‘Vikings’: Fans Weigh in on Ragnar Lothbrok’s Touching Goodbye to Athelstan: ‘I’m Not Crying! You’re Crying!’

In the series Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) loses his best friend, Athelstan (George Blagden), in season 3. It’s a devastating situation for him, and he recites a farewell speech to him in a touching goodbye. Fans recently talked about Ragnar’s goodbye on Reddit, but what are they saying?

Travis Fimmel
Travis Fimmel | Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

How does Ragnar Lothbrok meet Athelstan in ‘Vikings’?

In season 1, Ragnar makes his way to England for the first-ever raid there with a group of trusted warriors, defying the local Earl. They make it to Lindisfarne at a monastery in Northumbria in England. It’s there that Ragnar finds Athelstan clutching to the gospel of Saint John. Athelstan is a Saxon monk, and he can speak the language of the invaders since he’s traveled before.

Ragnar abducts Athelstan as a slave. But they become fast friends, and Athelstan even saves Ragnar from drowning in season 1. They teach each other many things, including about their religions and cultures. Athelstan quickly becomes part of the family, and he’s always close by Ragnar’s side as his closest friend.

What happens to Athelstan in ‘Vikings’?

Athelstan assimilates into his new surroundings, becoming a Viking and adopting their ways and culture as his own. However, he still feels constantly pulled in two directions when it comes to his old life and his new one, and that goes for his two religions, Christianity and paganism. He’s always questioning what he believes, and it takes up a lot of his thoughts.

In season 3, episode 6, after having a sign he believes is from God, Athelstan chooses to be a Christian again. He goes to Ragnar, suggesting he should probably leave Kattegat, but Ragnar isn’t having it, getting upset and telling him he can’t leave, as he’s the only person he can trust. He promises to “protect” him, but he can’t.

A man named Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), a boat builder and a close friend of Ragnar’s, has always been suspicious of Athelstan, calling him “priest” instead of by his name. He’s always been jealous of Athelstan and his friendship with Ragnar, and he watches Athelstan get rid of his sacred arm ring after choosing between his two religions. Then he has a vision that he thinks is sent by the gods. He takes it to mean that he must spill blood and make a sacrifice. While Athelstan is praying, Floki kills him with his ax, taking his life through murder.

Ragnar says goodbye to Athelstan

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

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We don’t get to see Ragnar’s initial reaction to finding Athelstan, but he takes his friend’s body wrapped in cloth up to a high mountain. He buries him, and Ragnar then takes the time to say a touching eulogy to his best friend in the rain, and it’s enough to make anyone emotional.

“I never knew what a martyr was,” Ragnar begins. “I still don’t. You were a brave man, Athelstan. I always respected you for that. You taught me so much. You saw yourself as weak and conflicted, but to me, you were fearless because you dared to question. Why did you have to die? We had so much more to talk about.”

Ragnar starts making a makeshift cross as a headstone as he continues. “I always believed that death is a fate far better than life, for you will be reunited with lost loved ones. We will never meet again my friend. I have a feeling your god might object to me visiting you in Heaven. What am I do now, hm? I hate you for leaving me,” he says getting emotional. He cries, saying, “I ache from your loss. There is nothing that can console me now. I am changed. So are you.” He puts the headstone as a marker before leaving his friend.

Fans weigh in on Ragnar’s touching goodbye to Athelstan

A few days ago, a fan posted a meme on Reddit of a paused video that shows Ragnar saying goodbye to Athelstan. The video is titled, “Vikings: Ragnar’s speech to Athelstan.” A message is included at the top of the meme from “Dad” who says, “Why the f*** you crying so d*** loud?” The post is titled, “[no spoilers] still aching from this loss.” Fans responded in the comments with their own thoughts on Ragnar’s goodbye to his friend.

When Ragnar’s daughter, Gyda (Ruby O’Leary) died, he gives a moving speech on the beach to say goodbye to her, and it’s also a touching moment. One fan references it in the comments, saying it’s “Second only to his farewell speech to Gyda,” and they go on to include Ragnar’s speech in the comment. 

A fan describes Ragnar’s speech to Athelstan as “painful,” and that’s an understatement for fans that loved Athelstan. “Omg this was so d*** painful,” they said.

1 fan admits they ‘actually cried’

One fan admits they “actually cried” during the epic scene of Ragnar’s eulogy to Athelstan, and we’re right there with them. Watching him mourn the loss of someone he’d grown so close to wasn’t easy at all.

“This is one of the few moments or maybe the only moment in a movie or a TV series, where I actually cried,” the fan admits. “After that episode, the show just wasn’t the same for me.”

Other fans added comments like, “I felt that pain on another level” and “I’m not crying! YOU’RE CRYING‼️”

One fan thinks one of Ragnar’s lines was “honest.” He surely didn’t hold back his feelings during the tense and emotional moment.

“Such an honest line: ‘I hate you for leaving me,’” the fan weighed in. “That is how you feel when someone dies, but you’re not permitted to say it out loud.”

Fans have a lot of thoughts when it comes to Ragnar’s goodbye to his dearest friend, Athelstan, in Vikings.