With the return of the History Channel’s Vikings just around the corner, it is time to get excited about seeing the saga’s hottest ladies again. Season four left off last April with a showdown between brothers Ragnar and Rollo. On November 30, the show will return, and so will the lovely Lagertha, Aslaug, Helga, and others. They play a variety of different characters who we always see in traditional outfits and often dirty, but in their everyday lives, they are ravishing.
We have gone months without their faces gracing our television screens, so here is a little refresher course for you. I have found 15 smoldering photos of many of the women in real life, out of their historically-accurate dyed and woven cloaks, tunics, dresses, and battle gear. Luckily, both Katheryn Winnick, Alyssa Sutherland, Maude Hirst, and the rest of them, have plenty of beautiful photos to choose from, which makes my job easy (and your viewing even better).
Vikings is an Irish-Canadian historical drama. It is a saga based largely on the Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Norse hero. His wives are the main female characters on the show, but there have been many beautiful actresses to play smaller parts since 2013 when Vikings premiered.
So join me in indulging in these stunning photographs of 15 women who are stunning both in and out of costume, and along the way, learn a thing or two about them. I promise, there is more to them than meets the eye!
15. Amy Bailey – Queen Kwenthrith
Amy Bailey plays Queen Kwenthrith of Mercia on Vikings. The character is apparently based on a Mercian princess named Kwenthrith, a name that means “woman of power”. Unfortunately for her, and thus for Amy, Kwenthrith is killed in season four.
Amy is a U.K.-based American actress who has done BBC drama, SyFy’s flagship show Dominion, played the lead in Supercollider, and various other things. She is an experienced comedy actress; so to sum up, basically her portrayal of the character of Kwenthrith is very out of character for her, so to speak. Amy was a ballerina from a young age, even performing in the renowned Joffrey Ballet and as a professional abroad. She began acting in the theater with numerous lead roles that eventually lead to film, television, collaboration with several fashion labels, and being active in the comedy improv scene in London and Los Angeles.
14. Karima McAdams – Kassia
You won’t see her until 2017, but the smoldering Karima McAdams will join the cast of Vikings next year. She is of Irish, Greek, and Moroccan ancestry, but she brings her character of Kassia to life as a Viking perfectly. You may be wondering about the whole Tomb Raider thing she has going on, and it is because in 2006, she was chosen to be the face and representative of Lara Croft. She was the 7th model to take on the role.
Born on Valentine’s Day 1985, Karima is currently filming the 2017 series Fearless, in which she will have a much bigger role than Kassia, who you will get to know on Vikings next year. Other than Vikings, though, Karima is known for AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Frontier Blues, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
13. Alyssa Sutherland – Queen Aslaug
Aussie Alyssa Sutherland plays one of the only major female characters of the entire show, Queen Aslaug. Aslaug is the clever and beautiful daughter of the famed dragon slayer Sigurd. As many actresses do, Alyssa got her start in modeling at the age of 15. She moved to New York where her career really took off. She modeled for brands like Calvin Klein, Chanel, Bulgari, and many others, and has been photographed by some of the world’s leading photographers. Now 34, she has been a part of Vikings since 2013, and before that, she appeared in several independent films, and in bigger ones as well, like The Devil Wears Prada. She is married to her longtime partner, Laurence Shanet, whom she married on a beach in Thailand in 2012, and now resides in Los Angeles.
12. Maude Hirst – Helga
The lovely Helga is played by the equally lovely Maude Hirst. Besides this role, she is also known for playing Kat Ashley on the historical drama The Tudors. On Vikings, her character Helga is known for her romance with Floki, a boat builder and trickster who eventually becomes her husband and the father to her daughter.
Maude is the daughter of Michael Hirst, the creator of Vikings, and the sister of Georgia Hirst, who is also part of the cast, albeit in a much smaller role. The 23-year-old English actress relates to Helga in that she feels empathetic towards people, and is an observer. She says they both see life through rose-colored glasses, and always try to see the positive in people. Maude says one of the most challenging parts of playing her, however, is wearing the corsets! That, and the unpredictable Irish weather (Vikings is filmed in Dublin), having to spend all day out on a boat in just her costume.
11. Georgia Hirst – Torvi
Maude’s younger sister and therefore also the daughter of the show’s creator is Georgia Hirst, the pretty 21-year-old who plays Torvi. Torvi was the second wife and widow of Jarl Borg, and when he died, she married Erlinder, the son of King Horlik. The younger Hirst studied at the Drama Centre in London, and is assigned to the United Agents Talent Agency, splitting her time between her home of London and Dublin for filming. The fair blonde (who looks perfectly Scandinavian) has a seemingly good sense of humor, too, judging by her Twitter account, which is ripe with dry and sarcastic sentiments (in 140 characters or less, mind you) about Torvi and Vikings. One example: “Got my Viking equivalent of a spraytan. Dirt.” And “In for another round of bleach tomorrow. #sorryhair #doitforTorvi”. At least she is dedicated!
10. Anna Astrom – Hild
Anna Astrom may have only appeared in one episode of Vikings (as Hild) but with so few female characters of the show, she is one of the hottest. Even if there were a ton of women in Vikings, she would still make the list, because, well, just look at her! Anna is a Swedish actress, writer, and model, and has worked with another Swedish actress we all know and love lately, Alicia Vikander. The two worked together in the 2009 film Pure, a Swedish drama. This year, Anna has played Elin in the Swedish horror television series Black Lake, about a group of friends who visit the Black Lake Ski Resort, where a horrific crime took place 20 years before. In the Swedish wilderness, supernatural forces overcome the group one by one… Though baby-faced and cute, I can see Anna being perfect in a horror show, precisely because her face is such a contradiction to that genre.
9. Morgane Polanski – Princess Gisla
Parisian-born Morgane Polanski is the daughter of Roman Polanski, who infamously fled the United States after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl. His daughter Morgane appeared in one of his most famous movies, The Pianist, and since has appeared in Oliver Twist, The Ghost Writer, Unhallowed Ground, and of course, Vikings. She plays Princess Gisla, the elegant daughter of Emperor Charles of Frankia and who can be seen in seasons three and four of Vikings. Gisla’s other titles are Duchess of Normandy and Princess of Frankia. Like her costar Georgia Hirst, Morgane also studied at the Drama Centre in London. And she refuses to let her father’s crime and escape nearly 40 years ago define her, yet says she would never change her father’s name, and says, “I think Polanski is a beautiful name.”
8. Jessalyn Gilsig – Siggy Haraldson
Sadly, the beautiful widow of Earl Haraldson is now deceased, but before she died (she drowned in icy water), Jessalyn Gilsig did a hell of a job portraying her. She was a part of the cast of Vikings for three strong seasons, but has moved on to play Vanessa in the upcoming season of Scandal in 2017.
Jessalyn has long repertoire of shows she has been a part of, including Glee, Heroes, Imaginary Bitches, CSI: NY, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights, Prison Break, etc. Hailing from Montreal, she speaks fluent French, and began her career at the age of 12 doing voice-over work. Interestingly, Siggy’s death was Jessalyn’s idea; she approached Michael Hirst (the creator) because she was having family issues, and living in Ireland for six to 12 months at a time was not conducive to that. Michael was disappointed but understanding, and so he wrote her death, which she found “poetic and beautiful”.
7. Sarah Greene – Judith
One of the only cast members actually from Dublin where Vikings is filmed, Sarah Greene played Judith in three episodes of the show. Princess Judith of Northumbria is the daughter of King Aelle and the wife of Prince Aethelwulf of Wessex. The adulterous character was replaced by Jennie Jacques in season three. This year, she also played May Lacey in the television mini-series Rebellion, as well as Hecate Poole in the series Penny Dreadful. In 2017, you can expect to see the Irish beauty as the character Maxine Carlson in the new show Ransom, about one of the world’s top crisis negotiators. She has also appeared in several films, one of the most recent being 2015’s Burnt, opposite Bradley Cooper. In theater, she even acted opposite Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of an Irishman, which she earned a TONY Award nomination.
6. Katheryn Winnick – Lagertha
The beautiful Katheryn Winnick holds the largest female role on Vikings, that of the shield maiden Lagertha, first wife of Ragnar Lothbrok. She is a tough Earl, who fights alongside the men. Recently, Katheryn wrapped up production of the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, due out next year, with Matthew McConaughey. 2017 will also see her in the Warner Brothers feature film Geostorm. In terms of the small screen, she has been on several television shows including Person of Interest, Bones, and House. She has a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo, and by 21 years old, she had founded and owned three martial arts schools. The 38-year-old beauty likes being one of the boys, and said of her role as Lagertha, “I was told this is a male-dominated network and the male demographic is stronger than female. This is a show about Vikings and you are just the wife. I remember thinking that was not the way I was going to play it.”
5. Elinor Crawley – Thyri Haraldson
Elinor Crawley played Jessalyn Gilsig’s daughter Thyri Haraldson on Vikings from 2013-2015. But she is mostly known for being in the movies Submarine, Bridgend, and World Without End. The Welsh actress is 25 and suffers from Type 1 Diabetes. Since 2011 she has been active on television, appearing on several shows like The Brothel, Alien, and many more. She is dating Englishman George Blagden who acts on the French drama Versailles, and according to both his and Elinor’s tweets and Instagram pages, they absolutely adore each other. Unfortunately for Elinor, her character of Thyri succumbed to the plague in Kattegat in season one, although she later appeared briefly in season three as a vision to her mother Siggy before she drowned.
4. Dianne Doan – Yidu
An exotically beautiful young woman, Dianne Doan was first seen in a Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants. She hails from Vancouver, and besides acting is also a gifted ballerina, and even competed on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. On Vikings, Dianne played the slave Yidu in season four before she was drowned by Ragnar after refusing to give him drugs. Yidu is based on the Tang Dynasty Princess Yidu, daughter of the ninth emperor of the Tang Dynasty in China, Dezong. Her unique Asian look is what drew Queen Aslaug to her initially, and prompted her to buy her. Dianne has also appeared in the television shows Once Upon a Time, Impastor, Disney Descendants: School of Secrets, Tower Prep, and Descendants: Wicked World.
3. Karen Hassan – Therese
One of five sisters, Karen Hassan is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. The 35-year-old actress played the character of Therese, now deceased. Therese was a Frank noblewoman living at the court of Emperor Charles of Frankia, and she was Count Odo’s mistress. In seasons three and four of Vikings, she allows herself to be whipped in Odo’s torture chamber to satisfy his sadistic pleasure, but then also sleeps with Roland. But Therese ends up garroted to death by order of Emperor Charles. Luckily, Karen has had plenty of acting gigs, like on Hollyoaks, Casualty, The Fall, Suspects, The Royals, High Rise, A Patch of Fog, The Caravan, Miss Conception, and many others. Karen is a very beautiful woman, and has obviously done some modeling work in addition to the acting.
2. Jennie Jacques – Judith
Jennie Jacques replaced Sarah Greene, who we already talked about, as the character of Judith on Vikings, beginning in season three. Jennie is an English actress, who actually looks somewhat similar to Sarah, without the fake blonde hair, that is. She is 27 years old and is known for playing Annie Miller in Desperate Romantics, and also having roles in Shank, Truth or Die, Nocturne, Demons Never Die, WPC 56, and The Delivery Man, among others. If you don’t recognize many of these titles, it is likely because they are mainly British television series. On Vikings, her character Judith becomes the mother of the notable historical figure Alfred the Great, as well as other (some illegitimate) children. She is repped by Silver Lining Entertainment in the UK.
1. Gaia Weiss – Porunn
Last but definitely not least, we have the stunning Gaia Weiss, who is a 25-year-old French model and actress who plays Porunn on Vikings. Porunn is a former slave girl turned shield maiden in Kattegat, and the former wife of Bjorn. Gaia is best known for being in The Legend of Hercules, Mary Queen of Scots, and this role in Vikings, as well as other foreign titles. She is an accomplished ballet dancer who likes getting down and dirty right along with the boys. Once, while filming season two of Vikings, she ripped her knuckles open fighting with Alexander Ludwig of The Hunger Games. She loves Breaking Bad, Sour Cream Pringles, and gulping down Heinekens. Gaia once dated captain of the Harry Potter Gryffindor Quidditch team, Sean Biggerstaff.