Vikings: Katheryn Winnick discusses evolution of Lagertha
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Canadian star Katheryn Winnick wrapped up seven years playing the iconic female warrior Lagertha in the first half of Vikings’ sixth and final season last year. Now the series has finally come to an end on History and Amazon Prime, Winnick explained how her personal conversations with showrunner Michael Hirst helped influence the shieldmaiden’s epic journey.
Long-running Vikings star Katheryn Winnick has revealed how her personal experiences helped shape the role of Lagertha over the course of the show’s sixth seasons.
Winnick’s tenure as the courageous shieldmaiden came to an end at the start of 2020 when Lagertha was slain by Hvitserk (played by Marco Ilsø).
However, following the departure of Travis Fimmel’s Ragnar Lothbrok at the end of season four, Lagertha remained the show’s most enduring main character until part way through its final instalment.
Since departing the series, Winnick has landed a leading role in ABC’s new crime drama Big Sky, and also appears alongside Liam Neeson in a new thriller, The Marksman.
Lagertha remains one of the star’s most personal roles, though, in part thanks to her close bond with Vikings’ showrunner and sole writer, Michael Hirst.
In contrast to most long-running television dramas, Hirst penned the scripts to each and every episode of Vikings by himself, without the help of any co-writers.
Speaking with Collider, Winnick explained: “He has it all in his head without a writing partner, it’s absolutely unbelievable. And something that I know he’s very very proud of.”
Thanks to Hirst’s presence as the key creative force behind Vikings, Winnick quickly developed a strong working relationship with the showrunner.
The star was lucky enough to bring all her ideas to one decision-maker, as opposed to other large scale TV dramas which often have writers’ rooms and several producers and execs to go through first.
She continued: “As an actor you have such a luxury to be able to create a character with the creator and writer, to bring your personal life into the conversations so he can write for you.”
Her involvement in the series eventually expanded behind-the-scenes, as Lagertha would often discuss where Vikings was headed during her meetings with Hirst.
Winnick eventually became a prominent voice for the series in her own right, as she revealed the writer would often take inspiration from the actress’s own life when fleshing out the shieldmaiden’s next steps.
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The star recalled: “It really turned into a habit that after every script I would call Michael and he would come in and we would have dinner.
“We would break down the story and I would tell him about my life, what’s happening in my journey, and next episode I would see him writing a little about that in there.”
After so many years donning Lagertha’s signature shield and armour, it’s no surprise Katheryn Winnick became the show’s undeniable fan favourite.
The star also admitted her own life and Lagertha’s epic journey eventually started to merge into one after so many years as part of Vikings’ core cast.
She explained: “You feel very much involved and part of Lagertha’s development, and you as an actor you dive in, because it’s really a part of you.
“It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes after so many years playing one character, to separate yourself from who she is vs who you are in a lot of ways.”
Saying goodbye to Lagertha at the start of 2020 was a gruelling experience for fans, but Katheryn Winnick’s career is sure to go from strength to strength now her seven-year tenure on Vikings has come to an end.
Vikings season 6, part 2 is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
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