Is Vikings: Valhalla Based on a True Story?
To Kattegat and Beyond!
Netflix has teamed up with Vikings creator and writer Michael Hirst to create a sequel to the hit History Channel show. Hirst and cowriter/creator Jeb Stuart brings fans back to Kattegat roughly 100 years after the original series in the upcoming Vikings: Valhalla. Even though the land is the same, new characters and plots make for an entirely new adventure.
The new show focuses on three historical figures: Leif Erikson, Freydís Eiríksdóttir, and Harald Hardrada. A trailer for the show depicts the three characters seeking their own place in Viking history. Set at the end of the Viking Era, the series shows a tumultuous time when Vikings fought against England and themselves. Many Vikings vied for rule over the land, and religious differences split families. Some people easily converted to Christianity, while others held firm to the Nordic gods.
The New Vikings
The son of Erik the Red (who founded Greenland), Leif Erikson leaves home to find his own legacy. Historians credit Erikson with being the first European to journey to America. His arrival in what we know as Canada predated Christopher Colombus by about 500 years.
Freydís Eiríksdóttir, daughter of Erik the Red and sister of Leif, was a warrior in her own right. Although only two sagas depict her, she seemed as fearless as any of her male counterparts.
Harald Hardrada, also known as Harald Sigurdsson, was once the King of Norway. Hardrada roughly translates to “hard ruler.” Harald tried to not only rule over his homeland but wished to be king of England, too. Many mark his death as the end of the Viking Era.
A figure that may connect to the original series is Emma of Normandy. In Vikings, Rollo left his homeland to marry a princess of France. Their children inherited the throne. Rollo’s great-granddaughter is Emma, who ended up marrying a Viking to protect her kingdom.
In recent years, historians have found some previously held beliefs about Vikings to be wrong. People often associate Vikings with images of blond hair and blue-eyed warriors. As Vikings explored the world, their people’s diversity would reflect that. Their longboats took them to the Americas, the Middle East, and down the coast of Africa. Hopefully Valhalla will run with this more accurate picture of Viking society. The trailer shows at least one actor of color in a powerful role, with Caroline Henderson as Jarl Haakon.
Much like Vikings, the new show takes real historical figures and brings them to life. Valhalla will be based on true events, but more like historical fiction rather than a documentary. Written details from this time are scarce for modern historians. Much of what we know from this time is from epic poems and stories that may not be entirely accurate. Whether or not it is faithful to history, Valhalla should be a bloody fun time.
Vikings: Valhalla premiers on February 25, 2022, streaming only on Netflix.
(feature image: Netflix)
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