‘Vikings’: Fans Weigh in on Ragnar Lothbrok and King Ecbert’s Friendship

There are a few iconic friendships in the hit series Vikings. One of the most important and critical is the friendship between Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and King Ecbert (Linus Roache). Read on to learn what fans think of the unlikely enemies who were really friends.

Fans weigh in on Ragnar Lothbrok and King Ecbert’s friendship

Travis Fimmel and Linus Roache
Travis Fimmel and Linus Roache | Mike Pont/WireImage

Ragnar leads the first raid on England at Lindisfarne and changes both of their worlds forever. Ecbert, as the King of Wessex, stood to lose a lot, so he played the game right along with Ragnar. He ends up destroying the Viking settlement in Wessex when Ragnar goes back to Kattegat, so Ragnar had to get revenge on him for it. It’s a deadly cycle of revenge that leads to both of their deaths.

“I feel like they both had a lot of respect for each other,” a Reddit user explained. “But at the end I felt like it was an eye for an eye situation. Ecbert betrayed Ragnar by killing his settlement, and Ragnar knew that Ecbert saw him as an equal and a friend. I feel like at the end Ragnar used Ecbert’s emotions to play him and get his revenge.”

One Reddit user brought up a point about how commanders will grow to have mutual respect for one another. “It’s the same with a lot of commanders that fight each other. They have respect for each other and like each other even but need to destroy each other not because it’s personal but because their fighting for their people and kingdom so it’s not really personal I guess,” the user wrote.

Their relationship is built ‘entirely on lies’

Ragnar and Ecbert may respect each other, but their relationship isn’t built on a strong foundation. As enemies who are sort of friends, it’s a fine line to walk. The bond isn’t the strongest, but it’s certainly still there.

“I really like the relationship between Ecbert and Ragnar, because it’s built almost entirely on lies and subterfuge, yet they bond over that very thing,” a Reddit user said. “I don’t think the bond is very strong, but it is a rare one for both of them, and so it means more than it should. I think Ecbert was what he thinks is sincere when he comes ‘as a friend’ to see Ragnar die, when really it was him deluding himself, trying to build an image of himself by acting like a ‘true’ friend.”

It all comes back to Athelstan

Athelstan is a monk that Ragnar takes from Lindisfarne. They become best friends who are more like brothers. When Athelstan is in Wessex participating in a raid with the Vikings, he gets captured by the English and Ecbert saves him. He forms a connection with Athelstan as well, who seems to further connect Ragnar and Ecbert with each other.

“I think it has a lot to do with Athelstan,” another user said. “Especially in later seasons he was portrayed as a larger than life character that both Ragnar and Ecbert admired. When he died they were unified by their love for him and for Ecbert, Athelstan chose Ragnar so this man has to be something special. He admires Ragnar in a way, but also is jealous because he took Athelstan away from him.”

The relationship between Ragnar and Ecbert is complicated to put it mildly. They both have mutual respect for each other, but they also help lead to the other’s downfall in the end. Ragnar tricks Ecbert to have him killed, and his sons come and destroy Ecbert for it. Their unlikely friendship changed both of their worlds forever with the help of Athelstan.