By Leslie Gayle
This is a twisted little list. But you don’t watch Vikings season after season, without gaining an appreciation for a really good death. What makes a death good? For a Viking, a warrior’s death is best. If you can’t have that, then you hope for a brave and meaningful death. A good revenge-killing by a favorite character is always satisfying. And if all that is missing, then a simple violent or comic death will appease the heathen fandom. (We have to have a comic death every once in a while, or life gets depressing.)
Here are my 25 most memorable deaths from the first 39 episodes. They are in no particular order. Only the gods can decide if one death was better than another.
I’m starting with 22-25 together as a quick tribute to the fallen. These were all good deaths because we didn’t expect them. Mr. Hirst is an unpredictably cruel man, who sometimes just wants to screw with us.
- Siggy #2, Bjorn’s daughter (death by drowning) Her death showed us the depth of Aslaug and young Ivar’s psychotic break and callousness. Aslaug’s should never be allowed to watch children ever again.
- Angrboda, Floki’s daughter (death by illness) She’s the cutest child on the show, so of course, Mr. Hirst rips her away from us. In doing so the audience was made to feel some compassion for Helga and Floki, while Ragnar continued to torture Floki. We all wanted you to stop at that point, Ragnar.
- Kwenthrith (killed by Judith, via sword to the back) Kwen was great this season. We were just getting to know the depth of her character. Sure, she was about to kill King Ecbert, but he was just about to talk her out of that. Her death turns Judith into Lady MacBeth, maybe? Still trying to understand this one.
- Yidu (killed by Ragnar, via drowning) Kids, never deal drugs or mess with a drug addict. That was pretty much the point of her death. Such an interesting character, gone too soon.
- Siggy #1, Rollo’s wife (death by drowning) Her death was good because she saved Ragnar’s sons. Harbard took her pain away after losing everyone she loved. Let’s face it, Rollo and she were over after Horik. If she hadn’t died, Rollo possibly wouldn’t have stayed in Paris. And he certainly wouldn’t have started treating women better.
- Knut, Haraldson’s half-brother (killed by Lagertha, via stabbing) He was trying (badly) to spy for Haraldson. And he tried to rape Lagertha during the Wessex raid. After three seasons, we all know no one is getting away with that, ever. His death sets the stage for Lagertha’s love of revenge-killings. And the trial of his killer highlighted Rollo’s devotion to family, or at least to Lagertha. It left us wondering if he would have betrayed Ragnar if Lagertha hadn’t claimed responsibility.
- Mercian tower guard (killed by Kwenthrith, via head-bashing) My only non-Viking on non-Viking death. I’d want this woman beside me during the zombie apocalypse, but she’s dead now. Nothing is as powerful or blood-thirsty as a mother’s love. If we were giving out awards for intense death scenes, she and Lagertha would both be nominated this year!
- Old Dude who wants a warrior’s death (killed by English soldier, via multiple stab wounds) This was poignant, showing the humanity of an old man who had lost all family and friends and wanted to die a true Viking. We saw Haraldson go through this, too. Will Rollo go this way? Will Ragnar?
- Earl Siegfried (death by order of Gisla, via beheading) A Frankish guard held his hair back for him because he just wanted a beheading, not a haircut. Siegfried pulled his head away at the last minute, causing the axe to cut off the guard’s hand. Man, was Gisla pissed. He had such a great sense of humor about his death. His death created the precedent of people dying every time Gisla snapped her fingers.
- Earl Bjarni, Thyri’s husband (killed by Ziggy, via stabbing) The Swede seemed like a nice enough guy, but he was a dirty old man. Literally and figuratively. Seriously, no girl should have to put up with smelly herring in the bed. Did no one in his hometown question why he never came home from his honeymoon? He was an earl! Shouldn’t this have started some feud?
- Chicken Dude (killed by Ragnar, via axe to the forehead) This guy was killed during the raid to oust Jarl Borges from Kattegat when Ragnar returned. Ragnar got his attention with a chicken cluck, then nailed him with an axe from across the alleyway! That was some good ole’ fashioned fun. This guy was a really bad warrior if he thought a chicken would be out at night.
- Haraldson (killed by Ragnar, via multiple wounds) Let’s face it. He wanted to die. This was Ragnar’s first taste of power, even though he did it to protect his family. Ragnar, at the time, was a compassionate leader who knew Haraldson wanted to be put out of his misery. Oh, how far we’ve come from there.
- Sven (killed by Rollo, via axe to the chest) If we did a listing of weasels we hated, Sven would be our first. He was Haraldson’s right hand man. The coward ran around harassing people under Haraldson’s authority. After Ragnar puts Haraldson out of his misery, Sven, erroneously assuming he has any authority, yells “Kill him!” Rollo saunters over and nonchalantly slams an axe in his chest. It was great for the sounds effects alone.
That’s it for this week. Look for my last 12 next week! I can’t give them all to you at once, we have four months to kill, metaphorically.
All other pictures source: http://www.history.com/shows/vikings