Alex Høgh Andersen (Ivar): Final season of Vikings is “the biggest one yet”

Image: Vikings/History
Image: Vikings/History /

In an exclusive interview, Vikings star Alex Høgh Andersen teases the show’s final 10 episodes, and takes a deep dive into Ivar the Boneless.

The final episodes of Viking are just around the corner. Before they arrive, we sat down with star Alex Høgh Andersen, who’s slashed, snarled and crawled his way through the last three seasons as Ivar the Boneless. With the show’s last 10 episodes set to drop December 30 on Amazon Prime (before moving to a more traditional release schedule on History), Høgh Andersen looked back on his time as Ivar, talked through his various (strained) relationships, and teased what fans can expect from the big finish.

First up, Høgh Andersen told us what he loves about Ragnar Lothbrok’s most violent son: “There are a lot of things that I don’t like about him, but there are a lot of things that I do like about him. His go-getter mentality; I like that he’s so strong mentally. There’s not a lot of people out there that could accomplish the things he’s accomplished despite his disease. I tip my hat to that.”

"There’s a thing about him, that I feel so sorry for him. I try my best to understand my character all the time, as an actor you can never judge your character, you always have to defend him somehow. So even with all of the things I don’t like about him, I understand why he is that way. Ivar has had a lot of choices that he could have made differently, but he’s had a tough life. And I love the fact that he keeps pulling forward, he keeps pushing and pushing. There’s nothing that is gonna keep him down."

Of course, Ivar takes it too far sometimes. “Sometimes he’s pushing too much, and killing people along the way, or pushing people away from him. But that’s all because Ivar is sort of socially handicapped; he’s just so broken emotionally you understand Ivar is struggling all the time. I wouldn’t have accomplished half of what he’s accomplished if I was fighting the same disease, or in the same environment and society that does not accept who he is. They provide no help for him whatsoever, so I have a lot of respect for him.”

Ivar’s relationships have always been strained, perhaps most so with his brother Hvitserk. But despite a history of murder and betrayal, they just can’t seem to get away from one another. “It’s that kind of love/hate relationship to be sure,” Høgh Andersen said. “Ivar has been a bit of a dumbass, plain and simple. I think Ivar is also testing Hvitserk all the time, because he needs loyal people, and Ivar doesn’t know if he can trust him. Hvitserk has a track record of jumping ship, and not being really trustworthy. Hvitserk is either high on drugs or he’s choosing alliances as the winds change. So Ivar is testing him for a reason, for good measure.”

When you’re Ivar, those tests include setting your brother’s girlfriend on fire, which you’d think would put an end to any relationship. Yet the two never manage to separate for long. “I think there’s a brotherly love that they don’t talk about because they are manly and Vikings and all that stuff,” Høgh Andersen said. “There’s a brotherly love, and every once and a while, they have a little fun together. They actually enjoy each other’s company; you see that in the last season when they are fighting together. What’s it worth to accomplish all these things if you can’t share it with anyone? I think that’s what Hvitserk and Ivar’s relationship is based on, they are accomplishing things together and sharing it with a brother. They do actually hate and love each other, but there’s a thing about sharing and accomplishing things together that I think they vibe on.”

And Høgh Andersen only sees that brotherly love growing. “It becomes a more and more beautiful and warm and heartfelt relationship between them; even though they mess each other up. [laughs]. Hvisterk almost killed Ivar, but through hardship you learn how to love each other. Something like that.”

One person Igor hasn’t tried to murder (yet) is the young prince Igor, heir to the kingdom of the Rus, although it could have gone a different way. “I think it absolutely starts with being a tool, definitely a tool to manipulate against Danila Kozlovsky (Oleg),” Høgh Andersen told us. “As time goes by, I think Ivar started to care for this kid because he sees a lot of himself in Igor as well. Igor is a lone kid, he’s tossed around, he does not experience love at all. That’s a thing that Ivar can relate to, so I think he sees a lot of himself in that.”

"I think they kind of have a big brother/little brother relationship, and also, Ivar has someone to actually take care of for the first time in his life, there’s something about that as well. It’s almost like becoming a parent or a big brother; there’s something that feels good about helping other people and taking care of them. You can see in their eyes, that they need it, that you are helping them. I think that’s a whole new thing that Ivar has never experienced. It’s always been him him him, Ivar the Boneless, blah blah blah. Now he’s been doing something good, and not just for himself, and I think Ivar likes that."

Strange for for Ivar to discover a genuine relationship hundreds of miles from home, but you make connections where you find them.

As for the show’s final ten episodes, Høgh Andersen was appropriately cryptic about what fans can expect:

"They should expect, as we always say an epic, but this was the most epic season we made. It’s the biggest one yet budget wise, and we shot the biggest battle we’ve ever done on the show. We spent nine days shooting the last battle, that was crazy. Fans can expect Vikings to be Vikings with a capital “V.”"

Only a couple weeks left to go until the whole saga ends, and somehow we find ourselves pulling for Ivar the Boneless. Skoal!

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