Tag Archives: Jessalyn Gilsig

Jessalyn Gilsig and ‘Vikings’ From a Woman’s Perspective

jilsigWith History’s new “Vikings”series freshly launched, Jessalyn Gilsig says she’d love to go back to her medieval Norsewoman garb – and do a Season 2. That’s because, she says, her troubled Viking queen character Siggy, “would rise again, and that would be a fantastic story opportunity to play.”

Certainly the series, which stars Travis Fimmel as the legendary Viking leader Ragnar Lothbrok, depicts the murderous raiders of the North in all their bloody ingloriousness as a male-dominated society. However, to the surprise of many, “shield maidens” — women in battle – are not just a conceit for the drama, but a standardpart of Viking lore. Gilsig notes, “The role of women in Viking society showed in that there is evidence that they participated in battle and were trained in sword fighting, that they could rule, that they had rights, that they could literally divorce their husbands.”

The actress, who rose to fame with“Boston Public,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee,” notes that yes, the Viking women are “reallyfascinating, but I think women have always been interesting. It’s just that the telling of telling ofhistory is different – it’s only been comparatively recently that we’ve shown an interest in them.”

Playingthe wife of Gabriel Byrne’s Viking chieftain character in the nine-hour, $40 million production, Gilsig got used to wearing clothing “with not a lot of structure, a little bit primitive…I wish everyone could see these clothes close up, the handwork, the detail,” she adds. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Without exception, every article of clothing had a reason.”

Shooting took place mostly in Ireland, mostly in authentically dirty and cold environments, and Gilsig acknowledges that it took a while to “get the grime off” once production wrapped. But she felt it was worth the discomfort. “We’re all very proud of it. I just hope we get an audience.”