Katheryn Winnick shares secrets from Season 4
TORONTO SUN – It gives new meaning to the director yelling, “Cut!”
Do not plot against Lagertha. It will end painfully for you, especially if you’re a male.
Lagertha, played by Katheryn Winnick, already has had, shall we say, an “active” season on Vikings, which airs Thursdays on History.
“Well, Lagertha has been betrayed a lot,” Winnick said.
I won’t talk about things that haven’t aired yet, but I’ll issue a SPOILER ALERT here, in case you don’t want to know anything about Season 4, which currently is in progress.
In the very first episode of the season, Lagertha dealt with an uprising against her earldom in a way that would get any man’s attention.
She, um, cut off the ringleader’s genitals. Ouch.
“That was definitely a hoot to shoot, although I couldn’t keep a straight face,” Winnick recalled.
“It was hilarious, because the makeup department worked with the prosthetic department to come up with a different product, or different body parts, and different sizes, and I just couldn’t keep a straight face, with all the extras standing there.
“I don’t know how much of it was shown on TV, probably none of it because it’s History, but we definitely were dying of laughter because it was just too funny. I even was talking to our head medic there, just kind of going, ‘What kind of manoeuvre would it be to make this happen?’ You’re trying to have a serious conversation about that, while holding different prosthetics.”
If that weren’t enough, in last week’s episode, Lagertha’s wedding to the duplicitous Kalf (Ben Robson) didn’t end so well for the latter. As Lagertha and Kalf kissed, she pulled out a knife and stabbed him to death.
Thus concluded a fascinating relationship, in which both Lagertha and Kalf thought they were smarter than the other, but only one of them could be right.
“I don’t think Lagertha really ever trusted Kalf,” Winnick said. “She was always two steps ahead.”
The things Lagertha has been forced to do this season to maintain her power got me thinking about how, in modern times, we probably remember certain aspects of history incorrectly.
We think of rulers in the past as having absolute authority. But people basically were the same today as they were a thousand years ago.
So the split-second that Lagertha, or Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), or Rollo (Clive Standen), or Ecbert (Linus Roache) turn their backs, people are talking smack and trying to organize against them. The vigilance required to keep on top of your kingdom or earldom would have been exhausting. You know the old saying: When everybody really is out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking.
“I know, everybody has their own motives, it’s crazy, there’s always drama,” Winnick said. “And you can always relate to it.
“Yes, it’s a show about Vikings, but these situations, whether it’s jealousy or betrayal or trying to take someone else’s power, it’s something that is relevant to this day. People still get jealous.
“So that’s why it’s a worldwide hit, people can relate to it and say, ‘I can see why she would react like that when she has been betrayed.’ Maybe not as far as chopping off someone’s genitals. We can’t get off this topic.”
Winnick stressed, however, that the only reason the violence means anything in Vikings is that Michael Hirst writes the characters and the stories in a way that makes you care.
“Without the stories, without the character drama, the action wouldn’t be that important,” Winnick said.
“I don’t want people to get the wrong impression of what Vikings is about, by just seeing it as a violent show. It’s a very smart, rich show where you’re getting a whole world that you hadn’t seen before. It’s not just the battles.
“Scenes are never about just one thing. That’s what makes good drama and good television.”
Nonetheless, I still don’t want to make Katheryn Winnick mad, just to be safe.
As she put it, “I’m glad, you being a male, that you’re laughing with me.”