Share.The Vikings star talks to IGN about the outcome of the huge confrontation between Queen Aslaug and Lagertha. By Matt Fowler
Warning: The following interview contains huge spoilers for this week's Vikings episode, "In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning."
This week on Vikings, Queen Aslaug fell to Lagertha's well placed, and somewhat dishonorable, arrow as the former wife of Ragnar took advantage of her son Bjorn's big expedition and launched an assault on her former home, Kattegat. Aslaug managed to die with her head held high though, placing one final insult at Lagertha's feet, bragging about the sons she was able to give Ragnar.
I spoke to star Alyssa Sutherland about her exit from the show, Aslaug's final moments, and the Queen's dysfunctional connection with both Ragnar and son Ivar.
IGN: How far in advance did you know about Aslaug's death?
Alyssa Sutherland: I think we were filming episode 9 or 10 of this season. That's around when I was told. So I knew about six weeks in advance. It was right before we went on a two week hiatus and then we had four episodes to film before I was gone. But yeah, I was given six weeks' notice.
IGN: You can read a lot about the historical Aslaug online, but there's really not that much, compared to other vikings, regarding how she died. Were you expecting it to happen sort of like this?
Sutherland: No, it didn't. In fact, I thought that she'd go earlier, to be honest. Coming in as someone who upset some fans, and nowing how people felt about Aslaug and how they had put Aslaug in this position of "she's done all this horrible stuff to Lagertha," I really didn't think she'd last very long at all. When you're on a TV show, if you've come in and made life a lot harder for a fan favorite character, you're probably not going to last. At some point, you'll meet your demise. When I first came on, I thought it'd be earlier. I guess I knew at the beginning of Season 4 though, without really talking to anyone, because of the scene that Aslaug had with the Seer. That was pretty illuminating for me. He told her that one day a woman would rule Kattegat and Aslaug asked "Will it be me?" and then he didn't say anything. When I first read that scene I thought, "Oh that will be interesting." [laughs]
Alyssa Sutherland as Aslaug, moments before the fall.
IGN: Was there a part of Aslaug that thought she might be able to talk her way out of this one? That she might escape with her life?
Sutherland: No, I think she knew what was going to happen all along. She was ready for it. She doesn't think there's anything else for her to do. She's raised her sons. Her sons don't need her anymore to go do what they're all off doing. She thinks her job is done. She also thinks that she's lost Ivar. She thinks Ivar's dead so she doesn't figure she has much more to live for. I think she negotiated her death. That's what that scene was for her. And one last little dig at Lagertha was to force her to do something pretty uncool, which was shoot her in the back. She used her brains. She thought "Okay, if this is how it's going to go down, you're going to have to kill me like this." That's what I've always loved about Aslaug.
IGN: Did you enjoy the fact that Aslaug got to have that one final scene with Ragnar a few episodes back? When he thanked her for all she'd done for his sons?
Sutherland: Yes, I loved that. And I think that meant a lot to Aslaug. As an actress, I was really happy when I saw that scene because it justified Aslaug's existence to me, really. That was Travis' [Fimmel, Ragnar] idea actually, as it turns out. It was Travis' idea and I think he even wrote a part of that scene. I thought it was a lovely and beautiful scene and certainly not what Aslaug expected from him. I think it was a huge surprise for her. It brought about a sense of closure for both of them too because they'd had an incredibly tumultuous relationship which not only involved emotional and verbal abuse, but physical now as well. So for him to be tender with her -- and it's the first time he's been in a very long while with her -- it was a lovely, touching moment for her. I really loved that scene. It's one of my favorite scenes that I got to do on the whole show. Also the one where she said goodbye to Ivar when Ivar wanted to go with Ragnar. I think those two are my favorite scenes.
IGN: Why was Aslaug's connection to Ivar so strong?
Sutherland: He needed her. I think that's it. I think she's starved for male attention really. Because Ragnar never truly loved her or cared for her and her other sons were able and capable of taking care of themselves. When Ivar came along, I loved that it humanized her because she saved this poor child. We got to see her take care of him. I wanted to also push the relationship Aslaug had with Ivar and make it kind of ambiguous to where people might ask "What exactly is going on there?" I wanted it to be a little dark and twisted. I think Ivar needs her. It's sort of hard to talk about. Michael [Hirst, creator/showrunner] and I never really talked about, in detail, what happened between Aslaug and Ivar, but I know what I worked on for Aslaug. But yeah, he was a male who really needed her and that made her feel good.
Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA). Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.