Vikings: Katheryn Winnick discusses evolution of Lagertha
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Vikings has now come to an end and the saga featured actress Katheryn Winnick as feisty shieldmaiden, Lagertha. Lagertha was married to the famous Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel) and she was a powerful warrior. In season five of the History and Amazon Prime Video drama, her hair changed from blonde to white and fans are keen to know why there was a sudden change.
Why did Lagertha’s hair turn white in Vikings?
Lagertha was one of the fan-favourite characters of the series as she was known for her fearless attitude.
She also remained loyal to her husband’s legacy, despite the fact they separated at the start of the series.
Lagertha was the mother of Ragnar’s son Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), who went on to become a respected king.
She showed strength and kindness in multiple ways throughout the series and fans were heartbroken when she was killed off in season six.
The one gripe fans have with her character is why her hair turned white at the end of the first half of season five.
At this point in the series, Lagertha had started to lose her mind following the death of her friend and lover, Astrid (Josefin Asplund).
She was last seen wandering off in a daze on her own following the huge battle, during which Astrid asked for Lagertha to end her life.
Lagertha was later found by Bjorn in a bad mental state and her hair had turned from its usual blonde to white.
The change is known as Marie Antoinette Syndrome – a condition which turns the hair white as a result of intense levels of stress.
Some thought the change in hair colour was to note the amount of time that had passed, but it was actually a result of the trauma she had experienced.
Fans asked the question on the forum Quora and one viewer responded: “The sudden whitening of hair at the presence of immense shock occurs in real life.
“This even happens after disastrous deaths (such as execution) as there are reports of hair or beards going white after the person is deceased.
“It’s a super dark thing, I must admit, and perhaps we should realize that about Lagertha; that she is no longer who she was as if the white hair is to show us her admission to the catastrophes she has been standing well up until now.
“During their battle with Ivar’s army at the beginning of season 5B, the character clearly breaks and I suppose the directors decided that this is a perfect place to show that she is shaken as well as trying to finally age her simultaneously.”
The show’s creator, Michael Hirst, had previously opened up about pinpointing the moment Lagertha started to break down.
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Entertainment Weekly asked whether her hair had in fact turned white, and Hirst responded: “It has turned white. The psychological impact is yet to be worked through. That’s a story in itself, Lagertha’s breakdown.”
Some fans are still convinced the change in hair colour is to mark her age as the series progresses.
However, she does not appear to have changed much in other aspects of her appearance and no make-up tricks had been used to show other signs of ageing.
Some fans have questioned the accuracy of the portrayal of Marie Antoinette Syndrome, as this change would not usually happen overnight.
One viewer said on Reddit: “Literally overnight though? Because Bjorn still had blood on his face when he found her, and they were just returning to the city…it was immediately after the battle. Like, not even one day later.
“I think it’s more likely that it’s supposed to be symbolic of something, not a literal result of the trauma.”
Fans had wondered whether the white hair marked the major change which had been teased when it came to Lagertha’s character development.
One said: “I’m not sure I got this right: Lagertha’s white hair… is this the ‘big change’ they were talking about for the character?
“Has she aged or is this just a colour thing? I was expecting something that would incapacitate her like losing an arm, or even an eye.
“Maybe I’m watching too much anime with white-haired elves, but how is that a big deal?”
Vikings is available to watch on History and Prime Video.
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