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Lagertha has been on Vikings since the beginning, and she is an uncontested fan-favorite. She has had her fair share of close calls through the seasons with things getting dicey for the shield-maiden more than once. Despite all of the loss and heartache, Lagertha has always managed to make it through.
Katheryn Winnick revealed how unsettlingly motivated some fans have been in wanting the former Queen of Kattegat to make it to Vikings’ final season. They apparently threatened Vikings creator Michael Hirst with death if he did not keep Lagertha alive into Season 6. Scary! Explaining that the average life expectancy of a Viking was 39, Katheryn Winnick told Rotten Tomatoes:
The fans, being so loyal, literally [sent] Michael Hirst death threats if they kill Lagertha, so in the end, we needed to come up with creative ways of still keeping her storyline alive. Chronologically she’s a grandmother at this stage, with Bjorn’s children and everyone else. So it was an interesting journey as an actor to go through that final stage. You can see in the trailers that she buries her sword, that she kind of gives up being the shield maiden now. Especially since it defined who she is for so long, I struggled with how to be able to define her sense of strength and strong will even without the sword. But you will see Lagertha is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I don’t think she regrets anything. She doesn’t give up easy, and that’s definitely evident in this season.
Lagertha has made it well past 39 after surviving a lot to come through the other side as the mother of the King. Vikings could have stayed accurate to history, but it would have meant saying goodbye to one of the show’s most beloved characters. There were probably a few people who bucked the life expectancy trend back then.
As seen in Season 6’s development-heavy premiere, Lagertha is readying for her final chapter by embracing a more pastoral life for herself. The famous shield-maiden may not be able to retire entirely, according to Vikings’ creator. For now, though, she is giving it her best shot. As Katheryn Winnick points out, Lagertha is settling into her later years.
Six seasons in and Katheryn Winnick still had more to consider when it came to Lagertha. In the Season 6 premiere, Lagertha seemed more at peace than she has been in a long time. She no longer has to fight for a kingdom. I would like to think some of her peace of mind is coming from Bjorn being in charge of Kattegat now. Winnick has said Lagertha feels he is "destined" to rule it.
Lagertha’s experience as a retiree is a whole new angle for Katheryn Winnick to explore. Ivar, the prime suspect in her eventual death, is away learning from a tyrannical leader. So, Lagertha has that threat away from her and can focus on building up her new settlement and spending time with her grandchildren.
Katheryn Winnick mentions how Vikings has had to get creative to keep Lagertha's storyline going. I would say they have done a terrific job. It has never entailed what I thought it would. For instance, her disappearance and what happened after was a plot point years in the making. It has subsequently paved the way to a sort of rebirth for her in Season 6.
Find out how Lagertha’s journey in Season 6 continues when new episodes of Vikings air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on History. The drama’s return is part of this winter's premieres.