‘Vikings’: George Blagden Talks About Athelstan’s Complicated Relationship With Judith
In history’s Vikings, George Blagden plays the unique and deeply religious Athelstan. He is taken by Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) when he is a monk at Lindisfarne in the first-ever raid on England. He forms a number of complicated yet fulfilling relationships with different people, including Judith (Jennie Jacques), Prince Aethelwulf’s (Moe Dunford) wife.
Athelstan falls for Judith and it’s a doomed relationship
Athelstan makes his way back to England when he goes raiding with his best friend Ragnar. It’s there that he meets Judith, who is supposed to be the mother of the future King of Wessex. She forms an attachment to Athelstan and he to her. Although nothing can ever amount of the doomed relationship, they both insist on continuing, that is until Athelstan makes a choice to leave Wessex and return to Kattegat with Ragnar.
Judith is left to fill his absence with other meaningless tasks, when she learns she’s pregnant with his child. She gives birth to Alfred, the future king, but not before her ear gets cut off by her husband and father-in-law when it’s revealed that she cheated. She eventually admits to sleeping with Athelstan, and she is allowed to go free. King Ecbert (Linus Roache), has a soft spot for Athelstan and he forgives his daughter-in-law and takes care of her and Alfred from then on.
George Blagden talks about Athelstan’s complicated relationship with Judith
Entertainment Weekly spoke with George Blagden in 2015 and he detailed his character’s relationship with Judith. Blagden was asked if he was surprised when Athelstan decides to leave with Ragnar and never see Judith again. It is a relationship that was never going to work. Judith is married and Athelstan feels his place is with Ragnar.
“A lot of people have asked: ‘Was he really in love with Judith? What was the deal there?’” Blagden said. “I remember rationalizing it in the actor’s brain that it’s like being a teenage boy with his first love. Maybe there’s not a full comprehension of the word. There’s an element of being caught up in the moment, and a realization afterwards this was never going to be a situation that worked.”
Athelstan’s child lives on, but he never meets him
Athelstan never finds out about his child, and it’s obvious that he wants children in some capacity. He even mentions to Ragnar that at least he has children. He would have been an excellent father, but he never gets that chance when he is killed at the hands of Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård).
“The most tragic thing in the whole situation is that moment in episode 5, when Athelstan tells Ragnar: ‘At least you have children.’ Athelstan becomes a father, but he will never see his child. That’s the most heartbreaking thing in the whole situation,” Blagden revealed.
It’s nice to consider what life could have been like for Athelstan and Judith if they had made a life together somehow. The relationship was doomed from the start, but it resulted in the birth of King Alfred.