Ever since the show Vikings had a scene where Ragnar Lothbrok meets with Alfred the Great, there has been speculation as to whether this was historically accurate. Did Ragnar have the chance to meet a young Alfred in real life? To answer the question, no, Alfred the Great did not meet Ragnar Lothbrok. Here’s why:
Was Ragnar Lothbrok a real person?
While there really was a Viking by the name of Ragnar Lothbrok (or Lodbrok), the Ragnar character from the Vikings series was based on various Vikings throughout the era. Writers of shows and movies will often base a character on a group of people rather than on the real person of the same name. They do this for various reasons including budget constraints, time constraints, making the show/film flow better, and to include more parts of the story without having to waste too much time on little tangents and side quests. We need to understand this to understand what comes next.
King Alfred met with Ragnar’s sons (for real this time)
King Alfred did meet with different Vikings throughout his reign. Two of these Vikings included Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons Halfdan Ragnarson and his half brother Hubba (aka Ubba). At the time that Alfred the Great met with Ragnar’s sons, however, they were already twice Alfred’s age. It is unlikely that Ragnar was even alive anymore at the time this meeting took place.
How it all ties together
Taking into consideration that the Ragnar from the series represents not just the real life Ragnar, but other Vikings as well, we can only surmise that in the scene where Ragnar Lothbrok meets with King Alfred, the character is representing another Viking. Who knows, he may even be representing one (or both) of Real-Life Ragnar’s sons, who, as we now know, did meet King Alfred.