Comic Con 2014: CourtneyK spends time with the VIKINGS of The History Channel

I had the marvelous pleasure of participating in the VIKINGS press roundtables at San Diego Comic Con 2014. Travis Fimmel (Ragnar Lothbrok), Clive Standen (Rollo Lothbrok), Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn “Ironside” Lothbrok), Michael Hirst (creator/writer) were all in attendance. Fresh off the set actually! Fimmel and Standen had their beard-hair in full effect, and Fimmel and Ludwig both were sporting their respective characters signature ‘crazy blonde warrior’ haircuts. I had the feeling if the two of them walked the Con Floor, they would’ve been recognized by their hair alone!

Michael Hirst (creator_writer)1First up, Creater/Writer Michael Hirst (whose voice was such a soothing timbre I could have listened to him talk ALL day long!)

Ragnar’s last scene of Season2, standing on a cliff alone; was it a symbol of being “Alone at the Top”:

Michael Hirst: Travis was asked in the panel (that had gone on earlier that day) what he was thinking about, and what he was thinking about was what it meant to have power. The most powerful people are either corrupt anyway or are corrupted with power. Ragnar’s been on a journey in which he didn’t ever want to be an Earl or a King. He just had other desires; to travel, to be curious about the world. These desires were always frustrated by the Powers That Be. So by default he had to take part. In his own mind, he’s now struggling with this idea of ‘What is power? What is it going to do to me? What am going to tell my son about what power and responsibility is’ and everything.

Michael Hirst (creator_writer)2On the subject of power and what’s to come:

Michael Hirst: It’s set up this season, very well because a lot of the season is about the Cult of Power, the price you pay for getting to the top.

On writing such striking and strong female characters and their interactions:

Michael Hirst: I’m enormously proud (of the fact that the women interact differently than on most other television shows) of that; I did my Ph.D. at Oxford on the short stories of Henry James. And he enjoyed writing about female characters more than male characters, and I suppose I do too! He said “Female characters are far more complex and far more interesting for a novelist” and I wasn’t really conscious of making Lagertha almost unique as a leading female character in a TV show and I think she is unique. I mean, she’s a mother, a wife, and she kicks ass! And she’s a wonderful role model, but unfortunately as the writer I have to “punish” her again and again so she’s always losing everything. And I think, often with women, that’s often the price. Certainly for a powerful woman, that’s the price. So every time you think she’s risen to the top and you think ‘Oh things are going to be easy for her’ well they’re not! More issues, more things to solve, more complications to her life! So I don’t write the women differently, I write them in the same way. The women are as interesting as the men and they don’t just decorate the show.

Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn “Ironside” Lothbrok)1Kathryn Winnick (the Shield Maiden turned Earl, Lagertha) and Andrew Ludwig (playing Ragnar and Lagertha’s son, Bjorn “Ironside” Lothbrok) were next.

Regarding Lagertha’s ascencion to power, how did you approach it?:

Kathryn Winnick: I actually had a hard time understanding how to play it, because when you’re on set with all these lads; it’s funny because if you push it? You don’t get the same respect. The same thing with a confident woman, the more confident you are in yourself, if you can just state what it is? People will just respect you more. If you do it in a way, you understand where the whole character fills in where she comes to power in her own right and you get a lot further.

Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn “Ironside” Lothbrok)2Season 2, Ludwig was the “new kid”, playing the part of a more grown up Bjorn, in reference to how his character is progressing:

Alexander Ludwig : I think in Season 2 he was a boy and he was torn. It’s amazing how nothing really changes, the lifestyle may be different but at the end of the day it’s the same issues as today. So he was definitely torn and in Season 3 he’s become a man and he realizes he can take (the aspects of each parent) what he can when he can and respect that they are both powerful people and he’s lucky (to glean what he can from them). I’ve never done a TV show before and I’m so happy, it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. I’ve learned so much from this! It’s incredible!

water2As lead Travis Fimmel, joined us at our table, he playfully took up a pink dolphin puppet (that had boobs drawn on it) another reporter had brought in and was auctioning off for Breast Cancer Research. Naturally, Travis zeroed in on it and began his attempt at going through the first part of the interview, having the Pink Dolphin talk along with him. Little did he know, he’s “wife” Kathryn, was creeping up behind him with an open water bottle. As all the eyes of the press were turned up and above him, it became apparent to Travis that *eyes shift* some sort of shenanigan was going on behind him! Good natured, Travis assumed that it was his “son”, Alexander, going to play some sort of joke. And when the water came cascading down over his baseball hat, spilling down his shoulders and getting just about everywhere, including on the puppet, it still wasn’t clear to him just who was the culprit. But you can see by the pictures, Kathryn won The Prank of the Day.

Travis Fimmel (Ragnar Lothbrok), Clive Standen (Rollo Lothbrok)2Throughout the first two seasons, the brothers Lothbrok definitely had their ups and downs…BIG downs. We’re starting to see the brotherly love is coming back some more! But now that Ragnar is KING, what’s going to happen within Rollo?

Clive Standen: He learned his lesson at the end of episode 1 from Season 2. He traded everything to be “King for a Day” that was what Rollo thought how he was going to achieve was to make the alliance with Jarl Borg. But he realized very quickly he was wrong. And now that Ragnar has let him back in, he’s still got a mountain to climb to gain his brother’s trust. The relationship is strained and will never be the same again, but that ambition is still there it’s never going to go away, there’s ugliness still in Rollo. Everytime he sees Ragnar progressing with his station and his name, it’s only going to hurt Rollo more. So maybe now it’s not about betraying Ragnar but is this Rollo’s destiny? Is he always going to be second fiddle?

WELL, as you can tell, the interviews were wonderful, though lead Travis Rimmel was remarkably quiet during the majority, allowing Clive Standen to take the lead when it came to in depth discussions about their characters. I got the feeling that Rimmel wasn’t entirely comfortable talking about his process maybe or where he thought the character would be heading. Not at all in a dismissive or cagey way; but as if Ragnar was back on the set, and Travis was there in San Diego. It was really interesting to watch him interact with all of us. Or, **shrug** he just could’ve been jet-lagged. Frankly, he was a pleasure, they ALL were!

I really had a wonderful time with them, and the experience just got me that more excited for the third Season, shooting right now! Seriously I LOVE The History Channel! I’ll absolutely be watching!

Take a peek at the rest of the shots from the room:

Clive Standen (Rollo Lothbrok)

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