Thora Town-Hart, Ragnar Lothbrok’s forgotten wife.

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Thora Town-Hart was the daughter of Herrauðr, a legendary Jarl (Earl) of Götaland.

She was married to Ragnar Loðbrók (Lothbrok) and the reason he is called “Loðbrók.”

The historical fiction “History Channel” series, The Vikings, omitted her from their storyline.  The Vikings Series is a great show, but let’s not forget, the series is a historical fiction.

Historical fiction is defined as movies and novels in which a story is made up but is set in the past and sometimes borrows true characteristics of the time period in which it is set. A novel that makes up a story about a Civil War battle that really happened is an example of historical fiction.

Thora Town-Hart was the second of Ragnar Lothbrok’s three wives.  It is unknown how many ladies-in-waiting that Ragnar had, he was a well known “lady’s man.”

Saxo Grammaticus tells that after returning to Denmark to fight a civil war, Ragnar, who was still annoyed that Lagertha had set beasts against him, divorced Lagertha in order to marry Thora Town-Hart (Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr), daughter of King Herrauðr of Sweden.

Thora’s father gave her a small lindworm that grew into a serpent and encircled her a private bedroom (bower).

According to the Saga of Bósi and Herraud (Bósa saga ok Herrauds), the lindworm was hatched from an egg that Herrauðr had taken in Bjarmaland (part of the Arkhangelsk region of Modern Russia).

Lindworm (“constrictor snake, dragon, serpent, dragon, wyvern, or wyrm”) is a wingless bipedal dragon, with a venomous bite like a poisonous snake or Komodo dragon. The dragon Fáfnir and Jörmungandr (the Midgard Serpent) are the most famous lindworms.

Her father, Herrauðr, promised Thora (Þóra) to the one who could slay the serpent.

It was Ragnar Lothbrok that arrived, killed the serpent, and then married Thora Town-Hart (Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr).

This was when Ragnar famously wore the famous hairy breeches, which gave him his nickname, “Loðbrók (Lothbrok)” which means “Hairy-Breeches.”

The sagas tell that Ragnar went to Västergötland (West Gothland) and dressed himself in shaggy clothes that he had treated with tar and sand. He took a spear and approached the serpent, which blew poison at him. Ragnar protected himself with his shield and his clothes and stuck the spear through its heart. He then cut off the serpent’s head and married Þora.

Later, Ragnar Lothbrok was seized by his foe, King Ælla of Northumbria, and killed by being thrown into a pit of snakes, mocking the Ragnar’s famous tale of slaying the serpent and not being harmed by its venom.

Ælla of Northumbria’s execution of Ragnar Lodbrok by Hugo Hamilton (1830).

The story did not end there. Ragnar’s sons bloodily avenged him by invading England with the Great Heathen Army.

According to the Tale of Ragnar’s Sons (Ragnarssona þáttr), Ragnar Lothbrok and Thora Town-Hart had two sons, Eiríkr and Agnar.  They both died in a battle against a legendary king of Sweden named Eysteinn Beli. Ragnar’s Earl of Sweden.

Before these events took place, Thora Town-Hart (Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr) is said to have died of an illness and that Ragnar then married his third wife Aslaug (Aslög), the daughter of Sigurd and Brynhildr.

Historical Sources:


by Njord Kane © 2016 Spangenhelm Publishing

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