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Lagertha

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Lagertha
Portrayed by Katheryn Winnick
Laguerthaseason3
Status: Alive
Home: Hedeby
Kattegat, Scandinavia (formerly)
AKA: Earl Ingstad
Livelihood: Shield-maiden
Farmer
Title: Earl of Hedeby
Significant Other/s: Sigvard † (husband)
Ragnar Lothbrok (former husband)
Children: Bjorn (son)
Gyda † (daughter)
Unnamed son †
Relatives: Rollo (brother-in-law)
Siggy (granddaughter)
Character Information
Season/s: 1, 2, 3
First appearance: Rites of Passage
Appearance Count: 27

Lagertha is a powerful and well-known shield-maiden, continuing to fight alongside her former husband and fellow Viking fighters, before her great tragedy. She is completely versed in Viking combat, even to the extent that she can fight off multiple people of greater physical strength than her, and displays a shrewd tongue, which hints at a strong intellect, and strong spirit, which makes her desirable to her husband, Ragnar. She exists to typify a resolved version of the archetype of the deadly and beautiful woman, where she is, as a resolution to the weaknesses of this archetype, a balance between brains and cunning.

Once the devoted wife of the Ragnar Lothbrok, with whom she shared a great love story, deep respect, admiration, and ambitions, Lagertha has since married another after they lost their second and unborn third child.

Since the loss of her children and suffering the blows of love and rejection, Lagertha realizes that Freyja's fertility is meant for another, and that it is the goddess' warrior aspect that speaks to her fellow Valkyrie. Lagertha remains fiercely independent when it comes to protecting her family—and the throne.

Biography Edit

Early Life Edit

Lagertha's parents were farmers. She was born and raised by her father as a shield-maiden[1] and grew to become fierce and courageous.

At an unspecified time, Ragnar went to Lagertha's home to confess his love for her, but he was set upon by a bear and an enormous hound who guarded her home. Ragnar killed the bear with his spear and strangled the hound with his bare hands, thus gaining her hand in marriage.

Season 1 Edit

In 8th century Scandinavia, Lagertha's son, Bjorn, had just turned twelve when her husband, Ragnar decided to leave for Kattegat to have Bjorn swear allegiance to their reigning Earl, Haraldson so he could finally earn his arm ring. Lagertha did not think her son was ready and tried to ask Ragnar to wait a while, to which he refused.

While her husband and son are away, two men invade their home, hoping to take advantage of Lagertha and Gyda. They underestimate Lagertha and are injured by Lagertha, fleeing before she does any worse to them. Upon her husband's return, Lagertha is told by Ragnar that he will be exploring the West with a few good men and a sturdy ship. When she learns that she will not be accompanying him, Lagertha is offended and tries to protest, but Ragnar insists that she stay since she is the only one he trusts to watch their farm. Resistant, Lagertha even got into a physical altercation with her husband, only to be stopped by their son.

When Ragnar returned from his voyage, he brought with him a ship full of treasures and a few Christian monks, including a young man named Athelstan, who can speak their language. The Earl, pleased with the bounty, decided that everything is his, though Ragnar and his men can each have one item. Obviously angered by the Earl's decision, Ragnar chose to keep Athelstan and brought him home as their slave, whom they later invite into bed with them, which he declined for as he has taken a vow of celibacy. Despite Athelstan's status as a captive, however, he is generally well taken care of.

The next trip to England planned by Ragnar has been sanctioned by the Earl. Now that they have Athelstan to watch over their farm and children, Lagertha is brought on the journey by Ragnar.

Upon their arrival, they are met by a group of King Aelle's soldiers inviting them to meet their king. Distrust on either side eventually cause a battle, with all but one soldier killed. The Vikings continued on to a nearby town and promptly raided it, though, with information learned from Athelstan, they wait until Sunday to attack the church.

During the raid, Lagertha stopped Knut, Earl's half-brother sent to spy on Ragnar, from raping a Saxon woman. With redirected anger, Knut attempted to rape Lagertha and is subsequently killed with his own knife.

104, Lagertha et al

Lagertha telling the others about Knut.

She managed to quietly leave the scene, only to be met by Ragnar and the other men who have since finished with the church. He asked Lagertha about Knut and told the group of what had happened. Ragnar expressed his concern by saying that he hoped to kill him. While Lagertha said there were no witnesses, she knows her crime is still punishable by death.

At the beach, the Vikings were met with another group of soldiers whom they easily defeat. Upon their return to Scandanavia, again laden with goods, they are greeted with cheers and praises, though the Earl is quick to realize that his half-brother is missing. Ragnar then took the blame for Knut's death, saying he killed Knut because he tried to rape Lagertha. The Earl had Ragnar imprisoned and planned to try and execute him, almost convincing Ragnar's brother, Rollo, to betray him.

During the trial, however, it is Haraldson who is ultimately betrayed by Rollo as he testified in support of his brother, thus freeing Ragnar of his charges. Rollo later revealed to Lagertha that he did it not for Ragnar but for her. Although Lagertha has long been pursued secretly by Rollo, she constantly rejects him, and Ragnar remains oblivious to his brother's affections.

105, boat escape

Lagertha, Athelstan and the children waiting for Ragnar.

The Earl, now hellbent on destroying Ragnar, tried many times to kill him and all those who approve of him. He and his men raid their island and quickly destroy everything, from their homes and other neighboring ones, to the farms and the lives of people who tried to fight back or run. Lagertha, however, managed to escape and hide with her children and Athelstan. An injured Ragnar later joined them and together, the group found refuge at Floki's home.

Ragnar soon decided to challenge Haraldson in a duel to the death, worrying Lagertha. The night before, in the midst of love-making, Lagertha asked her husband not to fight as he is still badly injured. Ragnar, however, emerged victorious in the battle against Haraldson and became the new Earl.

In the midst of a party following a lavish burial for the former Earl, Lagertha announced that she is pregnant. A pleased Ragnar insisted that the unborn child is a boy, just as the gods have predetermined, as the Seer once foretold.

Months into her pregnancy, Lagertha is once again left alone at Kattegat as Ragnar sailed for England. At this point, Lagertha has become responsible for overseeing varying disputes among the townspeople to maintain order.

Lagertha's leadership was tested when a man brought his wife with an infant. The man claimed that a young man stayed at their house for three days, and nine months later, his wife gave birth to a child when the couple had went years without conceiving. Upon learning that the visitor's name was Rig, Lagertha demonstrated her knowledge and told them that Rig is another name for their Norse god Heimdallr. She then told the man that he should consider himself blessed that the god chose them, and warns him that if any harm comes to the child or his wife, he will have to answer to her.

Later, the former Earl's widow, Siggy, requested to become Lagertha's servant. Initially hesitant, Lagertha agreed. Unfortunately, Lagertha had a miscarriage and upon Ragnar's return, Ragnar is devastated. Promised many sons by the gods, Ragnar began to doubt that it is Lagertha who will provide them for him as they fail to conceive another child, no matter their efforts.

Frustrated with their inability to produce the sons Ragnar was promised, both Lagertha and Ragnar ask the gods for help during the traditional pilgrimage to Uppsala, where they honor the gods with sacrifices.

During this time, Ragnar met King Horik and pledged his service to him, in return for more manpower for his future travels to England. Following the sacrifice, King Horik immediately sent Ragnar and a few other men to Gotaland for negotiations, leaving Lagertha alone and worried that her husband will seek out another woman to have sons with.

The negotiations eventually fall though, though Ragnar's men spy on a beautiful young woman bathing. The woman, named Aslaug, demands an apology from Ragnar, and, by using her wits to solve his riddle, soon intrigues Ragnar. The pair eventually have sex, infuriating his son with Lagertha, Bjorn, who is incredibly upset that his father is cheating on his mother. Regardless, Aslaug soon becomes pregnant with what Ragnar is predicting will be his next son, and Ragnar continues his torrid affair with her.

While Ragnar and Aslaug celebrate the good news, Lagertha and the remaining Vikings have been fighting a losing battle with a plague. Lagertha is left to grieve one of the the many victims, her and Ragnar's own daughter, Gyda.

Season 2 Edit

In Kattegat, Bjorn reveals Ragnar's infidelity to his mother. Though initially the couple seem to overcome the adultery, this changes when the heavily pregnant Aslaug comes to Kattegat. Ragnar asked if he may marry both of them, for the sake of their children. Lagertha, disgusted, insulted, and far too dignified to tolerate such disrespect, chooses to leave him, joined by Bjorn.

In the time that passes, Ragnar becomes the father to several sons by Aslaug, fulfilling the prophecy. Lagertha has since remarried, settling in Hedeby, Scandinavia, with the wealthy earl Sigvard. Unfortunately, she seems less than pleased with him though he claims to have wanted her for a long time. Lagertha is trying (and failing) to elude Sigvard. He says as his wife she should be by his side when he entertains guests; Lagertha says she will not be insulted as he does not love her or her son. Sigvard slaps her and tells her that he does love them both, then apologizes for hitting her.

Later that night, Bjorn confronts his mother about her husband’s violence. She tells him it won’t happen again, but Bjorn is unconvinced. He later tells his mother that, while Ragnar and his men have been away, their former home of Kattegat has been taken over by Jarl Borg. Lagertha tells her son that she will convince her husband help. Later that night, Sigvard stumbles into the bedroom, apparently after having a few drinks. Lagertha appraches the subject of Ragnar, but Sigvard won't hear of it and attempts instead to make love to her. She refuses his advance which causes Sigvard to become rough and attempt to rape her. Outside the door, Bjorn can hear the commotion and draws his knife; Lagertha manages to throw Sigvard off and tells him to never to treat her like that again. She opens the door to find Bjorn and thanks him, but says he will not harm her. Sigvard passes out.

A few days later, Lagertha, Bjorn and a small army join Ragnar. It has been several years since Ragnar has seen Lagertha and his son, now a young adult, which causes Ragnar great happiness in how much his son has grown. Inside, Lagertha greets her former brother-in-law and Siggy, then heads over to Aslaug and her sons. Though the air is stiff, Aslaug thanks Lagertha for her help and Lagertha dotes on the children.

When she returns to Hedeby, she finds her husband as violent as ever. The final straw for Lagertha, however, comes after Sigvard brutally beats her again, after which he begins to disrobe her in front of their dinner guests. Lagertha grabs a knife and stabs him in the eye; while Sigvard screams another man steps up and silences him by lopping off his head.

After a few tense moments, the hall erupts in applause and Lagertha is made the new earl.

Season 3 Edit

Now free from her husband, Lagertha, the new earl, asks a Seer if she will have any more children, to which he replies no but relays what the gods have shown him. Lagertha is unhappy with the prophecy and how cryptic it is; she asks instead when she will die. The Seer does not know that either, only that her death has already been decided by the gods.

Before leaving once more for Wessex, Lagertha speaks to her trusted second-in-command Kalf about another marriage proposal she has received. Kalf says the man has much to offer her; she asks why he does not ask for her hand. Kalf explains that he has nothing to offer her; the marriage would not benefit either of them. Lagertha smiles.

Lagertha takes several men and women to Wessex, with intention of creating a thriving settlement, though not all her subjects agree with this plan. Once there, King Ecbert takes a keen interest in her; he says she is unlike any woman he has ever seen. She notices his stares, but does not rebuff his attentions. The King picks up a handful of soil and offers it to Lagertha. They agree that fertile land is a better gift than jewels.

King Ecbert invites Lagertha and Athelstan to his castle, where he bestows another gift - this time, a beautiful necklace. Lagertha is falttered and allows the King to put the necklace around her neck. They stay for a few days before returning to the settlement.

A few days later, King Ecbert, who simply can not seem to stay away, visits Lagertha again, who now greets him in English. The King is impressed and, once again, has a gift for her: a plow, designed to dig deeper into the ground and turn the soil as well. He says she and Athelstan are always welcome in his castle, whenever they may choose.

The offer of hospitality is taken upon and Lagertha is back with the King in his castle. He shows her the Roman baths and invites her (as well as Athelstan and Judith) for a dip. Soon, Lagertha and the King are wrapped around each other, though Judith abruptly leaves the bath as Athelstan follows. Lagertha and King Ecbert take little notice, however, and continue their love-making.

Unbeknownst to Lagertha; however, the King has no intention of keeping his promise and sends his men to kill the settlers and burn the land. Lagertha has other problems and upon returning home finds that Kalf has taken over her earldom. She asks Ragnar to help her recover it, and, although he joins her in speaking with Kalf on the matter, he only goes to ask for his help is attacking France. Ragnar then leaves Kalf to deal with his ex-wife on her own.

Though Lagertha develops an intense hatred for Kalf, their past follows them and Kalf silently watches over Lagertha during the siege of Paris. Lagertha will have nothing to do with the man, and refuses to listen to him when he warms her that something doesn't feel right. Unable to convince her with words, Kalf takes it upon himself to knock her out and take her away, only seconds before a wave of arrows fly towards them.

Lagertha awakens later to find her son Bjorn has been wounded during battle. Like any mother would do, she rushes over to him and scolds Ragnar for not watching over him. Ragnar disagrees, of course, as Bjorn is a man after all.

As Lagertha recovers from the disastrous siege attempt, Kalf makes his intentions clear: he desires her with all his heart. Lagertha says that should she accept his offer, then he should know that one day she will kill him for usurping her earldom. Kalf accepts and the two make love.

Personality Edit

Lagertha is a fierce warrior, much like other shield-maidens who are comparable to their male counterparts. She shares her husband's lust for adventure.  She is courageous and wise at the same time, only using violence when absolutely needed. Lagertha is very strong and surges through even the most trying of times with a clear head.  Although Lagertha is rather brutal and violent at times, she is very intelligent and knows when to back out. She is also very kind, caring, and compassionate. This side of her personality is usually shown when she is around Bjorn or Gyda before she died. She also rules her people with empathy and compassion and these traits make her very popular among her people.

Relationships Edit

Ragnar Lothbrok Edit

Lagertha and Ragnar loved and respected each other very much; she was even lenient on affairs he may have had while away. However, Ragnar becomes obsessed with a prophecy that has been foretold to him that he should have many sons. When Lagertha miscarries what should have been their third child, Ragnar becomes increasingly distant in the following months. Ragnar begins a fling with Aslaug, who soon becomes pregnant. When Lagertha finds out, she is furious, though the pair decide to work through it. This changes, however, when a heavily pregnant Aslaug arrives in Kattegat and Ragnar has the audacity to suggest keeping both women for himself.

Lagertha leaves him when she realizes that Ragnar wants children more than he wants her. In the years that pass, Lagertha remarries and moves away from Ragnar with their surviving child, Bjorn. She joins him, however, in his endevour to colonize England, bringing back the passionate feelings they each had for one another. Ragnar is conflicted; his love for Aslaug is all but gone, despite the many children she has given him. However, he is unable to reconcile completely with Lagertha, who will never have him back.

King Ecbert of Wessex Edit

An ambitious man of strength, knowledge and the willingness to use those qualities decisively, King Ecbert poses a worthy match for his new foe, Ragnar Lothbrok. They are eventually able to settle on a treaty, wherein he provides fertile land for them to settle. Lagertha brings both soldiers and farmers, as it was always her and Ragnars dream to create a thriving settlement in the new land.

King Ecbert takes an immediate interest in Lagertha, giving her gifts and inviting her to stay with him in his castle. Lagertha seems flattered by the King's interest, and the two eventually make love in his Roman baths.

TriviaEdit

  • As the reigning earl of Hedeby, Lagertha's subjects and followers among the local population would be considered Jutish, given Hedeby's location in the Jutland Peninsula. There would also be Saxons present, as Hedeby was in the contemporary frontier zone with Frankish-occupied Saxony. Both Saxons and Jutes were among the Germanic tribes which took part in the migrations toward Britain in the four hundred years prior to the Viking Age.
  • In the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, who was his first wife, gave birth to three children, son Fridleif and two unnamed daughters.

Appearances Edit

Season one appearances
Rites of Passage Wrath of the Northmen Dispossessed
Trial Raid Burial of the Dead
A King's Ransom Sacrifice All Change
Season two appearances
Brother's War Invasion Treachery Eye For an Eye Answers in Blood
Unforgiven Blood Eagle Boneless The Choice The Lord's Prayer
Season three appearances
Mercenary The Wanderer Warrior's Fate Scarred The Usurper
Born Again Paris To the Gates! Breaking Point The Dead

References Edit

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