Vikings Creator Breaks Down Final Season's Biggest Deaths

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Vikings, as we know it, is over.

The beloved History series aired its last-ever installments on Amazon Prime, and they were filled with big swings.

We had the chance to ask series creator Michael Hirst some questions about the final episodes, and we asked about the decision to kill off Bjorn Ironside on Vikings Season 6 Episode 11 -- eight episodes ahead of the series finale.

Bjorn Rises Again - Vikings

If you watch Vikings online, you know Bjorn died a hero, rising like a phoenix from the ashes to stop the attack on Kattegat from the Rus.

His monumental final scene found him put in a tomb, holding on to his sword.

"Bjorn is a legendary character. He’s done and achieved amazing things. And yet – in many ways, he’s disappointed," Hirst explained before speaking about some of the decisions the character made ahead of his death.

Bjorn Again? - Vikings Season 6 Episode 11

"He wasn’t a great ruler of Kattegat. He made some disastrous calls, He wasn’t smart enough to challenge Harald for the crown of all Norway," he continued, before speaking about his relationship with Gunnhild and Ingrid.

"His relationships with women were equally problematic. So, because I liked him so much, and respected his integrity, I wanted to redeem him," Hirst said. 

"And in death, I believe, Bjorn was redeemed. By a supreme act of will he put death on hold in order to lead his warriors out of Kattegat to defeat the Rus and save his country."

"If nothing else, by doing so he staked his place in the pantheon of Viking heroes. Which made me very happy."

Gunnhild's death followed on Vikings Season 6 Episode 15 as the character decided against marrying Harald and being in a throuple with him and Ingrid.

Gunnhild Talks About the Future - Vikings Season 6 Episode 13

Her final scene featured her swimming into the ocean and being consumed, destined to head to Valhalla to reunite with the only man she loved.

But, in history, Gunnhild was killed at Harald's command. Hirst revealed that there was a key reason for switching up her death.

"It was easy to think of a perfect end to Gunnhild’s life. The actress had been an Olympic swimmer," he shared, adding:

"I didn’t want Harald to have control of how she died because I thought of her as a great feminist icon. So what better end than to have her swim to Valhalla?" he concluded.

Gunnhild Ponders Her Future - Vikings Season 6 Episode 14

While Ingrid and Gunnhild appeared to have a common enemy in Harald, Hirst didn't think the two women could have worked together.

"That underestimates just how ambitious Ingrid is, and just how wise and gracious Gunnhild is," the creator said.

"Gunnhild was never ambitious. And she feels that the heroic age of the Vikings has already come to an end – so that she sees no further point in living in a degraded, unheroic world."

Vikings is currently available to stream in its entirety on Amazon Prime.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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