History Channel’s ‘Vikings’ Season 5B Premiere: Historically, Did Lagertha Go To England?

Historically, Lagertha's saga is only briefly mentioned in one book called the 'Gesta Danorum.'

Katheryn Winnick stars as Lagertha
Jonathan Hession / History Channel

Historically, Lagertha's saga is only briefly mentioned in one book called the 'Gesta Danorum.'

As Season 5B of History Channel’s Vikings premieres, viewers discover Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is planning to go to England for sanctuary. However, did this really happen to Lagertha in the history books?

SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains information about Episode 11 (titled “The Revelation”) of History Channel’s Vikings Season 5. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.

Episode 11 of Vikings Season 5B saw Lagertha hiding from Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh Andersen) after he took control of Kattegat. In the end, Lagertha decides to seek sanctuary in England after Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) suggests it. However, did this really happen in the history books?

Lagertha is a Viking character that only appears in one small section of the historical sagas involving the Vikings. Her story appears in Book Nine of Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum (also known as The History of the Danes). However, it seems unlikely, judging by this story, that Lagertha ever made a trip to England.

Instead, Lagertha’s story seems to begin and end in Scandinavia. She is married to Ragnar and bears him three children, a son called Fridleif, and two unnamed daughters. Ragnar later divorces Lagertha in order to pursue a woman called Thora. Later, when Ragnar needs some help with fighting a king, he asks Lagertha for assistance. Lagertha obliges, coming to his aide by supplying a large fleet. At this point in time, she is married to another unnamed man. While their relationship is never discussed in the tale, when Lagertha returns home after helping Ragnar, she kills her husband in much the same manner as the TV version of this shieldmaiden kills Kalf (Ben Robson). Thus, her story ends.

Katheryn WInnick as Lagertha and Ben Robson as Kalf
  History Channel

Theoretically, it is possible that Lagertha traveled to England and her story was not chronicled in the Viking sagas. Perhaps, she visited with her second husband. Although, we will never know since it hasn’t been recorded.

So, historically, it appears that she never traveled to England. Although considering History Channel likes to deviate from the original Vikings sagas, fans will just have to tune into future episodes of Vikings to find out how Lagertha will fare in England and not rely on the saga involving her.

However, Vikings creator Michael Hirst did recently tell TV Guide that Lagertha will reinvent herself in Season 5B.

“She has an interesting season ahead, a season of great and profound changes,” Hirst revealed. “A season in which she really comes to question who she is and what she’s been doing.”

So, perhaps this trip to England will see the beginning of this.

Vikings returns on Wednesday, December 5, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. History Channel provides the following synopsis for Episode 12 (titled “Murder Most Foul”).

“Bjorn, Lagertha, and Ubbe face an uncertain fate as Heahmund’s loyalty is tested. In Iceland, Floki fights to understand the will of the gods. In Kattegat, Ivar may have met his match.”