Ding dong, the witch is dead! Well technically, Aslaug was a self-proclaimed vǫlva (old Norse female shaman). Regardless, Lagertha has taken back Kattegat and violently ended Aslaug's reign as queen on #Vikings.
It's been years since Lagertha left Kattegat, and Aslaug has been ruling over the village both alongside Ragnar and without his assistance that entire time. Despite her lengthy period as queen, there were those who doubted her abilities— especially Lagertha and Torvi.
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Despite Lagertha justifying her decision to overthrow Aslaug, her revenge may have been more motivated by a petty grudge than out of concern for the people of Kattegat.
Let's look at the history of both women as rulers, and their suitability for the title of queen:
Right To The Throne
Unlike Aslaug, Lagertha is a true Kattegat local; A farmer who was born and raised in the village. She stood by Ragnar and supported him through his rise to greatness as he realized his destiny of becoming Earl.
Unfortunately, Lagertha's happiness was brought to an abrupt end when her husband surprised her not only with the news of his infidelity, but that Aslaug was pregnant with his child. Oh, and he wanted to be married to both of them— which Lagertha was definitely not on board with.
It's easy to see why Lagertha would feel that Aslaug had stolen her entire life from under her. This sorceress had allegedly "bewitched" the love of her life and taken over both her home and her title. Simply put, she was robbed.
But on the other hand, Lagertha isn't 100% entitled to the title of queen. Firstly, she wasn't technically forced out of her home. As heartbreaking as Aslaug's new place beside her husband was, Lagertha's departure from her home was completely her own decision.
Secondly, Lagertha was never queen to begin with. Just before she left Kattegat, Ragnar was only an Earl. It was years after Lagertha's departure that Ragnar defeated Horik and took his place as King of Denmark, making his wife (Aslaug) the queen.
Is it really fair that Lagertha should depart Kattegat as an Earl's wife, and return to claim the title of queen— especially when it looks like Ragnar won't be returning from England to rule alongside her?
Physically speaking, Lagertha is far more capable of kicking ass than Aslaug. She's been trained as a shieldmaiden from childhood, and has defended herself against all manner of foes. Aslaug, on the other hand, has no experience in battle. As seen from Lagertha's takeover of Kattegat, Aslaug's only option was to literally hand over her weapon.
However, there's more to being a strong ruler than being a mighty warrior. Aslaug is a devoted mother, and has pledged her life to her sons, the future rulers of Denmark. She knows her destiny is to provide Ragnar with heirs, and she follows through with the gods' will dutifully.
Of course, that's not to say that Lagertha isn't an equally terrific parent, because she absolutely is. Both women are. They also share the same respect for tradition, as demonstrated by Lagertha's willingness to put aside differences and preside over a sacrificial ceremony alongside Aslaug. Despite their many differences, both have their strength, and bring unique leadership qualities to the table.
While both women are strong vikings, their weaknesses are what provoke the question of who the more capable ruler really is.
Beginning with the obvious, Aslaug is an incredibly flawed person. She's like the Cersei Lannister of Denmark: A bitter and jaded woman with a privileged upbringing, who is rarely seen without a goblet of wine in her hand. Her alcoholism reaches an all-time low when she allows Björn's daughter, Siggy, to die under her watch.
Not to mention the appalling job she did raising Ivar. Her problematic coddling basically guaranteed he would grow up to be a deranged sociopath. Perhaps she wasn't such a fantastic parent after all?
She also couldn't manage to set aside her past with Lagertha, refusing to officiate a ceremony alongside the woman whose husband she stole.
Mind you, Lagertha is far from the picture of perfection herself. Regardless of how justified her actions were, her tendency towards revenge does make her a little untrustworthy. She's incredibly hot-headed at times, as shown when Kalf must drag her away from the trap set by the French in Paris. Do these erratic tendencies make her an unreliable ruler?
When it comes down to it, the proof is in the pudding. Someone's personality or home life aren't always going to influence their ability to do their job correctly. The only way to judge their competency as a leader is to see them in action.
If Lagertha had a CV, it would look pretty impressive. She's been Earl of Hedeby for a long time, and even sought to expand her people's territory with new settlements in Wessex. At their core, Ragnar and Lagertha are both farmers; Their interest lies not in gold, but in land. Regardless of the tragic demise that the Wessex settlements faced, Lagertha's priority has always been to ensure the longevity and livelihood of her people.
When she was still married to Ragnar, she advised the people of Kattegat during his absence while he was raiding England. She certainly proved herself to be an excellent ruler then, and settled many disputes amongst her people.
Unfortunately, she's got a bit of a history of being overthrown herself. As she said to Aslaug during Season 4 Episode 14, "I was never the usurper, always the usurped." Could she face a challenge to her title yet again?
In her many years of being queen, Aslaug hasn't been seen doing a whole lot of "queen stuff", aside from sitting on her throne and looking sullen. In fact, she once spent a good deal of time neglecting her royal duties — and her children — so she could go bang a travelling conman (Harbard).
But there still remains one very big indicator that Aslaug isn't such a terrible queen after all. The premiere of Vikings Season 4B showed us that Kattegat had become a thriving, populated village. It had evolved into a bustling trade capital for the region. Suffice to say, that didn't happen on its own— as Kattegat's sole ruler Aslaug must have played a strong part in that achievement.
Aslaug's reign may be over, but it wasn't entirely abysmal. Let's hope Queen Lagertha can handle the burden of ruling over the region's most successful (and pillage-able) village.
What does next week's episode of Vikings have in store for the newly-appointed Queen Lagertha?