‘Vikings’: The Real Reason Ragnar Lothbrok Chose Ivar

Vikings is a hit series that is known for its main character, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel). When he returns after abandoning his home and family, he finds it hard for anyone to back him up. However, he’s able to get his son Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen) to go with him to Wessex. Read on to learn why he chose Ivar for the task. There are spoilers ahead for Vikings.

A disgraced King returns for revenge

Travis Fimmel
Travis Fimmel | Daniele Venturelli/WireImage,

In season 4, Ragnar returns to Kattegat after being gone for many years after suffering defeat in Paris. People aren’t exactly happy to see him. In fact, they can’t help but let him know how much they can’t stand to even look at him for what he’s done.

Ragnar returns to seek revenge for the Viking settlement in Wessex that was destroyed by King Ecbert (Linus Roache). Men don’t seem to want to help Ragnar on his quest for revenge, since he needs a strong crew to get the ships and supplies over to Wessex. He finds that the only way to accomplish this is to give away pieces of his own treasure. The people who join him are less than ideal fighters for Ragnar’s revenge army.

Why Ragnar takes Ivar the Boneless with him

Ragnar knows that someone needs to take his story back home to Kattegat. He had a plan all along as to what would happen when he got to England. He knew he wouldn’t make it back and that the only way to get anything to happen would be for him to die at the hands of one of the kings of England.

Ragnar knows someone needs to carry on the story, and Ivar is perfect for that. The men don’t take him as seriously as they really should. He holds his own and does what his father wants him to.

Ivar is easily spared and taken home to Kattegat to tell his brothers and the people what has happened to his father. Ragnar knows this will be enough to get his sons to seek revenge in his name, ensuring his story will live on.

A plan you can’t come back from

Ragnar gets Ecbert to give him over to King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) of Northumbria. Ragnar knows that Aelle will gladly kill him, and he definitely does. He makes sure Ivar is safely on his way back home to Kattegat with the story of his slaying. Ragnar orchestrates his own death for the greater good of his people. He knows that his death will be the catapult that brings the revenge of the Vikings to England, and it certainly does.

Aelle has Ragnar thrown in a snake pit

Ragnar is thrown in a snake pit for his execution. Here is just some of what Ragnar says before he is tossed into the snake pit to die: “It gladdens me to know that Odin prepares for a feast. Soon I shall be drinking ale from curved horns. I shall not enter Odin’s hall with fear. There I shall wait for my sons to join me. And when they do, I will bask in their tales of triumph. My death comes without apology. And I welcome the Valkyries to summon me home.”

The Great Heathen Army gets revenge for Ragnar

Ragnar is right in that his death is all that’s needed to kick-start everyone into revenge mode. A huge group of Vikings come together to raid England and kill both Ecbert and Aelle in revenge for Ragnar’s death. In the end, Ragnar got what he wanted, he just isn’t around long enough to see it.

Ragnar chose his son Ivar to go with him to carry the story back to their people. If it weren’t for Ivar’s retelling of what happened, Ragnar’s revenge wouldn’t have been possible.