Episode 15 of Vikings Season 4 was the episode everyone had been anticipating — and dreading. Vikings showrunner, Michael Hirst, and the actor who plays Ragnar Lothbrok, Travis Fimmel, discuss Ragnar’s fate.
SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses Episode 15 of Season 4 of History Channel’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid spoilers.
Episode 15 of Vikings Season 4 saw Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) meet his fate the way he did in the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum, at the bottom of a snake pit. Having been captured by King Ecbert (Linus Roache) in Episode 14 of Vikings, Ragnar convinces the king to hand him over to King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) since Ecbert doesn’t have the heart to kill him.
In Episode 15 of Vikings, King Aelle was brutal after he took ownership of Ragnar and tried to get the Viking to repent and accept his god over the pagan gods. When branding him with a red hot poker and cutting a cross into Ragnar’s forehead didn’t work, Aelle ended Ragnar’s life by dropping him into a pit of venomous snakes.
While Vikings fans were devastated over the death of Ragnar, what was it like for the cast and crew filming the scene?
Travis Fimmel, who plays Ragnar, was happy with the way the scene turned out, but that was after he had spent a great deal of time going over the scene countless times with the show’s creator, Michael Hirst, to finalize exactly how it would all play out. As for Michael Hirst, he explained to The Hollywood Reporter that he, Fimmel, and the actor who plays King Ecbert, Linus Roache, would often lock themselves in a room to try and knuckle down what would happen.
“[Travis Fimmel] said his character didn’t make speeches so his last speech was something we had to negotiate and fight about. He fought in a good way; he argued with Linus, because Linus wanted to say some things and Travis wanted to cut them or whatever. The three of us were often locked in a room, really discussing the death of a character whose death affected us all both at the level of the story and show but also personally. It was an amazing period of time.”
When it came to filming the actual scene though, Travis Fimmel explained what it was like being stuck in a pit filled with snakes. “There were about 60 of them and then there were fake ones around my legs,” Fimmel told THR. “I was covered in snake poop at the end. I got bit a few times but that was fine — it was them pooping on me that annoyed me more than anything.”
Michael Hirst also told Entertainment Weekly that Episode 15 of Vikings “was shot in the deepest winter, in the harshest conditions, with Travis absolutely suspended in this cage, above a muddy field, in torrential freezing rain.”
Considering Ragnar Lothbrok was only initially supposed to stick around for one season of Vikings, the character has now become an integral part of the show. However, the historical stories involving Ragnar are also wound together with the feats of his sons. So, as far as whether the show can go on without Ragnar Lothbrok, Hirst definitely thinks it can.
“I’ve just finished [Season 5, Episode 16]. There are people walking around the studios going, ‘Who’s Ragnar?'”
Both Michael Hirst and Travis Fimmel agree Ragnar will not return in Vikings, that he is definitely dead. However, they suggest Ragnar will live on in the show, much in the way Athelstan (George Blagden) lives on via flashbacks, visions, and his actions shaping the remaining characters decisions.
What did you think of Ragnar’s death in Episode 15 of Vikings? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
Vikings returns to History Channel with Episode 16 on January 4, Wednesday, at 9 p.m. ET.
The synopsis for Episode 16 (entitled “Crossing”) of Vikings Season 4 according to Carter Matt is below.
“Bjorn’s fleet launches a surprise attack, while Lagertha’s quest for power continues in Kattegat.”
[Featured Image by Jonathan Hession/History]