Vikings has seen the demise of many characters, including Ragnar Lothbrok himself, and viewers said goodbye to one of the series’ original cast members in season 3: Siggy Haraldson, played by Jessalyn Gilsig. History Channel’s Vikings has brought a look into Viking culture that mixes history with fiction, a combination that has proven to be quite successful. The series is now preparing for its sixth and final season, which will surely bring more action – and with this, more deaths.
During its first seasons, Vikings followed the adventures and raids of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his Viking brothers, from the start of the Viking age onwards. These helped make way for Ragnar’s sons and their own travels, which have been the focus of the series in the seasons that followed, more so after Ragnar’s death in season 4. Over the course of five seasons, viewers have met all types of characters, many of which fluctuated between good and bad, often giving more of a suspicious vibe. Such was the case of Siggy Haraldson, widow of Earl Haraldson, the local Viking chieftain of Kattegat. Siggy’s motives were more on the selfish side, and yet her death was a very emotional one – but why was she killed?
Contrary to Travis Fimmel and Ragnar Lothbrok, whose story series creator Michael Hirst always knew when it was going to end, Siggy’s death wasn’t planned. In an interview with EW back in 2015, Gilsig revealed she had some family issues at the end of Vikings season 2, and living overseas (as the series is filmed in Ireland) made her feel like she couldn’t do what she needed to on behalf of her family. Hirst agreed to let her go, and both discussed where they wanted the character to go and the type of closure she would get. Siggy died in season 3’s episode 4, “Scarred”, and unlike many other characters, she didn’t have a violent or bloody death.
In season 3, Siggy took over the responsibilities of Aslaug, including watching over her sons. One day, Ubbe and Hvitserk (Aslaug and Ragnar’s sons) ran out of their home to a frozen pond, with Siggy going after them. When running across it, the boys fell through thin ice, prompting Siggy to dive in and rescue them. With the help of Harbard (who initially appeared to her as a vision of her deceased daughter, Thyri), Siggy pulled the boys out of the water before she let go and died in the cold water. Many of her actions throughout the series were quite questionable, and viewers often didn’t know if she could be trusted or not, but she ultimately left as a hero.
As Gilsig points out, Siggy was a loner, more so after the death of her daughter at the end of season 1, and was too blinded by her insistence to go back to a position of power. Siggy chose to give up at the lake, pushed by the vision of her daughter, after a truly heroic moment which, sadly, wasn’t recognized by Aslaug. 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.