Why Did They Kill Off Ragnar: Exploring the Dramatic Choice in Film and TV

Why Did They Kill Off Ragnar: Exploring the Dramatic Choice in Film and TV

It is not uncommon for television shows and films to shock their audience by killing off beloved characters. These unexpected plot twists can leave fans devastated and questioning the motives behind such dramatic choices. One such character demise that has sparked intense debate and speculation is the death of Ragnar Lothbrok in the hit TV series “Vikings”. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind why the show’s creators made the decision to kill off Ragnar and explore the impact it had on the narrative and audience.

The Impact of Character Deaths

Character deaths in film and TV can have a profound impact on both the story and the viewers. When a well-developed and loved character is suddenly taken away, it creates a sense of loss and grief among the audience. These emotional reactions are a testament to the power of storytelling and the investment viewers have in the narrative.

1. Emotional Engagement: Ragnar Lothbrok, portrayed by actor Travis Fimmel, quickly became a fan favorite due to his complex personality and compelling character arc. His death, therefore, elicited strong emotional responses from viewers who had grown attached to him.

2. Shock Value: Killing off a central character like Ragnar creates shockwaves within the show’s universe and generates buzz among fans. This choice keeps viewers on the edge of their seats and stimulates discussions and theories about the future direction of the series.

The Reasoning Behind Ragnar’s Death

Ragnar’s death in “Vikings” was not a random occurrence; it served a purpose in advancing the overarching storyline and character development. Here are some reasons why the show’s creators chose to kill off Ragnar:

1. Narrative Evolution: “Vikings” is a historical drama that closely follows the sagas and legends of Norse mythology. Ragnar’s death aligns with the historical accounts and paves the way for the rise of other prominent characters, such as his sons, to continue the story.

2. Growth and Legacy: Ragnar’s death allows for his sons, namely Bjorn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, and Ubbe, to take center stage and develop into their own characters. This transition provides an opportunity to explore their individual journeys and the legacy they inherit from their father.

3. Symbolic Closure: Ragnar’s death symbolizes the end of an era and the start of a new chapter. It signifies the passing of the torch and sets up new conflicts and alliances among the remaining characters. This symbolic closure adds depth and complexity to the narrative.

The Impact on the Audience

Ragnar’s death undoubtedly had a significant impact on the “Vikings” audience. Here’s how it affected the viewers:

1. Emotional Resonance: Many fans experienced a deep sense of grief and mourning after Ragnar’s death. This emotional connection speaks to the strength of the character’s portrayal and the audience’s investment in the show.

2. Characters’ Development: The aftermath of Ragnar’s death forced other characters to confront their own vulnerabilities and step up as leaders. This development allowed for increased character exploration and growth, creating new dynamics and relationships within the series.

The Way Forward

While Ragnar’s death in “Vikings” was a significant turning point, it did not diminish the show’s quality or hinder its continued success. The subsequent seasons proved that the choice to kill off Ragnar opened up new narrative possibilities and enriched the overall storyline.

1. Continual Evolution: “Vikings” moved forward by embracing the consequences of Ragnar’s death and exploring the impact it had on the remaining characters. This evolution allowed for continued character growth and provided a fresh perspective on the Viking world.

2. Fan Engagement: The shocking death of Ragnar sparked immense intrigue among viewers, pulling them deeper into the show and encouraging them to stay tuned for the resolution of ongoing storylines. This engagement exemplifies the effectiveness of bold storytelling choices.


The decision to kill off Ragnar in “Vikings” was a dramatic choice that had a profound impact on both the narrative and the audience. By exploring the reasoning behind this character’s death, we can appreciate the depth and complexity it adds to the show. While the loss of Ragnar was undoubtedly felt by fans, it paved the way for new storylines and character developments, ultimately showcasing the strength and resilience of “Vikings” as a series.


1. Why did the creators decide to kill off Ragnar in the television series?

The creators made the decision to kill off Ragnar as a means to drive the plot forward and create a significant turning point in the narrative.

2. Did Ragnar’s death affect the overall story arc of the show?

Yes, Ragnar’s death had a profound impact on the overall story arc of the show. It led to new conflicts, power struggles, and the rise of new central characters.

3. Was Ragnar’s death a controversial choice among fans and viewers?

Yes, Ragnar’s death was a controversial choice among fans and viewers. Many were emotionally attached to the character and were disappointed to see his demise.

4. How did the death of Ragnar impact the other characters in the series?

The death of Ragnar had a significant impact on the other characters in the series. It pushed them to take on new challenges, make difficult decisions, and explore their own storylines more deeply.

5. Were there any foreshadowing or hints leading up to Ragnar’s death?

Yes, there were foreshadowing and hints leading up to Ragnar’s death in the show. These cues built suspense and added to the dramatic impact of his demise.

6. Did killing off Ragnar help to maintain the show’s realism and unpredictability?

Yes, killing off Ragnar helped to maintain the show’s realism and unpredictability. It showcased the brutal and unpredictable nature of the world in which the characters lived.

7. Did Ragnar’s death lead to an increase in viewership or a decline?

The impact of Ragnar’s death on viewership varied. Some viewers were disheartened and stopped watching, while others were intrigued by the new storylines and continued to tune in.

8. How did the portrayal of Ragnar’s death contribute to the show’s overall success?

The portrayal of Ragnar’s death was a pivotal moment in the show that generated a significant amount of buzz and discussion among audiences. It helped to cement the show’s reputation for bold storytelling choices and captivate viewers.

9. Were there any alternative storylines considered for Ragnar instead of killing him off?

It is possible that alternative storylines were considered for Ragnar’s character, but ultimately, the decision to kill him off was chosen as the most impactful and emotionally charged option.

10. Did Ragnar’s death open up new opportunities for character growth and development in the series?

Yes, Ragnar’s death presented new opportunities for character growth and development in the series. It allowed other characters to step into the spotlight and evolve, creating dynamic storylines that kept viewers engaged.