ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – A typical episode of Vikings is often fatal for minor or major characters. A season finale? That’s a guaranteed bloodbath. And History’s seafaring epic did not disappoint with the fourth season finale, which saw the rising generation of Vikings battle the forces of Wessex, seeking a final vengeance for the death of the great King Ragnar Lothbrok. SPOILERS FROM HERE, as we talk to Vikings creator Michael Hirst about the passing of one of the show’s defining characters.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In some ways, this episode marked the endpoint of a story that goes all the way back to season 2, with the introduction of King Ecbert (Linus Roache) and his interaction with Ragnar (Travis Fimmel). We saw Ecbert die, by his own hand, in this episode. How did the character change from your initial conception through to his final moments?
MICHAEL HIRST: It’s been a monumental season in the sense of losing both Ragnar and Ecbert, two massive characters in the show. Their stories were interweaved. They were very different, but they found that they had so much in common. The process of discovery, of finding out what they had in common, was organic. It never occurred to me in the beginning.
Ecbert was a cultured, sophisticated mirror image of Ragnar’s authenticity. He, as a character, grew on me. I was blessed to have Linus Roache to develop him with. Linus and I share a deep love for T.S. Eliot. And I was astonished at how Linus himself had taken this character and started to look broken and old by the end of his story.