Vikings season 6 part 2: Was Hvitserk really baptised? Truth behind series finale

Vikings: King Harald and Halfdan sing song together

Vikings season six, part two was the final instalment of the historical drama and fans were sad to see the iconic show come to an end. In the series finale, Hvitserk’s (played by Marco Ilsø) storyline reached its peak when he was baptised at the request of King Alfred (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). Was the real Hvitserk baptised? The show’s creator Michael Hirst revealed all exclusively to Express.co.uk. 

Was Hvitserk really baptised?

The second half of the final season of Vikings contained plenty of twists and turns as Hirst had promised an action-packed finale.

The final 10 episodes saw the death of the mighty Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) and the relentless Ivar the Boneless (Alex Høgh Andersen).

Hvitserk’s character saw real development in season six when he came to the realisation he was destined to kill Ivar.

Yet when it came down to the final moments of the series, Ivar knew his death would be at the hands of another.

He ended up being killed by a Wessex soldier during the battle against King Alfred and Hvitserk was left to watch on in horror.

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Alfred ended up sparing Hvitserk’s life as he had a deeply rooted history with the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel).

He instead asked Hvitserk to return to his kingdom with his and his wife Aelswith (Roisin Murphy) where he would renounce his Pagan ways.

Hvitserk is then seen during the baptism, being given the new name Athelstan to prove he has fully embraced Christianity.

The series was inspired by figures from history and Hvitserk was a real son of Ragnar, but his ultimate fate in the series was very different from real life.

Hirst said: “Alfred’s wife warned him about Vikings, they come and do a peace treated and break it.

“For Alfred as a historical character, that great battle is fought with a descendant of Ragnar called Guthrum.

“He was captured and agreed to be baptised and he kept his promise. He lived with Alfred’s family for a few years and it proved Alfred’s instincts were sound. Vikings were not always bad people.

“I put Hvitserk in that position, I think he wasn’t committed to perpetual war, I always knew at the end of the battle he would offer peace and he would mean it.

“It would be a profound thing for him. He has really found his identity after all these years of wandering around blindly.”

Fans had mixed opinions of Hvitserk’s character ahead of the final season, saying he was yet to prove himself as a true son of Ragnar.

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Hirst added: “Alfred has given him a chance to demonstrate he has been saved to make peace, it’s mysterious but also positive.”

As for why he chose to have Hvitserk renamed Athelstan, he said it acted as a nod to the much-loved monk Athelstan (George Blagden) who was one of Ragnar’s closest friends.

He said: “It’s bringing Athelstan back, he is a character who has never gone away. People continue to talk about him and it was nice to bring back this distant echo.”

In terms of the real Hvitserk, he helped avenge the death of his father along with his other brothers and later pillaged with Rus Vikings.

Sadly he was overthrown and when asked how he wished to die, he chose to be burned alive.

Actor Ilsø is on Instagram and since the series came to an end he has been keeping fans up to date with more behind-the-scenes footage.

He shared a video of himself during stunt training in preparation for the final battle.

He said: “From practice to full speed action. This is approximately a quarter of the full session. I’m grateful for the stunt guys passion and hard work.

“I’m sorry for all the half chopped fingers, kicks and punches to the face, a few mistimed headbutts and a disgusting busted lip.”

Fans went on to call him one of the “greatest heroes of all”.

Vikings is streaming on History and Prime Video

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