With the season 4 premiere of Vikings only two weeks away, History Channel has released the very first promotional stills of two new characters. King Harald Finehair, played by Peter Franzén and Halfdan the Black (Jasper Pääkkönen). But what will these new characters mean for main character Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel)?
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information and speculation about the upcoming season 4 of Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed season 3 in its entirety or wish to avoid spoilers.
Along with the images of the two new characters, the A & E Network also released new images of all your favorite Vikings characters as they will appear in season 4, which can be viewed in the gallery below. But first, let's break down who these new characters are.
King Harald FinehairHarald Finehair will be played by Peter Franzén, a renowned Finnish actor who has starred in several hits in Finland, including A Summer By The River (1998), Bad Boys (2003), and Matti (2006) according to his biography on IMDb. U.S. fans of True Blood may recognize Franzén as Hrolf from season 3 of the vampire TV series. Hrolf was one of the vikings associated with Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) before he was turned into a vampire by Godric (Allan Hyde).
All we know about Peter Franzén's character, King Harald Finehair, in season 4 of Vikings is what was released back in May by the Hollywood Reporter.
"King Harald Finehair [is] a Scandinavian warrior and potential threat to Ragnar."Just by having "king" in the title of his name is a pretty good indicator that Harald will be a threat to Ragnar, but let's have a look at the viking sagas to see if we can find out more about this character.
It is assumed this character will be based on the viking character of Haraldr Hárfagri or Harald Hårfagre. In English, this person is known as Harald Fairhair. Harald is traditionally known as the first king of Norway and reigned from c. 872 to 930. The moniker of "Fairhair" came about due to the fact that Gyda, the daughter of Eirik, king of Hordaland, refused to marry Harald until he was the king of all Norway. Harald then made a vow to never cut -- or comb -- his hair until this was true. As a result of this vow, he was also known as Harald Shockhead or Harald Tanglehair.
So what does this mean in regard to Ragnar Lothbrok? While there seems to be no direct mention of Harald in relation to Ragnar in the sagas and poems associated with the traditions of the vikings, it is possible Harald Finehair will be on his quest to become king of Norway in season 4 of Vikings, if the viking sagas are anything to go by. Considering what history tells us about this new Vikings character, it seems likely Ragnar will have a battle on his hands with King Harald Finehair.
Halfdan the BlackHalfdan the Black is to be played by Jasper Pääkkönen, another actor from Finland. According to his IMDb biography, he is known as "the most profitable film actor in Finland." Pääkkönen starred alongside Peter Franzén in Bad Boys (2003) as well as also being known for his roles in Frozen Land (2005) and Lapland Odyssey (2010).
Once again, the only information we have so far on the role Halfdan will play in season 4 of Vikings is what the Hollywood Reporter told us: Halfdan is the brother of King Harald Finehair. This is also verified in the sagas and poems of the viking culture. We also know that Halfdan will go on and become the king of Vingulmark.
But what does season 4 of Vikings hold for this character? While it seems likely Halfdan and Finehair will follow the same storyline considering they are both new characters as well as being related, the death of Halfdan in the sagas gives an indicator of another potential storyline.
The common assumption is that Halfdan died tragically by falling through thin ice. This death would mean he would not be permitted entry to Valhalla in the afterlife. Considering one of the latest trailers for season 4 of Vikings also questions whether Ragnar Lothbrok will enter Valhalla, this makes fans wonder if perhaps there will be more to this storyline than first meets the eye. As per usual though, only tuning into the next season of Vikings will reveal all.
Following is the gallery of all the new images released by A & E for season 4 of Vikings.
What do you think will happen in season 4 of Vikings? Let us know your thoughts and theories by commenting below!
Vikings returns with an extended season 4 to History Channel on Thursday, February 18, at 10 p.m. ET.
[Image via History Channel]