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The Rollo Theory That Would Change Everything On Vikings

An awful lot happens on the History series "Vikings."

The show's six seasons span decades in the history of its titular people. Countless raids, responses, battles, and betrayals are shown or alluded to. Its world spans from Scandinavia to England, France to the Mediterranean, Iceland to the New World. Its cast of characters is numbered in the hundreds.

But if you had to boil it all down as succinctly as possible, you might go with something along the lines of: "It's the story of the Viking Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his sons as they amass power through their martial prowess and political cunning." (This perhaps give short shrift to Ragnar's wives Lagertha (Kathryn Winnick), Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), and the many female characters who shaped the destinies of Kattegat and the other kingdoms.) 

When Ragnar's story comes to an end, it is his children, particularly Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith), Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø) and Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) who stand at the forefront. The story of "Vikings," therefore, is the family saga of Ragnar, his wives, and his children.

But what one fan on Reddit posits: Maybe it wasn't?

What if Ivar isn't Ragnar's son?

"Could Rollo be Ivar's father?" asked Reddit user u/LordTryhard in the r/FanTheories.

Ivar is, purportedly, the youngest son of Ragnar and Aslaug, born with exceedingly brittle bones and fragile legs that make it difficult for him to walk. Despite his physical shortcomings, he grows into a Machiavellian schemer and a devious manipulator of men, even becoming King of Kattegat before a defeat sees him ally himself with the Rus. His relationship with his father and brothers is complicated; there is love there, and a desire for respect, but his differences make him very much the black sheep of the family.

But as u/LordTryhard pointed out, there are other differences as well. Ivar has dark hair, same as Ragnar's brother Rollo (Clive Standen), while both Ragnar and Aslaug are blondes. "Note how they went out of their way to make all the other Ragnarssons in some way resemble one or both of their parents," they wrote.

Some commenters weren't buying this argument, saying that hair color is hardly indicative, even though the original poster points out that they seem to have deliberately changed Ivar's hair color in the transition from child to adult actor portraying him, a change none of his other siblings went through.

How Rollo might be Ivar's real father

The author of the thread believes the timing works out as well for the series. "Aslaug and Rollo were living out in the wilderness together for several months while Ragnar was gone, and Ivar was believed to have been conceived immediately after Ragnar's return." They also pointed out that Rollo had already tried to seduce his brother's first wife, and that Aslaug would later sleep with Harbard (Kevin Durand), so they're both certainly capable of this kind of infidelity. Aslaug and Ragnar's marriage was always rocky due to his lingering feelings for Lagertha, so it wouldn't be the most surprising thing for something to have happened while the pair was in exile from Kattegat. 

What's more, the theory points out, Rollo made an extra effort to assist Ivar in Season 5 when he was at war with his brother Bjorn. "Rollo goes out of his way to send troops to aid Ivar, despite the fact that we've never seen him interact with Ivar and he has only ever been close to Bjorn. His only condition is that Ivar spares Bjorn," wrote u/LordTryhard.

Others thought this was just Rollo hedging his bets in the coming war, and trying to put himself in a position to rule after its conclusion. "I'd put money on Rollo supporting Ivar/Hvitserk is a ploy to weaken both sides while having his men in place for a coup," u/JoeDaStudd wrote.

That's the sort of cunning plot Ivar might come up with. But is it like son, like father?