Donal Logue previews King Horik in 'Vikings' season finale
Season two of History Channel’s acclaimed series Vikings has so far given us ten episodes of betrayal, death, and epic battles. So it’s no surprise that tonight’s finale promises to continue to deliver with that level of intensity, in an hour that is sure to leave viewers with their jaws on the floor.
As King Horik, Donal Logue has had a pretty rough go of it in his struggle to overtake Ragnar and gain ultimate power. While “The Lord’s Prayer” finds Ragnar and King Horik returning to Ragnar’s home, Kattegat, don’t expect things to go smoothly — this is the Vikings world, after all.
“Ragnar is Ragnar, and Horik’s put him in a really tough spot,” shared Logue when he spoke to EW earlier this week. “He has to do something.”
Check out our full interview with Logue as he previews Horik’s actions in tonight’s finale, and be sure to check out an exclusive clip below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This season has been off the charts in terms of character development, confrontations, and epic moments. How did you feel the bar was raised in comparison to season one?
You know, it’s interesting, because I don’t know if it was. I certainly think there was character development last year with Ragnar and Floki and everyone, and I probably see it differently than the audience does, coming from the inside. But one thing I can tell you is that like anything, every show starts to find its rhythm and its feet, and certain characters instruct how to write for them. Like [executive producer] Michael Hirst starts seeing all the possibilities. Not to say he didn’t start with seeing this big world in front of him…it just matured and developed, and I’m sure the success of season one definitely helped in everyone’s enthusiasm for season two. But for me, I was on the same trajectory as I was last year. This is a guy who’s addicted to power, who wants it, who has to fight to keep it…who finds this guy who he thinks can be an incredibly useful tool to increase his payment and his fortune. And it just turns out that the student might be too much of a master for the master to handle. In Ragnar, he met someone that he can’t play like a pawn in a broader chess game, like he has with everyone else. Not to say that he’s not continuing to try…
Last season, you came in near the end of season one. Did you find any difference this year in being there for all ten episodes?
Absolutely. But what was cool about it was that I had that page from season one in that I knew everybody. I had that good introduction to life in Ireland with the cast and the crew, and so we all came back, and felt really tight. I didn’t necessarily feel like the newbie.
Can you talk a little bit about the relationship between Ragnar and Horik? They’ve been building towards a confrontation all season, and it’s been so interesting to watch them together. On the surface, they seem different, but when it comes down to it, they’re just both alpha males who want power.
It’s awesome, because we’re in it together. And clearly, there has been a lot of times where he has every right in the world to not want to be associated with Horik. Right off the bat, when he pledges fealty to him, he’s like “alright, go deal with my big enemy” — that gets him into all kinds of beef with his brother. And then immediately we go to war over it, and when that’s done, I make peace with the guy and offer to let him come with us. And the second he comes, I tell Ragnar, “Hey, I don’t want Jarl Borg to be with us. I want you to tell him.” Which is something that ends up costing him his town and all sorts of personal hardship. So I have put him in a difficult predicament in a lot of different ways. But I think like most things, when he feels like he’s powerful enough, he can make the move.
Right. And I think a lot of these guys, they’re not necessarily good or bad, even if they do unspeakable things. They’re just protecting themselves and their family.
That’s life, you know? Pre-Viking times, when the Babylonians went to Jerusalem…yeah, they smashed everything and took it, but people enslaved people and took their property. And these guys were just about power and survival. They want to increase their land and fortune and when they found England, they were like, “woah, there’s this place with all this gold,” and they worshiped what the Vikings considered to be completely crazy gods.
What’s your take on where Horik stands morally, given what we’ve seen from him so far?
Horik’s story was difficult and brutal, and he had to come through a lot of inter-family conniving and murder to get to the top to be the king. He’s been through these tests. It’s not a soft world. And in the dark ages, in medieval times and even in modern era, being the soft guy doesn’t reward certain qualities in human beings. The kings had to be hard. They had to be incredibly cunning politically, and that’s what Horik was. He was the kind of guy who sanctioned the raid on France, and they would steal all the silver and when people would say “What are these Vikings doing?” he would say, “Oh, we don’t have anything to do with that.” He was playing all sides of the fence at all different times. And Michael Hirst said to me of Horik, that he was “the willow and not the oak.” What’s interesting to Vikings the series is that Horik is so blind in his greed and his desire for revenge that he can’t hear reason, and he’s probably so insecure about Ragnar that he won’t take his advice. And straight up, honestly, if you ever have to say to someone “hey, remember, I’m the king?” It’s too late and you’ve lost your authority.
One of the most memorable moments this season was Jarl Borg’s blood eagle death. Why didn’t Horik free him? Why did he lie to him and give him false hope?
I think maybe I just didn’t quite have a shot. They cut out a line that I had where I wanted him to think he had hope, because I wanted him to suffer more, which could be true. He plays games with people all the time. But I honestly think I felt like if things were going to get so bad with Ragnar that he couldn’t free him, I probably would’ve.
When we watch you guys on TV, you’re fighting and beating each other up — but I know off screen, you’re all very close. How do you break up the tension on set?
You kind of can’t do that kind of stuff if you don’t like each other. The kind of notion that you could be enemies to play enemies is B.S. Because when push comes to shove and you go to work with people for 16 hours a day, you have to be trusting and friendly with each other to do all the stuff you have to do. Whether it’s just hanging out, or fight scenes or whatever, you know, we’re really tight. We always hang out together at work and out of work. It’s like a big summer camp for adults. They’re really great people. And they’re very talented.
Vikings‘ season finale, “The Lord’s Prayer,” airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on History. Be sure to check back on Friday morning, where we’ll unveil our detailed postmortem with creator and executive producer Michael Hirst — and preview what’s coming up for the cast in season three.