*Warning. The following contains spoilers for those who are not all caught up with the History Channel show, Vikings.*
Vikings fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief this month when it was finally revealed that everyone's favorite shieldmaiden and former queen of Kattegat did not, in fact, perish in the battle against King Harald's army in Wessex, nor did she simply vanish forever. This is Lagertha, after all, and she has always been a survivor.
Still, we can't help but note that the Lagertha that was recently reintroduced to us feels a little... off. This is a character who has been through so much turmoil and tragedy throughout her life, yet she has always remained strong and level headed no matter what. If something was going to finally break her, this particular battle just didn't feel like it should have been the last straw. Maybe this is a character flaw, one that could shape Lagertha into someone else entirely for the remainder of the series (season 6 will be the final one). Even the most ardent fans of Lagertha have to admit that she has always had her flaws, though until now, her problems have been a lot easier for us to ignore.
So on that note, it's time to take a step back and really look at Lagertha for who the character is. Hey, we did it for Ragnar, and Lagertha has been on the show a lot longer than him at this point. She's also arguably been one of the most popular characters among viewers the entire time, and that's quite the feat considering all of the complex, rich characters we've seen go in and out of the show over the past six years. Lagertha's never been perfect though, and while that's a large part of why we love her, there are still a lot of things we've just been intentionally disregarding season after season.
This is Vikings: 20 Things Wrong With Lagertha We All Choose To Ignore.
If we’re going by the timeline of the show, then Lagertha should have technically started the series in her early to mid-20s and should now be somewhere in her mid-40s to early 50s. Nevertheless, the character has looked to be around 30 years old since season one until now. In fact, the only effort we've seen to age her so far was her hair turning gray, but even this wasn't done as part of the character's natural aging process. Instead, her hair lost its pigment suddenly all at once, after she was forced to take the life of her former lover, Astrid, during battle.
Now, it's true that Hollywood is a fickle world, and many actors across the TV and film spectrum still play a lot older or younger than they actually are. As for Vikings, however, Lagertha's lack of aging was easier to ignore before now. Why? Just look around her. Her son has been a grown adult for a while now, and he doesn't look much younger than her.
Lagertha sure likes to go around calling Ivar a usurper, but he technically has way more of a right to the throne in Kattegat than she does. Yes, sometimes it sure feels like Lagertha belongs on that throne, and when she finally took it from Aslaug there was a definite sensation that justice had finally been done. Nevertheless, the truth is that Lagertha actually has no right to rule Kattegat at all-- if we're looking at things from a technical standpoint, that is.
You see, by divorcing Ragnar, Lagertha essentially forfeited all rights to his kingdom. While her reasons for divorcing the man were certainly understandable, she still divorced him by her own volition. By leaving and divorcing Ragnar, especially by her own choice, Lagertha took herself out of the running for the throne.
It shouldn’t be comical at all, but it almost is just given the sheer amount of times that this has happened. Almost every single one of Lagertha’s flames, past or present, have gone to Valhalla (or when it comes to Heahmund and Ecbert, Heaven). And we say “almost”, because there’s one last known lover of hers who remains alive. Look out, Rollo!
Why is this an issue exactly? Well, aside from us losing a lot of characters we liked, it's a plot line that's starting to feel a bit worn out. After all, there are so many other ways to end a relationship. It also doesn't quite fit with any of the Seer's prophecies, particularly the fact that Lagertha could still not have any more children even when she's with someone.
Speaking of Rollo and relationships, it was recently revealed that Rollo may actually Bjorn’s father. While there's no way at this point to actually confirm this because Lagertha was in a relationship with Ragnar at the time, this, of course, is perhaps the least interesting thing about it.
Instead, the mere fact that Rollo could be Bjorn's father at all means that Lagertha was unfaithful to Ragnar at one point, at least once. This is extremely ironic, seeing as Lagertha couldn't stand the fact that Ragnar was unfaithful to her, and their family was torn apart as a result.
Okay, so we've brought up Heahmund a few times by now. This is only because he was the most recent on Lagertha's list of lovers, and his untimely passing during battle appears to have made her finally snap. But why? The truth is that Lagertha’s relationships have always been interesting, but her one with Heahmund just seemed to fall flat.
The two of them had very little in common, and Lagertha’s behavior toward him just felt unnatural. It's not even that he was not a Viking. After all, Lagertha did have a brief relationship with King Ecbert, another Anglo-Saxon, and the two of them had way more chemistry than what we got with her and Heahmund. Instead, the whole thing felt a bit forced.
In addition to having a series of unhealthy relationships, Lagertha has not always made the most physically healthy decisions either.
While the Seer did foretell that Lagertha would not have any more children, he didn't actually say why this would be or how the prophecy would manifest itself (hey, he hardly ever gave much detail in his predictions). We certainly don't want to blame Lagertha here for her sad history with struggling to have more children, but at the same time we can't help but notice that she has engaged in a lot of self-destructive tendencies that only served to prove the Seer's prophecy right.
Lagertha was initially portrayed as a strong person who would do anything for her family, but how true was this really? Even early on in the show, she was quick to leave them behind with Athelstan (a relative stranger at the time) to go raiding the Anglo-Saxon lands.
Raiding is fun and all, and it was cool seeing Lagertha go with everyone, but the best parents are those who are able to set aside their own desires in order to do what is best for their children. Things didn't stop there though, and Lagertha has since made a series of decisions without regarding how Bjorn-- her sole surviving child and one of her only family members left in the world-- would feel about them.
This is a moment from way back in season 1 that has seen some debate across the fan boards, but for the most part, it has been ignored by viewers. At one point when Lagertha was ruling Kattegat in Ragnar’s absence, a man came before her and complained about his wife. The woman herself said she did not know whose child it was.
Instead of allowing the man to leave his wife as he desired, Lagertha told him that the other man was really a god in disguise and that this child was a result of the gods’ will. This obviously was not true, and it was clever on her part, but at the same time, it was a little messed up.
This is of the consistent themes seen throughout the show's run. The shieldmaiden may put on a kind face and make it seem like all is forgiven and forgotten, but that will never be the case. Remember, this is the same woman who took the life of her fiancé on their wedding day even though the two of them were obviously in love and could have had a nice life together.
Perhaps the best example of all is Lagertha's relationship with Aslaug. Though it appeared as though the two of them had reached some sort of understanding and that all was forgiven, Lagertha could of course never actually take this route. She instead allowed Aslaug to let her guard down around her, silently plotting the entire time.
This show thrives on battles and turmoil. Nevertheless, Lagertha serves as a great example of how many of this show’s leaders consistently allow their own personal grudges to get in the way of good judgment.
Remember that time when she could have just accepted Harald’s marriage offer and combined their two armies instead of continuing all the fighting? Or let Kalf live and go on to build a family with him while allowing Hedeby to prosper? This show has done a great job in consistently showing us as viewers that all decisions come with consequences.
It's obvious to anyone who has watched the show from the start that Ragnar was, without a doubt in Lagertha's mind, the love of her life. While she could never forgive him for his actions with Aslaug, she did always hold him in much higher regard than others who betrayed her.
Whether Ragnar deserves this or not, the fact is that Lagertha's standards for him (or rather, because of him) are pretty much impossible for anyone else to meet. Despite Ragnar doing things to her that were arguably worse than those that others have done, she ultimately just lets him get away with it.
Yes, she’s been betrayed a lot. However, there have been a lot of people in Lagertha’s life who really would have done anything for her, yet she never seemed to recognize it. For example, Torvi has been extremely loyal to Lagertha pretty much since she met her, and we often get the feeling that she believes more in her than any of the sons of Ragnar.
Before her untimely end, Astrid was another great example. She may not have been perfect as far as Lagertha's past loves went (that time she slept with Bjorn...ugh), but she sure would have done anything for Lagertha despite seeming to realize she could never hold a candle to Ragnar. Nevertheless, Lagertha didn't exactly fight to get her back from King Harald.
Lagertha sure likes to talk about how she comes from a farming background, and she even helped to establish that (albeit ill-fated) farming community in Wessex. So, it’s therefore pretty ironic that she initially tried to stop Floki and others from going to Iceland to start a new farming community. While she did end up letting them go, it was not without a struggle.
But why try to stop them in the first place? Not only was this ironic, but it felt a bit out of character for Lagertha. Was it because she's been focused on herself and her own endeavors for so long that she forgot that other people also have hopes and dreams? Or was it simply to create more conflict in the storyline? Either way, it didn't sit right with us.
Let's be real here; We didn't necessarily like Aslaug, but did she really deserve to go out this way? When she took Aslaug’s life, not only was this action totally unnecessary, but Lagertha carried it out in the most cowardly way possible. Aslaug may not have been the best person, but she wasn't that bad either. She had long tried to establish a peaceful relationship with Lagertha, the woman she knew would always be held in higher regard by both her husband and her people.
In Aslaug's final scene on Vikings, however, she had just gracefully handed over leadership of Kattegat to Lagertha and was on her way out when she met her end.
Going along with the above, one of the biggest reasons Aslaug had no defense against Lagertha was because her sons were actually incapable of helping her at the time. She waited until Ivar was away in England and Hvitserk was in the Mediterranean. Then, she had Ubbe and Sigurd (who remained in Kattegat) beaten and locked up. Yes, Lagertha locked them up for the sheer purpose of taking the life of their mother. It was great that she let them live (likely only out of respect for Ragnar), but by doing so she took away any real defense that Aslaug had.
It's nice that Lagertha and Ubbe seem to be getting along okay these days, but is Ubbe secretly like Lagertha in that he's just biding his time for vengeance? Only time will tell.
Why exactly does Lagertha want to rule? When we really think about it, the answer is not so simple. In fact, there might not be an answer at all.
Like Ragnar, Lagertha has had plenty of moments where she reminisces about being a farmer and leading a simple life. But unlike Ragnar who really just cared about Kattegat and going exploring in distant lands, she's way more ambitious when it comes to power. Nevertheless, Lagertha has always seemed more obsessed with fighting and the process of taking over power rather than actually having it.
Bjorn is not the best guy, and who can blame him considering the fact that he is the product of two fairly messed up parents? But just like with Ragnar and even herself, Lagertha refuses to see or acknowledge the underlying issues that are there. Or at least, she doesn’t care enough to do anything about it.
Sure, Bjorn is a respected fighter, but he’s overall a very apathetic leader who just kind of goes along with what other people want to do. Is Lagertha ever going to call out her son for what he is?
Lagertha does like to remind everyone of how often she’s been betrayed. She really likes to see herself as the victim rather than as someone who has contributed to a lot of her own problems. Even when she was in the process of stealing-- sorry, "reclaiming"-- Kattegat from Aslaug, she said "I was never the usurper. Always the usurped." As we've already established, Lagertha is technically the usurper here.
Currently, Lagertha appears to be wallowing in self-pity more than ever. She told Judith that she is now left without her armor (both in the physical and mental sense), and she sees her present situation as the product of too many things going wrong in her life.
Despite being very self-pitying, Lagertha is pretty inhumanly lucky most of the time. The fact that Judith just happened to find her alive and safe inside of the healer's home after she was missing after the battle is something that just wouldn't happen to most people.
This is more of an issue with the show’s writing than with the character itself, but it’s still crazy at times just how often things magically work out for the Viking shieldmaiden. This is especially true when it comes to taking people’s lives and then facing very little opposition to taking over their position in society. She's so loved by her people for whatever reason that she has no issues building up an army when she needs one.
Let's face it; the series will be over after one more season, and we know that it won't go without giving us the final say with Lagertha. More importantly, we've already been told flat out that the end to the shieldmaiden's life is approaching. See, though he often gave vague predictions, the Seer was never really wrong about anything he foretold would happen.
The Seer predicted a while ago that Lagertha would be slain by one of the sons of Ragnar. While we don’t know who exactly it will be (we have our ideas), we know that it’s only a matter of time until this prediction comes true.
What else is wrong from Lagertha from Vikings? Let us know in the comments!