Vikings' Katheryn Winnick Talks 'Bigger,' Bloodier Season 2, Betrayals and Lagertha Hitting Bottom

Vikings Season 2 Preview WinnickAs History’s Vikings returns tonight at 10/9, its second voyage will take a leap not just in time but in scope.

When last we tuned in, Ragnar (played by Travis Fimmel) had traveled to Sweden — for naught — to strike a deal with Jarl Borg on behalf of King Horik (Donal Logue). Meanwhile back in Kattegat, Lagertha endured much tragedy, losing her and Ragnar’s daughter Gyda to a plague. As such, it will be far from “Happy to see me?” when Ragnar returns home with Princess Aslaug in tow, expectant with his new son.

Katheryn Winnick, who has acquired quite a following as shield maiden Lagertha, visited TVLine’s Times Square office to preview betrayal, battles and swings of fate ahead.

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TVLINE | I look at your social media presence, with the “maiden warrior” fans and such…. Could you have expected that Lagertha would’ve struck such a chord with people?
I had no idea people would respond the way they have. It’s overwhelming and so amazing to see that a lot of people relate to her. And the fact that she’s a shield maiden, such a strong individual…. It’s inspiring. It makes me want to work harder and do justice to her character. So, if anything, it actually pushing me to explore different sides of her that I wouldn’t necessarily have in the first season.

TVLINE | There’s a fair amount of empowered females on TV these days. How do you think she is distinct?
I think it’s because she’s based on a real character, a real shield maiden who was married to Ragnar Lothbrok and who fought alongside her husband in the battlefields. So that history is interesting. And while Vikings is a family saga, it also has adventure and action. Also, she’s not only an empowered woman, but she’s also modern for her time. She stands out in that time period.

TVLINE | How has Lagertha been affected by all that she went through during Ragnar’s absence? I mean, sooo much went down.
She’s definitely had a lot of struggles and her sense of willpower and her sense of self has been tested. “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” — that’s a good way of describing her. Season 1 was about Ragnar and our family life, whereas in Season 2 she’s coming into her own more. She definitely becomes his equal at one point… but she also has a weakness that you never saw coming. She hits a bottom that you wouldn’t imagine her hitting.

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TVLINE | How does the news of Aslaug’s L to R_ Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick)existence and what she and Ragnar have gotten themselves involved in impact Lagertha?
I think because she has gone through so much — losing Gyda to the plague, miscarrying Ragnar’s son, dealing with the responsibility of Kattegat and ruling it when Ragnar’s away raiding — it’s really hard for her. It comes off as more of a betrayal. Not so much the fact that he’s had sex with another woman, but more that if he’s in love with another woman….

TVLINE | What’s Lagertha’s read on Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland)? Lagertha calls her “princess” almost dismissively.
They’re from different walks of life. [Aslaug] has wealth behind her. She’s been raised in a privileged way. Whereas Lagertha was a shield maiden in the battlefield and a farmer…. more hands-on. I’ll tell you one thing: I definitely wanted to play against the stereotype of getting into a catty catfight between the  women. But I couldn’t believe how strongly the audience reacted were when Auslock came into the picture, how devastated they were that Ragnar would cheat on Lagertha.

TVLINE | Oh, you know men back then — just blame it on “the gods.”
Yeah. I don’t know if I necessarily blame Aslaug as much as I would blame Ragnar. And I think that it actually strengthened Lagertha’s character when Aslaug came in the picture. In Season 2, the relationship evolves between the two women.

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TVLINE | Rollo seems more a wild card than ever, allying with Jarl Borg. Is that the case?
He definitely has his own battles and demons to fight. And his behavior is unpredictable as usual. Clive Standen has a great storyline this season.

TVLINE | And how would you describe Lagertha’s current relationship with Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig)? They’ve been through a crucible together.
I think there’s a mutual respect between them now. Especially in that they’re both mothers who have lost their children. Also, the roles have reversed, where now Siggy’s in a position of helping Lagertha while Lagertha’s in a position of strength. We had one really beautiful scene in Season 2 Vikings_AlexanderLudwig– hopefully it all made it in — where they trust and confide in each other, which is nice to see.

TVLINE | There was a bit of confusion when Alexander Ludwig from The Hunger Games joined the Season 2 cast as Ragnar and Lagertha’s son Bjorn. Is there going to be a time jump at some point?
Yes. In Episode 2, you’ll see a four-year time difference, and Alexander’s playing him as a young adult. Which was really interesting for me to play.

TVLINE | Was it a little sad to say goodbye to young Nathan O’Toole?
Of course, because he is one of my favorite people on set. And we still stay in touch. But Alexander fit in beautifully. I remember doing a screen test with him, and with Travis, and he stood out as a perfect fit.

TVLINE | Would you say there’s any particular theme to Season 2?
It’s bigger and better. More storylines. Different storylines. A bigger spectrum, bigger battle sequences. More of an evolved world. A lot more extras, background actors. Everything is just definitely up a notch — even more so in terms of the plots and storyline. The stakes are higher.
Vikings_Season2_BattleTVLINE | What’s been the greatest physical challenge for you so far?
Well, I learned how to ride a horse this season. Also, just battling in these costumes — I’m wearing a metal armor for the most of Season 2 and that thing weighs more than 10 pounds. You sweat just walking up a hill! So to be able to fight and be loose and flexible is a challenge.

TVLINE | And what’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do? Is weaving on a loom in the Top 3?
It’s actually pretty easy, believe it or not — and very therapeutic. I think it’s learning the different sides of what goes on to make such a show. I remember walking into the set design department and seeing the battle sequences mapped out on a toy landscape, because it’s very important to get the right hills at certain sizes, since strategy was really important when they fought. It’s incredible how much thought goes into every detail. Not just with the set design, but also the costume department, hair and make-up…. Like, my character goes through an age jump, so how do we communicate in two seconds that she’s not as comfortable in and out of her own skin, just by her hairstyle?

TVLINE | If you, Katheryn Winnick, had a chance to visit an all-knowing seer like the one on Vikings, would you?
That’s a very good question. Yeah, I would. I would. I do believe in fate, but I also believe in choices. So, I’m not sure if I would necessarily want all the answers!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Gaara says:

    I felt bad for her relationship with Ragnar. I actually hoped they would “bend” the real story/legend and change the outcome, we are on History Channel after all lol. I mean, Bjorn shouldn’t even be one of Lagherta’ sons.. But Katheryn Winnick really brought her character to life, and now all I want is to watch this inspiring woman keep kicking asses and being awesome!

    • MichelleBurt says:

      (Plz scroll down to my rant starting with ‘Ditto ditto ditto*)…One of my main reasons in my obsession/love for vikings, is of course the superb storylines,acting,dialogue,etc—But* I am seething with want of knowledge regarding Lagertha & Ragnar*….I will be wroth if she is written out for she is my favorite hands down;& as for times ahead, I beg for any opinion on the possibility/etc of her & Ragnar Truly reuniting for the long haul; Aslaug & the difference in historical writings be damned!!! They share an equality & passion not even Touched upon w ‘Princess’ Aslaug-baby machine!!!..I truly yearn for far more time spent in the series regarding Lagertha; & Ragnar coming to his senses no matter issues/raids/aslaugs at hand!! Can any offer insight, opinion, wishes, probabilities/possibilities, etc on Ragnar+Lagertha*?!?¿? Ty<3

      • I agree totally with you about the need for Ragnar and Legertha to be together in this show. Viking History varies so much that doesn’t matter. I only wish the writers would pay attention to the fans and our wishes to be done with the princess. The fear I have is that the writers think they know the fans wishes better than we do.

    • michael cunningham says:

      I feel the same started out with the tough guy thing but she is my number 1 in the show she is a great actress

  2. Katherine215 says:

    Ragnar cheating on Lagertha *crushed* me last season. I really hope this season is just as good as the first one, because I’m apparently still mad at the show for that. (Ok, and history itself, but whatever, it’s TV, darn it!)

    • wrstlgirl says:

      Yeah, I agree. Especially when he already had the disapproval of his son yet, he continued anyway. Men, LOL!!! Looking forward to the new season :-)

    • I agree with you. This whole

      second season was so stressful for me. I hoped for a long time that Ragnar and Lagertha would get back together. I know it’s only a show but why can’t a show with so much sadness and death at least give the fans some happiness and love between two people who really do love each other.

  3. R.O.B. says:

    Is anyone else just slightly distracted by Ragnar’s accent? It feels to me like the actor never quite got the hang of the accent in season 1.

  4. Pati says:

    The promos for this show looks so good but I just can’t get into season 1 I’ve watched 3 episodes so far and Travis Fimmel’s voice bothers me, he sounds so feminine lol

  5. Luke says:

    Katheryn Winnick the prettiest woman on the planet. There I said it.

  6. jenferner8 says:

    I was pretty disgusted that Ragnar would sleep with another woman but I agree with Kathryn on this even if I don’t like what he did. That being said I never got the impression it was anything more then sex, given the way Ragnar reacted in finding out his son saw them together. Certainly not love, in fact that hoe strikes me as manipulative, a viking version of a Kardashian. I also don’t really care for the actress who plays that woman so that may be why I’m a bit grossed out by the situation.

  7. VulcanWept says:

    Yes, Katheryn Winnick is an absolutely beautiful woman. She gets more beautiful everyday. The only thing bad about seeing her role changed is that we may see less of her. But don’t worry, according to the legends, Lagertha actually saves Ragnar’s life few times. She never lost her love for him. I just hope the producers do a flashback to when Ragnar wooed Lagertha the Shieldmaiden. That’s a story all by itself.

    • MichelleBurt says:

      I too wish for some Immensely Wanted/Needed Revisionist History; in not simply having Lagertha ‘pop up’ here n there, to save Ragnar’s LIFE & his NEW FAMILY/’Wife’ & assist Ragnar in his battles & such whilst moving farther n farther up the food chain & coming more into her own, such as ruling, her wisdom/justice/courage/heart/& strength of heart & shield…..yet ever carrying with her the unrequited Love once undoubtedly shared, for Ragnar. He should See this as easily as all else DO & plz, writers, & Hirst, have those inimitable passionate two throw princesses&history to the wayside for All that is they as One*.

  8. last night i watched the episode. Aslaug shows up pregnant with Ragnar’s baby and shock and betrayal that lagertha feels.
    ragnar’s foolishness in that two women would happily share a man. The big upset for me is Lagertha leaving Ragnar. I want to see more of her. Please don’t write her out of the show!

  9. Hershey Kiss says:

    I’ve been recently OBSESSED with this show. I love strong women (bronze, brains, beauty and all) and it just crushed me that Ragnar and Lagertha separate! I can’t wait till next Thursday!!

  10. jen says:

    I know its just a tv show but I cried my eyes out when lagertha left rhagnar. Of course he deserved it, how dare he cheat on and leave the amaxing, gorgeous, fearsome lagertha for a sleezy princess! Who does this princess think she is!? Stupid that’s who! I secretly hope they get rhagnar and lagertha back together. All and all this show is amazing and I’m so hooked!

    • Solomonna says:

      I never cried so much over a TV show in my life after Sunday night’s episode. I am still heart-broken. Ragnar’s monologue to Gyda really affected me but the final scenes leading up to “the end” were just soul crushing. Fimmel, Winnick and O’Toole are simply phenomenal in their roles and so watchable. . . (Side Note: I must say the casting of O’Toole as Lagertha’s son Bjorn was such a good physical match! And, Gyda looked more like Ragnar.)

      . . .The animation and sorrow on their faces, Ragnar’s palpable and broken body language at the end and distraught facial expressions said it all.

      What happened mirrors real life, sometimes one cannot go on with one’s True Love due to situational challenges. I know I am watching The History Channel, but if there were any way to engage in revisionist history as to the outcome of the Ragnar-Lagertha-Bjorn circumstances last Sunday night, I pray to Auld Father… O, Mighty Odin that such would be the case.

  11. Solomonna says:

    I have no sympathy for “Princess” Aslaug and the hate the actress who plays her may now be experiencing. I hold both she and Ragnar equally responsible. It’s not as if she did not know Ragnar was married because Bjorn was always there watching and keeping Ragnar in check as if a 15-year-old should have to do so. I am sad to see Nathan O’Toole leave the show…He’s BRILLIANT as young Bjorn. Biut, I look forward to seeing him in future projects. As for Warrior Queen Lagertha, Aslaug cannot light a candle to her. I no longer like Ragnar as much as I once did and I root Lagertha on in her new quest speed bumps and all. Thank you Ms. Winnick for bringing Lagertha to life on screen. I admire and respect your thespian abilities and also thank you for portraying Lagertha with such diugnity and grace and regalness. Yiu ruled Kattegat even better than Ragnar during his absence. Love to see strong roles for exceptional women. Best regards!

  12. williewall says:

    As much as I like Lagertha, Aslaug is psychic and she must have know that Ragnar was going to show up one day. She even told him that he was told that he would have many sons and this is something that he never shared with anyone except Lagertha. Aslaug must feel that she is fulfilling her destiny with Ragnar even if it means hurting Lagertha. I just hope that Lagertha finds love again even though she is so in love with Ragnar. I’m glad the son went with her. I really love this show.

  13. Karen Lemley says:

    I can not stand that princess. She needs to get bludgeoned very quickly and let us see the original cast. That woman who plays her does not fit in at all. Travis, shame on you! Your little son should have stabbed you both!

  14. Angi says:

    Kill princess aslaug. Enough said.

  15. Diane says:

    Oh please let Ragnar and Lagratha get back together… I’m still ticked off that that ho of a princess broke them up but you can kill her off and get the two that are really in love with each other back together… Please please…. I soooooo love this show and never want it to end… I laugh and I cry, this is the best show ever!!!!

    • MichelleBurt says:

      Ditto Ditto Ditto; yes, I’ve read the ‘history’ of the whole deal, But, I am BURNING to know & Make Inevitable, the reuniting-romantically & definitely/for the course!, not an improbability but a Must!!! I also, no matter any reasonings!!!, have Much distaste for Aslaug in all ways. Ragnar himself even questions the seer on ‘whom he should choose'(!), & remember when he returned from Gotaland & said, verbatim, that he did not Love HER(Aslaug)!?!? So, WHAT will happen Now that Lagertha is leaving Bjorn w Ragnar & returning to her ‘husband'(whom I’m sure shall not live long now,& then where will she go/do??)….I truly will throw an Axe if Lagertha is written off**, & I long for her in far more episodes/ w far more time!!! Aslaug is a spoiled snooty character that Ragnar is ridiculous to even Think of over Lagertha; there is zero passion betwixt them..she is a baby vending machine, in my wrath!!! PLZ tell me what anyone else believes will/could happen regarding Lagertha & Ragnar truly reuniting*…..

  16. Gina says:

    I too LOVE this show, it really angered me when they introduced the princess because I love Lagertha!!!! I hope they bring Lagertha and Ragnar back together.

  17. M Catledge says:

    Winnick does an amazing job portraying Lagertha. She is the number one character on the show. She is my favorite because of her sense of honor and integrity. She is Strong, Beautiful, Couragious, Loving and she was supporting until Ragnar cheated on her. I know it’s history but come on man how could you cheat on an amazing Woman like that!? I like Ragnar still but he went a step down while Lagertha and Winnick are top shelf!!! She is Awesome. She reminds me of my Wife who is Strong, Beautiful, Couragious, Loving, Posessive, Hot, Sexy, Ferocious like Lagertha! I am a lucky man!

    • MichelleBurt says:

      I couldn’t agree More. It was immensely disappointing, to put it lightly, to have Ragnar throw aside a prize & impossibly singular woman & FamilyUnit* which he Always preaches, to simply get More Sons in Any Way possible with whomever possible*. Aslaug will never be more then a womb/seeress be d@mned; when Lagertha eclipses Both**. Ragnar has disappointed me so* & if he does not see the stupidity of his ways & passion/love/unity he had with Lagertha, as a fiery, loyal, wise equal whom he is Beyond* Lucky to have merely Known let alone Be With, then my respect for him is damaged fearfully so….I wish them together….tho cannot imagine the immensity of the apology & Such he must lay at her feet….tho she still loves him & deserves his love in return more then Any Other.*

  18. M Catledge says:

    Still though, I hope Ragnar sees the error of his ways and begs forgiveness. I hope they get back together- Lagertha and Ragnar. You can tell they still love each other deeply. This time he stays loyal to her forever because she deserves that! He’s lucky that she didnt cut his nuts off the first time. Yikes!