header banner

10 Little-Known Facts About Bjorn from the Vikings

Vikings: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Bjorn

VIDEO: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Actors Of Vikings (Season 5)
Ragnar Lothbrok

Viking's Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) is a complicated character poised to inherit the throne. Here are some little-known facts about him.

Alexander Ludwig as Bjorn Ironside in Vikings

After six dense seasons comprised of 93 episodes, The History Channel's epic series Vikings finally concluded at the end of 2020. The sweeping historical drama recounts the European conquest of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), a legendary Norse figure who ravaged the continent from the 8th to 11th century, and his family.

In the show, Ragnar's eldest son is named Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), a complicated character poised to inherit the throne. Given the massive amount of characters on the show and breathless action that takes place, it's easy to overlook these tidbits about Bjorn.

Name Means Bear

Bjorn squats on boat in Vikings

Non-native Swedish speakers may not know that Bjorn translates as Bear in the Scandinavian language. However, even if aware of the translation, fans are probably unaware that it is forbidden to utter the word bear for fear of manifesting the beast in Norse ritual.

As such, the name Bjorn was created as a substitute for Bear. Over time, the nickname caught on and eventually replaced the original word. The word Bjorn became so common it was ultimately adopted as a name.

Not Really Ragnar's Eldest Son

Bjorn sits on stones in Vikings

In the show Vikings, Bjorn is presented as being Ragnar's eldest son. Therefore, he is ostensibly the first in line to potentially inherit the throne of Denmark after his father's death. However, according to Norse myth, Bjorn was not really Ragnar's eldest son.

According to mythologian.net, Ragnar's oldest son was Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh Andersen), while Bjorn was his second child. This contradicts the show's narrative arc, though fans understand it is a fictional account.

Mother Is Not Lagertha

Bjorn wears armor on boat in Vikings

Another major contradiction in the show relates to Bjorn's real biological mother. In Vikings, Bjorn is presented as the son of Ragnar and Lagertha. However, in Norse myth, Bjorn's mother was someone else entirely.

While Ragnar and Lagertha did have a son named Fridleif, history claims that Princess Aslaug was Bjorn's biological mother. The change was made in the series due to Lagertha hailing from the Gesta Danorum rather than the Saga of Ragnar.

Caused Parents Divorce

Bjorn with arms crossed in Vikings

Although he could not have known it at the time, Bjorn was directly responsible for causing Ragnar and Lagertha's divorce. When the Vikings return to Kattegat in Season 2, Bjorn feels compelled to inform Lagertha of Ragnar's chronic infidelity.

While he didn't divulge too much out of loyalty to his father, Lagertha decided to leave Ragnar following her son's secret admission. After deciding to stay with Ragnar, Bjorn ultimately opted to remain with his mother and new stepfather, Earl Sigvard.

Arm Ring

Bjorn sits in cave in Vikings

Fans of Vikings who joined the series after the first episode or two may have missed the origin of Bjorn's iconic Arm Ring. Despite wanting to become a fierce warrior in his father's image, it was another powerful figure who bestowed him with his unique metallic jewelry.

When he turned 12 years old, Bjorn was given his majestic arm ring by Earl Haraldson, Ragnar's powerful predecessor. Haraldson gave arm rings to all the men in the region in exchange for undying loyalty, but Bjorn remained far more faithful to his father than the reigning Earl.

Had Five Wives

Bjorn stand with wife in Vikings

Given his incessant romantic dalliances throughout the show, it's hard to keep track of Bjorn's wives and lovers. But to be clear, Bjorn had five wives and two mistresses during his 67-episode run on Vikings.

In chronological order, Bjorn's wives included Thorrun (Gaia Weiss), Torvi (Georgia Hirst), Snaefrid (Dagney Backer Johnsen), Gunnhild (Ragga Ragnars), and Ingrid (Lucy Martin). After divorcing Torvi, Bjorn took up with his lover Astrid (Josefin Asplund). Following his marriage to Snaefrid, Bjorn courted Elsewith (Roisin Murphy).

Children & Siblings

Bjorn in fur and mohawk in Vikings

On the show, Bjorn had a daughter named Siggy with Thorrun, a son named Hali and a daughter named Asa with Torvi, and one son with Gunnhild, who did not survive birth. He also impregnated Elsewith at one point.

As for his siblings, Bjorn had one full-blooded sister named Gyda (Ruby O'Leary) and four paternal half-brothers. His brothers include the aforesaid Ivar the Boneless, Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith), Hvitserk (Marco Ilso).

Erik Bjornsson & Bjorn At Haugi

Bjorn wears hood in snow in Vikings

Adding to Bjorn's confusing lineage are two distant relatives not addressed on the show. Since Season 6 ends with Bjorn's near-fatal injury at the hands of his brother Ivar, his royal descendants are completely omitted.

However, according to Norse legend (per mythologian.net), Bjorn is also the father of Erik Bjornsson, King of Sweden, during the 9th century. Erik Bjornsson also had a son named Bjorn at Haugi, who inherited the throne as King of Sweden following his father's death. Ipso facto, Bjorn Ironside is also Bjorn at Haugi's grandfather.

Not The Heathen Army Leader

Bjorn arrives in Hedeby to take Torvi from her husband

Another discrepancy in the show relates to Bjorn's ranking as the self-proclaimed leader of the Great Heathen Army in Season 4, Episode 18. However, this is factually inaccurate as Bjorn was dead by the time the army ravaged Europe in the late 9th century. Most accounts place Bjorn's death around 859.

According to lore (via mytholgian.net), it is believed that the character of Halfdan was the Viking who led a unit in the Great Heathen Army on a raid in Northumbria in 875-876.

Swedish Munso Dynasty

Bjorn stands along stone wall in Vikings

One tidbit about Bjorn Ironside that is not up for debate is his reign as the founder and first ruler of the Swedish Munso Dynasty. Also known as the Old Dynasty and the House of Bjorn Ironside, the kingdom ruled Sweden until a civil war ended their reign at the end of the 10th century.

Also, according to mythologian.net, Munso derives its name from a grassy knoll on the island where Bjorn's gravesite purportedly rests. Alas, very few of these details made it into Vikings.

NEXT: Vikings: 10 Storylines & Scenes Fans Can't Forget


Article information

Author: Martin Kim

Last Updated: 1699139163

Views: 860

Rating: 3.8 / 5 (114 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Martin Kim

Birthday: 2013-04-16

Address: 66794 Rachel Cliff, Stevensburgh, KY 37397

Phone: +4311166477135741

Job: Data Scientist

Hobby: Telescope Building, Magic Tricks, Rowing, Painting, Beer Brewing, Cooking, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Martin Kim, I am a unreserved, capable, dedicated, Determined, ingenious, receptive, sincere person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.