Is King Harald Finehair Still Alive On Vikings?

The first four seasons of History's Vikings focused mainly on Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his various schemes. Since Travis Fimmel left Vikings in season 4, however, the show has broadened to follow his sons and other historical figures from the Viking era. One of these warriors earned a soft spot with not just fans, but also the show's creator, Michael Hirst.

King Harald, aka Finehair (Peter Franzén), first appeared at the start of season 4 as the king of Vestfold, a fishing and whaling town on Norway's southeastern coast. Alongside his brother Halfdan (Joona Jasper Pääkkönen), Harald displayed a ruthless streak on the battlefield and in his personal life — one of his most memorable scenes involves using Frankish scouts as kindling for a signal fire. And he doesn't take 'no' for an answer when it comes to seducing women, with violent consequences (Resulting in scenes are some of the worst things in Vikings). 

By the end of the first part of season 6, Harald had killed Halfdan in battle, been named the first King of Norway, and reunited with on-off enemy Bjorn Lothbrok (Alexander Ludwig) to take on the notorious Rus Vikings. The vicious and chaotic battle that followed has his fans asking, is King Harald Finehair still alive on Vikings? There's more hope than you think.

King Harald didn't look so good at the end of that midseason finale

Since it seems like the wait between the season 6 midseason finale and the opening episode of part 6B has lasted the length of the Viking era, here's a quick refresher on what Harald and his allies (for now) were up against last time audiences saw them.

As the newly appointed King of Norway, Harald persuaded occasional ally Bjorn to help him fight the increasingly aggressive and well-armed Rus Vikings. Led by Prince Oleg (Danila Kozlovsky), the Rus are joined by Bjorn's much-hated half-brother Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen) and motivated by your standard land-grabbing instincts, plus your standard desire to force religious conversion on an unwilling population.

Harald calls on his vassals to send troops to support him and Bjorn, but awkwardly, only Jarl Thorkell (Fredrik Hiller) shows up. With their limited forces, they line up on the beach to meet the Rus, but it soon becomes clear that the Vikings are outmatched by the invaders. In addition to the slaughter on the beach, the Rus manage to make their way down a river towards the capital of Vestfold, and climb a mountain that allows them to come up behind the Vikings, trapping them on all sides.

Thorkell is killed in the battle, and Bjorn is gravely wounded. As for Harald, he's also badly injured — we see him collapse to the ground, apparently too weak to move. Erik (Eric Johnson) tries to help him, but Harald tells Erik to leave and save himself. Apparently, Harald thinks he's going to die, but does he?

There's good evidence that Harald will be back to fight another day

One person who would have been fine with Harald being cut down in battle is Franzén. He's happy that Vikings is only loosely based on history, because as he told Entertainment Tonight in 2019, the "real" Harald Finehair died of old age. "I would like for him to pick up his sword and put on his armor and go into battle blazing ... Getting hacked to pieces," Franzén said.

Another important person, however, might flinch at that. Creator and showrunner Michael Hirst has confessed that even though he's managed to kill off multiple characters in brutal ways, he's resisted killing Harald. In a call for Comic-Con@Home 2020, Hirst revealed that he'd written Harald's death three times, but could never bring himself to pull the metaphorical trigger. "He did lots of bad stuff, that guy, but he did it so well, and he had a sense of humor, and I just didn't want to lose that," Hirst explained.

Hirst gave another confusing hint in an interview with Monsters & Criticssaying of Harald, "I keep wanting to bring him back to see what he brings and I've just grown to love him. I could never kill him off. Yet, in Season 6, the eternal survivor doesn't survive in the end and ... yet he does."

Reading between the lines, it seems like Harald and Bjorn may both survive the initial battle, but with serious injuries. Looking back at the Battle of Vestfold, Hirst told TVGuide, "A lot of Vikings are killed. And Harald and Bjorn are certainly extremely seriously, seriously wounded and likely to die. But what happens after that is saved for [Episode 11]." Don't start building Harald's funeral pyre just yet.