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Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) makes a name for himself early on in the hit series Vikings. He starts as just a farmer helping out on raids and ends up a King in his own right. With enemies all over including back home in Kattegat, Ragnar continues his quest to raid new lands and further the cause of his people. He makes a choice to raid Paris when he hears all about it. Read on to learn about how one decision involved in the raid makes Ragnar even more famous than he already is. There are spoilers ahead for Vikings.

The Seer prophesies how to conquer Paris

Travis Fimmel
Travis Fimmel | Richard Dobson/Newspix via Getty Images

The Seer (John Kavanagh) tells Ragnar that not the living, but the dead will conquer Paris. In season 3, Ragnar chooses to take these words to heart and he follows through with them. Ragnar pretends to be wounded so badly from battle with the Franks that he asks to be baptized and given a proper ceremony when he dies. The Franks grant his request, believing he is really born again as a Christian.

Ragnar sacks Paris

Although Ragnar is wounded, he is still very much alive when he’s placed in his wooden casket and taken into the heart of Paris for a ceremony. During the ceremony in the church, Ragnar springs up from his coffin. He threatens the Emperor (Lothaire Bluteau) and kills a priest as well. He takes Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski) hostage almost to the gates of the city. He lets her go free as his men open the gates of Paris for the rest of the Vikings to plunder and take what they want.

Ragnar is given the credit for the famous raid and the first-ever attack on Paris. The Vikings love Paris and what it provides so much, that they leave a small settlement to winter there. Ragnar achieves fame beyond his wildest dreams after the successful campaign. Although he is severely wounded, he makes it back to Kattegat alive and he eventually recovers.

The most famous Viking in the world

Ragnar was already famous for sailing to England, but with his successful raid on Paris, he solidifies himself as the most famous man in his world. His word is respected so much, that no one questions his judgment when they make a second attempt to raid Paris. This time, things aren’t as successful because Rollo (Clive Standen), Ragnar’s brother, has betrayed them when left alone at the Paris settlement. He helps the Franks deter his own people from success.

The second attempt on Paris is a failure

Someone has to be blamed, and Ragnar takes the fall, a shadow of a broken man. Had he not been so successful the first time around, he may not have been so sure that they could do it again. The second raid on Paris ends in defeat. Ragnar returns to Kattegat, but he soon disappears for a number of years from the shame of it all.

Although Ragnar’s decision to raid Paris the first time made him even more famous, it also influenced his further choices. He tried again to defeat the Franks, but it was no use. Instead, he faced the ultimate failure that he never seems to recover from.