‘Vikings’: Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha Once Propositioned Athelstan

In the history of Vikings, one friendship seems to topple above all the rest, and that’s the one Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and Athelstan (George Blagden) share. Despite the circumstances surrounding how they first meet, they become extremely close, but it wasn’t like that in the beginning.

In season 1, episode 3, Ragnar brings Athelstan home with him as a slave, but he becomes part of the family. In one surprising moment, Ragnar and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) proposition Athelstan when he first arrives.

How did Ragnar Lothbrok and Athelstan meet in ‘Vikings’?

Ragnar defies the Earl of Kattegat, Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne), and sails west when his idea to raid in that direction is denied. Ragnar enlists the help of warriors, and together they make it to England for the first time without telling the Earl. They raid a place called Lindisfarne at a monastery in Northumbria, and it’s there that Athelstan is a Saxon monk. 

When Ragnar hears Athelstan speaking their language and trying to save the gospel of Saint John, he becomes curious. Athelstan is initially taken as a slave, and when they get back home to Kattegat, Haraldson lets them all choose one thing from the hoard, and Ragnar chooses Athelstan, since he sees his value. 

Ragnar and Lagertha once propositioned Athelstan

Katheryn Winnick in 'Vikings'
Katheryn Winnick in ‘Vikings’ | Jonathan Hession/A+E Networks/History

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Ragnar brings Athelstan back to his farm where he meets Ragnar’s family. That night, Ragnar and his wife, Lagertha, are having sexual relations while Athelstan reads the gospel in Latin, but he can’t help notice the two nearby in the other room of the home.

Athelstan closes his eyes, and suddenly, Ragnar and Lagertha appear, offering Athelstan the chance to join in. “Athelstan,” Ragnar says quietly while trying not to wake his sleeping children nearby. “Athelstan, we want to ask you something.” Ragnar has his shirt off, while Lagertha has a blanket wrapped around her.

Athelstan closes the book as Lagertha says, “Come and join us, priest.” 

“Come on,” Ragnar says as well.

They’re propositioning him to have sexual relations, but Athelstan isn’t going for it. “I am a monk,” he says. “I’ve taken vows of celibacy. I cannot touch a woman.” Lagertha looks at her husband, and Athelstan adds, “I never have.”

Ragnar asks, “Wouldn’t you like to?”

Athelstan insists, “It would be a sin,” though Ragnar tells him, “Who would know?” in response. Athelstan looks at Lagertha saying, “God would know.”He starts to pray, and the couple finally gives up and leaves.

This isn’t totally unusual behavior in the series, as fans have seen it before between Helga (Maude Hirst) and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) inviting Torstein (Jefferson Hall) to join them.

Ragnar and Athelstan become best friends

Ragnar and Athelstan go on to become best friends, teaching each other many things despite the way things started between them. Athelstan helps Ragnar when raiding and communicating with people in England, eventually teaching him the language.

Athelstan becomes a Viking over time, adopting their culture and beliefs, but he’s constantly trying to find his place, and he feels torn by his two worlds and religions.

They never speak about the situation between Ragnar and his wife at the time, Lagertha, when they propositioned Athelstan so many years ago. Athelstan is killed in season 3 when Floki murders him, and Ragnar is completely devastated over the loss of his greatest friend. He never forgets him or everything he taught him.