All the vikings do it. It looks like some kind of a payment or a tradition, but I wonder what is in that for them or the seer.

The seer seems to enjoy it...but why?

Does it symbolize anything?

Does it have some historical basis?

3 Answers 3


Apparently it has no historical basis.

Interview with Katheryn Winnick at PostCity.com

“It wasn’t originally in the script and we just wanted to come up with something unique and different. Travis [Vikings star Travis Fimmel] did it first. My new pages were revised that morning, and all of a sudden they added, ‘Lagertha licks his hand.’ When, covered with all these prosthetics, and all this alcohol and makeup on his hand, I had to lick it, I’m not kidding, 14 times.”

Wikipedia on Vikings Historical Accuracy

Little is known about Viking religious practice and so its depiction is largely creative. When Katheryn Winnick was asked why she licked the seer's hand she answered "It wasn’t originally in the script and we just wanted to come up with something unique and different". Regarding the historical differences and accuracy issues of the show, showrunner Michael Hirst comments that "I especially had to take liberties with ‘Vikings’ because no one knows for sure what happened in the Dark Ages" and that "we want people to watch it. A historical account of the Vikings would reach hundreds, occasionally thousands, of people. Here we’ve got to reach millions.

As for what it means...it seems to be just a mark of respect.

  • Cool, thanks. Do you have anything to the "The seer seems to enjoy it...but why?" theme?
    – TGar
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:09
  • 2
    Since it indicates respect...I'd assume he likes that.
    – Paulie_D
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:13

I think it's payment for the seers work that he does by answering the questions as he has no use for money or books or a TV so yeah that's what I reckon


Due to the position of the person licking, and by the context, IMHO it's likely an act of submission. This is something that appears in some animal species as allogrooming, and may be that the show writers took inspiration from that as a "weird thing", also connected to the seer's habitation and profession, very reminiscent of the fact that in those culture, being connected to the spirits/gods, means being connected to the natural or animal world. So, that is a way to "connect" and "thank" the spirits/gods.

EDIT: If you search around a bit, you can see that licking is always somehow involved with shamans. That may have been some inspiration too.

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