In November 2019, a year before the end of Amazon Prime Vikings, Netflix has announced that the story will continue with Vikings: Walhalla. Set in the 11th century, the eight-part series follows the lives of some of the most famous Vikings, including Leif Erikson, Freydís Eiríksdóttir and Harald Sigurdsson.
Fans of the original vikings Series creator Michael Hirst mixed historical fact and fiction to tell the story of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons, but Vikings: Walhalla Did creator Jeb Stuart do the same? Newsweek talked to Stuart to find out.
Is Vikings: Walhalla Based on a true story?
Yes and no. As vikings designer Michael Hirst, Vikings: Walhalla Creator Jeb Stuart has taken creative license for the true stories of some of the most famous Vikings. Many parts of the series are inspired by real people and historical events, but much of the drama is fictionalized for dramatic purposes.
Talk to NewsweekStuart explained how the show plays with the “grey area” of the story.
“I’ve read so much about Vikings and talked to so many people about Vikings. We obviously have great researchers working with the show. They come up with facts and things like that and we (the writers) come up with scenarios that may be in the gray area of the story. Our researchers may come up to us and say, “wow, you kind of went a little too far off the mark on that.”
“I would say, for the most part, we try to be credibly authentic in things like clothing, weapons, speech, all those types of things. We do that but we take some license in terms of character. in terms of, for example, Olaf and Harald They may not have existed in the same time period, but they are very close (in existence) and so we use some aspects of them and they would have shared a part of the same time period, part of the same things that were going on, so I could put them together like this.”
the Vikings: Walhalla To throw
The majority of the main characters in the series are real, with the exception of Jarl Haakon.
Danish-Swedish singer Caroline Henderson makes her acting debut as Haakon, the black ruler of Kattegat. Some viewers might think she’s based on the real Jarl Haakon, the de facto ruler of Norway from around 975 to 995, but Henderson confirmed Newsweek This is not the case.
In place, Vikings: Walhalla Creator Jeb Stuart created a powerful female mentor figure for Freydis (Frida Gustavsson) while Harald and Leif (Sam Corlett) were in London.
Henderson explained, “Haakon is fictional, purely fictional. So it’s not like a male character, it’s a fictional character but of course she’s inspired and based on male and female characters, and I think the writers did a terrific job of sort of putting something together that could have been a historical character.
“She’s the ruler of Kattegat and she’s also into paganism and she’s very stubborn and her beliefs. She rules through a very difficult time in history because Viking Age paganism is down, Christianity people want to conquer more land so it’s a difficult time for her but she tries to rule with tolerance and openness which is quite difficult and historically correct in that sense because it was a very difficult time Of the history.”
Hakkon joins a host of characters in Vikings: Walhalla which are inspired by real Viking characters.
For example, Leif Erikson and Freydís Eiríksdóttir were really the children of the famous Norse explorer, Erik the Red, and Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter) was the king of Norway from 1046 to 1066, making unsuccessful claims to the Danish and English throne.
King Canute “the Great” played by Bradley Freegard in Vikings: Walhalla was also real, as was Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson’s Olaf “the Saint” Haraldsson.
Canute, also known as Cnut, was King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018, and King of Norway from 1028 until his death in 1035. Olaf was the real King of Norway from 1015 to 1028.
However, Stuart took creative license as not all of the actual personalities were alive at the same time, there is no historical record of them meeting, and the nature of their relationships (if they met) would be impossible to know.
the Vikings: Walhalla Parcel
Vikings: Walhalla largely focuses on the feud between pagan Vikings and Vikings who converted to Christianity, as well as the overall Viking battle against King Aethelred of England (Bosco Hogan).
For centuries, the Vikings followed paganism, also known as the Old Norse religion. This meant that they believed in various gods and goddesses such as Odin and Thor. However, between the 8th and 12th centuries, the Christianization of Scandinavia began after the Vikings were exposed to the religion, partly as a result of raids into Anglo-Saxon England and across Europe.
Stuart discussed the importance of paganism and Christianity among Vikings in the 11th century for the series in conversation with Newsweek.
He explained: “This is really based on what was happening in Scandinavia at the beginning of the 11th century. Christianity was kind of a hard pill to swallow there and Scandinavia is one of the last parts of Western Europe. where Christianity entered.
“A lot of people didn’t want to let go of the old gods and didn’t want to change their beliefs. And so it was a very bloody time, it’s a Viking show after all. But anyway, for me, it was fun , because it allowed me to play with it, it meant that audiences who hadn’t seen the original (series) could get into a story that was fresh, and for old audiences, who are used to seeing a kind of very faithful The pagan world of the Vikings now had different colors in different layers than in the old days.
“The world of the original (series) was a very cohesive group of Vikings and as we go further into the 11th century we now have pagan Vikings and Christian Vikings, and we have all kinds of other looks and characters there – low. So there was something to excite me.
“Religion plays a big part in Vikings: Walhalla but in the first season, Eric’s daughter, Freydis, is a very staunch pagan Viking. It’s her culture and yet the world she comes to when she travels from Greenland is a changing world where Viking culture morphs into Christianity and does someone with her beliefs fit in with that. “
At the start of Episode 1, Aethelred launched the Holy Bride Massacre on all Danes living in England in retaliation for the continued Viking raids and rumors of a Viking uprising. At the time of the massacre, the Danelaw (a series of Danish laws and customs) was in place largely in northern England.
The real King Aethelred launched an attack on the Danes on November 13, 1002, St. Brice’s Day.
In 1004 Aethelred justified the massacre in a royal charter in which he explained the need to rebuild St. Frideswide’s Church, now known as the famous Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.
In his charter he describes the Danes as “growing like a cockle among the wheat” and commands their “most just extermination”.
Sweyn Forkbeard, Viking and King of Denmark, raided England in 1002-1005, 1006-1007 and 1009-1012 to avenge the victims of the St. Brice’s Day massacre, according to the Chronicle of John of Wallingford, written in the 13th century . Forkbeard was declared King of England in December 1013.
the Vikings: Walhalla Setting
The majority of dramas Vikings: Walhalla takes place in very real places that we recognize today. For example, Scandinavia figures prominently, there are references to Greenland and Vinland (present-day coastal North America) and even London, Anglo-Saxon England, among other places in the UK.
However, the land of Kattegat, where Leif Erikson and Harald Sigurdsson first meet in the series, Haakon reigns, and Freydis remains bonded, is fictional. The Kattegat exists in the real world, but as a sea area between the Jutland Peninsula, the Danish Strait of Denmark and the Baltic Sea, and Västergötland, Skåne, Halland and Bohuslän in Sweden.
Vikings: Walhalla is streaming on Netflix now.