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Vikings: Valhalla is a historical drama streaming television series created by Jeb Stuart for Netflix. It is a sequel to the History’s Vikings, filmed in County Wicklow, Ireland. Set one hundred years after the events of Vikings, the series chronicles the beginning of the end of the Viking Age, marked by the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. The series premiered on Netflix on February 25, 2022.
Set one hundred years after the events of Vikings, as tensions between the Vikings and the English royals reach a bloody breaking point and as the Vikings themselves clash over their conflicting Christian and Pagan beliefs. Leif Erikson, Freydís Eiríksdóttir and Harald Hardrada begin an epic journey that will take them across oceans and through battlefields, from Kattegat to England and beyond, as they fight for survival and glory. The series shows the end of the Viking Age, marked by the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.
Vikings: Valhalla, which is in the Netflix Top 10 this week, is a continuation of the History Channel show Vikings, which followed Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his descendants during the Vikings’ peak years of raiding and expansion.
The original Vikings was surprisingly fun to watch, for a show from the channel mostly dedicated to ancient aliens and Nazis. Valhalla is set in the eleventh century, a hundred-plus years after the original series concluded, with characters who speak of Ragnar Lothbrok as a legendary figure of the past.
The Viking people, having pushed beyond Scandinavia, now absorb the cultures they encounter and are changed by them. Like Vikings, Valhalla was filmed in Ireland, and like Vikings, Valhalla is chock-full of dirty, gorgeous people wearing leather armor and hacking each other up with swords and axes.
Medievalist David Perry has a good rundown in Smithsonian of the places where Valhalla aligns with and departs from the actual history. Leif Eriksson (played by the almost-too-pretty Sam Corlett) was the famous explorer from Greenland who, according to the Vinland Sagas, visited North America long before Columbus. Freydís Eiríksdóttir (Frida Gustavsson), in those same sagas, went with her brother Leif to North America and was, apparently, a fierce fighter who may or may not have screamed a whole hell of a lot.
Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter) is based on a real Norwegian king and world traveler, Harald Hardrada, who visited Constantinople, Sicily, Bulgaria, and more—though he wouldn’t have known Eriksson, since, by the evidence we have, he was about five years old when Eriksson died.
Since Harald, Leif, and Freydis did not meet, so far as we know, much of the plot of the show is wholly made up: never did Harald fall in love with Freydis; never did Leif accompany a Viking force into a battle for London, forging a combat-tested bond with Harald.
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