‘Vikings’: King Ecbert Admits to Ragnar Lothbrok That He Had the Viking Settlement in Wessex Destroyed

In the series Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) goes back to England to get revenge for the destroyed settlement in Wessex orchestrated by King Ecbert (Linus Roache) years previously. But the move comes after he’s been gone for many years. When he returns to Kattegat, his people aren’t too keen on assisting him after he left them so many years ago. Plus, the revelation about the destroyed settlement has been revealed, so Ragnar devises a new plan.

King Ecbert admits to Ragnar Lothbrok the truth about the Viking settlement in Wessex

Travis Fimmel and Linus Roache in 'Vikings'
Travis Fimmel and Linus Roache in ‘Vikings’ | Jonathan Hession/A+E Networks/History

Ragnar bribes warriors to join him on his quest to return to Wessex, and together with his son, Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen), they land in England after barely making it on a treacherous sea. Many of the crew are lost, and Ragnar and Ivar manage to kill the remaining warriors. Together the two of them head to find King Ecbert.

Ragnar knows he doesn’t have enough warriors to get revenge for the settlement, so he figures out only his death can bring his sons over to England to get revenge for him. He carefully devises a plan to have himself killed, prompting his sons to gather a great army to get revenge for his death and the settlement.

Ragnar is put in a cage, but he eventually talks with Ecbert in season 4B, episode 4. He admits to Ragnar pretty quickly that the settlement massacre of the Viking farmers in Wessex was carried out by his son, Prince Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford), but it was done at his request.

“It was wrong of my son to slaughter all your farmers and their families,” Ecbert says. “But as you probably guessed, it was done under my orders. It’s always better to get the worst things over straight away, don’t you agree?”

Ecbert adds a phrase including, “Mea culpa,” which is in Latin, and he’s essentially saying it’s his fault. He says it was his choice, and that “it was part of a larger, and bolder strategy.”

Of course, Ragnar already knew that, but it’s when Ecbert admits the truth of the matter to Ragnar, who is still caged up at the time. Ecbert later adds about it, “The fact is, it was the right idea at the wrong time,” not fully showing remorse for his actions. He betrayed Ragnar after giving him and the Vikings the land, and went back on his word.

Ecbert doesn’t want to kill Ragnar

Travis Fimmel in 'Vikings'
Travis Fimmel in ‘Vikings’ | Jonathan Hession/A+E Networks/History

RELATED: ‘Vikings’: What Tense Situation Prompts Ragnar Lothbrok To Become the King of Kattegat?

Ragnar convinces Ecbert to give him over to King Aelle (Ivan Kaye), after they spend a fair amount of time together, and they even get drunk and talk about religion and their good friend, Athelstan (George Blagden).

Ecbert doesn’t want to kill Ragnar, and he tells him he can’t do it after it’s mentioned, so Ragnar convinces him to give him over to Aelle, who will surely kill him. Although Ecbert admits that he’d rather set Ragnar free, Ragnar manipulates the situation in his favor, and it works out the way he plans.

Ragnar is killed by King Aelle

Ragnar has Ecbert arrange for Ivar to be taken home, saying Ragnar will make sure he tells his sons that they are friends. However, he tells his son to do the opposite. The Viking king is then handed over to Aelle by Ecbert, but how does Ragnar die? He’s killed when he’s thrown in a pit of snakes, and he dies from their venom.

Ecbert feels major guilt for handing Ragnar over, and he even dresses as a monk and goes to watch Ragnar’s execution. The sons of Ragnar bring the Great Heathen Army over to England, and Ecbert chooses to die by suicide. Aelle is killed by Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), Ragnar’s first son, and Ragnar’s dream of revenge is realized.

Ragnar planned out his death, knowing that only by being killed would it prompt his sons to travel to England to get revenge for his murder and the destroyed settlement in Wessex.