‘Vikings’: Fans Weigh in on Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan’s Close Relationship Over Everyone Else

In the hit series Vikings, a major point of conversation among fans involves the main character, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), and his relationship with Athelstan (George Blagden). The best friends are extremely close, some might say closer than anyone else in the series. Fans recently discussed Ragnar and Athelstan’s close relationship over everyone else in the show. What are they saying? We have all the details.

Travis Fimmel
Travis Fimmel | Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan in ‘Vikings’

Ragnar is a Viking who makes a name for himself when he sails west for the first time, discovering England. He lands in Northumbria at Lindisfarne, and it’s there that he meets Athelstan, who is a Saxon monk. Ragnar takes him as a slave, but Athelstan slowly becomes part of the family. He can speak their language as he’s traveled, and over time, these two become quite close. Athelstan teaches Ragnar many things, including his language and about Christianity. Ragnar and Athelstan become best friends who are more like family. They spend a lot of time together and are always there for each other despite their differences.

Athelstan becomes assimilated into his new surroundings, becoming a Viking and adopting their culture and beliefs as his own. But he still questions things, especially when it comes to religion and what he believes in. He is constantly being torn between his two worlds and his two religions of Christianity and paganism.

Athelstan believes he has a sign from God in season 3, episode 6, and he decides to be a Christian again. He suggests to Ragnar that he should probably leave, but Ragnar won’t have that. He gets upset, telling him that he loves him, and that Athelstan is the only person he can trust. He promises to “protect” him, but his friend Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), who has always been jealous of their friendship, believes he has a sign from the gods that he must spill blood in a sacrifice. He goes to Athelstan’s home, killing him with an ax as the former monk prays.

Ragnar mourns the loss of his greatest friend, carrying him up to a high mountain and burying him. He even makes a makeshift cross to serve as a headstone, and he says goodbye to him. He wears Athelstan’s cross necklace in remembrance of his friend.

Fans weigh in on Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan’s close relationship over everyone else

With a friendship like that, it makes sense fans would have thoughts about it. A few months ago, a fan asked on Reddit, “[No spoilers] why is Ragnar and Athelstan relationship far deeper than those he has with his family?” They continue, “It’s far deeper than just lovers or a random sexual partner, so what is it that makes him so prominent in Ragnar’s life compared to everyone else?”

Fans weighed in with their own opinions. Ragnar and Athelstan had a truly deep connection that’s undeniable, especially when compared to the other relationships Ragnar had with people like his family members. Even though they had differences, Ragnar trusted Athelstan when he didn’t trust anyone else, even admitting it to him at one point.

One fan mentions the former monk’s traits and thinks Athelstan “was true to his word and different, Ragnar saw Athelstan as the only one who he could’ve trusted in full despite being of different culture and beliefs,” a fan weighed in. “He also taught Ragnar a lot.”

Athelstan has always been loyal to Ragnar, and that goes a long way. He also “helped” his friend in many ways, which could explain their closeness.

A fan says “Athelstan has never betrayed Ragnar and has always helped him. That’s my guess,” as to why Athelstan was so important in Ragnar’s life compared to others.

Ragnar and Athelstan are both ‘fascinated by each other’

George Blagden
George Blagden | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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Athelstan is always questioning everything, and it makes Ragnar do the same in turn, something a fan points out. They also think Ragnar and Athelstan are both “fascinated by each other,” and how could they not be? These things brought the two closer together over all the rest in Ragnar’s life.

“I agree with others in that Ragnar is a curious guy, at first Athelstan is just his way of learning more about the country he’s invading but in the end Athelstan challenges Ragnar to question himself and everything he believes in just as Athelstan questions his own faith for a time,” they said. “They’re both intelligent, and deep philosophical thinkers, so with their two vastly different backgrounds I think they are fascinated by each other.”

One fan describes Ragnar as “a deep ocean amongst the shallow pools of his own people.”

“He had sight beyond while they only saw what was in eyesight,” they continued. “Athelstan represented the fruits of his sight beyond and also could see beyond eyesight. It’s like finding a soulmate.”

1 fan says ‘Athelstan was a fountain of new knowledge’

While another fan thinks the closeness the two share over others comes down to knowledge. It’s something Ragnar was always searching for, and he certainly found it through Athelstan, who taught him many things.

“Ragnar prized knowledge above most things and has referenced it many times,” a fan said. “And Athelstan was a fountain of new knowledge on many subjects.”

A fan thinks it comes down to the fact that “Athelstan did not judge him…his family did.” In truth, Athelstan was always accepting of his friend even when those around Ragnar question his every move. He didn’t have to worry about that with Athelstan, making their connection deeper.

Fans have varying opinions when it comes to Ragnar and Athelstan’s relationship and how rooted their connection was over everyone else in Ragnar’s life in Vikings.