I will not be known to history as the French emperor who presided over the destruction of Paris

–– Emperor Charles

Emperor Charles II of Frankia is the complex, troubled, and powerful leader of Frankia, who views battling the Vikings as a spiritual and earthly mission.

Although Charles can at times be indecisive and is often perceived as weak by many nobles of his court (such as his rival Count Odo) he is in truth a ruthless and cunning politician who recognises his own weaknesses and works to eliminate them; he is also quick to recognise and grasp opportunities, most notably when he sought Duke Rollo's alliance as soon as King Ragnar and the bulk of the Viking army had left Frankia.


He is the son of Emperor Louis I "The Pious" and Grandson of Charlemagne himself.

Emperor Charles mentions his brothers, also Emperors of Frankish kingdoms. This may have been East Francia, and Middle Francia, which were kingdoms drawn up by the Treaty of Verdun, and were remnants of the wider Empire of Charlemagne. 

He expresses a natural admiration for Charlemagne, often publicly pondering how his esteemed grandfather would view his achievements. 


I will not be known to history as the French emperor who presided over the destruction of Paris

– Emperor Charles

I will have to offer them even more than that. I must offer them something far more precious to me than gold or silver. I must offer your hand in marriage.

– Emperor Charles to Gisla


  • Charles in Germanic means "Army, Warrior".
  • West Francia was the westernmost part of Charlemagne's Empire, and the origin of the modern French state. The Franks themselves were a Germanic tribe, who after the fall of the Western Roman Empire settled in Gaul, and founded the Merovingian empire. Thus, the Franks were distant Germanic cousins to both the Norse and Anglo-Saxons.
  • The Franks abandoned their Germanic language and adopted Latin, in his Gallo-Roman variant. This language will evolve centuries later in the French language (a Neo-Latin language, in other words, a language that have roots in the Latin)
  • In the crown of Charles has the image of the fleur de lis, the fleur-de-lis will be the symbol of the French monarchs in the future, and only the House of Bonaparte in the 19th century will not use this symbol, using an eagle instead of the fleur-de-lis.
  • Charles is member of the House of Karlings (Caroligians). Before the Karlings, Frankia was ruled by the Merewīowings (Merovingians). The Merewīowing rule was ended by a coup in 751 when Pepin the Short formally deposed Childeric III, initiating the Carolingian dynasty. The Karlings ruled until 987. After them, the West Frankia (now named France), will be ruled by the House of the Capets, the House of Valois, the House of Bourbon, the House of Bonaparte and the House of Orleans. France is a republic since the 19th century.
  • As West Francia became France in several centuries, East Francia in time became the Kingdom of Germany, the Holy Roman Empire (First Reich), the post-Napoleonic German federations, leading to the Second German Reich under Kaiser Wilhelm I, the Third German Reich under Adolf Hitler and the current  and democratic Federal Repubic of Germany. Both Francias are thus the roots of contemporary France and Germany.
  • Count Odo actually succeeded Charles in real history, and was not killed as part of a palace conspiracy.
  • Historically his daughter Judith was married to Aethelwulf of Wessex, son of King Ecbert. In the series, Judith is the daughter of King Aelle of Northumbria.
  • This Emperor Charles appears to be a composite of at least three historical West Frankish rulers:
    • The Emperor Charles II "The Bald", who was a grandson of Charlemagne and who reigned during the 845 Siege of Paris led by Ragnar Lothbrok;
    • The Emperor Charles III "The Fat", who reigned during the 885 Siege of Paris and commanded Count Odo;
    • The King of the West Franks Charles III "The Simple", who negotiated a treaty with Rollo and was the father of Princess Gisla (Gisela).


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