spend a lot of time together, and they are always there for one another. Despite their differences, it doesn’t hold them back from becoming close, and they are a testament to what a friendship should be, learning, respecting, and loving each other.

Athelstan is killed

Over time, Athelstan becomes assimilated into his new surroundings, becoming a Viking and adopting their culture and beliefs as his own. However, he still questions things, especially when it comes to his religion and what he believes in. He is constantly torn between Christianity and paganism. The back-and-forth tortures him, but he believes he has a sign from God in season 3, episode 6. He decides to be a Christian again, and he suggests to Ragnar that he should probably leave, but Ragnar won’t have it. He gets upset, telling him that he loves him, and he’s the only person he can trust. He promises to “protect” him, but he can’t.

Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), a friend of Ragnar’s who has always been jealous of their friendship, has a sign that he must spill blood in a sacrifice. He goes to Athelstan’s home while the former monk is praying, killing him with an ax.

Ragnar is more than devastated at the loss, and he carries his friend to a high mountain, burying him and making a headstone out of a makeshift cross. He says goodbye to him, and it’s a heart-wrenching scene to watch.

Fans weigh in on why Ragnar ‘loved Athelstan so much’

Fans have been known to discuss the friendship between the two friends. A fan recently took to Reddit to ask an important question. “[NO SPOILERS] Why do you think Ragnar grew to love Athelstan so much?” the post is titled.

“Their bond in the show is undeniable, and even Ragnar admits he may have loved Athelstan more than he did Floki,” the fan continued. “I’m just curious what people think made their bond so exceptionally strong. I know Ragnar was always very curious about the world and Christianity, but their relationship grew beyond that. Why do you think Ragnar loved Athelstan so much?”

They share similar qualities

Although Ragnar and Athelstan were so different, they shared similar traits. A fan points out that Ragnar and Athelstan had many of the same characteristics, and they were both “curious.” Plus, Ragnar came to admire certain qualities in Athelstan.

“Ragnar was naturally curious, but also a long-term thinker compared to many of his peers,” a fan adds. “He has a strong sense of morality and honor, but also isn’t afraid to show empathy. Athelstan is the same: curious, (striving to be) righteous, thinking long-term, not scared to stand up for what he thinks is right (e.g. not letting Floki to torture the priest). He showed pity to both ‘his people’ and ‘the enemy’ (Vikings), and vice versa when he switched sides. I think Ragnar admired those qualities in him. And that’s besides the fact that Athelstan was knowledgeable and cultured.”

One fan says, “Simply, they both wanted to keep learning and understanding that there is more to life than their gods.”

A fan thinks Ragnar ‘saw a kindred spirit in Athelstan’

They both had a lot of similarities as well as differences, but they clicked in a special way, especially through their curiousness. Another fan thinks Ragnar “saw a kindred spirit” in the former monk.

“Ragnar was different from his kin and seemed to have an intellectual curiosity about the world. I think he saw a kindred spirit in Athelstan,” they said.

‘Athelstan had knowledge’

One fan points out that “Athelstan had knowledge.” With it, he taught Ragnar many things, including information about the Saxons, which aided Ragnar in a lot of ways. He knew the importance of such information, and he valued the opinions of his close friend.

“Athelstan had knowledge, which Ragnar knew was key to promoting his people’s position in the world, hence the key to unlocking his true dreams,” the fan said.

Fans have different opinions on why Ragnar Lothbrok “loved Athelstan so much” in Vikings.

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