Each and every episode of Vikings has been written by history expert and screenwriter Michael Hirst since the acclaimed epic began in 2013.
Hirst utilised his knowledge of the Age of Vikings in medieval Scandinavia along with his enthusiasm for mythology to craft the tales of Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel) and his family.
Although some storylines are based on recorded events, the show plays fast and loose with its historical accuracy and often relies on Norse mythology and Hirst’s own imagination to fill in the gaps.
This has often meant some fan favourite characters have stuck around for much longer than perhaps they should have.
Michael Hirst shed light on his writing process when he was joined by old and new cast members for the Comic-Con @ Home video panel, A Look Back with the Lothbroks.
During the virtual event, the screenwriter confessed he had tried to kill off several characters over the years, but often hadn’t the heart to write some of his favourite stars out of the show.
Among them was Harald Fairhair (Peter Franzén), also known as Finehair, who has remained a cunning rival and occasional ally of Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) in the last three seasons.
The Vikings showrunner admitted he tried multiple times to bring himself to write Harald out of the show, but the first King of Norway kept coming back.
In the midseason finale, Harald reluctantly joined forces with Bjorn when Kattegat was threatened by Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen) and the Rus.
The king seemed to have been killed in battle, although historical records show the real Harald Finehair supposedly died of illness or old age, if indeed he existed.
This has led some fans to believe Harald could be revived yet again in the premiere of season six, part two and live on to fight another day.
Praising Franzén’s performance, Hirst continued: “He did lots of bad stuff, that guy, but he did it so well and he had such a sense of humour. I just didn’t want to lose that.”
“There weren’t that many laughs in Vikings, but he gave us most of them and I just couldn’t do it.
“I just couldn’t sacrifice him. He just lived on, he endured, he survived. He is a survivor.”
Vikings is set to wrap up with a brutal conclusion later this year, so it would certainly be a shame to lose Harald’s much needed levity before the Lothbrok story comes to an end.
Vikings Season 6 Part 1 is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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