Vikings season 3 was one of the show’s best – here’s a recap of the season’s key events plus a summary of the finale. The first season of Vikings premiered on the History Channel in 2013 and quickly became a fan favorite and one of the network’s most-watched shows. The historical drama is based on the Norse tales of Viking chief Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and focuses on the clash of cultures, religions, and politics that occurred in the wake of the Viking diaspora throughout Europe in the early Middle Ages.
The History Channel announced in early 2019 the sixth season of Vikings would be the show’s last. That could be because many viewers and critics felt the quality of the series waned throughout season 5 following Ragnar’s departure in the previous season. Back in season 3, however, Vikings was still on a high note and delivered some of the show's best episodes.
Vikings season 3 kicks off with Ragnar traveling to Wessex with a fleet of Norse settlers to claim the land promised to him by King Ecbert. When they arrive, the crafty king tells Ragnar he and his men must fight against Mercian soldiers on behalf of Princess Kwenthrith if they want their land. This leads to Torstein’s death and causes Ragnar’s former right-hand man Floki to question why Ragnar would want his men to fight and die for Christians. Floki’s hatred towards Christianity later compels him to kill Ragnar’s new BFF – Northumbrian monk turned pagan sympathizer Athelstan – after the latter reaffirms his Christian faith.
Meanwhile, back in Scandinavia Kalf has usurped Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) earldom in Hedeby and Siggy has drowned, leaving Rollo heartbroken, while Þórunn gives birth to her and Bjorn’s baby, naming her in Siggy’s honor. The latter half of Vikings season 3 focuses on the raid Ragnar leads on Paris which is unsuccessful and leaves the Viking king gravely wounded. After the Franks try to bargain with Ragnar by offering him gold and silver, he refuses and – feeling he is close to death – asks to be baptized and buried within the city walls instead, seemingly turning his back on his Norse faith.
In the season 3 finale “The Dead,” it seems Ragnar has succumbed to his battle wounds as a funeral procession escorts his coffin inside the city walls of Paris. It soon transpires the show has pulled the ultimate bait-and-switch when Ragnar jumps out of his coffin alive, allowing his fellow Vikings to raid the city. The third season of Vikings concludes with Ragnar’s brother Rollo staying in France as Ragnar sails home to Kattegat and tells Floki he knows he killed Athelstan.