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Katheryn Winnick On The Difficulty Of Playing Lagertha For Six Seasons

The hit sword-swinging series "Vikings" was rife with some truly tough characters, but one that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of them was Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha. As the first wife of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmell) and a cunning warrior in her own right, Lagertha routinely proved herself a fearsome presence in the series. Appearing in all six seasons of the hit TV show, the fierce shield-maiden that became queen of Kattegat was a complex character that Winnick inhabited for seven gripping years filled with bloodshed, betrayal, and feuding families.

Since the series came to an end in 2020, the actress behind the role has found a new plot of land to call home on ABC's "Big Sky." What it may lack in war cries, it makes up for in suspense as Winnick takes on the role of Jenny Hoyt, a private investigator and ex-police officer who is tasked with tracking down two girls after a truck driver kidnaps them. Notably, it's a change that is centuries and light-years away from Lagertha, something that Winnick admits she struggled with at first.

Winnick had struggles with Lagertha that made future roles daunting

Speaking to Collider in 2020 to promote the first season of "Big Sky," Winnick shared her perspective on the shift from being a killer queen to a determined detective, and it certainly doesn't sound like it was an easy transition. 

"Coming off of a show, after six seasons and playing such an iconic, formidable character like Lagertha, to dive into a new TV series and a new character with Jenny Hoyt was daunting and a little nerve-wracking," Winnick admitted. With that being said, Winnick also added that were some notable perks to working on a character with such a well-known backstory. "Lagertha was based on a true character and I had an idea where I was gonna go with her, just in terms of knowing that she became a queen and a warrior."

Interestingly, Winnick also commented on the difference between becoming a character as wild as Lagertha and one as modern as Jenny Hoyt. "There was a real transformation when I was doing 'Vikings,' in terms of getting ready on set," Winnick said, remarking that she sometimes felt more comfortable with Lagertha's accent and costume. "Here, the transformation is different because it's closer to yourself, even though you are playing someone completely different."

As demanding as both roles and her subsequent transition from one to the other sound, it also doesn't appear that the difficulties have been beyond Winnick's abilities. During her time on "Vikings," Winnick won multiple awards for her portrayal of the character (via IMDb). Additionally, since her interview with Collider, Winnick has reprised her role as Jenny Hoyt in the second season of "Big Sky."