33+ Photos Reveal What the Cast of Vikings Looks Like in Real Life

If you’re into history, heart-clenching drama, sword fights, and other forms of high-octane action, Vikings is the perfect show for you. It’s an epic based on Norse history and mythology. But beyond the swords, axes, and shields there’s a super talented cast of women and men that make the whole production come alive.

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Image: Vikings

The show takes place in Scandinavia in the early medieval period. It’s loosely based on the exploits of the legendary Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok, and written Norse mythology. Get your armor on and get ready for battle as For What It’s Earth takes you on a tour of the masterful actors that breathe life into this epic series. This is what the cast of Vikings looks like in real life.

Astrid – Josephin Asplund

Astrid is not the kind of lady you want to get into a brawl with. She’s a shield-maiden, meaning a Norse woman who has taken up the arts of war and learned how to fight, to the death if need be. Though we should point out that historians often disagree on whether they existed or not. We are introduced to Astrid in season four, when she starts her training.

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Image: TV Fanatic

She’s a tough cookie, no doubt (historical accuracy: most shield-maidens were tough as nails), but she’s also trained in the arts of love. In one risqué (actually, that’s an understatement), we see Astrid and Lagertha, her lover, passionately manifest the romance and the love they have for each other.

Astrid – Josephin Asplund

The fearless shield-maiden is played by talented Swedish actress Josephin Asplund. In terms, of looks, she’s perfect (not to mention beautiful). She’s got bright blue eyes and a piercing gaze, it takes no stretch of the imagination to see her, axe or sword in hand, on a longship, getting ready to plunder some English coastal church.

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Image: Josephin Asplund

Aslpund made her first showbiz appearance back in 2011, where she played a small role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. “This was my very first part in a movie ever so it was beyond exciting. I barely knew anything at all about the movie industry at that point,” she said in an interview. Since her role in Vikings, it seems that she’s built a reputation for high-intensity stuff. This is clear when we look at her latest works: Sanctuary and Top Dog.

Ubbe – Jordan Patrick Smith

Ubbe is the eldest son of Ragnar (the main character) and Aslaug. It almost goes without saying (but we’re pointing it out anyway) that’s he’s one tough son of a gun (Or a sword? Can you say son of a sword?). Of all Ragnar’s kids, Ubbe is probably the most similar to his father, and he shows strong paternal instincts toward his younger siblings.

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Image: TV Show Patrol

Ubbe seems to be linked to a real historical figure, named Ubba, that loved during the times depicted in the show. Ubba was a commander in the Great Army (a conglomerate of warbands), the military force that invaded Anglo-Saxon England in the 860s. The jury is still out with regard to the exact years Ubba lived, but experts estimate that he died in 878.

Ubbe – Jordan Patrick Smith

Jordan Patrick Smith, the handsome Scottish-Australian actor, certainly has that Viking look. He’s a big dude with blue eyes and blond hair. What more do you need in order to feel like Vikings are invading your village and stealing the women? The guy for sure looks intimidating when he’s walking around with a wolfskin and an axe swinging at his hip.

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Image: Instagram / Sophie Vavasseur

You might know Smith from The Ruins, the 2008 horror film. And if you’re into Australian T.V., you might know him from Neighbors. When Smith came to the set of Vikings in its fourth season, he admits it was a little scary joining the cast of such an acclaimed show. “I do remember my first day on the set because Travis [lead actor] slapped me in the face 45 times,” he recounted. This was done for a scene that required Ragnar to slap his son.

Bishop Heahmund – Johnathan Rhys Meyers

Bishop Heahmund is no cardboard character. After he was introduced in season four, we realized he’s got depth. He’s got nuance. He’s an ordained bishop and his Christian faith runs deep. But he’s also a ruthless warrior. Also, in a not very bishop-y trait of his, he’s got a real taste for women. He’s pious, he’s strong, and he’s very well educated. And he’s a force that the Ragnar clan has to reckon with.

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Image: Vikings

Bishop Heahmund is not an entirely fictional character. He existed in real life and he died around 871. He was killed in the Battle of Meretun, which was fought between the Saxon army (Heahmund’s side, the English) and the Great Heathen Army (the Vikings). He went down in history as a saint and a defender of the Christian domain pagan invaders.

Bishop Heahmund – Johnathan Rhys Meyers

We wonder if it felt like a natural choice to cast Johnathan Rhys Meyers as Heahmund, a character who required someone who knows what they’re doing. If Meyers’s face looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen him in other historically-influenced shows. He played the lead role in The Tudors. And he also played the lead role in Dracula, both outstanding shows in which he gives a stunning performance.

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Image: Independent i.e.

When producers contacted the Irish actor to offer to bring him onboard, he recalls that he was excited, though he had not yet watched an episode of the show. During the production, he had a good time: “Vikings was interesting for me to do because I get to do it in three languages. I get to do it in English, Anglo-Saxon and Latin. Plus, I have an enormous amount of fighting. That was fun, in itself.”

Helga – Maude Hirst

Though monogamy isn’t always exactly the Vikings’ shtick, Helga and Floki seem to be in a deep and committed relationship. Even with all the trials and tribulations of dating a Viking warrior/shipbuilder, Helga stays by Floki’s side. As we can see in the still below, Helga is sort of a hippie. She’s also a fundamental pagan.

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Image: Vikings Wiki

What she endures in the show would be enough to break anyone. Helga is forced to deal with a lot of heartbreak throughout the show, but she’s a fighter and pulls through. It seems that the character of Helga is not based on any real historical figure, but her mannerisms and behavior are convincing.

Helga – Maude Hirst

Like a couple of other members from the talented cast of Vikings, the British actress Maude Hirst made her debut in the history genre in The Tudors, a show about the royal British family that succeeded the Plantagenets. In the looks department, she totally fits right in on the Scandinavian coast with a bunch of ax-wielding blonde men.

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Image: wikiFeet

Hirst was commended numerous times by numerous outlets for her immaculate job in Vikings. It’s impressive how Helga contends with a romantic relationship amid violence and her partner’s mental health issues. It takes an actress with lots of skill to pull it off. Hirst said, “It’s hard, Helga loves Floki so much, she just wants to keep him in reality, and he keeps going off the rails. She might be the only thing that keeps him grounded.”

Rollo – Clive Standen

Rollo is one of the main characters in Vikings and he stays with us throughout the entire show. He’s a super fierce warrior and he never backs down from a fight. Though fearsome, it seems that he also has some kind of inferiority complex with respect to his younger brother, Ragnar (the main protagonist), whose shadow he sometimes feels constrained by.

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Image: The Celebrity Castle

Rollo is based on a real Viking figure. He was the first ruler of Normandy, a region in northern France. Vikings (in real life and in the show) were marauders – pillaging wherever they invaded and then returning home. But Rollo was the first Viking to establish a permanent foothold on French soil. His descendants and their conquests had far-reaching implications, even as far as Antioch (in modern-day Turkey).

Rollo – Clive Standen

Besides his big role in Vikings, Clive Standen is well-known for playing in the series Taken (based on the famous Liam Neeson film). He’s Irish and he’s an absolute well of theatrical prowess. He was a good choice for playing Rollo the legendary warrior – Standen is a big guy, standing at 6″2 and weighing almost 200 pounds. Would not want to take a blow to the head by this dude (though in this pic he looks like a gentle guy).

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Image: Instagram / Clive Standen

Standen is a seriously athletic man. He’s a fencing gold medalist (so maybe swinging medieval weapons around wasn’t so novel for him) and a Muay Thai boxing expert! Amazingly, Standen noted, the actors in Vikings do all their own stunts. “We don’t have the budget of Game of Thrones,” he said in an interview. When asked about the experience of participating in the production, he said, among other things, “It’s been a whirlwind.”

Yidu – Dianne Doan

We meet Yidu in season four. She’s kind of a mysterious woman and a slave to Ragnar’s clan. We’re not sure where she’s from, and she catches Ragnar’s and Aslaug’s eye because of her foreign looks. Ragnar takes a particular interest in her at one point, and they begin a romantic relationship.

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Image: Daily Express

The character of Yidu seems to be completely fictional. The historical record does not show any evidence of Ragnar having an Asian lover. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that the Vikings ever had any direct contact with China. Though the possibility of them coming in contact with the Chinese can’t be entirely ruled out. We know that the Vikings made use of trade routes that went through Russia. It’s possible that the Chinese also reached those routes.

Yidu – Dianne Doan

In real life, Dianne Doan is not really Chinese. She’s Canadian and of Vietnamese descent. Her grandmother had one Chinese grandparent, thus making Doan one-eighth Chinese. She’s pretty well known for her role in Disney’s The Descendants, where she plays Lonnie. You can also catch her in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and in Warrior.

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Image: Instagram / Dianne Doan

Doan says she done tons of research for her role as Yidu. During the 9th century, in China (where Yidu is from) women had a voice; they could pick their husbands and were allowed an education. Doan said “… I wanted to make sure Yidu kept that voice in Kattegat, even though, in these circumstances, she’s forced into being a slave.”

Torstein – Jefferson Hall

Torstein was part of the original crew that sailed west to England with Ragnar and Floki. He’s powerful and he’s skilled with the melee weapons the Vikings use. He’s also incredibly loyal, willing to lay down his life on the line for Ragnar and Floki. In a way (though we shouldn’t project our 21st-century romantic conventions onto 9th century Vikings), Torstein and Floki were more than friends, as he joined him and Helga in intimate times.

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Image: Screen Rant

When Ragnar vanquishes Earl Haraldson and consequently becomes the ruler of Kattegat, he promotes Torstein to a kind of a V.I.P. bodyguard position. It doesn’t seem like Torstein represents any real historical figure in the 9th century saga Vikings is based on. Though his promotional position, called a “Hirdmann,” was a real thing.

Torstein – Jefferson Hall

Jefferson Hall is the man who played Torstein in his three seasons on the show. You might also recognize his face from Game of Thrones, where he played one of the Knights of the Vale for a couple of episodes. Beyond Vikings and GOT, Hall has done work in Wizards vs. Aliens, Taboo, Devs, and more. The British actor seemed to be a good choice – there’s just something about his face that screams “medieval warrior.”

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Image: DEVS wiki

In this photo, Hall’s hair is a little short, but as we see in the show, he’s usually got a long flowing blond mane. Totally believable as a Viking. Also, here and in the show, he looks pretty darn serious. But apparently, behind the scenes, he’s a jokester. Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn) says Hall is by far the funniest guy on the set. And Clive Standen (Rollo) says Hall is by far the flirtiest.

Harald Fairhair – Peter Franzén

Harald is ruthless and it seems that he relishes battle. We’re introduced to him in season four and he quickly shows that he can fight and that he wants blood. When the Vikings capture some Frankish soldiers and then burn them alive in sacrifice to Odin, Harald is among those watching and laughing. We also see how brutal he is when he’s part of a crew attacking a Frankish farm; he shows absolutely no mercy for its residents.

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Image: IMDb

Harald is based on Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway. Accounts of him in sagas and historical documents composed about 300 years after his lifetime put his death at around 930. Though there seems to be quite a bit of evidence of his existence coming from the Viking era, historians are not sure because there is not much (maybe even none at all) contemporary support of his existence.

Harald Fairhair – Peter Franzén

Harald Fairhair is portrayed by Peter Franzén, a Finnish actor who is also a director and a screenwriter. Apart from Vikings, he’s also noted for his work in The Gunman, where he worked alongside Sean Penn. Franzén in the below photo appears to be all Viking-ed up even though he’s off-duty. Maybe he’s even giving cheers to Thor.

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Image: Instagram / Peter Franzén

Before what would sadly turn out to be the last season of Vikings – season six – Franzén warned fans that they better brace themselves for a crazy season. He wrote on Instagram that he knew things would “hit the fan” when the stuntmen and the director knocked on his trailer and asked if he wanted to “come out and play.” And he was right, season six was crazy.

Torvi – Georgia Hirst

Torvi, whom we meet in season two, is the former wife of Jarl Borg. She’s a shield-maiden, meaning a lady who can fight just as well as the men. After the death of her first husband, she gets entangled in a terrible marriage with an abusive second husband, Erlendur.

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Image: IMDb

There’s no real historical figure on which Tori is based, but there might such a thing as a shield-maiden. It’s not entirely clear if in real-life Viking women took part in combat. But there have been some graves in which women were found with weapons. And legendary accounts and Norse mythologies do say women fought in battle.

Torvi – Georgia Hirst

Sometimes, Georgia Hirst feels like rocking the Viking hair off set as well. And we admit, she looks great. The British actress’s main claim to fame is certainly Vikings, but she also played in a movie called Ravers. She’s also scheduled to appear in a romantic comedy called Five Dates, which is still in pre-production (maybe till the end of Covid-19).

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Image: Celebrity_Abs

As one of the shield-maidens on the show, Torvi’s no stranger to carrying out violence. And since the Vikings cast members are their own stuntmen and stuntwomen, Georgia Hirst had to learn how to seriously kick butt. In referring to the show, she said, “I kicked so much a** this [sixth] season, it’s crazy.” And if you’ve seen it, you know exactly what she’s talking about.

Ivar The Boneless – Alex Høgh Andersen

At one point in the show, in fear of a prophecy, Aslaug warns her husband Ragnar that they should not be intimate for some time, lest the prophecy be fulfilled and their child be born diseased. But Ragnar didn’t listen. Lo and behold, Ivar was born with a condition that prevented him from walking. He has a difficult life – Ragnar even considers ending his misery.

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Image: Entertainment Tonight

Ivar the Boneless was actually a real person, and he was really the youngest son of Ragnar and Aslaug, according to The Tale of Ragnar Lodbrock, on which Vikings is based. But it’s not certain that he had a crippling disease of the sort depicted in the show.

Ivar The Boneless – Alex Høgh Andersen

Before getting his big gig in Vikings, Alex Høgh Andersen, the Danish actor, had quite an extensive entertainment resume. Notably, he played in a film called At War and in a Danish series called Tvillingerne & Julemanden. He’s a talented young guy who proved to be the perfect choice for playing Ivar, one of the most tormented and emotionally volatile characters in the show,

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Image: Instagram / Alex Høgh Andersen

One of the hard parts of Andersen’s character is that due to his crippling disease, he has to crawl. And this translates to a never-simple acting job. Andersen said in an interview, “Doing that [crawling] for 10 hours straight and wearing a costume that’s already pretty heavy… There’s been some rough, rough days but I have a great team taking very good care of me.”

King Ecbert – Linus Roache

We are introduced to Ecbert, King of Wessex (in England), in the second season of the show and we quickly learn that he’s a shrewd, educated, and talented tactician and strategist. He presides over relics and parchments leftover in Wessex from the rule of the Roman Empire centuries prior, and from them he studies warfare.

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Image: The Hollywood Reporter

King Ecbert certainly was a real historical figure (usually spelled “Ecgbeht”). We know this because a rich body of evidence from his reign (825–839) remains, such as manuscripts bearing his name. And it’s also true that he was able to amass sufficient resources and troops to successfully fend off Viking raiders when Wessex came under attack. But what doesn’t seem to be true is the idea that he had any direct connection to Ragnar and his clan.

King Ecbert – Linus Roache

The British actor Linus Roache has been in showbiz since 1976 and he has a pretty long list of credits. In addition to Vikings, Roache has played in Coronation Street, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and not least, Homeland. So as you can see, he’s quite experienced with a serious portfolio. He was exactly what Vikings needed to fill the role of a cunning, tough, and fearsome enemy.

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Image: The Sun

Not too much is known about Ecbert’s real personality, so Roache and the producers had to get creative. One subtle distinction really gave him a lot to work with: the difference between “villain” and “nemesis.” He said, “I think he sees Ragnar [the leader of the Vikings and the show’s protagonist] as a great sport. He also respects him. He’s not like a villain. It’s two men very wary of each other and full of all the competition..”

Princess Ellisif – Sophie Vavasseur

Princess Ellisif is a character present in season four. She’s the love interest of Harald Fairhair, the prospective king of Norway. When we first see her, she’s married to another man, and Harald is not yet king, but he promises her that soon he’ll be worthy. You can imagine how things could go down. A violent and ambitious warrior is in love with a married woman. What could go wrong?

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Image: Serienjunkies

Princess Ellisif seems to be somewhat based on a real historical figure: Elisiv of Kiev. Though the name seems to mirror the character, the history doesn’t really add up. Elisiv of Kiev is believed to have lived from 1025 to 1067, significantly later than when Vikings takes place. Also, in real life Elisif of Kiev was the queen sort to Harald III – she was not a contemporary of Harald Fairhair (Harald I).

Princess Ellisif – Sophie Vavasseur

Princess Ellisif is played by actress Sophie Vavasseur. In addition to her work in Vikings, she has played in films as well as in theatre productions. Some noteworthy projects include Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway, and Evelyn, starring Pierce Brosnan. She’s Irish, but her good looks are completely suitable for the frosty shores of Scandinavia.

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Image: Instagram / Sophie Vavasseur

Sophie Vavasseur is in top-notch shape. All the cast of Vikings had to be; the filming process is grueling because there are no stunt doubles. Luckily for Vavasseur, she fit right in, as she has been exercising and training since she was a young girl. She said in an interview that whereas her siblings all took up great careers (pediatrics, stock-market, and marketting) she decided to go with the creative route. And through hard work, she succeeded.

Harbard – Kevin Durand

Hardbard is a mysterious dude that shows up in Kattegat when Ragnar and the rest of the male warriors are off on a raiding expedition in season three. It’s not clear what exactly he is. Is he just a man? Is there something supernatural about him? The show hints that he might be a manifestation of a Norse god, probably Odin, but it’s not certain.

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Image: Fanpop

It’s not for sure that Harbard is linked to any real figure that lived in the 9th century. There is a character in a Norse poem called Hárbarðsljóð who is rude and obnoxious towards the gods, Thor in particular. But it’s really uncertain whether Harbard in Vikings has any link to the character from the poem.

Harbard – Kevin Durand

Kevin Duran, the Canadian actor, is probably one of the most familiar faces on the cast of Vikings. He has played in a ton of famous stuff. For instance, he played in Lost, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Robin Hood (with Russell Crowe), Legion, Ballers, and much much more. He’s the crème de la crème of highly talented B-lister actors and was the perfect choice for a muscular don’t-mess-with-me mysterious character.

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Image: Instagram / Kevin Durand

He didn’t come on board the show until season three, but he was a big fan prior. When he contacted the producers about a part, they sent him some script samples. He said, “the words were so alluring that we’re on the page and I thought, wow, this is really interesting.” About his character, he added, “I can guarantee you that all the major characters in this show will definitely feel the impact of Harbard’s actions.” And he didn’t lie.

Athelstan – George Blagden

Athelstan was not originally a Viking. He was an Anglo-Saxon who was captured by the Ragnar clan and taken as a slave. He’s an intelligent guy who can speak multiple languages. A Christian in a Pagan world, Athelstan struggles to reconcile his faith with the brutal life of a Viking that he lives. He’s also very logical and sharp, features that compound his difficulty in staying faithful.

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Image: Twitter / Diane D

Was Athelstan based on someone real? Well, apparently, though details remain obscure, yes he was. It’s known that in real life Vikings did actually raid the Lindisfarne monastery and abducted monks. And there’s some evidence that one of them became totally integrated in the Viking culture. There was also a king a the Anglo-Saxons named Athelstan or (Æthelstan), but the time periods don’t line up to make it likely that he’s our guy.

Athelstan – George Blagden

George Blagden, the British actor, has been around the showbiz block quite a bit. Besides Vikings, he has appeared in films and shows such as Les Misérables, Versailles, and Black Mirror. He’s also the main character in the Vikings spin-off called Vikings: Athelstan’s Journal, a series that focuses on Athelstan’s struggle and his inner world.

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Image: Instagram / George Blagden

Athelstan is certainly an interesting character – one of the fans’ favorites. Blagden recounts that on his first day on the job, he needed to shoot an intimate scene. How was the experience for him? Blagden said, “of course it was very awkward. I’d met them before… but me with these two half-naked, beautiful people was kind of, yeah, terrifying and very awkward and weird.”

Aslaug – Alyssa Sutherland

We are introduced to Aslaug in the first season of the show and she’s a major character. When Ragnar and some his men travel to (what is today) Sweden to resolve a dispute with the sovereign of the region, they come upon her bathing, and her shield-maidens reprimand the men. Soon, she and Ragnar strike up some major chemistry. Ragnar sees their connection as part of a divine plan, a message sent from the gods.

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Image: Vine Report

According to The Tale of Ragnar Lodbrock, the Norse mythology/history saga from which Vikings draws much inspiration, Aslaug was a real person. She was really the love interest of Ragnar and the mother of his children. The show also shows an accurate representation of the first encounter between Aslaug and Ragnar’s men, as described by the Norse tale.

Aslaug – Alyssa Sutherland

Australian actress Alyssa Sutherland no doubt has a respectable entertainment profile. You might have noticed her back in 2006 in The Devil Wears Prada. Some more good work of hers includes The Mist (based on the Stephen King story). And she’s a former model. Sutherland is very convincing as an intriguing and mysterious Viking chic.

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Image: Imgur / BNvs6Tt

When talking about her experience in being on the show, Sutherland said that one of the hardest parts was the weather. “…the conditions that we get in Ireland. It gets pretty rough and you have to be pretty strong mentally to get through some of those days.” She also explained that when it was raining, the production never called it a day. They went and filmed even in downpours.

Ragnar Lothbrok – Travis Fimmel

Ragnar Lothbrok is the main protagonist of the show in the first season. Right off the bat in the first episode, we see some of what he’s worth and how skilled a warrior he is. He also the king of Kattegat. Ragnar claims to be more than human – he says he’s the descendent of Odin, the god of slain warriors in Norse mythology. His character arc in the show is intense; betrayals, love, lust, battle, intrigue, politics – it’s got all the ingredients.

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Image: Medium

If you ask whether Ragnar existed in real life you’ll get a different answer depending on the historian, but more believe he’s fictional than not. He’s for sure heavily featured in the mythologies. And his children, Ubbe, Björn, Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan Ragnarsson, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye (discussed in other pages), are not fictional figures. The legends depict him as king of Denmark and Sweden.

Ragnar Lothbrok – Travis Fimmel

Ragnar is played by Australian actor Travis Fimmel. He has that extremely piercing gaze projected at you through a set of electric blue eyes, perfect for the intensity of the Ragnar character. He’s also quite an accomplished actor who found a niche, his showbiz sweet spot – in medieval settings. He’s also the star in Warcraft. Beyond axes and swords, he’s played in 50 States of Fright, The Beast, Lean on Pete, and more good stuff.

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Image: TVLine

Fimmel was asked what were the best aspects about the experience in filming Vikings. He remarked about the outstanding team and cast, but he emphasized the filming location. “The locations in Ireland are just beautiful. It’s a pleasure to be here. I love Ireland – we couldn’t shoot it anywhere else.” Currently, though Fimmel is a native Australian, he chooses to reside in Ireland.

MargretheIda Marie Nielsen

We meet Margrethe in the fourth season. She’s a slave of Aslaug, who is at that point the wife of Ragnar. As we see, and it’s disturbing, one of the expectations of Margrethe is that she will intimately accommodate the sons of her masters. And it’s an expectation she is willing to fulfill if that means protection and survival.

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Image: Instagram / VIKINGS

Margrethe is not a representation of any specific individual in the era the show depicts. But in terms of historical accuracy, she’s on the ball. The Vikings did indeed take slaves from the regions they raided. In fact, in modern-day Sweden, it’s estimated that a significant number of people are not indigenous Swedes, but rather are the descendants of slaves captured over 1000 years ago. Some, for example, come from Russia.

MargretheIda Marie Nielsen

The woman that portrays Margrethe is Danish actress Ida Marie Nielson. Vikings was not her first role, but it certainly helped get her name out there. If you’re into Danish shows, you can also catch her in the series Anna Pihl as the role of Cecilie. In terms of looks, Ida is perfect. she’s got the blond hair and greenish-blue eyes that’s highly representative of how Vikings actually looked.

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Image: Instagram / Ida Marie Nielsen

Playing Margrethe took some real talent. Nielsen needed to portray a multidimensional woman who was vulnerable but at the same time strong. What she did, she did in the name of survival. As a slave, she lives under a near-constant state of stress – and this takes a toll that must be visibly manifest in the character. Wasn’t easy, but Nielsen nailed it.

Floki – Gustaf Skarsgård

Floki is one of the bad a** characters we meet right off the bat. He’s a skilled shipbuilder and he’s Ragnar closest friend and maybe his closest confident. He’s an integral part of the Vikings’ raiding expedition to England, France, and elsewhere because he is the genius behind the designs of the longboats that get them to foreign shores.

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Image: History

It seems that Floki was an actual person, whose name was Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarson, born during the 9th century. So the timelines do match. He was the first Norseman to sail all the way to Iceland, which Floki does in season five of the show. But in real life, it doesn’t seem that Hrafna-Flóki had any interaction with the other real people who are portrayed in the show, namely, Ragnar’s sons.

Floki – Gustaf Skarsgård

Floki is played by Swedish actor Gustaf Skarsgård – it’s not hard to spot excellent casting when you see it. Skarsgård was a perfect match for the intriguing genius Viking shipbuilder. Before Vikings, Skarsgård already had an impressive list of showbiz credits. Another notable role of his is in the second season on Westworld. He has done great work in smaller-time stuff, like, for example, The Wizard’s Daughter and Darling.

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Image: Interview Magazine

In addition to looking the part, Skarsgård also had to depict a man who is ravaged by grief and deeply troubled, as he has lost beloved family members. Skarsgård opened up about the challenge in an interview: “Whatever happens to this character, I really feel the emotion myself. As humans, we’ve all experienced some level of pain. Acting is just a matter of accessing and magnifying these emotions.”

Halfdan the Black – Jasper Pääkkönen

Halfdan is a vicious Viking who knows how to handle a sword and kick butt. When he shows up with a host of soldiers aboard 20 longships, Harald acquaints him with Ragnar. They agree to participate together in raiding expeditions. Halfdan makes good on his promise, as we see him take action and raid the Franks.

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Image: IMDb

Halfdan is likely based on a historical figure, but the details on the show don’t quite match the Norse history and mythology. In real life, Halfdan the Black was the father of Harald, not his brother. What does seem to mirror reality is that the real Halfdan was a leader in a Viking army which carried out raids against its European neighbors.

Halfdan the Black – Jasper Pääkkönen

Lately, Finnish actor Jasper Pääkkönen has seen some major success. Of course, Vikings was a huge role. But you can also catch him in BlacKkKlansman, where he worked with David Washington and Adam Driver. He also played in Da 5 Bloods. And besides these big blockbusters, Pääkkönen has acted in smaller titles. Sure, here he looks at peace, but we can see why he was chosen to play a ruthless and cruel Viking.

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Image: Instagram / Jasper Pääkkönen

If one thing is certain, Jasper Pääkkönen makes a really good fanatic. In Vikings, he’s a scary dude that seems to relish all things violence. And in BlacKkKlansman, too, he played someone crazy scary: a radical white supremacist. Freaky in real life, no doubt, but when he’s not on extremist duty, Pääkkönen is a chill dude and an avid (and famous) flyfisher.

Kassia – Karima McAdams

Kassia is a character we are with for a few episodes in the fifth season of the show. She’s a Byzantine nun, but she’s not celibate, as we know of her affair with Amir Ziyadat Allah. Also, the intrigue that surrounds her is palpable – she suggests that a traitor be executed and that the remains of his corpse be fed to the Vikings.

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Image: IMDb

It seems that to some extent, Kassia is based on someone real. There was a Byzantine abbess (a female head of a monastery) named Saint Kassiani. She was a composer and a highly intelligent woman, who lived in Constantinople in the early 9th century. But it’s probably not the case she had any connection or interaction with the Vikings in Ragnar’s time.

Kassia – Karima McAdams

 Kassia is played by the British bombshell actress Karima McAdams. She was excellent for the time she was in Vikings and she is also well known for her performance in Deep State. She used to be a secretary, but she switched paths when she became a Lara Croft model for an iteration of Tomb Raider (the video game). She also appeared in a small role in Alien vs. Predator and a few limited-scale productions.

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Image: Twitter / Karima McAdams

McAdams’s role was not that blood-soaked in physical confrontations. But had she been required to go head to head with a Viking, she would have been able to pull it off without a stuntwoman. All the actors are their own stuntpersons. McAdams had already undergone intensive martial arts training for a previous role. She was also already well versed in elocution. She fit right into a crowd of rowdy and combative Vikings

Bjorn Ironside – Alexander Ludwig

Bjorn Ironside is the eldest of Ragnar’s son, he’s one of the central characters. Early in the show, he struggles as he strives for recognition in his spartan (yet indulgent) environment. And as his character arc stretches across the seasons of the show, we certainly see him fulfill his Viking destiny. He’s also defined by his fierce loyalty, especially to his father.

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Image: Daily Express

Historians tend to think Bjorn Ironside is as real as they come. He’s mentioned, of course, in The Tale of Ragnar Lothbrok, where he’s is indeed the son of Ragnar. But he also appears in a wide variety of other historical sources; Irish, Arab, Scandinavian, Norman, Frankish. He lived sometime in the 9th century, and was for sure around for the 850s. He was a longship captain.

Bjorn Ironside – Alexander Ludwig

Alexander Ludwig is a highly skilled Canadian actor, perfect for playing a no-nonsense, young tough guy. He’s been on Vikings from beginning to present. He’s also well recognized for playing Cato in the first installment of The Hunger Games. He was a scary dude with a weapon there too.

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Image: Instagram / Alexander Ludwig

We’ve heard from the production that actors do their own stunts, but Ludwig claims this isn’t always the case; the stuntmen need to make a living too. “There have been times on Vikings or something where I would really want to do a stunt, but a stunty would say, ‘Yeah, dude, I really want this adjustment [stunt].’ And I’d be like, ‘No problem, you take it.'”

King Æthelwulf – Moe Dunford

In Vikings, Æthelwulf (pronounced e-thel-wolf) is the son of King Ecbert. Æthelwulf was king of Wessex and Marcia (both in modern-day Britain). He fought against the onslaught of the Viking armies when they invaded his lands. Whereas his father was highly intelligent and intellectually cunning, Æthelwulf’s skills shone in other areas, mainly in combat.

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Image: IMDb

And as it turns out, yes! Æthelwulf was a real guy. He was a British king and in real life he did face the Vikings. Though in the show his kingdom’s wars with the Vikings look a really big deal, in real life – though the battles were brutal – the Vikings didn’t really pose any threat to his hegemony. Æthelwulf died in 858.

King Æthelwulf – Moe Dunford

Irish actor Moe Dunford’s biggest claim probably is Vikings, but he’s got some other good stuff written on his resume. For instance: Dublin Murders, Striking Out, a couple episodes of The Tudors, and even an episode of Game of Thrones (where he played a messenger). He also played the lead in Patrick’s Day, the acclaimed drama, which garnered him more widespread recognition.

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Image: Instagram / Moe Dunford

Interestingly, the fate of his character is something he had on his mind but was optimistic about. “Over the years, I’ve seen so many of my coworkers come up and tell me they’re about to get their head cut off. And in the back of my mind, I’m laughing because it hasn’t happened to me.”

Queen Kwenthrith – Amy Bailey

Kwenthrith is a princess of Mercia (modern-day Britain) who throughout her childhood undergoes horrible abuse at the hands of family. Her heritage becomes increasingly important as the show progresses, as her influence and connections have value. We see other characters trying to capitalize on her for political gain. But she herself wields bloody castle politics and schemes and she’s among the best at it.

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Image: NME

I appears that Kwenthrith is based on someone real, maybe multiple real people. In the history books, her name is spelled Cwenthryth. And she was indeed a princess from the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. She was also the religious head (the abbess) at a female monastery. It’s also true that she was probably a contemporary with Ragnar’s era of Vikings.

Queen Kwenthrith – Amy Bailey

Amy Bailey did a fantastic job a portraying a cunning queen. She’s got the severity nailed down. If you’ve seen her in some of her other work, you’ll see why she the part in Vikings. Simply put, she’s a fantastic actress. These other works include Taken: The Search for Sophie Parker and Dominion. We’re sure that after the world goes back to normal, we can look forward to seeing Bailey in more good things to come.

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Image: Instagram / Amy Bailey

At a certain point, sadly, Amy Bailey had to leave the show. Although, it was for a happy reason! She was pregnant with twins. And that came with some obvious constraints. “I called him [the producer] up and said, ‘Dude, I’m gonna be really big by the time we film that,'” Bailey said in referring to a fighting scene. But all is well, ends well. She worked with producers to help elegantly write out her character.

Princess Gisla – Morgane Polanski

Princess Gisla, Frankish duchess is definitely a strong-willed woman, super protective of her family, elegant, shrewd, and independent. We’re introduced to her in the third season. She’s married to Rollo, one of the prominent characters. She also has nerves of steel. On the eve of the Viking invasion of the city she’s in, she’s still not sweating too much.

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Image: Fanpop

It’s not certain how real Gisla is. But there is a French (named Gisela) princess that is featured in the lore and the legends, who is indeed the wife of Rollo, duke of Normandy (in Vikings, Rollo is depicted as being the brother of Ragnar, though it doesn’t seem that’s how it really was). She also lived a little later than Ragnar and company, so it doesn’t seem like they ever connected firsthand (if she existed).

Princess Gisla – Morgane Polanski

Yes, Morgane Polanski is the daughter of legendary (but also disgraced) movie director Roman Polanski. She had her debut in her dad’s 2002 hit film The Pianist but her biggest role is probably Vikings, where she for sure rocks it. We hope Vikings season six will continue this year; and there’s been a rumor circulating that we’ll see her there if it does.

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Image: Morgane Polanski

One of the more emotionally demanding aspects of Morgane Polanski’s character is that she enters into a forced marriage with Rollo. And if you’ve seen the show, you’ll remember that she’s not a happy camper. She said about the pivotal wedding scene, “Yes, it was hard….especially emotional scenes when like 300, 400 people are watching you and she (Gisla) was being emotional in public. So that’s even harder…”