Ragnar Lothbrok finally meets his match on this week’s episode of History’s “Vikings,” taking on ruthless King Ecbert of Wessex, played by newcomer Linus Roache. The actor gave TheWrap a hint of what to expect from this season’s big showdown.
“Ragnar really has met his match, a formidable match,” Roache said.
“Ragnar wasn’t always a man to just lead with violence, as a warrior,” he added. “He’s a thinker as well. And King Ecbert is the same. He’s an opportunist, he’s willing to be political about some things — maybe there’s a time to not fight, and try and make friends in peace.”
Roache is most familiar to American audiences as the cunning Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter on NBC’s “Law & Order” and as Dr. Thomas Wayne in Christopher Nolan‘s “Batman Begins,” but as King Ecbert, Roache gets to speak with his native English accent to portray the “founding father of the British monarchy.”
To get into the role, Roache said he did quite a bit of research on the real historical figure on which the new character is based.
“I’m playing a historical character, so first off I started learning just everything I could about the real King Ecbert,” Roache told TheWrap.
While Roache acknowledged that there is not much information on the historical figure, what does exist is fodder for an interesting character.
“[Ecbert] went off and studied with the emperor Charlemagne, so he kind of had a different view of being a leader, and a ruler, and a king,” Roache explained. “He had more of an empire building mentality.”
Just like Ragnar and the Vikings.
“As well as Ragnar being this Viking character who’s thinking ahead of his own people and his own tribe, if you like, King Ecbert is equally expanding outside of his own culture a little bit,” Roache said. “And so it’s wonderful to put these two characters up against each other, and we’re gonna see see where they go.”
“Vikings” airs Thursday at 10 p.m. EST/PST on History.
Watch King Ecbert prepare for the arrival of the Vikings in this first look at Thursday night’s episode: