'Vikings': Linus Roache delves into King Ecbert's mind

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The surprise reveal of King Ecbert (Linus Roache) at the end of the last episode of "Vikings," introduced what is surely to become a powerful foe for Ragnar. As the Viking warrior led his men raiding to the west, they were attacked by men in armor.

Though the Vikings won the battle, the final scene of a relaxed Ecbert in the bath painted a picture of a very lavish lifestyle. Speaking with Zap2it, Roache gave a little insight about the character and what to expect from him as he becomes a key player in Season 2.

"King Ecbert knows how to live," he says. "Ecbert loves the finer things in life, like art and music. And he's a thinker and he's a politician."

While he may be fighting smarter, that doesn't mean Ecbert isn't willing to get bloody, as Roache adds, "He's a warrior too, but he's also a tactician and an opportunist. He'll fight if needed, but if he's more valuable orchestrating, he will do that."

The clash in war styles isn't the only difference between the two sides. "You get the sort of Pagan culture moving into a Christian culture," Roache says. Those two belief systems are bound to create conflict.

For Roache, working on "Vikings" is giving him the chance to explore a world that came before him. "It's history, but it doesn't feel like you're telling history. It's history made alive," he says. "Everything feels real, it feels authentic." It's one of the things that make History Channel's venture into scripted TV so special, he says: "I think it's one of the greatest ways to tell historical stories. You actually feel what it's like, what it might have been like to live there."

"Vikings" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History. Take a look at a first look video from episode 4 below, showing Ragnar and Ecbert's initial meeting. True to what we've seen of the King so far, it takes place in the baths.

Photo/Video credit: History