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!
As we covered a few weeks ago, Vikings like to eat. So, a food-focused holiday like Thanksgiving would probably have their approval.
In honor of the big day, check out the video above to see some of our favorite food-related moments from Season 1.
Vikings costume designer Joan Bergin and her wardrobe crew have the seemingly impossible task of designing an enormous array of individual costumes to fit the ever-growing cast. As Bergin explains, “What you do always with costume—whether it’s their day clothes or armor—is you try to have and have the costume tell another bit about the character.”
A few of our favorite looks from Season 1:
Creating each of the principal cast’s wardrobes in the workshop on set is a mammoth task. For Viking day clothes, Bergin looks for fabrics in what she calls “Cabbage Patch” colors—shades of dark green, brown and beige. Of all the characters Bergin has to design for, her favorite is Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), who forces her to create an ever-shifting wardrobe.
We took a visit to the wardrobe room on the set and took some pictures of their incredible work.
Just some of the over 1,500 costumes on set:
Wardrobe department in action:
With even more battle scenes planned for Season 2 of Vikings, costume designer Joan Bergin and her wardrobe team have been busy in their workshop designing and making armor for the cast and hundreds of extras required to make up the various armies the Vikings come into contact with on their raids.
Historically, Anglo-Saxon armies and their leaders would have all worn very grand and sophisticated armor. Vikings would’ve had armor of a much lower caliber and no proper head protection. The show matches this—the Vikings wear designs that look like they’ve come from their village and the Saxons feature more high-class looks, as well as helmets. Like their shields, each Viking has unique armor.
In their era, the Vikings may have worn a lot of red, blue and gold dyed leathers, but Bergin believed these colors didn’t match the tone of the show. To better convey a picture of fearless and savage warriors, the costume department focused on shades of brown, burgundy, grey and black for Ragnar, Rollo, Floki and the rest of the Vikings.
On set, there are 50 copies of each type of armor and roughly 1,500 costumes in total.
Vikings were very devoted to their gods and fully believed that their lives were fated. They charged into battle without fear, knowing that if they were slain, they would go to Valhalla to feast and prepare to fight alongside Odin, the Allfather, at Ragnarok, the end of the world.
When it comes to worshipping Odin, there’s no better Viking than Ragnar, who feels a very personal connection with the god. Like Odin, who sacrificed his eye for wisdom, Ragnar is driven by his thirst for knowledge. He also embraced the image of a raven, a symbol of Odin, by incorporating it into his armor last season.
The gods have been featured in many episodes of Vikings—in different forms. In the Season 1 episode “Sacrifice,” we see Odin, his son Thor and the god Freyr as three towering monuments inside the temple at Uppsala.
The statues are now in storage, but we were able to sneak a peek at them to give you a closer look. While the statues look like they were carved from thick tree trunks, Vikings art director Jon Beer explains that they were actually carved out of polystyrene to make them lightweight and easily movable for filming purposes. They were then covered in a plastic hard coat and paint finish to make them look like wood in each scene.
Odin stands tallest as the God of Gods:
Thor and Freyr:
An up-close look at Thor:
Jessalyn Gilsig (Siggy) talks about being compared to Lady Macbeth, what she is most excited about in Season 2 and the similarities between Glee and Vikings.
Q: Following the events of Season 1, what’s Siggy’s mindset like heading into Season 2?
Jessalyn Gilsig: What I like about Siggy is she’s sort of the definition of nothing left to lose, you know? She’s a person who even when everything they love is gone, they still have a drive, an ambition and an ego that sustains them. So, she is just trying to find out how to remain relevant, how to regain a lot of what she’s lost and she is trying to figure out if Rollo is the path to that goal.
Q: Fans have been comparing Siggy to Lady Macbeth. Do you feel this is a fair comparison?
JG: I think she and Earl Haraldson were great collaborators and incredibly political. They had a vision, which was really in contrast to Ragnar. I think if things were in her way and she wanted something, she could certainly stoop to some very low places. I wouldn’t say she’s good, but I wouldn’t say she’s evil. I would say she would unapologetically go after what she wants, just like a Viking!
Q: You have worked on a lot of big budget television shows. How does Vikings compare in terms of production and scale?
JG: I see a parallel between Glee and Vikings where I feel like Glee established a world and a vocabulary that didn’t exist before and there was a big risk there. I feel like Vikings is doing the same thing where it’s either everyone jumps in or we risk underachieving. I think what we’re trying to do here is honor a culture that has just never been given a chance. What we’re finding is that part of why this history has been buried is because it really challenges a lot of what we take for granted in our cultures.
Q: You recently produced and starred in Somewhere Slow. How was your experience as a producer and do you look forward to spending more time behind the camera?
JG: I absolutely loved it! I was really proud to make that film. It’s a lot like Vikings in the sense that it was really exciting to watch the different departments shine and for me to create those opportunities for people. So, I’d love to do more of it, absolutely.
Q: What are you most excited about in Season 2?
JG: I’m mostly excited to give it to the audience and for them to see how the characters’ relationships deepen and are challenged. What I’ve learned from the audience is that they really understand the characters and I think it would be really rewarding for them to see how, as much as it is a show about battles and big themes, at the end of the day it’s about love, betrayal and hope.