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Relationships, rivalries to be revived in new season of ‘Vikings’

Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Hession

Lagertha, played by Katheryn Winnick, in battle in season 1 of History Channel’s ‘Vikings.’ Season 2 is set to begin Feb. 27.
Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Hession

Some Vikings are set to sail on a new season.

The the History Channel’s show “Vikings” is back for a second season.

“Vikings” debuted last March with 6.2 million viewers and held an average 4.3 million viewers over the course of its 9-episode first season, according to TV by the Numbers.

The show is the first original scripted drama series for the History Channel and follows the journey of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, who is based on a real-life Viking and is played by Travis Fimmel, and his family, friends and fellow tribe members.

Rollo, played by Clive Standen, is the younger brother of Ragnar and in a constant state of rivalry with his older sibling.

“That brotherly rivalry is always there and it’s always prominent throughout life,” Standen said in a phone interview with college media. “(Rollo) feels like he’s living in his brother’s shadow.”

Additionally, Rollo covets his brother’s wife, Lagertha, played by Katheryn Winnick. Lagertha and Ragnar were a formidable pair throughout the first season, but by the end of season one, Ragnar had slept with Princess Aslaug, a woman whom he encountered during his travels. Lagertha must decide whether she can deal with the enormity of Ragnar’s affair and its possible repercussions in season 2.

“If you’ve seen some of the trailers, she definitely feels humiliated and feels like she has no choice (but) to leave at some point just to save her pride,” Winnick said.

Battle scenes in “Vikings” can often get very violent and realistic with some of the actors performing their own stunts.

“You see the whites of the eyes, the fear, the danger. Because when you’re in the middle of a take, sometimes what you rehearsed in the comfort of the studio on your feet, you’ll suddenly end up in the mud crawling around on your feet (and) pulling the guy next to you on the floor,” Standen said. “I (end) up with cuts and bruises all over me but you just don’t feel it when you’re filming … the adrenaline just keeps you going.”

Winnick said she also enjoys the rare opportunity the show provides to her and her fellow castmates in portraying historical figures.

“You don’t really see that often a character that’s portrayed that’s actually existed,” Winnick said.

Jared Tardiff, a first-year in public affairs, a self-dubbed “history freak” and a fan of many of the programs on the History Channel, said he finds “Vikings” to be the perfect combination of fun and excitement within a historical context.

“I really enjoyed the first season. The characters have a lot of depth and are realistic despite the show being about people hundreds of years ago,” Tardiff said in an email. “I think it is extremely accurate and believable. There was a whole episode devoted to Vikings’ religion and rituals, which was very well done (and) captivating but educational.”

Standen is also “mad about history” and said “Vikings” was the project he had been waiting for.

“As much as I enjoyed doing those (other) shows they were just a warmup for the main event,” he said. “It’s historical drama but it really encapsulates a younger genre.”

Standen has also played roles in the TV series “Robin Hood” and “Doctor Who,” among others.

As season 2 begins, fans are ready to have questions and cliffhangers from the season one finale answered.

“Everybody has their own journey (and) Lagertha definitely has a big journey,” Winnick said. “I would say Lagertha comes into her own in season two. When you think she hits a low, she hits an even lower floor.”

The honest depiction of the Viking tribe is what Standen said the show aims to accomplish.

“That’s what we want you to believe,” Standen said. “We want you to think that these characters honestly perished, that they’re real people in hard circumstances in a world.”

The actors and actresses work to maintain this relatable side of their characters, Standen said.

“It’s about the humanity of characters,” Standen said. “The actor’s job is to get to the bare bones of what motivates these characters for acting the way they do.

“Vikings” is set to return to the History Channel Thursday at 10 p.m. The new season is set to introduce new cast members Alex Ludwig (“The Hunger Games”) as Ragnar and Lagertha’s son, Bjorn, and Linus Roache (“Law & Order”) as King Ecbert.

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