Vikings: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Floki
Floki has seen ample time on History’s Vikings, but there remains much that’s unknown about the unique Norseman.
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History’s Vikings may have concluded, but fans continue to be drawn to the epic and atmospheric historical drama. Along with some rich settings, memorable writing, and gripping plots, Michael Hirst’s series enthralls with its vast lineup of uniquely great characters.
But there are few more distinct than the lovably eccentric Floki — a shrewd builder, devout Pagan, and loyal companion to Ragnar and crew. Being so prominently featured on Vikings, there would seem to be much that’s known about this curious figure — from his memorable laugh to his seething hatred of Christians. Yet, there are plenty of interesting details and facts about the character that remains shrouded for many fans.
10 His Name Holds A Few (Completely Different) Meanings
Curiously, the name Floki comes with a handful of different meanings or translations in Old Norse, most of which are rather distinct from one another.
The name translates to “bank of fog,” “halibut,” and “tuft of hair,” the latter of which is fitting, given Floki’s hairdo for much of the series. Additionally, it can mean an “outspoken, enterprising man,” which is also an ample description of the boatbuilder.
9 Among The Most Appearances On The Show
As longtime Vikings watchers are aware, Floki has had quite a lengthy and busy run on the show. But what some may not realize is just how many episodes he’s been in compared to the vast majority of the cast.
In fact, the character has seen at least a bit of screentime in almost all episodes leading up to the end of season five. The only episodes prior to the last season that he doesn’t appear in are, “In The Uncertain Hour Before the Morning,” “Hell,” and the intense season finale, “Ragnarok.”
8 Floki Can’t Swim
Floki is largely characterized by his craftsmanship and skills in constructing ships, in particular. This certainly comes in handy for him, as he lacks the ability to effectively swim. This is illustrated in the season four episode, “The Profit And The Loss,” which shows some things you didn’t know about Ragnar when he rescues his drowning friend.
This serves as a heartfelt moment following some bad blood between the two Vikings, though it’s also a character-defining moment for this unique Norseman.
7 Largely Responsible For Ivar’s Upbringing
Ever since Aslaug brought her young child, Ivar, to Floki to help raise him, the devoted pagan has acted as a sort of surrogate father, training him in the Viking way and teaching him of the gods. It’s essentially Floki that raises the boy while Ragnar’s away on his various expeditions.
As such, Ivar develops a close bond with his mentor, demonstrated in part by his rare glimpses of vulnerability around him. In fact, Floki seems to be the only person the apparently tough, brazen son of Ragnar ever cries in front of. It’s largely through Floki that Ivar gets his vehement hatred of the Christians and his own relative fascination with the pagan gods.
6 His Religious Devotion Compared To Other Vikings
A defining trait of Vikings, in general, is their devotion to the pagan gods of the Old Norse religion. This was still prominent in much of Scandinavian Europe, even as Christianity was fast spreading elsewhere on the continent.
However, Floki takes this to the next level, standing out as a fundamentalist and the single most religious Viking of Ragnar’s group. He possesses a near-obsession in following and appeasing the gods, engaging in ritual, and staunchly opposing his Christian “enemies.” He even fancies himself as something of a channeler and arbiter of the gods’ will, namely during his Icelandic escapades.
5 A Prominent Member Of Rangar’s “Hird”
Floki spends much of his time early in Vikings directly by Ragnar’s side, serving as one of his key warriors, builders, and strategists. He’s in fact, a member of Ragnar’s Housecarls or “Hird” — the personal retainers of a Norseman.
He also reportedly holds the title of “Skutilsvein” — or “table-man.” This is a coveted position because of the prestige and power it implies, but also because these officers held the privilege of sitting at their lord’s table during feasts. This is validated at various points in the series, as Floki is often shown eating with Ragnar.
4 A Rare Survivor Of A Major Raid Early On
The raid on the Lindisfarne monastery is significant in that it kicks the narrative into high gear and establishes the thrilling tone of the show, leaving an impression on viewers. For Vikings fans who have watched all six seasons leading to the epic Vikings finale, regardless of if you think it was perfect or could have been better, this raid seems ever-so distant now, being several years before the events of the final season.
It’s pretty impressive, then, that Floki stands as one of just two known Vikings to have survived this initial raid. The other is Ragnar’s brother, Rollo, the subject of many of Vikings’ worst scenes and moments that fans can’t forget — another valiant fighter who similarly winds up in a foreign land.
3 Unorthodox Weapons Of Choice
Floki’s means of fighting are quite unique, to say the least, much like the eccentric boatbuilder himself. Rather than push from the frontlines or rely on brute force, he generally hangs farther back, before ambushing foes and emerging behind others.
This stealthier, swifter style of combat is complemented by his distinct choice of weapons. Unlike most Vikings, who favor the spear or long ax, Floki usually wields a long knife or small hatchet, engaging in swifter, closer-range stabs when jumping combatants. It’s more blindsiding and butchery than straight combat, but it’s how Floki manages to work around his smaller, thinner stature. He’s certainly shown that it’s a proven effective fighting style in the show.
2 The Loki Connection
Given Floki’s pagan learnings, it’s fitting that the inspiration of this character can largely be traced to the Norse god, Loki — though perhaps less blatantly than the iconic Marvel character, Loki.
Beyond just having a similar name, both have some overlap in being fairly deceitful tricksters and roguish renegades. Floki also considers himself a descendent of this Viking god, and these parallels are further driven home by the builder’s torture and imprisonment at the hands of Ragnar. This almost certainly is an allusion to a piece from the Norse saga, The Binding of Loki, where he is confined as punishment from the gods for killing Baldur, son of Odin.
1 Loosely Based On A Real Figure
In addition to the boatbuilder’s Loki influences, Floki is also partly based on a Norse explorer named Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson. As it happens, this ninth-century figure was the first Norseman to intentionally sail to Iceland and successfully make it there. The first part of his name translates to “raven,” which refers to the ravens that supposedly helped him in navigating the area.
While Floki’s run-in with this strange new land was accidental, he too is seemingly the first to arrive in Iceland in the show.