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The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you back to our series on the History Channel show Vikings. 

146a6-lissa-bryanHistorical fiction author Lissa Bryan is with me again to discuss the historical aspects of the show. Lissa has written a fantastic historical fiction story of her own, and she is an amazing historian and storyteller. (You can read my review of her Tudor love story, Under These Restless Skies here on my site.)


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Heillir! We—Lissa Bryan and Sandi Layne—are two historical fiction authors with a serious thing for Vikings. And for VIKINGS, the amazing series that is going to begin its fourth season on HISTORY CHANNEL.

We are SO excited! So, Warriors and Shieldmaidens all, get your weapons and armor ready, because it’s going to be an amazing season!


One of the most interesting, surprising, and involving characters (love him, hate him, both, neither) is King Ecbert of Wessex. Played by the brilliant Linus Roache, Ecbert is urbane, witty, and utterly ruthless.

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He’s a Christian with a deep understanding of classical pagan cultures.

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Prepared to meet the Northmen he’d been hearing of, Ecbert presented himself as open to enlarging his sphere as they got acquainted.

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He all but adopted Athelstan as his pet scholar/priest and catered to his aesthetic senses while sussing him out about the psychology of Ragnar, who would be rival in some ways.

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Ecbert also found himself attracted to Lagertha, and his forays into conversation with her—interpreted by Athelstan—were laced with innuendo.

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That the attraction was mutual was just fine as far as Lagertha was concerned, though it might have unnerved Ecbert as to how casual things were for the gorgeous Northern woman.

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Ecbert endeavors to have the Northmen settle in Wessex, ostensibly to extend and enrich his holdings, but of course he wants them to fight for him. This is a manner of servitude that Ragnar was truly less than thrilled about even as he seems to accept it as the price of bringing his own people to fertile lands.

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Eventually Ecbert shows his true colors by betraying basically everyone who has trusted in him…

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His son Aethelwulf, his daughter-in-law Judith, and the Northmen he had claimed to befriend.

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I look forward to seeing how his character is involved in the next season.

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What are your thoughts? Join Lissa Bryan and me, Sandi, tonight as we chat at 8PM EST on Twitter about Ecbert and what the series might have in store for him. Use the hashtag #ShieldGeeks to join in the fun!


  1. Angelyn · February 10, 2016

    This character is so fascinating. I’ll be disappointed if the story doesn’t fulfill the promise thrown out there by his desire for Lagertha. Could that be his downfall?

    • Sandi · February 10, 2016

      Hi! Wouldn’t that be something? Since Athelstan isn’t with us any longer (which still makes me sad), it would make dramatic sense for him to have an Achilles Heel in Lagertha, in some way, shape, or form. I like it!

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