Vikings: Sail into the Behind The Scenes Spectacles

After an enthralling and devastating mid-season finale, we're all left on the edge of our seats with Vikings! But now we have to wait an entire year just for the rest of the season. Well, in the meantime, we have some juicy details that will keep you entertained. Why has Katheryn Winnick left the project? Who was bitten by a snake during the shooting? And how did one of the most epic shows of today's world begin? Keep reading, but be careful of spoilers! 

Where has Siggy disappeared to?

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Could anyone leave such a successful project voluntarily? but there were also those who had to leave for other reasons. Like Jessalyn Gilsig's character, Siggi, who left the show on a very tragic note, her finale wasn't cruel and bloody, like with many other characters. The actress gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter, in which she shared the truth about why she really left the project.

"I had some personal things in my life that I needed to be there for — some family things, which everybody has sometimes"

At the end of season 2, Jessalyn had an honest conversation with the Vikings creator, Michael Hirst, and confessed she cannot stay in Ireland any longer and has to move on.

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The actress reveals this decision was a hard one for her to make, but she had to do so. Michael Hirst totally understood her choice and offered Jessalyn the chance to decide on her character's fate herself. Together with Michael, they thought of an ending that Siggy deserved. In the end, Siggy’s arc had a satisfying ending, and Gilsig was free to attend her personal affairs without leaving loose ends in Vikings.

Don't mess with Katheryn Winnick.

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This actress conquered both the audience and the critics with her acting, but few know of her other talent. Winnick is not just an actress, she is also a martial artist with a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a second-degree black belt in Karate. By the age of 21, Katheryn had already opened 3 martial arts schools, but later she decided to become an actress instead of a Tae Kwon Do mentor. It's no surprise that for her final fight Katheryn Winnick, just like her co-star, Kieran O'Reilly refused any stunt doubles.

Kieran O'Reilly shared why the actors reached such a decision in an interview with the Metro Co UK. Training took up a lot of energy and they spent weeks getting ready for the battle. At the end of it, they both were physically exhausted, and that was exactly the effect that Kieran and Katheryn were trying to create.

‘We decided to do that so the exhaustion would be real and it would transfer onto the screen that we were that tired,’ Kieran O’Reilly revealed.

We all know how this severe battle ended, and we understand that such efforts were worth it.

Everything started with a movie

A long time ago Michael Hirst decided to film a historical drama about Alfred the Great, but everything ended with 6 fantastic seasons of the Vikings. How did that happen? In an interview with HistoryExtra, the showrunner shared this story:

“Many years ago,” Hirst continues, “I was writing a film script about Alfred the Great, who fought against the Vikings. I was fascinated to discover that a lot of what I thought I knew about the Vikings was wrong. I knew nothing about their attitude towards women, which was much more progressive than most other societies.”

He found out that the Vikings' community was much more democratic than others at that time. And modern historians are still impressed with their shipbuilding skills. And besides, Michael wanted to show the true face of the Vikings to the whole world, who only were cruel when they had to be.

“We were all brought up on clichés about the Vikings that they are brutal, mindless savages. They were certainly brutal when they needed to be, but they weren’t savages.”

This idea was so successful that the show that was initially planned as a 9-episode one became a fantastic saga of 6 seasons.

Who was real?

In his already cult show, Michael Hirst wanted to show the true Vikings, and that was the reason why many of his characters are based on real people. For instance, our beloved Lagertha was based on a real woman.

In book 9 of the Gesta Danonum, you can find Lagertha's story, and she is described as a fierce warrior and skilled Amazon. Floki, whose name is so similar to Scandinavian God of trickery and mischief, Loki, is in no way connected to him, though. His character is based on Floki Vilgerson, who founded Ireland!

Ragnar's second wife, Aslaug, and even his sons are also based on real people! However, Ragnar is a made-up character! Weird, isn't it? It wasn't the showrunners, though, who created him, but the people who kept telling stories about the great king and conqueror. These legends came to us from the Old Norse poetry, which was not historical documentation, but became a great base for a character.

Ancient eyeliner

As we know, such cosmetic products were widely used in the ancient world. For example, the Egyptians put makeup on their eyelids not only to protect their eyes from the sun but also treat eye diseases, for which lead was a great help. Vikings, who were much more brutal than Egyptians, were quite the dandies.

The kind of eyeliner that Vikings used was known as kohl. It was a dark powder made from crushed antimony, burnt almonds, oxidized copper, malachite, ochre, ash, lead, and chrysocolla. The Vikings wore it to keep the sun from damaging their eyes. Moreover, many young men also used blush and bleached their hair with lye, as bright blonde guys were considered handsome in the Scandinavian countries.

Expect a spin-off!

Despite the fact that our favorite show ended at season 6, its showrunners aren't going to rest. The Vikings were so successful that many investors showed their interest. Netflix was most interested in the project and decided to start a spin-off: Vikings: Valhalla, where events will take place a hundred years after the original show. According to Netflix, the series “concludes and dramatizes the adventures of the most famous Vikings who ever lived — Leif Erikson, Freydis, Harald Harada, and the Norman King William the Conqueror (also a Viking descendant).

These men and women will blaze new paths as they fight for survival in an ever-changing and evolving Europe. This is the explosive next chapter of the Vikings legend.” Will this project be successful or will it, just like many other spin-offs, not withstand competition with the original show? We will only find out after the show airs! But what do you think? Will it be any close to the original?

Why Travis Fimmel Left Vikings

Despite the dramatic events on the screen, it seems that there were zero conflicts on the set of the show. We are used to seeing a leading character leave a show because of an on-set conflict or a personal decision. It went a different way with this show, as almost all the characters that left the show did so because it was initially planned. When Travis-Fimmel landed a job in a new project, he thought it was going to be a role for one season.

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As we told you, at first nobody discussed 6 seasons. At the end of this one and only season, Ragnar Lodbrok was supposed to come to his demise, so when it was clear that there will be more than 1 season, this character's fate was already known. And the showrunners just had to think of when they should do it. Fans remember season 4 for the demise of many favorite and leading characters.

Ragnar, unfortunately, was not an exception, and his departure, one of the cruelest ones in the show, will always be remembered. And even though Travis Fimmel simply acted, the pit with the snakes was a real one, although it was filled with harmless representatives of the kind. That didn't stop the snakes from biting the famous actor. Oh, things you do for your role!

Everyone has a Floki

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How many big projects with the last name Skarsgard on the cover have there recently been? It seems that this amazingly talented family just took over the industry. As you understand, the actor who portrayed Floki, is a representative of this family, Gustaf Skarsgard. He's the second oldest Skarsgard child, he is older than Bill, who many know as Pennywise the Dancing Clown but he's younger than Alexander who we saw in True Blood and Big Little Lies. 

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Gustaf is also the son of Stellan Skarsgard, who reminded us of his talents in the show Chernobyl about a year ago. No pressure!

“There’s always [a rivalry],” in the interview for ET Gustaf stated blunty, when asked if he feels competitive with his brothers. “Of course there can be jealousy and insecurities and whatnot, because that’s inherent in this profession as it is. And then if you have that close to you, within your own family, if your brother is doing great when you are not, that’s a reminder of that.”

In spite of this, he is always happy for his brothers when they reach success. Although, it's much easier to be happy for someone when you're doing well yourself, and Gustaf isn't hiding it.

What language are they speaking?

"The Vikings" air in English, but even despite this fact, the characters speak with a Scandinavian accent. The first director of the project, Johan Renck, was Swedish, and when the actors asked how they should speak, Michael Hirst pointed at the director and replied: "speak like Johan." However, this wasn't the only linguistic decision of Michael Hirst that made the show so authentic. 

The first thing I decided was that I wanted the audience to hear what these people actually sounded like. And then it was a question of using these languages – starting with Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Latin – without everything being subtitled.

Languages play a very important role in the show, and even though it's not always clear what exactly the characters are saying, it's not the meaning of the words, but their sound that matters. The song, which was the soundtrack for our favorite Lagertha's death, was created especially for this heartbreaking scene. And even though we have no idea what its translation is, we understand its meaning, and that's why it makes us wanna keep crying.

We knew how the show was going to end back in 2015

It was Michael Hirst who shared this fact with the fans. Although, he never actually hid any plans for the show. Unlike the Game of Thrones, in which the ending was the main mystery, "The Vikings" had to end at a certain point. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hirst revealed his plans for the show's finale.

"It ends when the Vikings discover America," Hirst confirmed. "That's the final shot."

We wouldn't call it a spoiler, as the show is based on history, which is a huge spoiler itself, and moreover, it's not the finale that is important in The Vikings, but the way the characters reach it. The story of the vikings changes when they discover America; it becomes completely different and deserves a separate show.

Why did Lagertha die?

 Katheryn Winnick shared the story of this character in an interview with TVLine. According to the actress, the scriptwriters didn't want to kill her character after 6 seasons. When Katheryn joined the show, Lagertha was planned as a character for 2 or 3 seasons, and most of the attention was supposed to be centered around Ragnar's sons. But, the audience and the critics liked Lagertha so much, that her role soon became something more significant.

It's no surprise that the showrunners didn't want to let Katheryn Winnick go. However, that was what the actress wanted, as she realized that her character had to die, and that had to be epic and sad, and the actress liked how it went.

"In terms of Lagertha’s story, I couldn’t ask for a better death," confessed Katheryn Winnick

The actress also shared that her experience in Vikings completely changed her life.

"Filming for seven years in Ireland, being away from your family and your friends, and making a new family there. Being on set and getting a chance to dive in creatively into different scenarios as an actor, learning how to direct…. "

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