The Aslaug Theory That Would Change Everything On Vikings

During its long run on History, the deliriously violent and endlessly watchable "Vikings" was arguably one of the best historical dramas on television. It was also one of the most popular, as the series undoubtedly piggy-backed on the breakout success of HBO's similarly-themed "Game of Thrones," which debuted two years prior. But whereas some might've found "Game of Thrones" leaning a little too heavily into magical mayhem, "Vikings" provided the same level of action sans dragons, wizards, and evil smoke-babies.

"Vikings" separated itself by turning to actual historical events and characters for inspiration, and blending them with well-known mythologies that made this Norse Saga wholly unique to the television realm. Like those histories, the "Vikings" narrative was spotted with faces and places almost too numerous to recount. In the early days of the show, however, the narrative was centered largely around Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and the various personas in his inner circle. 

As of the Season 1 finale, that circle included one of the series' most consistently fascinating characters: Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland). Of course, as Aslaug's arrival essentially signaled the end of Ragnar's marriage to Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), she was also an instantly divisive character, with many painting her as a usurper, and still others (Lagertha included) casting wild theories about her being a witch. And one of those theories would've put her entire "Vikings" narrative in a fascinating new light.

What if Aslaug actually was a witch?

The theory in question comes from a Tumblr user named Heathen Girl, and posits that Lagertha was, in fact, always correct in her assertions that Aslaug was a witch. Indeed, the user makes a pretty compelling case in regards to Aslaug potentially possessing magical powers, arguing there may even have been a spell connecting her and Lagertha in some mortal fashion.

Heathen Girl put the possibility forward with a post stating, "You know when Lagertha finally decided to raid Kattegat, and after the battle she faces Aslaug, and the only demand that Aslaug makes is that she leaves with her life. Well, Right after that, Lagerth kills her and the camera switched to Aslaug's face, and she's smiling." That unforgettably impish smile is the crux of Heathen Girl's case, who continued, "We all know the rumors about Aslaug being a witch, so what if she bewitched Lagertha in some way? And the requirement for the spell to happen was her death? A curse that would be concluded as soon as Lagertha killed her [Aslaug}?"

As far as "Vikings" theories go, this one honestly doesn't feel all that far-fetched. Even still, the question as to the actual purpose of Aslaug's death curse remains all but unknowable. And it's very much in question whether killing Aslaug had any real effect on Lagertha's already tumultuous life. She did, after all, go on to lead Kattegat for many years thereafter.

Aslaug's death likely had little to do with practical magic

In any case, the matter of actual sorcery would never have been addressed directly on "Vikings," because the series was always very careful about neither confirming nor denying the existence of legit magic within its narrative. As such, we'll never know for certain if Aslaug cast a spell on Lagertha. But even casual "Vikings" fans can see there's something else behind Aslaug's smile when Lagertha kills her. It's almost like she knew the fateful arrow was coming and welcomed it. 

As intriguing as Heathen Girl's magical theory is, there are probably more likely answers for Aslaug's smile. The simplest explanation may be that Aslaug dies knowing her sons will almost surely seek to avenge her death, and that Lagertha will not rule over Kattegat for very long. That was mostly the case too, as Aslaug's son Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) would eventually lead the forces that indeed forced Lagertha from Kattegat for good.

Perhaps a more satisfying take is that Aslaug knew Lagertha would never allow her to live given their past, and thus chose the manner of her death. This scenario obviously re-contextualizes Aslaug's final request for safe passage after surrendering, with Aslaug possibly asking not for safe passage from Kattegat, but into Valhalla via death by a warrior. In turn, Lagertha's arrow may have been an act of mercy — a theory bolstered by the fact that she also allowed the fallen queen a proper Viking funeral after killing her. Whatever the case, Aslaug's death remains one of the most intriguing twists "Vikings" ever conjured.