Like most people of his generation, Michael Hirst loves The Beatles. Being a creator of historical dramas, you’d think it would be difficult for him to incorporate his passion for the iconic band into his work, but believe it or not, “Vikings” contains numerous nods to the British quartet. “I’ve stuck many things in the show that privately, to me, have a Beatles connection,” Hirst said during an interview with SBS. He went on to reveal that he began to see Alyssa Sutherland’s Princess Aslaug as the Yoko Ono to Ragnar’s John Lennon during Season 4, when Yidu (Dianne Doan) arrives in Kattegat.
An illegitimate daughter of a Chinese emperor who ends up in Europe after being captured by pirates and sold into slavery, Yidu became the object of Ragnar’s infatuation during a drug-fueled spell (she introduces him to what appears to be opium). Discussing the arc with SBS, Hirst said that he was “thinking about Yoko and John, and how when Yoko felt that John was getting a little tired of her and it wasn’t working out, she sort of gave John to her assistant, May Pang.” He added, “There’s something similar going on with Aslaug and Ragnar. It’s not a simple transference, but in my mind, there were aspects of that.”