Hirst added: “Alfred has given him a chance to demonstrate he has been saved to make peace, it’s mysterious but also positive.”
As for why he chose to have Hvitserk renamed Athelstan, he said it acted as a nod to the much-loved monk Athelstan (George Blagden) who was one of Ragnar’s closest friends.
He said: “It’s bringing Athelstan back, he is a character who has never gone away. People continue to talk about him and it was nice to bring back this distant echo.”
In terms of the real Hvitserk, he helped avenge the death of his father along with his other brothers and later pillaged with Rus Vikings.
Sadly he was overthrown and when asked how he wished to die, he chose to be burned alive.