Ivan Kaye is King Aelle
King Aelle of Northumbria, according to some historical accounts, is responsible for the death of Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok. Shipwrecked on the shorts of Northumbria, Ragnar was captured. Aelle had him thrown into a pit full of venomous snakes. “How the little pigs would grunt,” Ragnar is reported to have said, “if they knew how the old boar suffers!” The “little pigs,” Ragnar’s term of endearment for his sons, did more than grunt. Word of their father’s death galvanized them into action. They launched the fourteen-year long invasion of England by the “Great Heathen Army,” from 865 to 878 AD.
King Aelle is an authoritarian and demanding man who does not tolerate failure, having one of his generals thrown into a pit of snakes after losing a minor battle. He is overweight and always stays at a safe distance during battles, which should earn him much disrespect from the Vikings as a people that respect strength and courage. He seems to be a joyful drinker and acts in a both loud and intrusive manner when intoxicated, hugging an uncomfortable King Ecbert in the bath house when shouting praises about the victory over the Norsemen. Politically, he is not as cunning as his new ally and doesn’t consider himself obligated to honor any agreements (at least not with pagans), as seen when he offers the Vikings gold to leave but use the empty chests as a way to lure them into a false sense of security before his army attacks. Though not trusting Ecbert initially, Aelle was more than happy to marry off his daughter to Ecbert’s son and heir, not hesitating to reply joyfully when the king of Wessex proposed a wedding between the two families.
To explain Aelle’s personality further, he typifies the kind of man with lots of guts and nothing else. He, like the above says, carries unreasonable amounts of fat, and selfishly feasts as if food and drink has no value towards the higher virtues of his subordinates, whom require more food than they take. In the show he tends to be highly emotional and manipulative, and relies on charm and his simple mannerisms to get his way and remain as an unqualified king, while the superior minds of Ragnar and his coven remain muted. In short, he is very much the opposite of Floki, whom is more mature in manners, brainy, and ready to action, unlike Aelle, who is very much indulgent, stoneless, and childish.
Ivan Kaye is an English actor. He previously played Dr. Johnathon Leroy in a recurring role in EastEnders, and he played Bryan in The Green Green Grass. He also played the Duke of Milan in all three Seasons of The Borgias, and is now starring as King Aelle, in History channel’s historical drama series Vikings.