Série Vikings : Qui est Athelstan ?

Vikings series: Who is Athelstan?

Athelstan is one of the main characters of the series Vikings , which appears from the first to the third season. A former monk , Athelstan becomes friends with Ragnar Lothbrock from season 1 and adopts the Viking way of life over the episodes. The viewers are fans and are very disappointed with his disappearance a little too premature. But then who really is this character so appreciated by all?

Who is Athelstan in the Vikings series?

In the Vikings series, Athelstan is a former monk. Born to an unnamed woman and man, Athelstan has four brothers and one sister . Of this sibling of six children, unfortunately only he remains, all the others having succumbed to foot-and-mouth disease. As a child, Athelstan was taken in by the church in Lindisfarne , England. He therefore grew up there surrounded by monks and spent happy days there.

Season 1: the special relationship of Ragnar and Athelstan

Athelstan Season 1

The character of Athelstan appears for the first time in the episode "The Expedition" of season 1. While the Vikings attack the monastery in which the monk is confined, the latter meets Ragnar Lothbrok . Athelstan begs him to save his life... in his own language. The northern barbarians therefore end up sparing his life under the orders of their leader. Or almost, since the Vikings melt their prisoner from Athelstan and bring him back by force to their land.

Admiring the monk who speaks his language, Ragnar decides to keep him as a servant with him and his family. And from there was born a true friendship between the two men. This relationship, as beautiful as it is improbable, arises from their understanding (and acceptance) of each other's differences. Athelstan becomes Ragnar's confidant and moral support. He is treated as a free man, even if he is not legally free from the start. And adopts the way of life of the Viking chief and of the village: he wears a beard, trains for combat, prays to the Nordic gods and participates in expeditions.

Season 2: Athelstan, a clever mix between Christian and Nordic culture

Athelstan and Ragnar Religion

While on an expedition to Wessex with the Vikings, Athelstan is taken hostage by the Christians . There, the monk escapes crucifixion and befriends King Eccbert who saves him. Athelstan is then entrusted with the task of recopying the Latin documents that the Roman emperors had left in England. While Ragnar, for his part, leaves for Wessex in order to find him and bring him back to the village.

Reunited again, Athelstan and Ragnar never leave each other and continue to learn new things from each other. The former monk continues to pray to the Norse gods . And Ragnar asks the former monk to teach him how to pray to his Christian gods. The beginning of Christianity for the Vikings is launched...

Season 3: why did Floki kill Athelstan?

Floki kills Athelstan

Season 3 of the Vikings series marks the end of Athelstan on screen. Indeed, the former monk is killed by Floki in the middle of it, during episode 6. Ragnar 's friend had been suspicious of the monk for a long time. For him, Athelstan was lying about abandoning his Christian faith for the Norse faith. One fine day, while Athelstan prays and thanks his lord for the umpteenth time, Floki breaks into his house. “Lord, welcome my soul. These are Athelstan's last words. After calling him a traitor , Floki fatally strikes him in the head with his axe . This disappearance is a shock for the viewers as for the actor who embodies the monk.

See the cast of the Vikings series .

Although deceased, Athelstan continues to appear on the screen during season 4. "His presence was too visceral" , explains Michael Hirst, producer of the series, during an interview. “He was so vital to Ragnar and Ecbert. It is therefore in the form of divine apparitions that the character continues to be present in the rest of the series.

What is the character of Athelstan?

Athelstan is resolutely curious and intelligent . Always eager for new knowledge, the monk is happy to learn new languages ​​during his travels, and to discover new cultures. Athelstan is loyal and resourceful . A bit of an artist , a bit of a warrior . Athelstan is also and above all torn between his Catholic beliefs and his Viking beliefs … a tearing apart which is also the cause of his death.

What does Athelstan look like in the Vikings series?

Physics Athelstan

During season 1, Athelstan is decked out in a large, brown toga , very specific to monks of the time. He is clean shaven and the ringlets of his hair are long enough to cover his forehead and ears. As the seasons go by, the style of the monk changes. In season 2 and 3, Athelstan wears his hair down to his shoulders and sometimes comes to tie it in a ponytail . His beard is longer , his muscles more present and his look is much more like that of a Viking.

Who plays Athelstan in the Vikings series?

Athelstan Actor George Blagden

Born in London, George Blagden is the British actor who portrays Athelstan . At 13, Georges Blagden sings and performs in several choirs. He set up his own music group, then joined a school where he studied drama. He graduated and landed his very first film role that same year, in the film The Philosophers . The actor continues with his roles in The Wrath of the Titans and Les Miserables . Before joining the cast of Vikings in 2013 . For nearly three years, he played the monk Athelstan. Since leaving the series, George Blagden has played Louis XIV in the Versailles series.

The disappearance of Athelstan, a sad news for George Blagden

If the fans of the series were disappointed to see Athelstan disappear from season 3 , they are not the only ones. Georges Blagden, his interpreter, was also saddened. Michael Hirst explained at the time that he sent a 5-page letter to the actor to explain his decision. “I wanted him to understand what the logic behind it was. It was terrible,” he said. During an interview in 2017, Georges Blagden says: “Of course I was not happy with his death. “ But he admits it all the same, it was a very good outing . And the actor continues: “just before starting the filming of season 4, the scriptwriter said to me: 'George, I don't know what direction to take with the character of Athelstan. I think that's the end of his story.' And indeed, in a series, it's important to know how to end a storyline, a character. It's important to know when it's over. And there, it is true that it was the perfect moment .

Did Athelstan Really Exist?

Athelstan Lindisfarne Monk

It's no secret that the Vikings series has always been inspired by real events . So some of the characters actually existed, and some of the events actually happened. And this even if the whole thing is adapted and fictionalized over the seasons for the good of the scenario. The raid on Lindisfarne , during season 1, is therefore part of the real events from which Michael Hist was inspired. In 793, at the dawn of the Viking Age, the northern barbarians set out on one of their first raids on the British island of Lindisfarne . There, the Vikings kidnap three monks, one of whom survives. If Athelstan as such did not really exist a priori, his character is still inspired by past events .

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