‘Vikings’: Clive Standen Reveals What He Thinks the Series Is Really About
History’s Vikings is full of complicated family relationships. Arguably one of the most talked about is Rollo (Clive Standen) and his family, which includes Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), his brother, and Ragnar’s children. When Ragnar is killed, the only family Rollo has left is Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Ragnar’s ex-wife, her son, Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), and the rest of Ragnar’s sons.
Rollo’s relationship with his family is strained
Rollo and Ragnar have always had a tough relationship. Rollo constantly compares himself to his brother, and it only gets worse as they age. When Ragnar becomes the earl of Kattegat, Rollo asks him how they will ever be equals now. He tries from then on to outdo his brother in everything, and he betrays him on more than one occasion.
Rollo even takes advantage when he is left in charge of the Viking settlement in Paris. He makes a deal with the Emperor to marry his daughter and he receives vast wealth in exchange for fighting his own people. He gladly does this, and even kills the remaining Vikings left in the settlement.
Many years have passed and Rollo comes back to Kattegat to inquire about what has become of his family. He is especially concerned about Bjorn and Lagertha considering they were booted out of their home and lost a great battle against Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen). Rollo has always suspected that Bjorn is his biological son, and he goes to him and tells him about it.
Clive Standen reveals what he thinks the series is really about
Entertainment Tonight spoke with Standen in 2018 and he revealed what the series is really about, and that’s family. “I always think that that’s what Vikings is truly about. It’s not about the gods and the monsters and the religion and the battles. It’s really just about this nuclear family. And that all started in episode one,” Standen said.
Standen was told in season 1 that he was the father of 1 of Ragnar’s children
Standen also mentions an important scene involving Rollo and Lagertha back in season 1. He says the director at the time, Johan Renck, literally whispered something into his ear that stuck with him.
“There’s a scene [in the first episode] between me and Lagertha inside the room, when Ragnar goes out to relieve himself and things are said, and that was [director Johan Renck’s notes]. He came up to me, and he said, ‘You love these kids, because one of them’s yours,’ and that’s all Johan said. It’s not like he wrote the script — it wasn’t in the script! He just wanted to get something out of me, and he didn’t tell Katheryn,” Standen revealed.
Rollo eventually tells Bjorn about his suspicions
When Rollo returns to the shores of Kattegat many years after his departure and betrayal, he goes to find Lagertha and Bjorn. He tells Bjorn that he is his son, something Bjorn doesn’t seem to fully believe based on his response.
“You’re my son,” Rollo says to Bjorn. “I have heard something to that effect,” Bjorn says. “But rumors are a doubtful truth.”
“We had a very special relationship together when you were a child,” Rollo tells him. “It was if you knew.”
Bjorn seems to choose Ragnar as his father when he responds to Rollo again. “You may be my father, but then again you may not,” Bjorn said. “At the time of my conception, you may have been laying with my mother, but then again, so was Ragnar. So, who do I look most like? Who do I resemble most in spirit and principle? Now that is of most importance. And for that, undoubtedly, Ragnar.”
Vikings is about family, and one family in particular, and that’s Ragnar’s family and descendants.