‘Vikings’: Fans Debate About King Ecbert’s Actions Over the Viking Settlement in Wessex

On History’s Vikings, there’s a number of characters that fans could never forget, and one of those is King Ecbert of Wessex (Linus Roache). He develops a special relationship with Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and even agrees to give his people rich land in Wessex. When Ragnar and most of the people sail away, Ecbert makes a decisive decision that changes everything.

King Ecbert pretends to be friends with Ragnar Lothbrok

Linus Roache
Linus Roache | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

When Ragnar meets Ecbert, the two form an unlikely friendship, or so it seems. Ragnar originally lands in Wessex and intends to raid as usual with his warriors, but he quickly realizes the value of having Wessex as an ally and having good farming land for his people. He explains to Ecbert that he is really just a farmer, and Ecbert agrees to give some land in Wessex to the Viking settlers.

Ecbert even helps assist them by bringing tools to help with the farming process. He makes friends with Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), and it seems like the Vikings will remain friends with the Saxons. But the peace doesn’t last unfortunately.

Ecbert has his son and warriors go and destroy the settlement that the Vikings created as soon as Ragnar sails away. Ecbert pretends to be furious with his son and the other nobles involved, but in reality, he was behind the entire attack. He didn’t want enemies on his soil, and he took action by killing them all.

Fans debate about King Ecbert’s actions over the Viking settlement in Wessex

Fans have a lot of thoughts about Ecbert’s choice to destroy the settlement in the way he did. Some viewers of the series think it was a bad plan in the long run, while others think he was getting revenge for the previous Viking raids.

“Killing the Vikings genuinely seemed a bad idea to me,” a fan posted on Reddit.

Another fan thinks it was a pretty bad idea on Ecbert’s part to do that, considering it’s what brings Ragnar back to England and the downfall of Ecbert along with it. However, it wasn’t “surprising” in the slightest for fans that know Ecbert.

“In hindsight, it was the bad move to make but at that point, it’s not really a surprising move by Ecbert,” said a fan.

King Ecbert’s decision is a ‘strategic disaster’

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Another fan thinks Ecbert was getting revenge for previous raids on England. He could have been trying to get revenge as King of Wessex for his people and everything that’s already occurred between them and the Vikings.

“Well he was just doing to them what they had done to his people,” said the fan.

A fan thinks Ecbert “had the right” to make that choice, although it backfires in the worst way years later. Ecbert is eventually killed by the sons of Ragnar in revenge for their father’s death when Ragnar returns for revenge for the settlement.

“As a king, he had the right to do it. But it was a strategic disaster, he went against his own self-interest,” a Reddit user wrote.

Ecbert makes a ‘convenient’ choice

A fan of Vikings asked in a separate thread if King Ecbert ever revealed to Ragnar why he destroys the settlement. Another user thinks it was just “convenient” for him to make that move.

“I think it was a very convenient situation that presented itself,” said a Reddit user. “He had a chance to remove all the competing powers in his realm, and so he took it.”

Another user thinks Ecbert makes the choice to “unite England.” There’s no way any of the Saxons would be fine with people that attacked them living so close to their doorstep.

“He had to do it to try to unite England,” said a viewer. “He would of never been able to with the settlement as his people and other Saxons would not allow it to go on much longer.”

There are a lot of complicated motives surrounding why King Ecbert chose to have the Viking settlement destroyed in the hit series Vikings.