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Five Reasons the History Channel’s ‘Vikings’ Can't Come Back Soon Enough

By Rebecca Pahle | Lists | February 5, 2014 |

By Rebecca Pahle | Lists | February 5, 2014 |

The History Channel’s Vikings was, for me, one of the best surprises of 2013. I watched the first episode because, OK, I like history and it’s a Saturday night and I’m bored. What’m I gonna do? Go out? Ten episodes later I was staring at my screen, twitching, drooling slightly, because my magical show about Viking politics was over and I didn’t know when I’d ever see it again. But now I do: February 27th marks the premiere of the second season. Here are the five things I’m most looking forward to when Vikings sails back into my heart.

Played by Aussie CANADIAN actress Katheryn Winnick—who has black belts and Tae Kwon Do and Karate and is trained bodyguard, no big—Lagertha is the wife of the show’s main character, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), a hot-headed explorer whose dreams of Viking earldom were realized last season. But think of Lagertha only as Ragnar’s wife, and this is what will happen to you:

lagertha slap.gif


Lagertha is amazing. She’s flawless. She’s Ragnar’s wife and the mother of his children, sure, but she’s also a shieldmaiden who doesn’t take too well to being told she has to stay behind and mind the house and kids while Ragnar goes off on raids and gets all the glory. She has a marked propensity for violence, which I appreciate in a female character—or, well, any character, honestly. As every dude who’s gone up against her (that’s three chuckleheads in season one) knows: Mess with Lagertha, and you’d better not be too attached to your below-the-waist business, because she will rip it off with her bare hands.

(Note: This is metaphorical. There is no actual ripping off of penises on Vikings.)


One of the things that’s often said about Vikings is that it’s like Game of Thrones without the scope. For me, that’s a positive. Season one of Vikings had about eight main characters to Game of Thrones’ 21 billion, so if you get attached to someone in particular—like the eccentric boatbuilder Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), or the adorable kidnapped Christian monk/newbie Viking Athelstan (George Blagden), or LAGERTHA—chances are you’re going to see them for more than five minutes every other episode. That’s not a critique of Game of Thrones: Each season tells an expansive story in a fairly small amount of time, so as much as I might want an episode that’s 47 minutes of Stannis Baratheon glaring at things and grinding his teeth, I understand that it can’t happen. But if Lagertha were in Game of Thrones she’d get, like, a scene and a half tucked in between Petyr Baelish being a little shit during a sexposition scene in a brothel and Dany yelling about her dragons. On Vikings, Our Lady of Messing Dudes Up gets to be front and center.

Though I’m very much a fan of Lagertha’s violence (if you can’t tell), she’s far from being the two-dimensional Strong Female Character archetype, a warrior woman who don’t need no man and scoffs at “lady” things like emotions, pah. She would lay down her life—or other people’s lives, sure—for her children. She’s maternal and loving in a way that female characters are sometimes criticized for being. When she becomes the First Lady of her tribe she shows an aptness for politics that’s bolstered by the fact that she actually cares about her subjects and wants their day-to-day lives to be better. She doesn’t just care about wealth and glory. She has, forgive the Vikings pun, boatloads of emotional empathy, and none of the other characters ever come near thinking her “weak” because of it.

And five:


The end of last season saw Lagertha ruling things and dealing with a plague epidemic while her husband was off literally dicking around, going off on some diplomatic mission where he found a new babymama in the extremely pretty, extremely fertile Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland). I’m not looking forward to the love triangle the show looks to be setting up—Vikings, you are better than that tired old plot device, step away—but I am excited about the very high possibility that Lagertha will rip her husband a new one. Avenge yourself, Shieldmaiden. Avenge.

Rebecca is an Associate Editor at The Mary Sue and blogs sometimes at Cinefeels. Right now she’s eating a bagel. It’s regrettably untoasted, but she’ll manage.