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The One Ragnar Storyline That Doesn't Make Sense To Vikings Fans

Vikings, which ran for six seasons from 2013 until 2020, initially followed the fearsome warrior known as Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), chronicling his slow but steady rise to fame and power throughout the show's first four seasons. The series could get pretty violent at times, as one might expect from a drama that regularly depicted its hero and his sons engaging in large-scale battles, whether it was in an effort to establish new colonies elsewhere or simply defend their home from others trying to do the same.

But it wasn't just the large battles that made Vikings a bloody and violent series. Ragnar wasn't exactly known for being forgiving or merciful when it came to dealing with his enemies or those who double-crossed him — a scene in season 2 famously saw the character execute a man using a method known as "the blood eagle," which was horrifying in its gruesomeness. However, there was one storyline in particular in which Ragnar granted mercy to someone, and it has left some fans of the show rather puzzled given that the person in question later betrayed him.

Why did Ragnar let Erlendur live in Vikings?

Users on Reddit have called out Ragnar's decision to let one of King Horik's (Donal Logue) sons live at the end of season 2 after Horik had betrayed him. "One of the stupidest ... things Ragnar has done was spare Erlendur's life," wrote u/Most-Advantage5539. "He killed like 10 kids of Horik ... who were barely 6, and then decided to spare Erlendur based on King Horik's plea, knowing that he would take revenge?"

It does seem rather strange to let Erlendur (Edvin Endre) live, especially with the benefit of hindsight and knowing Erlendur would eventually plot against Ragnar and attempt to kill his oldest son, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig). However, series creator Michael Hirst explained Ragnar's decision in an interview with HuffPost in 2014. He revealed that there was a scene that was cut for time from the American version of the episode that showed Ragnar didn't spare Erlendur just because of Horik's plea not to kill him.

"Erlendur has been impressed by the idea of going to farm in England. And in his pocket he has a handful of mud, earth from England," said Hirst. "When Ragnar sees him with this handful of dirt, he knows that he's thinking along the same lines, that they're connected in some way. So he spares him. But, of course, that turns out to be a terrible decision in the end."