Actress Alyssa Sutherland. Photo Credit: Stephen Busken.

Actress Alyssa Sutherland. Photo Credit: Stephen Busken.

GALO: Ragnar is beginning the season as a king, leading his people to an uncertain fate on the shores of Wessex. How will this change and responsibility influence the dynamic between Queen Aslaug and him?

AS: The best thing about the relationship for me is that you never know, but I also think Aslaug gave really great notice of where she stands with him. I have made it a point to not really have as many conversations with Travis [Fimmel] about the relationship between Aslaug and Ragnar because, to me, she is always feeling him out and not knowing where he stands or what’s going on in his head. I like that this can kind of adds to the mystique of Ragnar, so I love that I step onto set and never know what’s going to happen, especially with Travis who is a brilliant actor.

There’s always something that [Travis] is doing that is going to surprise you, and it is so much fun to play with that. I think now that Aslaug is a queen, there is a sort of added responsibility for her — and you get to see throughout the season how she deals with him, and what she does with that responsibility and power. That was really fun for me as an actress. There’s a lot of stuff coming up where she gets into some trouble and has lots of stuff to deal with. It was really fun and I wish I could sit here and tell you about it, rather than be cryptic.

GALO: A number of new characters are being introduced this season from the Emperor Charles of France to Harbard the wanderer (played by Kevin Durand), who is said to “have a profound effect on Queen Aslaug, Siggy and Helga.” Talk about mysterious! I know you probably can’t reveal too much, but can you tell us more about Harbard and what his arrival will mean? 

AS: So Aslaug, Helga, and Siggy are left behind while everyone goes off raiding during the season, and they all have the same dream about this man arriving. It is cool because it is something the Vikings believed in — that more than one person could have [the same] dream, and that the dream was sort of a prophecy for the future that was going to happen. So these three women get together and discover that they’ve had the same dream about this man, and he ends up coming and is kind of this mystical guy.

We all feel very differently about him. That’s another thing that’s so great about working on this show with Michael [Hirst] — that we aren’t these one-dimensional women, we all have points of view. That can certainly be seen throughout the episodes with the Wanderer, and he has a huge impact on the entire place.

GALO: Should fans worry about her relationship with Ragnar now that a mystery man is showing up while the men are away on a raid, especially given she had dreamed about him?

AS: I don’t think there are many fans that actually want Aslaug to be with Ragnar. I’m not convinced this guy is a threat that they would be so mad about it. I love that our fans are so invested in the show. I love that they feel so strongly for everybody and the characters in the show, it is one of the best parts of this job — that we really get to pain people and provoke them and move them. It is really cool.

I don’t know if people should be concerned about Aslaug and Ragnar with the Wanderer. I think people will have to watch and wait and see.

GALO: Vikings has a similar build to other epic fantasy shows like HBOs Game of Thrones or the White Queen on Showtime. We get these crazy characters in this fantasy setting with the other shows. What would you say separates Vikings from these other shows that people might compare it to, especially when it comes down to what it looks like and the characters themselves?

AS: I think one of the biggest differences is that we are not really showing fantasy. The show is as real as it can be. When those warriors and shield maidens go out and fight, it is choreographed but you watch it and you know that you are in the thick of the battle going on. They are going at it. What I love is that Michael [Hirst] shows what the Vikings believed in, and he knows that this is what happened. So, he is showing the audience what the Vikings believed in, and kind of letting the audience make up their mind about what could’ve happened.

I love the comparison between Paganism and Christianity at the time. You compare and contrast them throughout the season, and that’s a really big thing for season three — these different religions at the time and what people believed and the changes, which is cool too. I think the biggest difference right off the bat is we don’t really have dragons flying around. We are showing you what they believed — and I love Game of Thrones, but dragons don’t really exist.

[Essentially], we are showing you that they would have an experience. So when they were on the battlefield, maybe there was some mud in their eyes — or they’re extremely exhausted and sleep deprived and beginning to hallucinate — or maybe Odin [in Norse mythology, Odin is a god associated with healing and death] did come out of the sky and took some dead warriors off the battlefield with him to Valhalla. What I love is that we are not really feeding the audience, we are sort of taking it back and letting them see it for themselves.

GALO: I know in filming season two, you escaped the pranks that have been pulled on some people on set. Have you been as lucky during your time on the set of season three?

AS: Nothing has happened to me, not really. I can’t think of any pranks. I’m the lucky one. I think the pranks happen when everyone else is off and is fighting.

GALO: And you arent pulling any pranks yourself?

AS: Pulling any pranks? No, I would never. I have my record intact right now. I have escaped them all so far. I definitely witnessed a couple with like people doing things to other people’s dressing rooms. That happens on occasion. Phones get stolen and dirty text messages are sent from stolen phones.

GALO: That doesnt sound like the worst thing ever, maybe just embarrassing.

AS: Exactly. I am pretty lucky. I have escaped them all.

Catch Alyssa Sutherland on History Channel’s “Vikings” on Thursday’s at 10/9c.