‘Vikings’: How Does Alfred React To Learning Who Murdered His Brother?

In the series Vikings, King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) has a brother who plots with other nobles to take the crown of Wessex for himself. However, he’s murdered for it, and Alfred soon learns the awful truth of the matter. How does he react? We have all the details about the situation.

Alfred becomes the King of Wessex

Ferdia Walsh-Peelo in 'Vikings'
Ferdia Walsh-Peelo in ‘Vikings’ | Jonathan Hession/A+E Networks/History

Alfred is the child of Queen Judith (Jennie Jacques), King Aethelwulf’s (Moe Dunford) wife in Vikings. However, Alfred’s father is actually Athelstan (George Blagden), a monk turned Viking after being captured by Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel). Although his brother, Aethelred (Darren Cahill) is older, Judith convinces him to let Alfred take over as king after Aethelwulf is stung by a bee and dies from an allergic reaction.

But Alfred’s reign isn’t safe while Aethelred lives, since he plots with the nobles to attempt a coup. Judith finds out about this, and she tries to talk to her son about it while Alfred is sick. Aethelred admits the crown of Wessex was supposed to be his “be right.” He was convinced by the other nobles, but when it came time to enact the coup, Aethelred said he didn’t release the signal, supposedly refusing to do it. Although he promises not to “betray” Alfred again, Judith isn’t so convinced.

She poisons Aethelred’s wine, which kills him. She watches it happen, and Judith has her son buried as if she had nothing to do with his death. However, she does tell Alfred about what happened as soon as he’s well again.

Judith admits the truth to Alfred

Jennie Jacques in 'Vikings'
Jennie Jacques in ‘Vikings’ | Jonathan Hession/A+E Networks/History

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Once Alfred is well again, he has a conversation with his mother, who straight up tells him that she killed her own son. She tells him she had to “deal with the traitors.” She admits they were “plotting against” him, and they still could be. 

“And I had to deal with your brother,” she tells Alfred as they sit down for a meal.

“My brother?” What exactly does that mean?” Alfred inquires.

“It means, his death wasn’t natural,” Judith admits. Her son tells her that she’d “better explain, and quickly.”

Judith reveals what she knew about Aethelred. “He had plotted against you before Alfred,” Judith says. “He told me. He confessed. And then he said he would never plot against you again, but I satisfied myself he was lying. I knew as long as he was alive, he would do anything, join any plot, any conspiracy that promised to make him king. He thought you had usurped him. And he could never ever forgive you.”

“So?” Alfred asks further.

“I poisoned him,” Judith finally admits. “I killed one of my sons to save the other. May God forgive me.”

How does Alfred react to learning about who murdered his brother?

Alfred is clearly shocked, and he is clearly overcome with emotion. He gets up to walk away, before he flips the table and starts shouting, wrecking the place. He topples over chairs and other furniture, even taking a weapon and hitting the table with it. 

He tries to catch his breath while on his knees as his mother says, “Can we talk now?” She gives him a pep talk about how he’s king and not an “ordinary person,” so he shouldn’t be grieving “or have feelings” as if he is. “A king must be prepared to do the most terrible things,” she says. “Things against all conscious if he wants to survive.”

Despite Judith killing her own son, Alfred grieves for her when she dies of breast cancer later on in the season. It’s clear that Alfred was upset about the murder of his brother, and it’s something he’ll never forget.