Throughout Vikings, Rollo repeatedly betrayed his brother Ragnar, but his ultimate betrayal was his decision to remain in Paris. Why did he stay?
The majority of the Vikings main characters met tragic ends, but some, like Rollo when he chose to remain in Paris, simply distanced themselves from the fighting and Ragnar’s crew. Why did he do this, though? Due to their use of fictional characters and stories to heighten the drama and action, historical dramas have become very popular. Michael Hirst’s Vikings is one of the most watched TV programs from this genre in recent years.
Initially focusing on the journeys and exploits of renowned Norse warrior Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his Viking brothers, Vikings gradually moved its attention to Ragnar’s offspring and their own journeys as the series went on. Though most of them met sad ends, like Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Ragnar, some chose a different road away from the conflicts, as was the case with Rollo (Clive Standen), Ragnar’s brother, with whom he had a troubled relationship since Rollo spent years living in his brother’s shadow.
Rollo, Ragnar’s older sibling, may have been Björn’s biological father because he dated Lagertha before she wed Ragnar. Rollo’s emotions shifted from adoration to hatred and jealousy, trapping him in a never-ending conflict with his brother. Due to this, Rollo betrayed Ragnar a few times throughout the course of Vikings, including when he stayed in Paris following their raid and decided to protect the city from further attacks by his brother. Despite the fact that Rollo betrayed his brother and crew, he had other motivations for staying in Paris, including his ambition to escape his brother’s shadow and the fact that it was the most effective way to achieve his goals.
During the Viking invasion of Paris, Rollo caught sight of Princess Gisla, but he was so preoccupied by her that he was attacked by soldiers from Paris. Ragnar decided they should return home but also raid Paris again in the spring, so he ordered that their camp remain established outside the city until the rest of the group returned. This was done after Ragnar’s fake death and the sacking of Paris as a result of this surprise attack.
Rollo made the decision to stay, but was later presented with an enormous amount of land, the title of Duke, and Princess Gisla’s hand in marriage, all in exchange for defending Paris from further attacks by Ragnar. Rollo accepted the offer. Later, Rollo killed everyone in the Viking camp and kept up the fight with his brother.
Paris provided Rollo with everything he had been seeking, including riches, lands, power, and freedom from his brother’s shadow. Having already betrayed Ragnar twice, he was obviously not going to think twice about doing so again in exchange for everything he had ever desired. Rollo made his final choice when he accepted the Emperor’s offer, and after his brief appearance in Vikings season 5, Rollo was neither seen nor heard from again. It is therefore assumed that (in the series, of course) he continued to serve as duke and avoided participating in any Viking conflicts outside of his lands. In the end, Rollo got what he wanted, but it cost a lot and it wasn’t the best way to do it.