‘Vikings’: The 1 Sentimental Item Ragnar Lothbrok Gives Alfred

In season 4B of Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) gives Alfred, who will one day be the future King of Wessex, something that’s extremely sentimental to them both. What was it and what does Alfred do with it? We have all the details.

Ragnar Lothbrok’s greatest friend

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

Fans of the hit series Vikings might recall Ragnar’s greatest friend, Athelstan (George Blagden). In season 1, Ragnar abducts Athelstan when he’s a monk on the first raid in England. But Athelstan quickly becomes Ragnar’s confidant and a member of his family, teaching him his language and many other things, including about his former religion. His unique insight into England is invaluable for Ragnar, and he sees Athelstan’s worth immediately.

Years go by and Athelstan makes himself at home in Kattegat as Ragnar’s greatest ally. Over time, Athelstan assimilates to his new surroundings, taking up the Viking ways as his own, for a time at least. He finds comfort in both Christianity and paganism as well, and it’s something he grapples with for years when it comes to what to believe. However, in the end he chooses to become a Christian again before he’s killed. 

Athelstan is murdered by Floki

George Blagden
George Blagden | Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Ovation

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Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) has always been jealous of Athelstan’s relationship with Ragnar. He even accuses him of knowing about the destroyed settlement in Wessex carried out by King Ecbert (Linus Roache), which of course he knows nothing about. Athelstan is eventually killed by Floki after he decides to be a Christian again. Floki has a vision he believes is sent by the gods, and he thinks he must spill blood and that it should be Athelstan’s.

The death is an absolute devastation for Ragnar, who loses his greatest friend. He says Athelstan is the only person he could trust, and when he’s gone, everything changes for him. He gives his friend a burial with a makeshift cross to mark the place. 

The sentimental item Ragnar gives Alfred

Fans may recall Athlestan’s metal cross necklace that he wore for many years. In season 2 episode 9, Athelstan leaves his necklace behind in Wessex, but he gets it back in season 3 from Ecbert. From the date of his death, Ragnar wears Athelstan’s necklace, something that is a symbol of their strong friendship.

Ragnar eventually raids Paris in Francia, a place he learned about from Athelstan. But after the second raid on Paris is a failure, Ragnar returns to Kattegat, and shortly thereafter leaves for many years. He does eventually return though to get revenge on Wessex for the destroyed Viking settlement. After Ragnar returns in disgrace, no one wants to sail with him except for a paid skeleton crew. Ragnar then plans to have the kings of England kill him so his sons can bring revenge on them with a large army, which they do. 

But before Ecbert hands Ragnar over to King Aelle (Ivan Kaye), Ragnar gives something to Alfred, who is really Athelstan’s child by Judith (Jennie Jacques), the wife of Ecbert’s son, Prince Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford).

“This was your father’s,” Ragnar tells a young Alfred as he puts Athelstan’s cross necklace over Alfred’s head. “May it comfort you as it has comforted me.”

“Thank you,” Alfred tells him. “I will never forget you.”

Ragnar is killed when he’s thrown in a pit of snakes by Aelle. His sons come over and kill both of the kings of England for their father’s death, but Alfred survives. He goes on to become the King of Wessex, and he keeps his father’s cross after all these years. In season 6B, he’s wearing it, so it truly has sentimental value for him just like it did for Ragnar.