‘Vikings’: Ragnar Lothbrok Knew Who Alfred Was ‘Without Explanation’

In the series Vikings, King Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) met Alfred (Isaac O’Sullivan), Athelstan’s (George Blagden) son, in season 4B. He knew who Alfred was in regards to his parentage right away. We have all the details about the heartwarming moment.

Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan in ‘Vikings’

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

Ragnar abducted Athelstan, a Saxon monk, at first as a slave at Lindisfarne in season 1 of the series. They quickly became best friends and family to one another, teaching each other many things. Athelstan was invaluable to Ragnar, who appreciated him and loved him as his best friend. Athelstan was with Ragnar when he landed in Wessex for the first time, helping the Saxons and the Vikings communicate.

Ragnar considered Athelstan the only person he could trust, and he was distraught when Athelstan was captured in Wessex. Eventually, though, they found their way back to one another when Ragnar returned to Wessex. But their pivotal friendship had enemies, and Athelstan was killed by Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), who was jealous of Athelstan. He thought he had a vision from the gods that he must spill blood, so he murdered the former monk.

Athelstan and Judith have a child together

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

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But before Athelstan’s untimely demise, he meets Judith (Jennie Jacques), the daughter of King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) of Northumbria, when he comes to Wessex. She’s also the wife of Prince Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford), but despite her being married, she’s infatuated with Athelstan from the beginning. She cares for him deeply, and she falls in love with him. They end up sleeping together on at least one known occasion. Through their union comes Alfred, a son.

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

Judith actually loses an ear in punishment for being unfaithful, but she’s spared from further mutilation when she comes clean about who the father is to King Ecbert (Linus Roache), her father-in-law. He promises to protect them, and he does. He had a special relationship with Athelstan, and he actually gives Alfred his name, taking care of him from then on.

Ragnar knew who Alfred was ‘without explanation’

After many years have passed and Ragnar returns from being gone for a while after abandoning his duties as king and his home of Kattegat, he decides to go back to England. He hopes to get revenge for the destroyed settlement in Wessex carried out by Ecbert. He devises a plan that through his death, his sons will return and seek revenge for both his murder and the settlement. But first, he goes back to Wessex, convincing Ecbert to give him over to King Aelle to be killed. Although at first he’s held in a cage, he eventually gets drunk with Ecbert, and even sits on the throne with him.

Then, Ragnar meets Alfred for the first time. Alfred is just a boy at the time, and Judith tries to introduce who he is, but Ragnar already knows instantly as he looks at Ecbert when he sees Alfred at his mother’s side.

“It’s a great privilege to meet you again Ragnar Lothbrok,” Judith says.

Ragnar gets off the throne and walks toward them saying, “Not every Saxon would agree.”

“I’m not every Saxon,” Judith explains. She then nods at her son, and he walks towards Ragnar. “This is my son, Alfred. He is the son…”

“I know,” Ragnar cuts her off and looks at Ecbert when he finishes, “Without explanation.” 

“You are Athelstan’s son,” Ragnar says as Alfred smiles. Ragnar is emotional because Athelstan has been dead for a long time, and he was his greatest friend. Seeing him again in his son touches Ragnar in every way.

He hugs the child, who hugs him right back. Ragnar lightly laughs with emotion. He touches Alfred’s head and looks at him, clearly overcome with many feelings at seeing his best friend’s child for the first time. Later before leaving to be executed, he gives Alfred his father’s cross necklace, which he’s worn ever since Athelstan’s death.

Getting to see Athelstan’s child was emotional for Ragnar since it was his best friend’s son. It’s a heartwarming first meeting between the two who could be considered family to some.