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Warriors don't show their heart until the axe reveals it.
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Prince Æthelred of Wessex (meaning "noble counsel" in Old English) was the son of Judith and Aethelwulf, heir to the throne of Wessex, and half-brother of Judith's bastard son with Athelstan King Alfred. He was killed by Judith in the Season 5 after having conspired against Alfred to become the new king.


Æthelred, son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex and Mercia and Queen Judith, daughter of the late King Aelle of Northumbria, is a member of the Wessex royal house (or House of Cerdic). 

Season 4

After the Battle of Repton, Æthelred and his family flees Winchester.

Season 5

Aetheleed, Athelwilf, Alfred, and Judith are in exile in the marshes, Alfred is sick. Prince Alfred has a vision in which Athelstan tells him the Vikings are in York, so Æthelred, Alfred, and Aethelwulf join forces with Bishop Heahmund. The Saxons led by King Aethelwulf and Bishop Heahmund attack York, but are led into a trap. Æthelred is wounded in the battle and the Saxons are forced to retreat by the Vikings. Ubbe and Hvitserk arrive at their camp to propose peace, Aethelwulf seemingly accepts their offer, but Heahmund arranges to have the brothers humiliated. The Saxons are joined by Judith's cousin Mannel and his men from Northumbria. Heahmund persuades Aethelwulf to lay siege, and attack only when the Vikings are starving. They massacred there hunting parties and blocked the city. They see the smoke from the fires and enter the apparently deserted city. The Saxon celebrations are cut short when Vikings appear from the sewers and engage in battle. Heahmund is surrounded, but spared by Ivar, and captured. The Vikings retake and garrison the city, as the Saxons retreat. The Saxons have retreated to Winchester, Æthelred is traid by his father who tells him he will become a great ruler. Alfred collapses during mass, when he recovers he decides to make a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne.

After the death of his father, Judith tells Æthelred he must renounce to the crown, as Alfred was the better choice and it was his grandfather's King Ecbert's wish, although initially angry he renounces to the crown and Alfred becomes king. Æthelred is made the leader of the army after Alfred takes the throne.

Although Æthelred loves his stepbrother he still resents him and plots against him, but ultimately refuses to kill him. Judith however finds out and tells Alfred, he is forgiven by Alfred as he had saved his life during war, but not by Judith. He accuses Judith, not without merit, that she's always wanted Alfred to be on the throne, even though he's first in line for it.

After Alfred becomes sick again Judith distrusts Æthelred even more, Æthelred wishes his brother to recover soon but is poisoned by an unstable Judith. As he's dying from the poison, he looks at Judith and asks her, "What kind of mother are you?" Æthelred collapses and Judith weeps with his dead body in her arms. 


What kind of mother are you?

–Aethelred to Judith, The Buddha


  • As an Anglo-Saxon prince, his full title would be Æthelred Atheling. Atheling was a standard title for any son of a sovereign, and denoted lower royal status.
  • Æthelred was a real life son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex, and grandson of King Ecbert of Wessex. He was King of Wessex during the Danish invasions of the mid 9th century. Not King Ecbert, as in the show. And died shortly after the Battle of Merton in 871, which was a defeat to the Norsemen. He was succeeded by his younger brother, King Alfred the Great.
  • Æthelred had two sons Æthelhelm and Æthelwold who were passed over for the throne because they were still infants at the time of his death, which lead to Alfred to succeed him as king, Æthelwold challenged for the thorne and Alfred outlived Æthelhelm
  • Æthelred in Old English means "noble counsel." This is akin to the later King Æthelred the Unready, who in his reign was King of the English, an early title for King of England, as opposed to King of Wessex. Æthelred of Wessex is often referred to as Æthelred I, whilst his distant descendant is referred as Athelred II.



Season three appearances
Mercenary The Wanderer Warrior's Fate Scarred The Usurper
Born Again Paris To the Gates! Breaking Point The Dead
Season four appearances
A Good Treason Kill the Queen Mercy Yol Promised
What Might Have Been The Profit and the Loss Portage Death All 'Round The Last Ship
The Outsider The Vision Two Journeys In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning All His Angels
Crossings The Great Army Revenge On the Eve The Reckoning
Season five appearances
The Departed Part 1 The Departed Part 2 Homeland The Plan The Prisoner
The Message Full Moon The Joke A Simple Story Moments of Vision
The Revelation Murder Most Foul A New God The Lost Moment Hell
The Buddha The Most Terrible Thing Baldur What Happens in the Cave Ragnarok
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