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Deliver me oh Lord from my enemies!

– King Aelle, All His Angels

Aelle (or Aella) was the spiteful and vindictive King of Northumbria. He was finally killed by Björn, avenging Ragnar's death.

Biography Edit

History Edit

King Aelle of Northumbria, according to some historical accounts, was responsible for the death of Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok. Shipwrecked on the shores of Northumbria, Ragnar was captured. Aelle had him thrown into a pit full of venomous snakes. "How the little pigs would grunt," Ragnar is reported to have said, "if they knew how the old boar suffers!" The "little pigs," Ragnar's term of endearment for his sons, did more than grunt. Word of their father's death galvanized them into action.  

Season 1 Edit

Aelle's hatred toward Ragnar begins at their first encounter. Ragnar defeats his men twice and loots his kingdom. Aelle executes Wigea, one of his lieutenants for his failure. Then, Ragnar demands 2000 pounds not to attack Aelle's kingdom and to release his brother, captured one little before. Aelle springs a trap but Ragnar and his troops repel the attack. Ragnar kills Aethelwulf, Aelle's brother, and the King pay the ranson but swear to avenge of Ragnar and to declare him a war no mercy.

Season 2 Edit

He allies with King Ecbert and defeats Ragnar's army. Then he becomes temporary prisoner to exchange him against Rollo, injured and captured during the battle.

Season 3 Edit

He is present with King Ecbert, Ragnar, Lagertha, Rollo, Aethelwulf (Ecbert's son) and Judith, when Kwenthrith poisons Burgred and becomes Queen of Mercia.

Season 4 Edit

Always allied with King Ecbert, the two kings do a pact : to share the Mercia between them. But, after Queen Kwenthrith's death, Ecbert betrays Aelle and becomes King of Mercia, Aelle swears of to avenge Ecbert. Later, Aelle has the pleasure to see Ragnar in a cage as a gift for him, because Ragnar killed his brother. He shows no mercy, has him beaten and tortured before throwing him into a pit of snakes. After Ragnar's death, Judith warns King Aelle that he hasn't no idea of the revenge of Ragnar's sons and the consequences of his actions, but she receives only from the contempt from his father and mockery of her sister. Arrogant, his father confirms her that they are fully prepared at the battle and refuses to demand Ecbert's help. Later, he goes to fight Ragnar's sons and their army with Unwan and his army. At first, he mocks of the Viking's Army but realises too late that they are too many for them. Bjorn, Ubbe, Hvitserk, Sigurd, Ivar and Floki launch their army at the attack, decimating the Saxons, Unwan dying of his injuries in the episode "On the Eve" and capturing Aelle. At first, Aelle is trained behind Ivar's war chariot. When Aelle shows the place where Ragnar is dead, their hate for him reach his paroxysm. Cowardly, Aelle demands how many of gold and silver they want to spare his life but Ivar responded to him by stating that his father, Ragnar, was worth more than simple gold and silver. Aelle is then executed by Bjorn with the blood eagle, much of pleasure of his brothers, and his corpse is hanged at the pit where Ragnar was executed. Bjorn, his brothers and Floki are satisfied to have avenged their father and friend.

Personality and traits Edit

King Aelle is a domineering, hard, and demanding man who does not tolerate failure, having one of his generals thrown into a pit of snakes after losing a minor battle. He is overweight and always stays at a safe distance during battles, which would earn him much disrespect from the Vikings as a people that respect strength and courage. He seems to be a joyful drinker and acts in a both loud and intrusive manner when intoxicated, hugging an uncomfortable King Ecbert in the bath house when shouting praises about the victory over the Norsemen. Politically, he is not as cunning as his new ally and doesn't consider himself obligated to honor any agreements (at least not with pagans), as seen when he offers the Vikings gold to leave but use the empty chests as a way to lure them into a false sense of security before his army attacks. Though not trusting Ecbert initially, Aelle was more than happy to marry off his daughter Judith to Ecbert's son and heir Aethelwulf, not hesitating to reply joyfully when the king of Wessex proposed a wedding between the two families.

To explain Aelle's personality further, he typifies the kind of man with lots of guts and nothing else. He, like the above says, carries unreasonable amounts of fat, and selfishly feasts as if food and drink has no value towards the higher virtues of his subordinates, whom require more food than they take. In the show he tends to be highly emotional and manipulative, and relies on charm and his simple mannerisms to get his way and remain as an unqualified king, while the superior minds of Ragnar and his coven remain muted.

Quotes Edit

I swear before God almighty, I declare war eternal on the Northman Ragnar Lothbrok. I swear to our lord Jesus Christ and to the blessed virgin, one day I will avenge myself on him, and bring him to justice and to death, so help me God.

– King Aelle, A King's Ransom

Contend, Oh Lord, against those who contend with me. Fight against those who fight against me! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation”.

– King Aelle, A King's Ransom

Deliver me oh Lord from my enemies!

– King Aelle, All His Angels

Trivia Edit

  • Aelle is alternatively spelled as Aella.
  • The Icelandic saga, the Tale of Ragnar's Sons and the writings of Symeon of Durham (died in 1129) are the main sources on the Northumbrian King Aelle.
  • During the Season 1 episode A King's Ransom Aelle may have been at his villa of Ad Murum (Latin: at the [Hadrian's] Wall), which was located at the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Monkchester (modern Newcastle upon Tyne), which was close by where the Viking fleet led by Earl Ragnar Lothbrok entered Nothumbria through the Tyne River during his third expedition to England.
  • Though depicted in the Series as being king of Northumbria in the 790's-early 800's, the real-life King Aelle was alive in the 860's AD some sixty-seventy years later and was king for at least two years. Not enough time to cement permanent dynastic rule before the invasion of the Great Heathen Army.
  • Though the saga The Tale of Ragnar's Sons mentions King Aelle keeping a snakepit, it would have been highly unlikely to have a number of tropical snakes available in Anglo-Saxon England. Vipera berus, or the Common European Adder, are the only snake species in Britain known to be venomous, though they are tempermentally quite timid and unlikely to attack except when cornered.
  • Ivan Kaye co-starred in the 2013 film Hammer of the Gods, where he portrays the Viking warlord Ivar the Boneless, the very person credited with the execution of King Aella of Northumbria.

Gallery Edit

Appearances Edit

Season one appearances
Rites of Passage Wrath of the Northmen Dispossessed
Trial Raid Burial of the Dead
A King's Ransom Sacrifice All Change
Season two appearances
Brother's War Invasion Treachery Eye For an Eye Answers in Blood
Unforgiven Blood Eagle Boneless The Choice The Lord's Prayer
Season three appearances
Mercenary The Wanderer Warrior's Fate Scarred The Usurper
Born Again Paris To the Gates! Breaking Point The Dead
Season four appearances
A Good Treason Kill the Queen Mercy Yol Promised
What Might Have Been The Profit and the Loss Portage Death All 'Round The Last Ship
The Outsider The Vision Two Journeys In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning All His Angels
Crossings The Great Army Revenge On the Eve The Reckoning