Vikings: 5 actors who landed their roles (and 5 who fell short)

Vikings is a fantastic series launched by the History Channel that focuses on Ragnar Lothbrok and his feat, as well as his closest family and friends. It spans the span of decades and intersects with some interesting historical events and displays some real life figures to use as characters in a much more realistic setting than most Viking inspired stories.

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One of the first things a new observer will notice is that the characters never try to look flawless – in fact, the opposite is often the case. It’s a hugely engaging story for history buffs, but some of the actors were a bit bored compared to the others on set.

10 Nailed: Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha

Vikings Lagertha

Forget Ragnar and all his silly choices, Lagertha is one of the best female characters the media has produced in a long time. Kathryn Winnick’s work is phenomenal playing her and she probably has more facial expressions than anyone except Floki, which is something the series really lacks. She portrays her character so well that she has become a fan favorite to such an extent that the creators have had to find creative ways to keep her alive despite the fact that she is now an older grandmother. Seriously, it should have been his show instead of Ragnar’s.

9 Fell Short: Travis Flamel as Ragnar

Vikings Ragnar Lothbrok

Ironic considering it’s his show, but it’s not exactly interesting to watch after the first season. It’s partly due to characterization and partly because it basically does nothing except once on a blue moon. It’s not to say that Travis Flamel isn’t doing well and doesn’t stay in character, he just doesn’t feel as attractive to watch as some of the others. His acting just isn’t quite there, especially as the series progresses. Fans spend more time waiting for it to come off the screen than wanting to see it, so that’s really saying something.

8 Nailed: Jessalyn Gilsig as Siggy Haraldson

Vikings Siggy Haraldson

At first, it didn’t seem like much, but boy, was she so devoted to that character that when she decided to move on they had to ask Jessalyn Gilsig if they could write a special episode just for her to give the character the finale. justice he deserved. She was such a powerful female character that she was made for more than just a couple of love interests. She had a horrible reputation within her world, but she still fought hard and had such a credible performance that the series really hurt for a while without her.

7 Fell Short: Jennie Jacques and Sara Greene with Judith

Judith Vikings

As Athelstan’s love interest, Judith was created to be a truly fabulous character. She suffered some serious consequences and got into some really dangerous situations, including being forced to marry Aethelwulf, but nothing felt really satisfying about her. He barely developed and did little more than be a pawn in the plot.

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Jennie Jacques and Sara Greene played Judith and neither of them did her much justice despite taking up so much screen time. So maybe it wasn’t Jennie or Sara’s fault for their flaws, but either way, it was hard to feel committed to their performances.

6 Nailed: Gustaf Skarsgård as Floki

Vikings Floki

It takes a special kind of person to play a really strange character without getting embarrassing, but Gustaf Skarsgård left him out of the park with his portrayal of Floki. Seriously, what a strange character. Absolutely every scene with him was very upbeat with tons of emotion in his character regardless of whether he was having a good time or not. Despite each and every one of his horrible choices, he was still a fun character to watch in a way that some of the others really weren’t.

5 Fell Short: Alyssa Sutherland as Queen Aslaug

Queen of the Vikings Aslaug

Queen Aslaug was destined to be a troublesome character from the get-go, and Alyssa Sutherland did well to make sure fans hated her character for more reasons than just because she replaced Lagertha. The problem is, that was his best achievement. He had few facial expressions and little vocal inflection, which made it difficult to be behind most of his performances, as well as the fact that his movements were often stiff and robotic. It was difficult for him to like him in any capacity, which made everything better when Aslaug was finally killed.

4 Nailed: Nathan O’Toole as Bjorn Lothbrok

Vikings Bjorn Nathan O'Toole Teen

The boy literally grew so big that they had to take him out of the story until he could play himself again. It has a logical character progression and steals the screen when on it.

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Nathan O’Toole did such a phenomenal job as Bjorn that the character seemed to lose something when he was taken over by Alexander Ludwig. It just didn’t feel the same anymore, like a little spark had disappeared. The problem was, they couldn’t wait for him to age again for the next time jump, so it was really a shame, as Nathan had done a great job every moment he was on screen.

3 It fell short: Amy Bailey with Queen Kwenthrith

Kwenthrith Vikings

They tried with all their might to make her cold, scheming, and dangerous and she just couldn’t do it. While it had more animation than a good chunk of the characters, Amy Bailey was hardly wrong about it. Most of the time, his character felt forced and awkward rather than believable. Not every female character has to be a magnificent powerhouse, and her character had some really cool points that she could have been great with. The problem is, she never felt committed to a particular point, and it really hurt.

two Dive: George Blagden with Athelstan

Vikings Athelstan

Up until the moment he reconverted and died in a rapid fire episode, he was more enjoyable to watch than almost everyone else. It was fun to watch a character deconvert rather than successfully convert everyone around him for once, and it had such intense character development that every moment George Blagden was on screen was a treat. For as long as Athelstan was alive, it almost felt more like his story than Ragnar’s. He really stole the spotlight and ran with it all the way until he was gone.

1 Fell Short: Clive Standen with Rollo

Vikings roll

Better than Ragnar, but it is difficult for him to like Rollo very much. Clive Standen only has about four facial expressions for him: bored, enraged, mischievous grin, and flabbergasted eyes. He was a lot more interesting to watch than some of the others, but the problem was that his character was moving in so many different directions to fit in with what they were trying to do with him that it’s no wonder Mr. Standen seemed to have a little of trouble to maintain a great performance.

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