“The world is changing and we must change with it,” Ragnar Lothbrok told his people, but most of them were not willing to change with him. He could see the direction the world was taking and he understood that Vikings could not survive as raiders and bandits forever. He tried to help his people get fertile land to farm and to live better lives away from their constant squabbles and bloodbaths in Scandinavia.
Changing the world is a hard job though, and Ragnar paid the price for being too ambitious when the world he tried to create and the one he tried to leave behind collided and crushed him in the middle. He was still one of the wisest characters in Vikings, and his advice is timeless.
Updated on October 23rd, 2021 by Rose Graceling-Moore: With the upcoming Vikings spin-off, Vikings: Valhalla premiering next year, fans are looking forward to more of the kinds of great lines that made the original series so phenomenal. The way that Vikings addresses issues of power and religion was one of the key aspects of its success, and something that will hopefully translate to the upcoming series, too.
You couldn’t kill me if you tried for a hundred years
Lagertha is a fan-favorite character in Vikings, and an incredible warrior woman – as shown from the very start, when she takes out a couple of men who would attack her and steal from her in her own home. Of course, as fans quickly learn, Lagertha is more than capable of defending herself, which she does after delivering this incredible line.
It’s one that sets up just how powerful she is going to be throughout the series – and how much of a fighter she is. It also shows that while she loves Ragner, she doesn’t need him – something that may foreshadow her eventually leaving him.
It Is Always A Strength To Know The Weakness Of Your Friends.
Siggy died to save Ragnar’s sons from drowning in the frozen lake. She was friends with both Ragnar and Aslaug, but most importantly, the wisest woman in the great hall whenever Ragnar and the rest of the warriors left to raid. It is fair to say she understood Aslaug’s weaknesses enough to save her children while risking her own life.
She was a sweet woman, always willing to help and give advice to the younger women, including Lagertha. She didn’t have that many friends after her husband’s death, but she loved the Lothbroks and protected them with her life. Her death was one of the greatest sacrifices anyone made for Ragnar’s family, and his eventual grandchildren throughout the show.
It Is All The Same With We Women. We Just Give Birth To The Slaughtered.
Torvi has a difficult life, even for a Viking – and one full of heartbreak. When she said these words, she was only expressing the pain of any mother in the show who lost a child to the senseless killings of the biggest Viking battles.
She collapsed when Ragnar performed the blood eagle on her first husband Jarl Borg, but her troubles were far from over. Her son Githrum, whom she tried to protect from the brutality of Erelunder, also fell victim to Hvitserk’s ax in the battle of Kattegat. The death of Hali at the hands of Whitehair the Skogarmaor was the saddest of them all. She was a strong woman and never gave up on being a mother.
The truth can be a bad choice for a wise man.
Lagertha is a brilliant warrior, but she is also a woman who understands statecraft, and how to manipulate to stay in power. She has no problems scheming to get what she wants, and always seems to land on her feet, because she understands when to speak, and when to stay silent.
In this quote, she gives some excellent advice – and not just for those attempting to rule. Knowing when not to speak at all, or when to soften the truth to save her own skin, is something that keeps her alive for almost the entire series. Of course, Lagertha’s advice may not always be the best, but knowing when the truth is better left unspoken is a true art.
How The Little Piggies Will Grunt When They Hear How The Old Boar Suffered.
Ragnar Lothbrok was actually delivering a warning to King Aelle, but he was too arrogant to notice. This quote heralded the reign of Ragnar’s sons, as he knew that they would bring hell on all of England to avenge his death. Coming to England to die was his last move to get his sons to raid and finally defeat the Saxons.
He understood that despite the anger they had against him for failing as a father, his sons would never let his death go unavenged. Ragnar also knew that the brutality of his sons would be greater than his. Ecbert knew what Ragnar was trying to do, but he fell into his trap anyway when he handed him over to Aelle to be killed.
Always Remember To Finish Off Your Opponent If You Can.
Rollo said these words to Bjorn, and this advice would have saved him a great deal of pain if he had applied it in his life. Rollo wasn’t the best of men in the show, but his advice to Bjorn was not misplaced. Bjorn was in charge of the Great Heathen army and he understood that Ivar was jealous of him, but he left the army for Ivar anyway while going to the Mediterranean.
Ivar took control of the army and toppled Lagertha with it, and that was the beginning of Bjorn’s troubles. He managed to retake Kattegat, but he failed to kill Ivar when he had the chance. He could still have gone after him after he escaped along the Silk Road, but he didn’t, and Ivar returned and killed him. Bjorn never fought his battles to completion and they always came back to haunt him.
The future is open. Trust in the gods. Live for each moment.
Lagertha doesn’t have a lot of stability in her life – first, Ragnar becomes the Earl of Kattegat, then Lagertha leaves him when Aslaug arrives, and spends the entire series battling for power, for autonomy, and against her enemies. She knows more than most how precarious life can be, and yet she sees the future as open, and wishes to still embrace each moment as she finds it.
This advice, to avoid becoming mired in regret for the past, or fear for the future, sums Lagertha up well – although she doesn’t live entirely in the moment, as she may seek to enjoy it, but is always scheming at the same time. She holds a grudge against Aslaug for years, and always has some future plan in motion.
Power Is Always Dangerous. It Attracts The Worst And Corrupts The Best.
Ragnar can always be relied on to deliver words of wisdom. He was just a farmer that didn’t know much about power, he didn’t even want it, but he got it and realized that a person in power has very few true friends.
As king, Ragnar hoped to rely on the help of his family, including Rollo, but as he got more powerful, his family became more ambitious and less friendly. He lost his best people, including Rollo, and attracted more enemies, with some, like Harald, pretending to be his friends. In the end, his brother betrayed him and he died a lonely and broken man.
We Fight. That Is How We Win, And That Is How We Die.
Ragnar didn’t die fighting. Aelle never gave him that opportunity. He never ran away from a fight in his life though. He always fought for a better life for his family and his people, even in his weakest moment.
When Haraldson attacked Ragnar’s farm, forcing him to hide in Floki’s house, Ragnar wouldn’t take the assault sitting down. He challenged the cruel Earl to a fight and that is how Ragnar became the Jarl of Kattegat. He had to fight for everything he got afterward, which is why everyone respected him so much.
I’ve been told your god is a carpenter. And guess what? So am I.
This quote perfectly sums up Floki – it’s witty, brilliant, vaguely threatening, and centers the Gods – the only thing that is a true constant in Floki’s life. It’s often unclear whether Floki views himself as a devout worshipper, a mouthpiece, or even a form of god himself – but he clearly has no issue comparing himself with one.
It’s also a brilliant quote because it so perfectly shows the different approaches that these characters (Floki and Athelstan) take to their gods. Floki sees gods like people – with skills and talents and work that they do, while Athelstan may recognize that Jesus as a man had a job, but this is simply not how he would approach his diety.
Don’t Waste Your Time Looking Back. You Are Not Going That Way.
Rising from being a farmer in Kattegat to the greatest king in Norway takes lots of determination and that is one thing Ragnar was never short of. But his journey to the top wasn’t smooth. He lost friends, such as Athelstan, and was also betrayed by some, like Rollo and King Horik, but Ragnar didn’t break.
He continued following his dreams of securing a better life for his people. His determination won him the confidence of most of the warriors in Kattegat and around Scandinavia, and in the end, there was just no one greater than Ragnar Lothbrok.
What Is It About The Word ‘King’ That Makes Even Reasonable People Behave Like Idiots?
Ivar should probably have followed this advice himself. He became king by promising to bring glory to Kattegat and avenge his mother’s death. However, when he sat on the throne, he became a tyrant and even declared himself a god.
He persecuted everyone, including Hvitserk, who had fought for him faithfully because he believed in him, and he became the very type of king he warned Harald against. Clearly, the word ‘king’ made him behave like an idiot, too.
Yes, I Have Made Mistakes. Life Didn’t Come With Instructions.
Life, especially the one that Ragnar Lothbrok lived, doesn’t come with instructions and no one could be prepared for what Ragnar went through. He was just a farmer that became king because of the actions of other people and he tried his best to do the right thing.
People are very unpredictable though, and there was no way Ragnar could prepare himself for all that betrayal. He also made mistakes in his marriage, but he only thought it was the will of the gods. His people, including his own sons, didn’t cut him any slack when he made mistakes at the end of his rule though.
Fame Won’t Make Your Small Kingdom Any Bigger
Bjorn is an interesting character – a man who never wanted to rule, but only to explore the world, and yet who ends up as (arguably) the first King of All Norway. In many ways, though, he understands how to rule better because he does not want it. He knows that ruling is not about fame, or fortune, but a responsibility to people – and that bringing people together to protect their land is the most important thing.
He has many wise moments on Vikings (despite his many mistakes along the way), and this is clearly one of them. If only more of the rulers in Vikings had listened to it.
Power Is Only Given To Those Who Are Willing To Lower Themselves To Pick It Up.
Ragnar gave a whole new meaning to power when he said these words. To become the Jarl of Kattegat, he had to kill Jarl Haraldson and he didn’t enjoy it. The worst came when he had to play tricks to turn tables on King Horik and become king. While everyone considered him smart and powerful, Ragnar considered it stooping low.
After becoming king, many people around him played the same little dirty games to get power because they thought it was prestigious but Ragnar didn’t attach much value to it. He had to do many things he didn’t like to get and keep the power. However, while he was king, his life wasn’t as great as you would expect the life of a king to be. He didn’t prevent anyone that wanted to be king from trying what he had done either.
NEXT: Every Country The Main Characters Of Vikings Visit (In Maps)
90 Day Fiancé: Jenny Slatten’s Unhygienic Habits Exposed By Sumit’s Mom
About The Author