‘Vikings’: Why Michael Hirst Cried Watching Ragnar Lothbrok Meet His End

In the hit series Vikings, there has been one death that still sticks out in the minds of fans. Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) is a farmer that makes himself a king, and it earns him an immense amount of respect. His death made numerous fans cry, and apparently Michael Hirst as well.

The death of a legend

Travis Fimmel and Michael Hirst
Travis Fimmel and Michael Hirst | Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

Ragnar becomes the King of Kattegat and makes himself a legend in the minds of his people. However, he is a flawed man, and he abandons his home and family after facing a monumental disgrace in Paris. He returns years later looking for revenge for the destroyed Viking settlement in Wessex.

Ragnar finds that people have changed their opinions about him and he is no longer beloved as he once was. He does manage to bring a skeleton crew of men to England, where Ragnar hopes his death will bring his sons over for the real revenge, and it does just that.

Ragnar convinces King Ecbert (Linus Roache) to give him over to King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) of Northumbria. He’s beaten and held in a cage suspended above a pit full of snakes. Ragnar is dropped into the pit and bitten up. He meets his end in a slow, painful way.

Michael Hirst revealed Travis Fimmel was in that cage for hours

Michael Hirst, the creator of the hugely popular series, spoke with Variety about Ragnar Lothbrok’s unique death. Hirst revealed that Fimmel had to be “suspended in that cage for hours.” He gives an impressive speech right before he’s thrown into the pit and it has stuck with fans over the years. It was a moving moment for fans watching at home, and it sounds like it was just the same for Hirst himself who helped bring the magic to our television screens.

“And finally there was the moment where Ragnar is in the cage above the pit,” Hirst said. “Travis was actually suspended in that cage for hours, and the bottom really did open, and the real Travis fell. Travis is a very laid-back Australian, and when I asked him how he felt about shooting his own death and he said, ‘I’m not worried about it, mate.’ But when the time came, he was deeply invested in it. We spent a long time working on the script. When he was in the cage and screaming out those words, it was really him.”

Why Michael Hirst cried watching Ragnar Lothbrok meet his end


‘Vikings’: Michael Hirst Wasn’t Afraid to Kill off Ragnar Lothbrok — ‘I Wanted the Death to Be Monumental’

Hirst also revealed that he cried when he saw it all play out because it’s the end to a miraculous and unique story. Ragnar’s life may be over, but he still lives on in his sons who carry on his legacy.

“When I saw it I wept, knowing that this was the end of a journey that Ragnar and I and Travis and I had been on,” Hirst continued. “It was a creation of both me and Travis together. It was a very moving day. It carries a huge charge in the show, it really does pay off all the hours we’ve invested in him. We do death very well in Vikings, but this was a particularly moving.”

Numerous fans, and Michael Hirst himself, have cried watching the death of Ragnar Lothbrok. We aren’t ashamed to admit we may have shed a tear or two as well.