Vikings: Katheryn Winnick on the Weight of Lagertha’s Return

Jonathan Hession / History
Jonathan Hession / History

*** Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Vikings episode “Baldur” ***

After weeks of not knowing what happened to her or where she’s been, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) made her return to Vikings in this week’s episode, “Baldur.” The fate of the fierce shield maiden and former queen has been up in the air following her disappearance after Heahmund’s (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) death in battle. However, this week Judith (Jennie Jacques) found Lagertha and brought her back to Wessex. But this wasn’t the same Lagertha that we’re used to seeing. This is definitely a changed Lagertha.

“It’s important for me to be able to tell her story in a different chapter and way,” Winnick recently told The TV Junkies about Lagertha’s return. She says that she wanted this new part of Lagertha’s story to “have that weight of someone who has lived a full life as a warrior. That was one of the reasons why she went away, and you see she’s a new person when she comes back.”

One of the biggest changes in Lagertha comes in the form of her physical appearance. “She’s a warrior and I wanted to have the opportunity to show a physical change with her,” explains Winnick. Viewers quickly should notice that “when she appears she has a huge scar that you don’t know where it came from.” Along with the scar, Lagertha’s hair is shorter and she appears to have aged in other ways. These changes were part of the challenge of this “new” Lagertha that Winnick fully embraced.

Jonathan Hession / History
Jonathan Hession / History

“As an actor, I allow myself to age on camera, which was a 2.5 hour makeup process of adding layers and layers of latex around my eyes to give me wrinkly eyes, neck and hands. I also tried to get my voice lower for maturity, and I’m not sure you’ll see it right away, but hopefully you see Lagertha through a more mature and wiser lens,” says Winnick.

While Lagertha seemed to struggle a bit when Judith first found her, reliving moments such as Ragnar’s death in a pit of snakes, she seems much more poised later on as King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) toasts her and welcomes her back. In fact, the more Alfred fills her in on things that have happened in her absence, such as Bjorn moving on to fight Ivar, the more Lagertha seems to compose herself as she reflects.

Lagertha: “Everything changes, as I have changed. I am no longer Lagertha, shield maiden since my shield is gone. I have nothing to protect myself with.”

Judith: “Only yourself and your honesty.”

Lagertha: “Sweet Judith, do you think that is enough?”

Winnick previews that this change and progression in Lagertha is noticeable “just in terms of her demeanor as the season goes on.” She adds that “it’s important for me to be able to tell her story in a different chapter and way, to have that weight of someone who has lived a full life as a warrior.” But perhaps most of all, the importance of seeing all that Lagertha has been over the years is what means the most to Winnick. “It’s important for young girls to see Lagertha change throughout the years as a mother, a shield maiden, a warrior, a queen and as someone who has lost it all.” Now at Wessex and without anything, viewers can look forward to finding out what this next phase of Lagertha’s life holds for her and how she will rebound from this latest challenge.


What do you think of the “new” Lagertha? Sound off below!

Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on History.

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