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The Real Reason Ragnar Gave Up On Raiding In Vikings

In late 2019, History's historical drama Vikings wrapped up its highly successful six-year run. What originated as a Game of Thrones clone grew into a pop culture phenomenon all its own, amassing a very devout fanbase that took the show's end to heart. Vikings became so successful thanks to its effective blend of familial and political drama, intertwined with intense action that pushed the boundaries of what cable television could air.

Vikings, historically, were not known for their peaceful nature, establishing themselves as the scourge of eastern Europe throughout the 9th century. They sacked monasteries, raided towns for valuables, and destroyed anything and everything left behind — including those who stepped in their way. History's depiction of Vikings was no different, portraying them as intelligent people with a penchant for violence that made them incredibly imposing, and viewers ate it all up.

While fans may enjoy watching the brutality that comes with a good raid on Vikings, in-universe, they're not everyone's cup of tea. Ragnar Lothbrok, as portrayed by Travis Fimmel, led countless raiding parties in his day, and for a long time made no bones about his insatiable thirst to loot and wreak havoc across Europe.  As time went on, his attitude toward raiding shifted dramatically, eventually leading to his giving up his once-favorite pastime. Here's why Ragnar quit planning and attending raids, as explained on-screen during Vikings' fourth season. 

Ragnar outgrew his desire to commit to raids

There comes a point in life when we have to come to grips with the fact that we aren't the person we used to be. This is even true of Ragnar, the mighty King of Kattegat, who prepared to leave his youth behind earlier than most. During the season 4 episode, "Promise," he makes this abundantly clear when he admits "I feel so old. When I was young, I had a passion to win. But now, with age, and all that comes with it, I have lost the desire. And the strength."

By the time his last season rolled around, Ragnar, estimated to be around 40-50 years old, understood his prime was far behind him. That's generally a good age range to start thinking about retirement, especially if your profession is pillaging towns and cities and burning them to the ground. Raids are a young man's game, and Ragnar is aware of this, he can feel it, so he didn't bother to overstay his welcome on the battlefield. Simply put, he gave up raiding because he felt no incentive to do so, and he knew his body couldn't hold up anyway.