Vikings: Katheryn Winnick discusses evolution of Lagertha
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Showrunner Michael Hirst has opened up on his proudest achievements as the sole writer for his hit History series, Vikings. Now that the popular medieval drama wrapped up on Amazon Prime last year, the creator has paid tribute to fan favourite shield-maiden, Lagertha (played by Katheryn Winnick).
Vikings’ writer and creator Michael Hirst has shared his immense pride for Canadian star Katheryn Winnick’s long-running role as the female warrior, Lagertha.
Winnick starred as the tenacious shield-maiden since the first season arrived on the History Channel in 2013.
Initially intended as a standalone miniseries, Vikings took viewers by storm and was eventually renewed for an additional five seasons.
This was undoubtedly due, in no small part, to Winnick’s compelling performance across all six seasons as the legendary viking hero.
Speaking to Den of Geek, Hirst revealed that Winnick’s arc as Lagertha remains one of the things he’s proudest of in the series.
He explained: “I was hoping she would be popular. History Channel is a male-viewed channel.
“And I think History Channel initially picked the show up because they thought it would appeal to that natural base.
“But I always thought it was going to be about Lagertha as much as Ragnar. And I like writing with women.”
Many fans had concerns when Lagertha’s husband and the show’s central protagonist, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) was killed off at the end of the fourth season.
Thankfully, Lagertha remained a prominent part of the series, ensuring the series’ continuing popularity until her journey came to an end midway through season six.
Alongside other strong female characters such as Torvi (Georgia Hirst) and Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), the iconic shield-maiden helped the series draw in a considerable fanbase.
Hirst continued: “What was wonderful for me was that the show, on History Channel, was getting 50/50 male/female viewership.”
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Over the years, Vikings helped smash through gender stereotypes by placing powerful female fighters in the centre of the show’s bloodiest action sequences.
Despite the network expecting the majority of the show’s audience to be male, History soon found this wasn’t the case.
The same is also expected of the upcoming sequel series, Vikings: Valhalla, with relative newcomers Laura Berlin and Frida Gustavsson in pivotal roles.
The showrunner went on: “In other words, particularly Lagertha was making women watch the show. And it was about so much more than fights and battles and things.”
“So I was really proud of that. And I think that Katheryn was just brilliant in the role.”
Viewers were dismayed when Lagertha was killed with 14 episodes of the sixth season still to be released.
Even so, the ever popular shield-maiden left a lasting impact on the series, and catapulted Katheryn Winnick to worldwide success.
Vikings seasons 1-6 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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