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40% Believe This Vikings Scene Went Too Far

Thanks largely to the resounding success of the HBO hit original series "Game of Thrones," the fantasy genre has enjoyed a strong resurgence in the past decade. The likes of "Knightfall," "The Witcher," and "Cursed" have carved out their own niche in a now-densely populated marketplace, vying for as many viewers as possible. However, few contenders have measured up to the popularity and longevity of History's "Vikings," which premiered in the spring of 2013 and wrapped up at the tail end of 2020. To date, it boasts six seasons that amount to 89 episodes, with the sequel series "Vikings: Valhalla" on the way.

Starring the likes of Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, and Clive Standen, among a host of other talented folks, "Vikings" takes audiences on a journey back to 9th century Scandinavia. There Fimmel plays the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok — at least until his demise in Season 4 — who escapes from his simple life as a farmer to become a feared Viking monarch. As one would imagine, his rise to prominence wasn't a peaceful one, with pillaging and warfare emerging as two hallmarks of his life's story. Let's just say that when it came to covering such graphic endeavors, "Vikings" certainly didn't hold back.

Much like its contemporaries, "Vikings" depicted some pretty gory and gruesome scenes over the years. However, a handful proved especially heinous, with one going a step too far, according to roughly 40% of fans.

The death of Jarl Borg wasn't easy to watch

Looper recently surveyed 637 individuals from the United States to get their two cents on which "Vikings" moment was the worst of the worst to witness. To say the winner deserved its place atop the list is an understatement, but first, let's spotlight the runner-ups. In dead last with 8.79% was Bjorn's (Alexander Ludwig) bear attack, with Lagertha's (Winnick) funeral coming next at 10.52%. Next up at 15.23% is when Ragnar faked his death, and Judith (Jennie Jacques) losing her ear secured second place, with 25.59%. 

As for the winner of our poll, that honor belongs to arguably the hardest death scene to watch in "Vikings" history: the public execution of Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr). Following an unsuccessful attempt at defeating Ragnar and his forces, Borg was tossed in prison and later sentenced to death via a technique known as the blood eagle. This involved Ragnar tearing open Borg's back and removing his ribs so that he could pull out his lungs and fashion them into "wings." This stomach-churning display took home 39.87% of the ballots, and it's not difficult to see why.

For as horrific as it sounds and looks, the blood eagle is regarded as an honorable method of execution in Viking culture. Jarl Borg endured it without so much as a whimper, ensuring he'd have a place in Valhalla when he inevitably arrived there. Nevertheless, there isn't a single "Vikings" scene that comes close to the brutality of this one, and you'd certainly be forgiven if you shielded your eyes when it went down.