‘Vikings’: Gustaf Skarsgård Talks About Floki’s ‘Complicated’ Relationship With Ragnar

In the history of the hit series Vikings, Floki, played by Gustaf Skarsgård, has a more than complicated relationship with Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) over the years. When viewers are first introduced to them, they are the best of friends and Floki does pretty much anything Ragnar asks. But over time, their relationship sours, especially after the death of Athelstan (George Blagden).

Floki and Ragnar have a great friendship until Athelstan is murdered

Ragnar always knows he can count on Floki when he needs to. He builds Ragnar a fleet of ships, including the boat that carries them over to England for the very first time. When Ragnar is hunted by Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) and badly wounded, Floki helps shelter him and his family and he restores him back to health.

Floki was always jealous of Ragnar’s relationship with his best friend Athelstan, and one day he decides the gods are calling him to spill his blood. He goes to Athelstan’s house and kills him while he prays. Everyone suspects Floki of killing Athelstan, and when Ragnar is too weak from battle, his son, Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) has Floki arrested for his murder.

When Ragnar is well again, he is forced to deal with the situation, which was something he was initially trying to avoid doing even though he knows Floki killed Athelstan. Ragnar comes up with a punishment that he takes from the stories of their gods. He has Floki held in a cave without being able to move while drops of water fall onto his head constantly. Eventually, Ragnar lets Floki go free and he makes his way back into the good graces of everyone, even Ragnar.

Gustaf Skarsgård talks about Floki’s ‘complicated’ relationship with Ragnar

Gustaf Skarsgård
Gustaf Skarsgård | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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Skarsgård spoke with TV Insider in 2016 about his character and he was asked about his relationship with Ragnar. At the time, Floki had just been released from the cave and he learns his daughter has passed away. His relationship with Ragnar couldn’t be more “complicated” at this time.

“Oh, it’s very complicated. Very complicated. It’s almost masochistic in the sense that he still longs for Ragnar’s love, and he always will, but he also resents Ragnar for having put him through the shame and the pain of the punishment,” Skarsgård revealed. “I think a part of him is just like, ‘Why didn’t he just kill me?’”

Floki isn’t grateful that Ragnar lets him live

Skarsgård also says that Floki isn’t at all grateful that Ragnar let him live because he truly doesn’t think he did anything wrong in killing Athelstan. It makes it hard for them to really form a connection again, and it isn’t until many years later when Ragnar returns from being gone in disgrace do they both realize how important their relationship is.

“He’s definitely not grateful that [Ragnar] spared his life, because from Floki’s perspective, he hasn’t done anything wrong,” Skarsgård continued. “From Floki’s perspective, he actually saved Ragnar from the influence of Athelstan…”

Floki and Ragnar eventually repair their tattered friendship before Ragnar goes off to his death in England. They both needed each other over the years, it’s just unfortunate that things had to happen the way they did.