“I was never the usurper, always the usurped,” Lagertha said describing her entire life in one sentence. She refused to bow to the obstacles and lived her life on her own terms. She was the beating heart of Vikings after Ragnar’s death which is why her own death was so sad.
Lagertha was the shieldmaiden every woman in Kattegat wanted to be. When Ragnar died, she tried her best to fit in his shoes, preserving the kingdom she had helped him build. She was still human though, and amidst her many victories, she made lots of mistakes. Her life story was a combination of wins and losses that could be traced back to her best and worst decisions.
10 Best: Leaving Ragnar
Lagertha loved Ragnar but she didn’t worship him like the rest of the people. She was his equal partner who knew when to stay and when to walk away. When Ragnar slept with Aslaug and decided to marry her as a second wife, it was the peak of disrespect to Lagertha. She was a great fighter and leader in her own right and didn’t have to stand by and take in all the disrespect from Ragnar.
In Hedeby, Lagertha discovered her own strengths with the chance to lead her own army after killing Sigvard. She was able to negotiate from a place of strength when she finally went on raids with Ragnar. She also used her army to rescue Kattegat and Ragnar.
9 Worst: Taking Bjorn Away From Ragnar
Bjorn had the right to choose whom to stay with but he was 12 years old, and being Ragnar’s firstborn son, he needed to grow up by his side. Lagertha wasn’t sure about her position in Hedeby and moving into Sigvard’s hall with Bjorn put the young boy in danger. Sigvard wouldn’t give him the fatherly guidance he needed, forcing the young boy to go into the forests to train himself into a man.
Sigvard was abusive and Bjorn had to watch his mother suffering, which made him swear revenge on Sigvard yet he stood no chance against the Jarl. His time in Hedeby denied Bjorn the chance to learn more from Ragnar and cement his place in Kattegat as Ragnar’s heir. Bjorn’s relationship with his father was never the same even after he returned to Kattegat.
8 Best: Killing Sigvard
Lagertha’s fate was always at Ragnar’s side and Sigvard stood no chance of taming her into an ordinary Viking wife. While the abusive Jarl lived, Lagertha and Bjorn would never be safe which is why she had to make her move. She killed him at the right time when there was no one strong enough to take his place which left Lagertha with his army, which she had already commanded once.
Her life as a successful shieldmaiden started the day she killed Sigvard. She became Ragnar’s equal partner and her own woman which led her on the path to becoming queen of Kattegat when Ragnar died, a position she had rightfully earned.
7 Worst: Killing Aslaug
Aslaug usurped Lagertha’s position as the queen but she never used sorcery as Lagertha claimed. Her meeting with Ragnar was just fate and she was a great wife to Ragnar and a mother, just like Lagertha. When she surrendered the throne, she posed no more threat to Lagertha, all she had to do was let her walk away.
Shooting an arrow through her back was cold-blooded murder that divided Ragnar’s family beyond repair. Lagertha’s actions created the rift between Bjorn and the rest of Ragnar’s sons and it was the motivation for Ivar’s madness. It ended up costing more lives than Lagertha could have planned for.
6 Best: Becoming Queen Of Kattegat
Lagertha and Ragnar took Kattegat from Haraldson after he chased them out of their farm. She was always meant to be by Ragnar’s side as he ruled and was also the deserving ruler of the Kingdom when Ragnar died. Unlike Ragnar, Lagertha didn’t have the ambitions of raiding foreign lands and conquering new territories but she had a perfect vision for Kattegat.
She knew the kingdom well, knowing how to protect the people and keep the peace, something Aslaug wasn’t good at. She didn’t know how to form lasting alliances as queen though.
5 Worst: Mistreating Harald
King Harald wasn’t a man you could trust but he wasn’t an immediate threat to Lagertha either. Harald would never stand up against the kingdom of Ragnar Lothbrok on his own. When he asked Lagertha to be his wife, she had every right to refuse, but she could have negotiated with him and made him an ally.
He was a reasonable man who had fought alongside Ragnar and who still respected Ragnar’s legacy. Lagertha chose to torture the man instead, making him angry and vengeful at her. When Ivar asked for his help in overthrowing her, he was more than justified to oblige.
4 Best: Saving Haehmund’s Life
Haehmund was a Saxon but he fought like a Viking. He was more of a warrior than a priest which is why Ivar poached him to fight against Lagertha. However, Lagertha had just defeated Harald in the first battle of Kattegat and could have killed Haehmund if she wanted to, but she chose to save his life.
The priest became an invaluable ally in the second battle and a refuge for Lagertha’s broken heart when she lost both Kattegat and Astrid. He was also her passage into England and a second chance at life for the Shieldmaiden.
3 Worst: Her Attachment To Haehmund
Haehmund was a warrior, but before he became one, he was a priest and Lagertha knew that. It wasn’t wrong to fall in love with the handsome priest but she had been in enough relationships to know that one had boundaries. When they went back to England, Haehmund had to become a bishop again.
Lagertha was too attached to him at the time though, which is why she lost it when he said he was ending the relationship. She behaved like a petulant child, not considering Haehmund’s point of view. The attachment caused the confusion that led to the bishop’s sloppiness in battle leading to his death. It was also the end of Lagertha’s legacy on the battlefield.
2 Best: Rejecting Rollo’s Generosity
Losing Kattegat was hard for Lagertha. It was the only home she had known since her early days as Ragnar’s wife and she had lived all her life for it. Rollo helping Ivar was the reason she lost her home, so accepting his help would have been stooping too low.
Rollo was obviously determined to destroy Ragnar’s legacy and would have betrayed Lagertha in one way or another in the end because that is all he was good at. She got the chance to live on her own terms in England, which was better than living in Rollo’s shadow. She would also have broken Bjorn’s heart if she went with Rollo.
1 Worst: Moving To The Village
Lagertha dying miserably in the hands of a hallucinating Hvitserk was a bad way to go for a woman who had spent her whole life fighting. Bjorn was ruling Kattegat and there was always a place for Lagertha at his side. Bjorn was a good fighter and a charismatic leader but not always the smartest. He needed Lagertha there to advise and help him even after becoming king of Kattegat.
Her decision to go back to the village where it all started was sentimental but not smart. She had been through so much since her days as a farmer and had every right to enjoy her son’s protection. She was not able to protect the village from the frequent bandit attacks and just wouldn’t leave even when she knew it wasn’t safe.
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