Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha) talks about getting ready for Season 2, her martial arts background and Lagertha being seen as a female role model.
Question: How does it feel to be back for Season 2? Is there more pressure to deliver or is it more relaxed having done another season already?
Katheryn Winnick: [Laughs] I’ve never even thought about it that it might be more pressure! It definitely seems more relaxed, I think. Everyone already knows how to work with each other because it’s the same people as last year in terms of the cast and crew. At this point, I feel like I already know Lagertha and who she is. And the accent is definitely a lot easier this year in the sense that it’s more ingrained into my muscle memory.
Q: Lagertha is seen as a strong female role model. How important is it to have a character like that on television today?
KW: I think it’s really important, but I think its also important to note that, she’s not based on any comic book or any cartoon. She is based on a real shield-maiden, a real warrior who was married to Ragnar Lothbrok, who had her own power and strength in her own right. It is really nice and refreshing to see the amount of female viewers that respond to her and the unbelievable amount of support Lagertha has gotten from young girls to mothers and even boyfriends. I like it. I’m definitely proud to play her.
Q: How alike are you and Lagertha?
KW: I think there are things that are similar and there are definitely things that are different. I’d like to consider myself strong-willed. I have a martial arts background. I grew up as a fighter, so I have that history that Lagertha does.
I’m used to also being surrounded by “lads” all the time. Growing up, I’d consider myself a tomboy. I’ve been in a martial arts gym since I was seven! Our spirit of combat is quite similar, but as a shield-maiden I can’t really pull out a roundhouse kick!
Q: I heard a rumor that when you were about 13 years old, you got kicked out of summer camp, which sounds like something that would have happened to a young modern day Lagertha!
KW: [Laughs] Yes. Yes. I was definitely a huge troublemaker at camp! My friends and I used to always come up with different ways to prank the counselors. [Laughs] We were just pain in the butts. But the summer camp prank went a little further than it should have. I won’t give you all the details on that!
Q: Did you read up on the history of Lagertha prior to shooting?
KW: I definitely tried to get as much information as I could. Michael Hirst gave me some books on her. There’s very little about her out there. It’s really hard to find stuff about her. But you develop the character as you go and you learn more about Lagertha as the series goes on. I’m still discovering more things about her as Michael Hirst keeps writing more things! But I have a good idea of where she comes from and who she is.
Q: What has the fan reaction to Lagertha and the show been like? How was the experience at San Diego Comic-Con?
KW: It’s absolutely amazing to see everyone’s positive responses to the show. It’s a little surreal. Sometimes they know these characters and the world more than us, so I learn a lot from them! When you’re filming over in Ireland you think no one’s really seen the show, but when you go over to an event like Comic-Con, you see the fans’ reactions and it’s amazing!