'Vikings': Lagertha, the 8th-century shieldmaiden is the feminist icon of today
Lagertha is the only woman on the show with a major role to play and her fandom expands beyond Ragnar's simply because she is the sassiest bada** on television today
Ragnar Lothbrok, the protagonist of 'Vikings,' is long dead (season 4), and fans are currently invested in exploring the heroic complexities of his sons, but what is actually holding the storyline together even after the protagonist's death is the heroic hold of Lagertha, Ragnar's first wife, who has not only grown to be the most loved character among fans, but also established herself to be a feminist icon of today.
The 8th-century woman, according to history, was the key to Ragnar's victory against the king of Sweden, Frø, and has been portrayed in the television series as an iron shieldmaiden ruling Kattegat in season 5.
Respected, feared and loved, Lagertha embodies all the attributes of an inspiring woman in History Channel's breakthrough series. In fact, her character has inspired many 21st-century women including Katheryn Winnick, the Canadian actress who plays her role.
In a recent interview, the 41-year-old actress said: "After five seasons I still feel inspired by her. Lagertha is very different from when we first started the show. She has grown and matured into a powerful woman. It takes a great deal of self-assurance and self-confidence to rule a place like Kattegat and she's not going to put up with anything."
Not to forget, the actress also shared a powerful feminist message earlier this year and contributed heavily to the #TimesUp movement and the Women's March. Seated on the throne as Lagertha, the one-minute video narrated: "What is a woman’s place in this world? Should she be docile? Conciliatory? Or simply silent? No. The gods have bigger plans for you, I assure you. You are reckless, strong, malignant and wise. You are powerful by making your voice heard. Your place may be that of a warrior or a queen, but you are the only ones to hold the reins of your destiny. So be bold, and the gods will lead you to greatness and no one will be strong enough to stop you."
Echoing the message of empowerment, Lagertha represents feminism today as an 8th-century Scandinavian woman. During the time when the pitch of patriarchy overshadowed even the strongest matriarch, Lagertha has become a timeless feminist. She has proved her worth despite being doubted by men and women alike, and was challenged by the sons of Ragnar, especially Ivar the Boneless, in season 5.
When we first saw her in season 1, two men wanted to rape her and her daughter, Gyda, but when she wielded the sword, those two men had to run for their lives. Season 2 is when we learn that even the best badass women out there gets cheated upon when Ragnar impregnates Aslaug with her first son, Ubbe. When he returns to Kattegat and admits his affair announcing he will be married to both women, Lagertha walks out of the relationship, says 'Thank You, Next' to Ragnar and takes her son Bjorn along.
However, that lands her in an abusive relationship with Earl Sigvard, but she wastes no time to stab him in the eye when he tries to humiliate her at the dinner party by trying to show off her breasts. She not only costs the t**d of an earl his life, but also his title, and becomes the new earl.
Gradually, with power and might, beautiful Lagertha wins the day. In season 4, she kills Aslaug, but not before giving a bada** dialogue: "I was never the usurper, always the usurped. You took my husband, my world, and my happiness. The fact that you’re a woman is neither here nor there."
This particular death is also the premise on which the current season is based as Ivar the Boneless is hell-bent on avenging his mother's death and killing Lagertha. In the last episode, he even sacrificed her look-alike while proclaiming his godhood.
Fans of the show had become team Lagertha ever since season 1, when Ragnar had the audacity to cheat on such a woman who, after a miscarriage, was mourning her daughter's death. Five seasons almost in, the shrewd warrior and fierce mother is still the fan favorite; why not? Men may come and men may go but Lagertha's legacy goes on forever. Don't believe me? Check history.
The iron lady is also a complete bada**, who despite being a shrewd leader is a forgiving human being, even though not killing King Harald was a mistake in season 5. While many perceived that as her weakness, it's not a matter of doubt that she will be back, slaying every adversary with sharp swords and tongue.
Even when it comes to lovers and her sexuality, this woman is in command of it. From dating Rollo, marrying Ragnar and Sigvard, and kindling romances with Kalf, Ecbert and Astrid, she is currently dating a Christian Bishop, Heahmund, despite the layers of differences between them. Heahmund can't help but fall in love with Lagertha. The truth is, we can't blame him.