Why Vikings' Lagertha 'Cannot Retire' In Season 6, According To The Showrunner

Vikings Katheryn Winnick Lagertha History
(Image credit: Jonathan Hession / History)

Spoilers for the Season 6 premiere of Vikings are discussed below.

Lagertha made considerable strides in putting her shield maiden days behind her in the Season 6 premiere of Vikings. However, retirement is not really an option for the legendary warrior in Vikings society, according to series creator Michael Hirst. So, if you thought Lagertha leaving her fame behind would not be easy, you were right.

In the Season 6 premiere, Vikings viewers saw Lagertha bury her sword and make a new life for herself cultivating her own Viking settlement. After everything Lagertha has been through, she has decided to start fresh, a move Vikings’ creator, Michael Hirst, had previously teased. Retirement may not be possible for the legendary figure, though. Hirst told ET:

She wants to retire, and you can understand why. She has struggled all her life. She's struggled. She's been in endless battles, killed a lot of people, struggled with bullying husbands, with rivals and she's nearly died. She's had a tough life, but she's also famous. She's a famous shield maiden, and in Viking society, there was nothing more important than fame, not celebrity, not something cheap, but fame for doing real things. So, she cannot retire. She cannot walk away from a kind of public life. People are always going to recognize her and ask her for things.

What is it they say about fame having its downsides? Lagertha cannot quit being extraordinary. Interestingly, Vikings’ creator mentions people coming and asking Lagertha for things. The Season 6 premiere did not show that happening, outside of Bjorn desiring her advice. That said, there was a more ominous hint regarding what could keep Lagertha out of retirement.

Bjorn and Lagertha both agreed that the best way of dealing with Ivar’s supporters was to brand and banish them. When the Season 6 premiere ended, the group’s leader was shown watching Lagertha in her new settlement. Vikings hinted that threat was far from over, and a previous tease could actually relate back to Ivar’s people.

Katheryn Winnick has talked about Lagertha working to redefine her last chapter. In doing so, she mentioned that the shield maiden would have another “big battle” to fight on Vikings. Will it be against Ivar’s banished band of supporters? These guys burned people alive on Ivar’s orders, so their brutality knows no bounds, which is a recurring theme with Ivar.

I could see them attacking the settlement in retaliation of Bjorn’s choice, even though it allowed them to live. Go figure. Either way, Lagertha fighting another battle means her time as a retiree may be short-lived. Of course, she could try to get back to her quiet life after battling again. The thing is, this upcoming clash could be her last.

Can she survive coming out of retirement for one more battle? Based on what has been foreseen about Lagertha’s death, it should arrive at the hands of one of Ragnar’s sons. Hence, it would make sense for her to go out fighting Ivar’s forces, which the trailer for Season 6 teased clashing with Bjorn's. At this point, there are two things I could see happening.

The first is that Lagertha comes out of retirement to face off with Ivar’s supporters after they attack her settlement and, afterward, she returns to life as a retiree. The alternative would be her defeating Ivar’s supporters, staying out of retirement, and then going toe-to-toe with Ivar one more time. Vikings is building towards something besides that spinoff in Season 6.

Lagertha eventually coming out of retirement to fight one more time is a must and one of the things that need to happen in Vikings’ final season. New episodes of Vikings air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on History. The hit show’s return is part of this winter's premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.