Vikings Season 6: Who Survived the Midseason Finale?

History Channel’s Vikings ended the first half its sixth and final season on a cliffhanger in February with “The Best Laid Plans.” That episode ended with two leading characters — Bjorn Ironside and King Harald — seemingly left to die on a beach after a feverish battle against the forces of Ivar the Boneless. Did Bjorn survive? Is Harald dead or alive? We asked writer-showrunner Michael Hirst in a phone interview ahead of Vikings’ [email protected] panel, which is part of Friday’s Comic-Con 2020 panel schedule.While Hirst would not give a straightforward answer about whether Bjorn lives or dies, he also promised not to mislead viewers or rely on storytelling gimmicks that would cheat the audience or his characters. “I think you can safely say that Bjorn is very seriously injured,” Hirst said of Alexander Ludwig’s resilient protagonist.

Likewise, Hirst said, King Harald is also “very seriously injured. That’s one of the downsides to being in a battle, I think. This can happen too, but all will be revealed.”

Hirst promised that the final episodes of the series and the ultimate fate of these characters are “hugely emotional in every way. And if you have tears to shed then be prepared to shed them.”

And while Vikings’ longtime lead Ragnar Lothbrok is indeed dead, he did famously fake his own death during the siege of Paris. That ruse, however, was part of the historical record and legend of Ragnar, as Hirst points out, so it wasn’t Hirst, as the show’s sole writer, pulling a fast one on the audience. Hirst insists that death is real and final on his show.

“To make a general point, and this is now widely known, is that I don’t like fantasy. So, I don’t go in for people dying and then suddenly being [resurrected] because they still have market value. I think when people die in Vikings, they die,” Hirst said. “And they’re mortal and that’s one of the reasons we care about them, of course. Because we don’t feel that I’m manipulating life and death in that way.”

From its opening title credits sequence on, there has always been a sense of doom and gloom hanging over the series, a sense of “finality” that Hirst said is very much what Vikings is about. After all, for a people who conquered so many across many lands, the Vikings are ultimately the ones whose way of life will come to an end, whose religion will die off, and whose culture will become assimilated into others.

As early champions of the “live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse” ethos, the Vikings knew they wouldn’t make it to old age — the average Viking male, Hirst said, died by age 29, while women died even younger due to the dangers of childbirth — and they embraced that. For Viking men, dying in battle was the perfect and really only way to go so that they could reach Valhalla. But even the promise of Valhalla is fleeting.

Movies and Shows to Prepare You For Valhalla

Hirst summed up the saga of the Vikings as such:

“It is the story of a race that in a sense knows that it’s been obliterated because it all has the basic nature of the twilight of the gods. But even though they go to Valhalla, Valhalla is eventually overrun by the forces of darkness and evil, and all the dead will perish once again in the final fight and all the gods will die in Ragnarok. And so they have always, in the back of their minds, what we would think of as a hugely pessimistic outlook.”

And with that rosy picture in mind, fans can look forward to the last 10 episodes of Vikings’ final season later this year on History Channel, most likely in December if the show’s past midseason returns are any indication.


[promo keywords="" brand="" category="" rows="" start=""]