Lagertha ruled the Viking tribes but also the hearts of the fans. Her fierce and passionate character kept her on the throne for the entire six seasons of Vikings (TV series 2013-2020).
She is thought to have taken over Ragnar’s place as the protagonist of this historical drama until her death in the last season.
Mortally wounded by White Hair, Lagertha suffered her death blow by Hvitserk.
During one of his hallucinations, Hvitserk saw Lagertha as Ivar in a serpentine body and continued to stab her several times.
The Seer’s prophecy that Lagertha would die at the hand of one of Ragnar’s sons was fulfilled.
We will continue to explore Lagertha’s character and the changes she went through. We will also discuss how suitable her death was regarding her storyline.
Moreover, we will compare her on-screen death to the one found in the historical accounts.
Also, see 250 Viking Names for Girls to learn more.
What Is Lagertha’s Character Arch in Vikings?
Lagertha is a multilayered character. She is a brave wife and mother protecting her household.
However, her courage, strength, and righteousness keep expanding to the point of leaving Ragnar and his shadow. She rises to his rank and threatens to overshadow him in every aspect.
Initially, Lagertha is presented as a hardworking farmer, wife, and mother. She is also protective of her family and lands and is able to defend herself against all enemies.
Driven by emotions and power, she is the perfect protector, always taking the side of those in need.
As a warrior, she is not inferior to men in any way. She is independent and capable of cutting ties with everyone who doesn’t agree with her idea of the future.
Lagertha has always gained her power and strength through men.
However, by the end of season 4, she stopped relying on men and began relying on herself.
Lagertha is the perfect example of how femininity can be strong. She loves passionately and protects her children vigorously. As a ruler, she is noble, and as a warrior, she is bloodthirsty.
Ultimately, she doesn’t give up on either aspect of herself.
Until her last breath, Lagertha’s principles remained as solid as a rock.
However, her character has become more tired and weary.
Her multifaceted and flawed nature makes her a relatable human character. She is stubborn and brave, leading her to make impulsive decisions.
Moreover, she is human in the way that past trauma affects her personality. She becomes wearier as time goes by and is a real woman in a fictional world.
Also, see 15 Facts About Viking Women to learn more.
What Events Lead to Lagertha’s Death in Vikings?
The event that led to Lagertha’s death is arguably Bjorn’s decision to spare the lives of Ivar’s collaborators.
White Hair, the leader of Ivar’s bodyguards, went on to raid Lagertha’s village, seriously wounding the shield-maiden.
Lagertha afterward received her final injury at the hand of Hvitserk.
It was not only one decision that led to Lagertha’s death. She suffered many traumatic events in her life, leaving marks on her body and soul.
In some of the final scenes, she was preparing to settle down and live a quieter life, probably feeling drained.
She had enough of the killing and battles with enemies and family members.
Her relentless spirit and the decision to fight one last battle to avenge her grandson Hali was also the reason she died.
As mortally wounded as she was, she rode her horse to Kattegat.
She dragged her body to the great hall before being stopped by delusional Ivar.
Therefore, her death might have been brought about by her desire to see her son one last time.
We can argue that accepting her faith was the beginning of her end. Lagertha knew that the Seer’s prophecy had to be fulfilled. She did not blame Ivar nor herself for the faith that had fallen upon her.
She knew that some things were beyond the mortal’s control. Dying accidentally at the hand of a family member sounds gruesome. Still, it also allowed her to be held by a beloved family member until the end.
In the end, Lagertha did not lose any battles. No one celebrated their victory after her death, not even her murderer. She was loved and was going to be missed.
Moreover, she went to Valhalla to stand by Ragnar’s side. She could finally retrieve and find her desired peace in the afterlife.
Dying a peaceful, boring death was not something the Gods nor the writers had planned for her. If there ever was a suitable death for Lagertha, this was it.
Also, see Why Are Scandinavian Women So Beautiful? to learn more.
How Did the Real Lagertha Die in History?
Based on all historical sources, it is impossible to prove the real Lagertha once existed.
Therefore, we cannot talk about her actual death in history.
Even if the only historical document with her name, Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus, was based on factual accounts, it says nothing of her death.
Saxo Grammaticus wrote the first history of the Danes in the 12th century.
He might have been inspired by a real Viking female warrior when forging Lagertha’s character.
Additionally, she is mentioned as Ragnar’s first wife, and we know that Ragnar was probably based on the lives of several Viking warriors.
Therefore, she, too, could be considered a half-historical character.
However, It is more probable that Lagertha is an entirely fictional legendary character inspired by either the Norse goddess Thorgerd or the myths of Valkyries.
This view is supported by the fact that she is mentioned in only one historical account.
In Gesta Danorum, Lagertha was the first wife of Ragnar. She was a ferrous warrior who helped Ragnar win several battles.
As Saxo Grammaticus wrote, Lagertha ‘had the courage of a man’ and only ‘her lock flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.’
According to this account, a person could not sense any fragility in her character.
Lagertha and Ragnar had two daughters, whose names we do not know, and one son named Frithlaf.
After divorcing Ragnar, she remarried, but soon after the wedding killed her second husband. In the historical account, this made her a villain.
We know nothing of her legendary or semi-historical death.
Lagertha is an unforgettable character. Her death only ended her mortality while giving birth to the legend of a fierce Viking woman.
Also, see What Is the Egtved Girl? to learn more.