Character: Ragnar Lothbrok
Appears in: Vikings
Commonly Interpreted as: Straight
But Really: In the 1x03, Ragnar invites Athelstan to join him and his wife Lagertha in bed, which he declines, citing his oath of celibacy. This scene is often dismissed as an insincere offer, but in 3x01 there is a callback to this scene, where Ragnar asks “If Lagertha and I were to invite you to share our bed today, would you still refuse as you once did?” while Aslaug, his second wife, looks at them jealously. His actor, Travis Fimmel, has also stated that he believes Ragnar was being sincere.
Throughout the series, his relationship with Athelstan hits the typical narrative beats of a romance more than friendship, e.g. Ragnar spends as much of season 2 preoccupied with winning Athelstan back from King Ecbert as he does with winning the conflict with Wessex. He frequently places as much and sometimes more importance on his relationship with Athelstan as he does his brother, son and wife/ex-wife.
In 3x06 Athelstan converts back to Christianity and tells Ragnar he is going to return to Wessex. Ragnar passionately declares “You cannot leave me. I love you.” His tone and expression make it very hard to interpret as anything but a confession of romantic love.
**SPOILERS FOR 3x06 ONWARDS**