‘Vikings: Valhalla‘ is set 100 years after the events of the ‘Vikings’ series and revolves around some of the most well-known Viking warriors and their conquests in the lands of England. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
On St. Brice’s day in England, King Aethelred (Bosco Hogan) orders the killings of every Viking on their lands as a means to protect Saxon’s hold on the throne. A whole year later, King Canute (Bradley Freegard) of Denmark calls on all Vikings from all over to join him in Kattegat on his quest for revenge.
A group of Vikings make the arduous journey from Greenland with a specific agenda in mind. Among them is Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett) and his sister, Freydis (Frida Gustavsson). They are in search of a Christian Viking who had taken advantage of Freydis many years ago.
King Canute leads the army with his trusted right hand, Prince Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter). Harald and his half-brother, Olaf Haraldsson (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) are vying for the throne of Norway as a reward for their loyalty to Canute. Olaf also wishes to spread the Christian word and convince all other Vikings to denounce their pagan pasts.
In England, Aethelred is on his deathbed and prepares to hand over responsibility to his wife, Queen Emma (Laura Berlin) of Normandy until his son Edmund (Louis Davison) is ready to assume the throne. His advisor, Earl Godwin (David Oakes) stands by his side ready to assist in any way possible.
Freydis sees that the man she is searching for has arrived with Olaf. With the help of her brother she sneaks up on him during a feast and murders him in cold blood. Olaf calls for her head, but Jarl Haakon (Caroline Henderson) says that she will pass judgment herself.
After some suggestion from Harald, Jarl Haakon orders Leif to pay his sister’s debt by joining the army and fighting under Canute. He agrees to do so and heads out with the fleet while Freydis stays behind in Kattegat.
Emma sets a plan in preparation for the impending invasion but Edmund is impatient and assumes the throne while taking credit for her ideas. One of those ideas was to ask the Earl of Mercia to join him in battle which he eventually agrees to.
The Vikings arrive in Kent and make their way towards London. They arrive before a marsh that is the only obstacle between them and the London bridge. Harald and Leif cross the marsh to scout up ahead and come across a weakness in the bridge which they share with the others.
Leif comes up with a plan to turn the tide in their favour, with King Canute baiting the young King Edmund out onto the battlefield and then bringing down the bridge with the help of Olaf and his ships.
Once the Vikings take London, Canute proclaims that he will assume the throne of England and rule with Edmund by his side. He promises Harald the throne of Norway to ward off the threat of Olaf, but Olaf has his plans and heads to Denmark.
Freydis is sent to Uppsala to find out her destiny and is later met with a religious zealot named Kåre (Asbjørn Krogh). He plans on taking over Kattegat in the name of Christianity. Freydis returns to Kattegat and joins the shield maidens, training in the art of combat.
Canute is called to war in Denmark and decides to marry Emma so that she remains in power during his absence. He also enlists the help of his father, Sweyn Forkbeard (Søren Pilmark), to serve as a steward in England. Soon after his arrival, Edmund is caught in a riding accident and loses his life.
Olaf, along with Canute’s first wife, Queen Aelfgifu (Pollyanna McIntosh) conspire to hold Canute’s fleet ransom to get what they each desire. Olaf joins forces with Kåre to take Kattegat while Aelfgifu heads to England to claim her place as queen of England.
If you have any doubts about the ending, here’s a full breakdown.
Vikings: Valhalla ending explained in detail (Episode 8: The End of the Beginning):
Preparing for a massacre
Emma is banished back to Normandy after Sweyn decides to acknowledge Aelfgifu’s claim for the good of the kingdom. Godwin then convinces Aelfgifu that she must prove her trustworthiness to Sweyn in some way and she suggests gaining the support of Mercia.
Harald leaves Kattegat and joins his brother at the enemy camp. There is an initial frosty welcome between him and Kåre but they settle down. Harald gets a glimpse of the massive army waiting to invade Kattegat.
Olaf proposes a special plan of attack. While Kåre will attack from the land, Olaf will attack from the seas during the Wolf Moon and high tide. Harald suggests a parley to honour their religion but when Kattegat doesn’t agree to the enemy’s terms, Harald lets them know of the invasion plan through code.
Rivers of blood will flow
Godwin and Aelfgifu head to Mercia where she is successful in gaining the support of their lords. Godwin congratulates her on an achievement neither Aethelred nor Emma could secure.
Kåre begins his attack with the archers at the gate holding them back and on the other end, Leif commands the trebuchets to attack the ships. Upon closer inspection, however, he realizes that the ships are empty.
Olaf had used Kåre’s army to weaken Kattegat’s forces so that he may swoop in at the end and claim the throne for himself. Harald rushes there to join the fight.
Jarl Haakon is shot and Freydis takes her to the great hall. Kåre’s army breaches the walls and he heads to the hall to eliminate Freydis and fulfil his destiny.
The balance of power has shifted
Harald is hurt during the battle by an axe to the torso and is holding on for his dear life. Freydis and Kåre do battle in the great hall but in the end, Freydis triumphs over the zealot.
Olaf joins in with the army and easily overwhelms the remaining forces. He even murders Liv (Lujza Richter), which causes Leif to be very distraught and tend to her while leaving the battle.
Freydis sees Harald bleeding out and helps him onto a horse so that they can escape as the battle is lost.
Aelfgifu returns to London to find Emma back on the throne. Emma and Sweyn had conjured a ruse with Godwin’s help to distract her while Sweyn located his son’s fleet. With that fleet, he sailed to Kattegat to fight off all traitors such as Olaf, cutting the betrayer’s reign short.