Alert: Spoilers for the fate of a huge character in the midseason/winter finale of Vikings Season 6 are discussed below. Proceed carefully!
A deadly twist that seemed like a pretty open and shut case just got blown wide open thanks to what Vikings’ creator, and its star, both had to say about it. The History series completed the first half of its final season, and the midseason finale left off with a shocker. Bjorn was impaled by a sword shown to be wielded by Ivar.
The implication was that Bjorn had been killed off only a couple of episodes after his mother, Lagertha. It was a shocking twist made all the more feasible considering how Season 6 has unfolded so far. While Bjorn’s wound appeared mortal, Alexander Ludwig indicated that Bjorn's fate is still very much a Vikings cliffhanger. When asked whether or not Bjorn was really dead, Ludwig told ET:
We don't really know that, do we? I've been ordered by the powers higher than me that I'm not allowed to speak on the subject.
Alexander Ludwig’s response suggests that Bjorn might be alive, but I find it hard to believe that Bjorn could have possibly survived being run through with a sword. It was very similar to the wound that took down Lagertha’s boyfriend, Heahmund, last season. Michael Hirst added to the open ended nature of the midseason finale twist, saying:
It's obvious that both King Harald [Peter Franzén] and Bjorn are at the least very badly wounded. We haven't actually seen them dead, but you would imagine that their wounds were grievous enough to probably mean they wouldn't survive very long. But I wouldn't be quite certain that they're dead yet, until you actually see that. So, I'm not saying that they are both still alive, but they could absolutely still be alive, because we haven't seen them dead yet.
They may be alive, but are they hanging by a thread? Bjorn collapsed, and his eyes appeared to glaze over. He could have been hovering near death when Vikings left off in Season 6, only to not escape it. Harald looked to have sustained severe blood loss, as his face had turned gray. Speaking about Bjorn’s fate, Michael Hirst gave a more dire response to GameSpot, saying:
When I was beginning to put together and think about Season 6 and sort of jotting down thoughts about the characters and what might happen to them, I sort of knew which characters would survive. But I felt I knew that Bjorn would die, so then it was a question of when, and I talked to Alexander about it.
Vikings’ creator indicated that he knew Bjorn would die in Season 6. Is he dead in the midseason finale? Maybe not yet. However, that does not mean he will somehow survive his seemingly mortal wound. It seems that Vikings may be saving Bjorn’s fate for when Season 6 returns for its second and final half. On Bjorn, Hirst said:
I wanted to showcase him. And if I'm bunching up a lot of people dying and a lot of endings of stories and things, I don't want him as just one of the stories[.] I want to feature him. I wanted him to have his moment and boy, does he grab this moment. It's absolutely heartbreaking and wonderful and sort of triumphant. . . .by the way, he's not dead yet. Honestly, Episode 11 will just knock your socks off. It's so powerful. And it's just brilliant for Alexander and in a way that's what I wanted.
Am I to take from this that Bjorn will actually die when Season 6 resumes? It sounds like Michael Hirst wants to isolate Bjorn’s death for a profound hour like the one Vikings gave Lagertha earlier this season. Bjorn is an original character that fans are deeply invested in, so it makes sense to spotlight him as his light dims.
Based on all of this, I do not think that Bjorn will survive, but that he'll have just a brief reprieve until Vikings returns. A question I have now relates to how Vikings seemed to skip around a bit during the finale, because Oleg, Ivar, and Hvitserk were shown celebrating their victory.
If Bjorn is somehow alive at that point, I do not get why Ivar, especially, would be celebrating. He would still have things to do where Bjorn is concerned. Ivar acted confident that Bjorn was dead. Perhaps Vikings will be going the metaphysical route with Bjorn transitioning to Valhalla in Season 6, Episode 11. The show sort of went that route during Lagertha’s funeral.
Whatever happens, Vikings has my curiosity piqued. I could see one or both of Bjorn’s wives coming to be at his side before he dies, which would give that storyline a bit of closure after taking such a dramatic and seemingly story-yielding twist. Vikings was just starting to explore the trio’s plural marriage.
Death in the world of Vikings can be abrupt, so speculation about his survival does not mean that Bjorn won't eventually die. If Bjorn manages to somehow recover, he should go from being known as “Bjorn Ironside” to “Bjorn Iron-gut.” Surviving that wound would definitely warrant a title change, in my opinion! Speaking of which, do you think Bjorn is going to survive? Vote in the poll below!
Find out what happens to Bjorn when Vikings returns for the second half of its final season. A premiere date for Season 6B has not been announced by History, so stay tuned. While you wait for the drama to return, you can check out this winter and spring’s premieres.