"A King's Ransom" is the seventh episode of the first season of Vikings. It is the seventh episode of the series overall. It first aired on April 14, 2013. It was written by creator Michael Hirst and directed by Ken Girotti.
From their newly set up camp, the Vikings attack the Northumbrians by cover of night. They are able to capture the king's brother Aethelwulf. Ragnar demands a lot of money for the Vikings peaceful departure. King Aelle agrees to this if one the Vikings is baptized as a Christian. Rollo volunteers and is baptized. Instead of paying the monetary demands, Aelle attacks the Vikings camp. Rollo, in particular, fights extra hard to prove he hasn't forsaken his true gods. Ragnar sends Aethelwulf's body to the king and he finally pays the agreed upon amount. Back home Lagertha is ruling. Siggy offers Lagertha her service and Lagertha accepts.
Aethelwulf arrives in Northumbria. He's been charged with leading King Aelle's armies against Ragnar and his men. Ragnar sets up camp and waits for the Northumbrian soldiers to arrive. Meanwhile in Scandinavia, Lagertha runs the hall and deals with petitioners. Aethelwulf observes from above the camp that the Vikings have made. They decide not to strike but to somehow make the Vikings give up their position. Rollo and Ragnar are aware of them watching but Ragnar says that he first wants to see what they'll do. In the middle of the night, Ragnar and his group of men attack. They win and take the camp captive. Ragnar asks Aethelwulf if they shall go visit the King. King Aelle is upset that his brother has lost. The cardinal thinks that this is the work of God while another think's it's the work of the devil. One lord thinks that they should just pay off the Vikings so that they'll go away. The Vikings arrive and are invited in to talk with King Aelle. Instead, they turn around and head back the way they came. They return later because Ragnar wants to see the way that they live. He is brought before King Aelle and they are invited to the feast. King Aelle asks what it would take for the Vikings to leave and to hand over his brother. Ragnar says two thousand pounds. The King accepts his terms but tells them that they must remain in their camp until he can round up that kind of money. He also says that he wants one of Ragnar's group to become Christian. Rollo volunteers to be baptized.
Siggy goes to visit Lagertha. She tells Lagertha that she'd like to serve her. Lagertha says that it's not necessary but Athelstan points out that it could help Siggy be happy. Lagertha says that if it's really what she wants then she accepts her offer. She tells Siggy that she and her daughter are now under her protection. Rollo is baptized and King Aelle tells Ragnar to return to his ships to await payment. Gyda can't sleep so she goes to lay with Lagertha. Floki is upset with Rllo because he feels like he betrayed his Gods. King Aelle is true to his word and sends a cart full of money. Or so they think but once they check the boxes they are empty. King Aelle's men attack them unawares but Ragnar and his men face them head-on. During the fight, Rollo kills many Christians to prove to Floki that Odin is no longer mad at him. After, Ragnar goes to talk with Aethalwulf. Aethalwulf asks him to give him the chance to talk to his brother to persuade him to keep his word. Ragnar says that why shouldn't he just kill him now and Aethalwulf says because then he'd have nothing left to bargain with. Ragnar does kill him and sends him back to King Aelle's by attaching him to a horse.
Lagertha goes into labor and is helped by Siggy. After receiving Ragnar's message, King Aelle keeps his word and pays him his money. Ragnar and his men leave. King Aelle swears that one day he'll avenge himself on Ragnar.
- Travis Fimmel as Earl Ragnar Lothbrok
- Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha
- Clive Standen as Rollo Sigurdsson
- Jessalyn Gilsig as Siggy
- Gustaf Skarsgård as Floki
- George Blagden as Athelstan
- Ivan Kaye as King Aelle of Northumbria
- David Murray as Lord Aethelwulf
- Nathan O'Toole as Björn Ragnarsson
Additional Cast (in order of appearance)
- Jefferson Hall as Torstein
- Tadhg Murphy as Arne
- Diarmaid Murtagh as Leif
- Angus MacInnes as Tostig
- Cathy White as Queen Ealhswith of Northumbria
- Sean Treacy as Prince Ecgberht of Northumbria
- Tristan McConnell as Saxon Warrior
- Peter Gaynor as Lord Edgar
- Matt Ryan as Peasant Man
- Deirdre Mullins as Peasant Woman
- Cillian O'Gairbhi as Saxon Warrior 2
- Andy Kellegher as Saxon Warrior 1
- Gary Murphy as Bishop Unwan
- Jonathan Ryan as Noble 3
- James Flynn as Eadric
- Michael James Ford as Noble 2
- Alexander Downes as Noble 5
- Ruby O'Leary as Gyda Ragnarsdóttir
- Dean O'Neill as Viking Warrior
- Elinor Crawley as Thyri
- Maude Hirst as Helga
- Robert MacDomhnail as Viking Warrior
- When the Norsemen talk about the captured horses, Floki states that the talk of horses makes him "hungry already." This is a reference to the tradition of ritually consuming horse meat in pagan Scandinavia.
- King Aelle's villa may have been the royal estate of Ad Murum, mentioned by the Venerable Bede to have been located at Monkchester (modern Newcastle upon Tyne), as Ragnar Lothbrok and his Northmen were sighted to be sailing into Nothumbria via the Tyne River during the previous episode.
- Going back to college and studying acting was one of those things," the Limerick, Ireland, native continued. "I left college and I got my acting degree, and I was looking for work. I handed in my resume and headshot to 'Vikings' because they were filming in Ireland."
- One of the stunt performancers featured in this episode was then future-WWE Superstar Becky Lynch. Lynch revealed in a 2019 interview with Fox News that she lied to the producers about doing her own stunts at the time her resume and headshot were being reviewed by them, and they thought she was stuntwoman.