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Vikings: Characters Fans Thought Were Dead (But Weren't)

History's Vikings is known for being a particularly violent and often gory series. Whether taking the form of one-on-one duels, settlement raids, or full-scale Viking warfare, there's no shortage of perilous moments to be had for the cast. These moments often test their resolve and add character depth, while producing ample drama and memorable cliffhangers.

RELATED: 10 Most Questionable Life Choices Main Characters Made In Vikings

And while the brutality of the Viking lifestyle naturally brings some fatalities throughout this six-season saga, show creator Michael Hirst is not shy about throwing in subversions and fakeouts on this front. Certain characters appear to meet their end at various points—only to surprisingly reemerge after a violent skirmish or near brush with death.

10 Torstein "Poisoned" By Floki

Though the Viking tends to be relatively overlooked, Torstein quietly spent his stint on the show as one of Ragnar's most fierce, loyal warriors. Fans know that the hobbled Torstein does eventually get finished off in season three. While a volley of arrows establishes his certain doom, an earlier scene leads viewers to believe he's fallen in a far less glorious manner.

Floki seemingly attempts to end him with poisonous mushrooms in order to gain King Horik's trust near the end of season two. But it's soon revealed the fungi apparently didn't finish the job. This left fans rather perplexed, as it was never quite clear whether the unpredictable Floki truly wanted him gone, or if this was just a means to manipulate and win the trust of the rival King Horik.

9 Torvi's Injury In Battle

One of Vikings' most prominent survivors is the shield-maiden Torvi. But there's a moment in which she seems to meet her sudden end, and is seen pierced with an arrow defending Kattegat from Egil's army. She appears to be mortally wounded, as she lies motionless on the ground amidst the carnage, with the only hint of life revealed by a solitary eye blink.

Cut to the very next episode, and Torvi is alive and well, completely healed from her seemingly deadly wound as if nothing has happened. Many were unsure of what to make of this unanticipated fakeout; not unreasonably given the stark contrast of her conditions in both scenes. But these events do serve to harden her resolve for season five, where she would continue to play a prominent role.

8 Heahmund's Brushes With Death In Battle

Heahmund finds himself in harm's way quite a bit, fighting in the thick of battle on multiple sides. The Bishop initially fights with King Aethelwulf's army, before being led into an ambush that would almost surely end him. He then joins with Ubbe and Hvitserk, before evading death in another battle, as his horse gets taken out by Ivar, who decides to spare him.

Later on, Ubbe comes upon a comatose Heamund and nearly finishes him off before being spared by Lagertha. His luck does finally elapse at the hands of King Harald's army in yet another skirmish fighting for Lagertha. While many were amused by the resiliency of this fan-favorite, Heahmund's multiple brushes with death felt like cheap attempts at drama-filled cliffhangers in the eyes of some.

7 Rollo Goes MIA

Ragnar's brother has at least a few close calls, thanks in part to some questionable decisions. However, there's a long period following Rollo's recruitment as the Duke of Normandy in which the former Viking isn't seen or heard from.

Rollo's long absence naturally prompted suspicion of his demise by fans, perhaps at the hands of the scorned Vikings or untrusting Franks. It took several episodes to put these notions to rest, as Rollo reappears during season five's "Moments of Vision" to provide aid to Ivar. While he's relegated to "cameo" status at this point, fans were happy to finally see Rollo's return, even if it seemed to come out of nowhere.

6 Bjorn Assumed Dead By Ivar And The Rus Army

While the aptly named Bjorn Ironside often looks unstoppable, his steel resolve finally seems to be pierced midway through season six, when he's bested by his rival Ivar.

RELATED: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Bjorn From Vikings

But while he appears to be fatally stabbed, Ironside is carried back to Kattegat to regroup. This ends up being just as shocking to fans as it is to the Rus army, who have presumed him dead. Enter the determined, but still-injured Bjorn, who blindsides the Rus while fittingly riding a white horse. Though his death soon after disappointed some fans, many were content with this glorious final fight for the warrior-turned-martyr.

5 Ivar Flirts With Death At Sea And On Land

The ruthless son of Ragnar doesn't seem to be content unless clashing with enemies in battle. While his drive for power earns him the title "King of Kattegat," his bloodlust and firey, impulsive nature does burn him on occasion. He suffers a few defeats; most notably the epic showdown with his half-brother Bjorn that concludes season five.

But even when younger and more sheltered, Ivar nearly perishes during his first expedition at sea with Ragnar. A treacherous storm threatens to overwhelm the vulnerable Ivar along with his father's crew. But this cliffhanger is almost disappointedly shortlived, as it's soon revealed that the duo has weathered the storm. A nice character-building moment? Perhaps. Though for many, it also seemed like a cheap subversion.

4 Hvitserk Appears To Be Sacrificed

Many assumed the relatively meek Hvitserk would inevitably die at the hands of Ivar much like Sigurd. During the episode entitled "The Lost Moment," these notions seem realized, as a hooded figure is shown being led to their brutal slaughter.

This comes on the heels of suggestions by Ivar that Hviterk should be sacrificed, as he hasn't been particularly loyal. But the cloaked figure is revealed to be a woman passed off as his sworn enemy Lagertha; one among many major rivalries in the show. While tough to watch, the unanticipated reveal feeds into Hvitserk's hatred of Ivar and his eventual downward spiral. This is because the victim of his cruel brother happens to his lover Thora.

3 Ragnar's Coffin Fakeout

This storied king and Viking warrior had a long, event-filled stint on the show—and inevitably a few close encounters with death. Arguably the biggest is during a siege attempt of Paris, in which Ragnar gets badly injured after being tossed from the city's defensive walls.

RELATED: Things Ragnar Did In Vikings That Fans Just Can't Let Go

Cue the somber scene of a coffin being carried into a Cathedral, at the request of the apparently deceased Ragnar, who wished for baptism. But this is not the site of Ragnar's death. Rather, it's a shrewd ambush—as he leaps from the coffin and forces the guards to open the city gates. Though a bit over-the-top, many were delighted by this surprise reveal.

2 Floki's Troubles In Iceland

After much laboring and action in battle, it eventually appears the impulsive rogue Floki is set on riding off into the sunset and exploring new lands. He discovers the desolate landmass which turns out to be Iceland, before returning to Kattegat and calling for more settlers. But it's ironically during this more peaceful stint in which Floki seems to reach his end.

In a head-scratching move, Floki offers himself up as a sacrifice to appease the angry gods. Another scene features a cave crumbling down on him as a volcano erupts. It looks like it's over for the staunch Pagan—or so viewers are misled into believing. Lo and behold, he makes an unexpected return just before the series finale, in North America. While blatantly theatrical, this moment marks a triumphant end for the character and a sentimental moment in general.

1 Lagertha's Defeat And Disappearance

As fans know, the Viking Queen Lagertha does eventually perish at the hands of a hallucinating Hvitserk. However, there's a point in season five where shield-maiden is falsely presumed dead.

A defeat at the hands of Ivar and the death of her lover Heahmund leave Lagertha isolated and broken. This is followed by her retreat and disappearance, at which point many assumed she wouldn't return. But it's soon revealed that she's still alive, being tended to by a medicine woman. Fans were pleased to see Lagertha carry on in some form, despite her uneventful stint on season six failing to do this memorable figure justice.

NEXT: 5 Deaths We All Saw Coming In Vikings (& 5 That Shocked Viewers)

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