History Channel’s Vikings is in its final season, and the characters that seemed untouchable and beloved are meeting their fates. Earlier in the season, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) met her fate in a shocking moment. Currently, with the mid-season finale in Episode 10, fans of Vikings are saying goodbye to a character who’s been on the series since the start.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Vikings Season 6 mid-season finale, titled “The Best Laid Plans.” If you’ve yet to watch the episode and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now.
It’s the end of the line for Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig). The eldest son of Ragnar Lothbrok met his end at the hands of his brother, the ruthless and vindictive Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen). It’s an emotional moment for the show, but one that has long been in the making.
While the half-brothers were always on uneasy ground with each other, it wasn’t until the end of Season 4, when Bjorn witnessed Ivar kill their brother Sigurd, that their relationship completely unraveled. They then battled over control of Kattegat, the settlement created by their father, throughout Seasons 5 and 6. Ultimately, in their final meeting in “The Best Laid Plans,” Ivar surprised Bjorn mid-battle, running him through with a sword.
It is a powerful moment, as Bjorn realizes what has happened and who is responsible. Then, the scene quickly skewed reality, as we saw Ivar and Bjorn sitting on the same beach they have been fighting on. “I will defeat you,” Bjorn seethed. “The gods abandoned you a long time ago, my brother,” Ivar responded calmly. “There’s no way you can win. Believe me.” In the final moments, the scene alternated between a shot of Bjorn breathing his last breathes and an image of his sword plunged into the sand, seemingly signaling the end of his life.
Speaking to GameSpot, creator Michael Hirst explained how this particular death came together in his mind. “When I was beginning to put together and think about Season 6 and sort of jotting down thoughts about the characters and what might happen to them, I sort of knew which characters would survive. But I felt I knew that Bjorn would die,” he said. “So then it was a question of when, and I talked to Alexander about it.”
For Hirst, the primary goal was to make sure the death of Bjorn didn’t get lost in all of the carnage of Season 6. Instead, he wanted to give Ludwig something he could sink his teeth into as an actor. “I wanted to showcase him. And if I’m bunching up a lot of people dying and a lot of endings of stories and things, I don’t want him as just one of the stories,” Hirst explained. “I want to feature him. I wanted him to have his moment and boy, does he grab this moment. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and wonderful and sort of triumphant.”
Still, viewers have yet to see Bjorn’s final moments. As dead as he may have looked, Hirst revealed, “by the way, he’s not dead yet.” The creator continued, “honestly, Episode 11 will just knock your socks off. It’s so powerful. And it’s just brilliant for Alexander and in a way that’s what I wanted.”
A premiere date for the second half of Vikings Season 6 has yet to be announced. When the series returns, it will begin with Lugwig’s final appearance as Bjorn.
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