Erik Marteinn was one of Ragnar Lothbrok's warriors. They seemed to be good friends. Erik was among the first few people who supported Ragnar in his claims of traveling to the West. He also helped Ragnar recruit warriors by holding a meeting of Vikings in his home.
Erik was an old friend of Ragnar, and seemed to have his fair share of influence in Kattegat, as it was he who was directly responsible for bringing together Ragnar's warband and extracting oaths of secrecy from them. When Ragnar spoke of his intent to make a heroic voyage to the west and uncover new lands there, Erik was the first man to join him. From henceforth, Erik occupied a place on Ragnar's inner circle.
He was also married to a woman named Elisef.
Erik was first seen in Wrath of the Northmen, where he had gathered the men who would later form the core of Ragnar's warbands. They greeted each other warmly as old and dear friends and Ragnar remarked on how well a gathering Erik had procured. After explaining his plan to sail west and drawing the Northmen to his side with promises of battle and plunder, Erik was the first man to officially declare himself as a member of Ragnar's party.
Together, he, Ragnar and Rollo led the expedition across the western sea to the kingdom of Northumbria. There, they raided the monastery at Lindisfarne, taking with them many ornaments of gold and silver and priests to sell as slaves, in particular, the monk Athelstan. While there, Erik remarked on the Christian faith and expressed his disdain for it.
After returning to Kattegat, Earl Haraldson confiscated the treasure. Leaving Ragnar's warband with only one thing each. Later on, in Dispossessed, Ragnar managed to convince Earl Haraldson to officially sanction raids to the western lands. Joined now by the earl's bastard brother Knut, the Northmen again landed on Northumbria's shores, where they were met by a sherrif and his armsmen. Ragnar had learned the Saxon tongue from Athelstan and communicated with the Northumbrians. Driven by their distrust of the natives, Erik and Rollo voiced that they should just kill the Northumbrians and be done with it. Tempers finally flared, and the Vikings slaughtered the Saxons, with Erik claiming a deathtoll of three men.
The Vikings then raided a large nearby Saxon village with comparatively little bloodshed. Though later, when returning to their longship, they were met by a large number of Northumbrian soldiers who had been tipped off by a survivor who had fled the previous altercation with the Saxons. Once again, the Northmen triumphed, with Erik claiming another great tally of kills. However, Erik's kinsman; Kauko was slain in that battle, leading him to swear an oath of vengeance against the King of the Northumbrian, Aelle.
After returning to Kattegat, Ragnar was put on trial by Haraldson for the murder of Knut; who had actually been killed by Lagertha when he had attempted to rape her. Through the testimony of his brother, Ragnar was later exonerated and freed. A great celebration took place at Erik's hall in his honour.
However, Haraldson had dispatched assassins to kill Ragnar because he was becoming a great threat. These assassins all converged upon Erik unawares and killed him even then after a hard struggle. Ragnar and his remaining allies dispatched them, however. They later found Erik's body and mourned openly his death. Ragnar in particular was outraged and saddened by the loss of his friend, and thus resolved to bring down the despot Earl. Going so far as to journey to the top of the mountain outside his village and swear oaths of vengeance to his father Odin. In this way, Erik's death directly sparked the chain of events that would later lead to Ragnar killing Haraldson and becoming Earl of Kattegat.
Erik was a warrior born. Towering and mighty, he was a juggernaut on the battlefield. A single blow from him was capable of instantly killing most opponents. His incredible size and strength were such that he could send a man flying with a single shield bash, as he exhibited in the shoreline battle against the Northumbrians. He was very quick despite his size, and was often at the forefront of the fight, hewing apart multiple enemies in quick succession. He fought exclusively with a long axe in one hand and a round wooden shield in the other.
Despite being such a great warrior, Erik showed restraint when it came to killing unnarmed opponents. Evident in his refusal to join Rollo and most of the warband in butchering the defenseless monks at Lindisfarne. He also exhibited a great deal of devotion to the Norse gods and looked down upon the Christians, unable to fathom why they thought that a god who was seemingly dead would be able to protect them. In spite of this, he still showed some disapproval when his fellow warriors began killing the monks.
When Erik's kinsman was killed by the Northumbrians, he swore to avenge his death. Saying that as King Aella had ordered it, he must suffer for it. This shows an incredible level of devoution he had to family, and the lengths he would go to protect them, showing clearly that he was a man of fierce honour and loyalty.
Erik was also brutally pragmatic when necessary. As evident in how he suggested that Ragnar kill the Northumbrian sheriff lest he lead them into a trap.
Erik's honourable nature and fighting skill also won him the respect and admiration of those around him. His death was a crushing moment for all who knew him, even the surly Rollo became sullen when his body was found. His wife wept openly at his death, and Ragnar felt a great deal of rage at his death which would later lead him to seek revenge by killing Earl Haraldson.
- Erik is played by actor Vladimir Kulich, who is notable for portraying the character of Buliwyf in the film Thirteenth Warrior, and for providing the voice of Ulfric Stormcloak in the critically acclaimed 2011 game Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- Though subordinate to Ragnar Lodbrok in their expeditions to England, Erik appears to be an individual of standing in the Norse earldom of Kattegatt. Possibly holding the status of a Hersir, a middle-class, land-holding warrior, often in charge of leading a small warband or a ship's crew.
- Erik has been seen manning the steering oar of Ragnar's longship in early expeditions to England, indicating his status as a Steorsman (steerman) or Hilmir (helmsman), indicating his own experience as a ship's captain.
|Season one appearances|
|Rites of Passage||Wrath of the Northmen||Dispossessed|
|Trial||Raid||Burial of the Dead|
|A King's Ransom||Sacrifice||All Change|