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Major spoilers ahead for the midseason finale of Vikings Season 5, called "Moments of Vision."
Vikings has been a bloody show from the very beginning, and few characters ever feel entirely safe from being sent off to Valhalla. Finales are almost guaranteed to feature some being killed off in spectacularly tragic fashions, and "Moments of Vision" didn't hold back in sending a couple of characters to the great beyond. Both Astrid and Halfdan died in the Season 5 midseason finale, and the show promises to never be the same ever again. The story of the various brothers is complicated in new ways with Halfdan's death, and Astrid's death was a contributing factor to the beginning of Lagertha's unraveling.
There can be no doubt that VIkings will be different in some key ways in the aftermath of "Moments of Vision," although there's no word of exactly how long we'll be waiting to find out what happens next. The good news is that Vikings creator and writer Michael Hirst has weighed in on the big deaths from the midseason finale and why they had to happen. Hirst had this to say:
I didn't want to kill any of these characters. It goes without saying that it's very difficult to make those choices and I didn't necessarily begin with those choices either. I was very open to persuading myself that other characters could die. The ones who did it felt organic, like they had looked at their own deaths and were willing to accept them. Astrid was in a terrible situation and looking for her own death. And Halfdan had some sort of premonition that his journey was done. At the same time, I had premonitions that some of the characters weren't finished on their journeys and would survive, although be damaged. I do sometimes play The Seer or the gods, perhaps, but I have to do that. I was satisfied in the end that the deaths made sense but it was incredibly moving to watch them, I must say.
According to Michael Hirst in his post-midseason finale comments to Variety, Astrid and Halfdan weren't characters that he'd been waiting and wanting to kill off the show sooner rather than later. In fact, he was open to potentially killing off other characters! The reason Astrid and Halfdan were the ones to bite the dust is simply that their deaths were organic to the stories that had been told to this point. Astrid, pregnant with a child she didn't want, welcomed death, especially at the hands of the woman she loved. Halfdan's premonition of his upcoming demise also introduced the idea that he really could be gone for good ahead of the final reveal of his death.
The end of the midseason finale made it clear that Lagertha at least would be incredibly impacted by the events, including Astrid's death. Her hair turned entirely white as she began to face the huge losses from the episode, and she may not ever recover from everything that happened. The good news is that we will get to see more of what happens to Lagertha and the other characters.
There's still a whole half of Season 5 to hit the airwaves, although History has not yet announced a premiere date. Even better, Vikings has already been renewed for Season 6! Even if Season 5 ultimately ends on a cliffhanger, we're guaranteed at least one more season. It should be interesting to see if Vikings makes the list of most-pirated shows in 2018 as it did in 2017. For what you can watch now that Vikings has come to an end for now, take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide and our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule.