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

In the hit series Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) is a farmer who dreams of sailing west when viewers first meet him. He eventually makes himself Earl of Kattegat, and finally King before it’s all said and done. But how does he go from Earl to King? A tense situation prompts the change, and we have all the details.

How does Ragnar Lothbrok become the Earl of Kattegat in ‘Vikings’?

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

In season 1, Ragnar defies the Earl of Kattegat, Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne), by sailing west without his permission. He starts to earn the respect and admiration of the people, and Haraldson recognizes him as a threat. He finally decides to send his men to destroy Ragnar’s farm and himself, but Ragnar manages to fight, becoming gravely wounded though. His family gets away just in time, and so does Ragnar despite his wounds. 

The family heads to Floki’s (Gustaf Skarsgård) place, Ragnar’s good friend. There he gets better, and over time, decides he will challenge Haraldson, something the Earl accepts. The two fight, but Ragnar is the victor in the end. Haraldson dies after Ragnar severely wounds him in battle and then kills him.

From then on, Ragnar is the Earl of Kattegat, that is until season 2 when he becomes the King.

What tense situation prompts Ragnar to become the King of Kattegat?

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But how does Ragnar venture from Earl to King? He kills King Horik (Donal Logue), someone he had allied with previously and gone raiding with. When Horik starts putting a plan in place to kill Ragnar and his family in the finale of season 2, Ragnar is one step ahead of the tense situation that prompts his kingship. 

Horik tries to get Floki to prove himself to him by killing Torstein (Jefferson Hall), who doesn’t really die. It’s all part of Ragnar’s attempt at tricking Horik, who has brought his family to Kattegat at the time. Horik then speaks to Floki, letting him in on his plan to kill Ragnar and his family. He asks him to kill Bjorn, which of course, he won’t really do. Horik even asks Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) to kill Ragnar’s children, but she divulges the plan to Ragnar, and Floki does the same. 

Ragnar and Horik’s soldiers soon fight against each other, but Ragnar’s side is victorious. The main characters meet up in the great hall when Horik thinks he’s going to kill Ragnar, but it doesn’t happen. His soldiers are killed, and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Ragnar’s ex-wife, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), his son, and Torstein, take shots at Horik. But Ragnar is the one to kill him. From then on, he’s considered the King of Kattegat. His name travels far and wide, and his fame grows even further.

Ragnar makes an even bigger name for himself as King, and he carves out a legend for himself. He now possesses the Sword of Kings, which was once Horik’s. He raids Paris and sacrifices himself years later so his sons will get revenge for his death on the kings of England. His name is arguably the most talked about in the series, and it’s that way even after his death. 

Ragnar Lothbrok made himself an Earl and then the King of Kattegat. He fought both times to make the advancements happen, and they were big moments in the series Vikings.