This Sunday at 10/9c, the maiden voyage of History’s Vikings comes to a close as Ragnar (played by Travis Fimmel) embarks on his first mission on behalf of King Horic (Donal Logue), to make a deal with the Earl in Gotaland. But is all as it seems? And will either of the seer’s prophecies for both Ragnar and his wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) bear fruit before all is said and done? Series creator Michael Hirst shared with TVLine a preview of the already renewed adventure drama’s final hour and the surprises it holds.
TVLINE | Ragnar is such an ambitious individual — will swearing fealty to King Horic satisfy him, even for the time being?
Well, clearly Horic can be of help to him and his ambitions. You know, you start a raid with one ship or even two, with just got 60 warriors, and you could have bad luck. You could have half of them killed in a fight and you’re screwed. So to team up with someone who’s got more resources, a slightly bigger population, makes sense to him — even if he’s doing it slightly cynically.
TVLINE | Now, I have to wonder: When Horic asked for Ragnar’s assistance in the Earl Borg negotiation, did I get a hint of subtext that he may want the guy whacked?
No, Horic is setting a test for Ragnar. Horic is not quite what he seems. He is of complex character and the great thing about that is that I think he comes over initially as very sympathetic and very sincere, and that’s great. That’s a very good way to start.
TVLINE | Yeah, in his first episode, I kept waiting for him to kind of like lower the boom on Ragnar, because he was being so welcoming and so full of praise. I was waiting for him to make an aside, like, “We better keep an eye on this one.”
That’s a build. I’m planting little seeds and the thing about Horic is he’s a king, so he’s got his antennae out for anyone coming up on the rails. Ragnar’s exploits are known, so he’s got to draw him in and find out what he’s like, this guy. He’s got to take his measure.
TVLINE | We saw Lagertha praying to be planted with seed. And we saw Ragnar praying to get more sons. How is that story thread going to continue in the finale?
Without spoiling things, I think we can say that perhaps unexpectedly, a new woman comes into Ragnar’s life. And it is unexpected because I think so much of the first season has been about this pretty rock-solid relationship between [him and Lagertha], their kind of wonderful marriage…
TVLINE | The fans love those two, and wince at the slightest hint of unhappiness for them.
Absolutely. Apart from anything else, I give great credit to Katheryn Winnick, who has put in an amazing performance. But one of the big things for me was to humanize the Vikings and say, “Hey, you’ve heard some stuff about them, but then you realize they were fathers and sons, and husbands and wives. They had a lot of the same issues that we do.” So it was very important to have this family life. Lagertha is ballsy. She’s a great mother, a great fighter… She’s so many things. But in this world where the gods are a part of your every day life, where Ragnar who is an ambitious guy who has been promised a lot of sons, when his wife miscarries a son, he must ask: Are the gods talking to him? It all has to do with his fame and his future, because for Vikings fame was a huge thing. One of the things we know about the historical Ragnar is he was deeply concerned that his sons would become more famous than he would. So of course when Lagertha miscarried, that’s a huge moment.
TVLINE | Coming out of last week’s episode, is it safe to say that Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) has lit a significant fire underneath Ragnar’s brother Rollo (Clive Standen)?
Yes. She’s revealing herself to be a much more clever operator perhaps than we thought. She is fighting for her life because she’s lost so much and indeed will lose more, but she is hanging in there. There was, from what I gather, very little mercy shown to people who associated with the old regime, so she’s using her intelligence to stick in there. The relationship with Rollo is interesting because it should work to both of their advantages, but we’ll just have to see.
TVLINE | And how would you tease the very final scenes of Sunday’s finale?
There are scenes of utter poignancy, and scenes of huge, perhaps unexpected emotion. When you started watching this season, no one I think could ever guess how it would end up and how deeply as an audience you would feel about how it ended up.
TVLINE | And what would you say the theme will be for Season 2 versus Season 1?
Well, it’s almost the same theme — Ragnar’s rise to power and his further explorations — but it’s obviously going to be on a bigger scale. He’s going to go off raiding with Horic, he’s going to get involved with the King of Wessex, which is a much bigger kingdom in England… It’s going to be very interesting how all of that pans out.