|“||I worship Freya! No one can stop me!||”|
Aslaug was the second wife of Ragnar Lothbrok. Aslaug had a gift, as she was believed to be a volva, who could see the future through visions.
Aslaug was a princess, the daughter of Brynhildr, a legendary Shield-maiden, and Sigurd, a hero in the sagas who slew the dragon Fafnir. Both of her parents died before she got to know either of them, and she learned social skills and refinement over warrior skills.
Ragnar, distressed and upset over the loss of his son with Lagertha due to a miscarriage, goes on a pilgrimage to Uppsala, hoping to receive answers from the gods. Ragnar asks the gods who will be the mother of the many sons promised to him if it won't be his wife Lagertha, who appears infertile.
Acting for King Horik, Ragnar and a small party of his followers travel to Götaland (modern day Sweden) to resolve a land dispute. While there, two of Ragnar's men, Arne and Torstein, stumble and spy upon the beautiful and clever Aslaug, who is bathing. The men are reprimanded by her shieldmaidens, and Aslaug demands an apology from their Earl on their behalf.
Intrigued, Ragnar sees her as a challenge the gods have given him. Interested less in her beauty and more in her wit, Ragnar agrees to meet with her if she comes to them "neither dressed nor undressed, neither hungry nor full, and neither in company nor alone." Aslaug obliges, arriving dressed in a net, biting an apple, and with only a dog as a companion. Impressed by her ingenuity, Ragnar fulfills his end in the bargain and apologizes.
Smitten with each other, the two soon become lovers, much to the chagrin of his son Bjorn, who has traveled with his father and is intensely loyal to his mother. Shortly thereafter Aslaug tells Ragnar that she is carrying his child. After asking Odin what he should do he goes to visit her in her room. Bjorn almost stops him but doesn't when he sees a raven in the window, which throughout the season has foretold the beginning of an important event.
Ragnar returns to Lagertha and admits his affair with Aslaug. Though upset, Lagertha decides to set aside her anger. This changes, however, when the heavily pregnant Aslaug arrives in Kattegat. The two women, understandably, do not get along. Aslaug's pregnancy is a reproach to Lagertha's infertility and failure to carry a child to term. To keep his unborn son, Ragnar suggests marriage to both Lagertha and Aslaug. Aslaug is open to the idea but Lagertha is hurt and humiliated and leaves Ragnar instead and Bjorn leaves with her.
Four years after, Aslaug is living comfortably with Ragnar, having given birth to two sons, and pregnant with a third. She delights in her children but knows she is not first in his heart. Aslaug becomes suspicious when Ragnar starts a conversation with Hild, a new young servant girl. Aslaug later warns the girl to be careful with whom she is familiar.
Later that night, Aslaug confronts Ragnar, accusing him of wanting to sleep with the servant, amongst other women, which he denies. Aslaug then claims to be a völva. To convince Ragnar, she prophesizes that their next son will bear the image of the dragon Fafnir in his eye.
While Ragnar and his men raid England, Aslaug gives birth to a healthy son she names Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, after her father. As she had prophesized, the child's eye bears the image of Fafnir.
Ragnar sets his sights on raiding England once more and leaves Aslaug to care for their children and village business as the Earl's wife. In his absence, Jarl Borg attacks Kattegat for revenge - Aslaug and her children, as well as Siggy and Rollo, manage to escape into the countryside. Aslaug is distressed about her new living conditions, saying the filth is bad for her children.
Word soon reaches Ragnar of Jarl Borg's invasion and he immediately heads back home, glad to find his wife safe. Lagertha rallies to him, bringing both warriors and their son, Bjorn to help retake Kattegat . Ragnar and Bjorn sneak into Kattegat and destroy their grain stores, thus pushing Jarl Borg out. Ragnar is thrilled to see his son again, but is conflicted about seeing Lagertha - he later tells The Seer he wants both women. Aslaug sees how admired Lagertha is and tells Ragnar she wishes she could be like her and offers to leave if Ragnar wants Lagertha instead. Lagertha, married to the Earl of Hedeby, returns home, and Bjorn remains in Kattegat. Aslaug and Lagertha exchange farewells and appear to harbor no resentment towards each other;
On returning to Kattegat, in a moment of prophecy, Aslaug warns Ragnar he must delay having sex with her for three days or the child she carries will be born a monster. They have sex anyway. After a particularly difficult pregnancy and a birth that nearly kills both mother and child, Aslaug delivers another son. As prophesied, the child is deformed.
Ragnar tells Aslaug that their son should be killed, as he won't live long with a deformity, though the thought clearly upsets him. Aslaug refuses and argues for his life, and although Ragnar steals the child away, he is unable to kill him. They name him Ivar, though others in the village are starting to whisper about the new child and what may be wrong with him. Aslaug does her best to care for this child that Ragnar openly rejects, and who may have no future in the Viking world.
Ragnar and his warriors prepare to depart for Wessex, returning to claim land that was promised to them by King Ecbert. Aslaug is unhappy; she believes that Ragnar is not in love with her anymore. She remains in Kattegat with Siggy and Helga. Winter comes.
Aslaug, Helga, and Siggy spend the days together caring for the children, weaving and spinning. Helga starts speaking of a strange dream she had while strolling in the market, about a stranger. Aslaug and Siggy reveal they have had the same dream. Helga asks if Siggy knows what it meant but she says she does not know.
Sometime later, a mysterious man appears before Helga, injured and asking for a place to stay. He calls himself Harbard, a wanderer who injured his hand. He tells the women he literally 'sings for his meal' and is a capable storyteller. He proves this later at dinner by recounting a fascinating tale which he claims to have witnessed. Though Siggy is suspicious of him, Aslaug grows increasingly interested. Her interest grows when Harbard is able to stop Ivar's suffering, calming the child like no other can. Her interest leads to love - or at least love-making. Siggy and Helga are well aware of where Aslaug is going; she leaves the children in the care of Siggy.
While she is away, however, two of her sons walk over the frozen lake and accidentally fall in. Siggy is able to pull the boys from the water but dies in the process.
Upon Ragnar's return, he is furious with Aslaug when he learns his sons nearly died, and Siggy did. Aslaug is questioned as to why she was not caring for their sons. He is highly suspicious of her story, enough so that he even refrains from making love to her. Aslaug is angry and asks if he had too much sex in England.
Growing tired of Ragnar and their marriage, Aslaug asks the Seer if a woman will take the throne of Kattegat. Aslaug, of course, implies that she will be that woman. The Seer says that he has seen it so … but does not say who the woman is. Elsewhere, Bjorn has rejected his daughter, Siggy, because she looks too much like her departed mother, Pórunn. Aslaug is not heartless and sternly tells Bjorn that she will take care of her instead.
In the passing years, Aslaug and Ragnar's sons have grown; she raises them with fantastic tales of her father, the great hero Sigurd. Perhaps her own husband simply doesn’t measure up. Later, a group of French traders arrive with some slaves and Aslaug purchases a young Asian woman who catches Ragnar's eye. She is aware her relationship with Ragnar has soured and grown cold over the years, but intends to keep him otherwise occupied.
Meanwhile, Bjorn has taken it upon himself to imprison Floki; he feels Floki should have to pay for killing Athelstan, a sentiment not shared by Ragnar, and even less so by Aslaug. Ragnar intervenes, though Floki later manages to escape. Asalug tells her husband that Floki did nothing wrong, for Athelstan was only a Christian. Enraged, Ragnar slaps his wife, telling her that it is not about religion, but rather loyalty, something that he feels neither her nor Floki understand (as he feels betrayed by both of them). For Aslaug this is the end of her love for Ragnar.
Sometime later, Floki is recaptured and tortured but he is eventually freed by Ragnar. Aslaug takes her youngest son, Ivar, to Floki and Helga in order to formally ask a favor of Floki. She claims that Ragnar cannot teach her son how to be viking: though Ragnar makes a few tries to bond with Ivar, Aslaug coldly tells him that he cannot force Ivar to like him. She asks Floki to teach Ivar to be a true viking, to love the Gods as she does, and to be a warrior. Shortly after this, to the surprise of all of them, and Ivar himself, Ivar ends up physically assaulting another child who was teasing him by picking up something of an ax and throwing it to the side of his head.
Later, Aslaug asks Ragnar if he would like to spend some time with her new slave, Yidu. He does, and the two leave the village to spend some time alone, just as Aslaug intended. While Ragnar is away, a new lord named Harald comes to Kattegat and asks to see him. Aslaug instead entertains him and asks why he has come. Harald tells her that he had courted a princess, but she refused him because she had received much better marriage offers. Aslaug says that he could have just taken her, and Harald agrees, but says he liked her spirit and felt he should become worth of her, and the only way to do that, is to become king. Aslaug understands this language of threats and replies that in order to do so, he must overthrow her husband, Ragnar.
As winter ends, Ragnar decides it is time to raid Paris again, and informs Aslaug that he will be taking their eldest sons with him. Aslaug protests, saying they are to young to fight, but Ragnar tells her that they are not to young to watch. Ragnar sails away with Lagertha, Bjorn, Harold, his mistress Yidu and a huge war band, leaving Aslaug behind with their youngest sons, Sigurd and Ivar. Not so long after, Sigurd becomes bored with his only playmate and Aslaug tells him to play with Siggy instead while she breastfeeds Ivar. Sigurd objects; however, as Siggy is dirty and can only barely walk.
While Ragnar is busy fighting abroad, Aslaug receives a visitor: Harbard, who comes with a promise to end Aslaug's suffering and make her free. Harbard claims that he was unaware the Ragnar was gone and the two kiss, with Sigurd secretly watching. Aslaug starts to hope that Harbard will become her next husband.
Following this, Floki has a vision of Aslaug, who in the vision has sex with him before the man transforms into Harbard. This alerts Floki to the news that Harbard has returned to Kattegat.
Unfortunately, Harbard's promise fails when Sigurd shows his mother that he is sleeping with other women in the village. Aslaug is furious though Harbard insists that he only sleeps with them so he can free them of their troubles. As he did with Ivar, Harbard claims, he takes into himself a person's troubles (though in the case for women it means having sex with them). Aslaug is naturally skeptical, and tells him that she has longed for only his presence since he last left. Harbard replies that possession is the opposite of love and with that, he leaves town again.
Aslaug takes his departure badly, spending her time drinking and playing games with Ivar, who easily beats her in her drunken state. Sigurd runs home with news that Siggy has died - he found her muddy body face down in the creek. "Who?" Aslaug asks, before finally understanding who the child was. Aslaug is unconcerned - she assumed someone else was watching her - but when Ivar quickly says that no one cares Siggy is dead, Sigurd storms out, and Aslaug smiles at her favorite son. After the defeat of Ragnar's forces at Paris and on the river Seine, the Viking king flees Kattegat, leaving Aslaug as sole ruler for nine years. Under her rule, the town blossoms and becomes a big and wealthy city. Aslaug stays in power and raises her sons to adulthood.
Ragnar returns, and ultimately reconciles with Aslaug, expressing his gratitude for her grace and fairness in the face of his abandonment. Lagertha warns her that she will never truly become Queen and that she has never forgiven her for taking away her husband and the life she once had. With the complicity of Torvi and Margrethe, Lagertha conquers Kattegat with Astrid and her army. Aslaug accepts defeat on the condition that she be given safe passage to go wherever she chooses. Lagertha feigns acceptance, or at least stands mutely aside while Aslaug passes, only to put an arrow through her back moments later, making Lagertha Queen in Kattegat. A sacrifice is made and Aslaug is given proper funeral rites. Her body is sent out to sea in an adorned raft which is then ceremoniously set on fire.
Aslaug is seen a last time in the episode "All His Angels", during Ragnar's flashbacks before his death at the hands of King Aelle.
- Ubbe - the first son born to Aslaug and Ragnar, conceived while Ragnar was still married to Lagertha. His birth ultimately causes the marriage of Ragnar and Lagertha to dissolve.
- Hvitserk - the second son, only slightly younger than Ubbe.
- Sigurd "Snake-in-the-Eye" - third son, whom Aslaug prophesied would bear the mark of Fafnir, the serpent-dragon her father killed.
- Ivar "the Boneless" - the fourth and youngest son of Aslaug and Ragnar, conceived after Ragnar returned from England. Aslaug warned Ragnar that she had seen a prophecy forbidding them to have sex for three days lest there be dire consequences. Ragnar dismissed Aslaug and the child was born with twisted, deformed legs. Ragnar intended to kill the child, against Aslaug's wishes, but could not do so. Aslaug feels he does not care about him and avoids him, unlike his other sons. Aslaug, however, considers Ivar to be her favorite son.
|“||We women bear heavy burdens.||”|
– Aslaug , Paris
|“||It is the Gods that have woven our destinies, not ourselves.||”|
– Aslaug , Paris
|“||What does it matter what you call someone? Whether she’s Viking or not Viking is not important. What is important is that you love and nurture her.||”|
|“||But remember, your grandfather, my father, was the greatest warrior of all time. He slayed the dragon Fafnir and is spoken of in the sagas. Surely you will inherit his warlike gifts. All of you will be great warriors.||”|
– Aslaug to her sons, A Good Treason
|“||Floki, I came to deliver my precious son into your hands. This is Ivar, who I love more than anyone else alive. And, Floki, I know he is clever. I want you to teach him the ways of our Gods. Teach Ivar the true path. Teach him to hate the Christian God as you hate the Christian God! Only you can do it, not Ragnar. I will bring him to you every day. Teach him to be a Viking. Teach him the deep, and ancient, ways.||”|
- Aslaug's father, Sigurd the Dragonslayer, was a king of Gautland and a scion of the Volsung clan (descendants of Odin). And her mother was the shieldmaiden Brynhildr, daughter to King Budli of the Svear (Swedes). The Asmundar Saga mentions King Budli's ties with the Huns through his daughter Hildir's marriage to Helgi, son of Hildebrand.
- Due to Lagertha not existing in the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok but rather the Gesta Danorum, it is Aslaug who was Bjorn's mother.
- The sheild carried by Aslaug's personal guard is the symbol of the oldest Swedish noble family: Natt och Dag. Fittingly, the family hails from Götaland.
|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|