Last night's episode of Vikings introduced Porunn, a slave girl who catches the eye of Ragnar's son Bjorn. Actress Gaia Weiss is certainly no stranger to period pieces, having starred in the big screen adaptation of Hercules. Even so, the world of Vikings can be harsh and brutal, particularly for a slave girl.
Unfortunately, it seems likely the relationship between Porunn and Bjorn will be more complicated than "boy meets girl." Their class distinctions will certainly throw a wrench into the romance, but introducing Porunn will give viewers an entry point into the world of Viking slaves.
Of course, Porunn is still a pretty mysterious character. Luckily BuddyTV sat in on a conference call with Gaia Weiss, wherein she talked about Porunn, her relationship with Bjorn, her admiration for Lagertha, and what's coming up this season on the hit History Channel show. Here are four questions Weiss answered about Porunn:
#1. So Where's Porunn Been?
According to Weiss Porunn has been a slave to the Lothbrok family all along in Kattegat. "She's been around, but you haven't noticed her because she's just part of the picture," Weiss said. Of course, it's hard to be in the background for long when you've caught the eye of Bjorn.
Still, Porunn is a very different kind of character than we're used to seeing on Vikings. "She's been a slave all her life, even though she's not even 20 she's been through a lot," Weiss said. "She knows what she wants, but she still has to stay put because she's a slave."
Porunn will work as our entry point character to learn more about an undiscovered world: that of the life of a Viking slave. "She's a slave and I think Michael [Hirst, the writer of Vikings] really wanted to explore the experience of one such young woman. It's a different point of view," Weiss said.
#2. How Will Her Relationship With Bjorn Develop?
Porunn comes to the fore when Bjorn notices her and takes an interest. But a relationship between someone of Bjorn's stature and a slave girl is certainly not conventional, even in the free-wheeling Vikings society.
"Bjorn shows interest in her and she cannot believe that he's really genuinely interested in her as a person," Weiss said. "In that it's really genuine, you would see that in real life, the way they turn around each other."
While we're just getting to know Porunn, viewers have had some time to grow to love Bjorn. Now that Bjorn is all grown up and played by hunky (and massive) Alexander Ludwig, we'll be seeing some different sides to Bjorn. Porunn will bring out new aspects of his character and their romance will continue to dimensionalize Bjorn.
"Up until now you've only seen Bjorn interacting with his parents or his family mostly," Weiss said. "Since she's someone form the exterior, it will reveal another side of his personality."
#3. What Will His Parents Think?
Of course, every upstairs-downstairs relationship comes with a side of parental disapproval right? It's unclear how exactly Ragnar and Lagertha will react to finding out their son is in love with a slave girl.
"It challenges the taboo and the conventions because he's from the higher rank and she's a slave," Weiss said. "So they're not really clear about their relationship. At first they keep it a secret for a while."
#4. Who Does She Admire?
If you were hanging out in the Vikings world, you probably couldn't pick a cooler role model than Lagertha. So it should come as no surprise Porunn is a little bit of a fangirl when it comes to Bjorn's mom. (It's OK, so are we!)
"As with everyone in Vikings, she's fascinated by Lagertha. It's a model for her," Weiss said. "All the women in the village are fascinated by Lagertha."
At least we know Porunn has good taste!
We'll have to stick around for the rest of the season to learn more about Porunn, but we're definitely already intrigued. What do you think? Are you excited to see more of Porunn? Share in the comments!
Vikings airs at 10pm on History Channel.
(Image courtesy of History Channel)