Aethelstan’s Anti-Funeral


In episode 6 of Season 3 of the popular drama Vikings, a personal clash of faiths and personal interests culminates in the slaying of the religious turncoat Aethelstan by the ship-builder and all-round hyper-pagan weirdo Floki.

Who is Aethelstan? He is both the most implausible character in the series and an important lynchpin by connecting the pagan and Christian worlds of the show’s characters. Originally a monk of Lindisfarne, he was captured by Ragnar’s raid and serves as a slave and then servent on Ragnar’s farm and then at Kattegat. He becomes a Viking warrior, joins the first raid on Wessex and slays many Christian soldiers, a monk and a bishop, before being captured. He is then partially crucified, saved by King Ecbert, becomes a monk again, has an affair with the king of Northumbria’s daughter (and wife of Ecbert’s son Prince Aethelwulf), thus becoming father to the future…

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