‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 2, Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained: Why does Freydis Part From Harald And Leif? 

“Vikings: Valhalla” Season 1 ended on a high note when plenty of double-crosses were revealed. Forkbeard double-crossed his son’s first wife, Queen Ælfgifu of Denmark. He backed Queen Emma of England to get hold of his son Canute’s fleet to challenge Olaf, who had now invaded Norway by brutally capturing Kattegat, killing almost all the followers of the old gods, including their leader, Jarl Haakon. Kattegat falls, and Liv loses her life, to Leif’s horror. He goes on a killing spree of Olaf’s and King Forkbeard’s men. At this point, Leif has no purpose in life but to kill those who were responsible for killing Liv.

Meanwhile, Harald double-crossed Olaf just to get him caught, abandoning his brother in his hour of need. Harald’s only aim was to procure Norway under his rule, as promised by King Canute, and he would do anything to achieve that goal. Harald and Freydis run away from the battle. Probably Freydis was in on Harald’s plan to abandon Olaf; she seemed unperturbed or not angry at Harald when he showed up at Kattegat with his brother’s army. The Christian zealot leader Jarl Kåre is also killed by the end of “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 1. His death worked in Olaf’s favor hugely, for he wanted Kåre’s support but was glad about his death, for there won’t longer be hardcore propagation of Christianity. It is never good to have a zealot on your side, for you’ll never know when they will turn against your people. There will be a lot of dots that need to be connected. Season two of “Vikings: Valhalla” is headed in that direction, continuing where it left off.

Spoilers Ahead

Kattegat: After The Fall

Olaf has been captured by King Sweyn Forkbeard under his son Canute’s name. Forkbeard is on a rampage to bring Kattegat under his control. Even though the Norwegians want someone of their blood as their ruler, Forkbread wants to bring this land under his control to reduce the continuous infighting. So far, Forkbread does not believe in supporting either of the religious groups, the Christians or the old god believers. He only believes in keeping the power at Kattegat, a strategic port town for them. Thankfully, Forkbeard was able to bring his son’s fleet under his control, as opposed to that of Queen Ælfgifu, who wanted to control the fleet as a show of power and portray it as a threat that she would support Olaf if need be. Forkbeard made sure this wouldn’t happen. Forkbeard makes a landing with his grandsons to take Kattegat from Olaf, who is now a publicly shamed prisoner. Olaf has been captured, and he is humiliated for betraying the oath he gave to King Canute. Branded as a traitor, Olaf is placed in a cell, naked, for everyone to see the state of traitors in King Canute’s kingdom. Olaf, on the other hand, probably tried to run away to evade capture, but unfortunately, he failed to do so. Olaf was always of the mind that he was ten steps ahead of Harald and others, but this was proven wrong with his capture.

Leif, on the other hand, has gone rogue since the death of the love of his life, Liv, at the hands of Olaf’s Christ-loving men. He somehow feels responsible for her death, for she followed him to the battle, thinking they would be together forever and that neither of them would die. Liv had begged him to join her at Valhalla, which he could not fulfill. Leif hallucinates seeing her and talking to her at various points, and he keeps thinking she has not yet moved on to Valhalla. Leif is staying back at Kattegat only to know of the change of political power in this port town and hopefully to get a sight of his sister Freydis with Harald. Leif is followed by a strange man, who informs him that he recognizes Leif from the day Kattegat fell. The stranger does not reveal himself but states that Freydis is supposed to come back and save all the ones who follow the old gods, for she is the last daughter of Uppsala. Leif is not sure what the stranger meant by this, but all he cares about is seeing if his sister and Harald will be safe if they choose to return to Kattegat.

Harald and Freydis are leading a quiet life up in the hills, away from the conflict and politics. They are very much in love, and they live by hunting, gathering, and cooking food from whatever catch they get. They love their life so far, but Harald knows this is not his destiny. He is keen to get hold of Norway from his brother and be the King one day. He has no option but to fight for his rights. Freydis, on the other hand, does not intend to join his war, for she has seen what war brings. Though she cannot support his dream of bringing Norway under his rule, a religiously tolerant state unlike what Olaf intends, the seer of Kattegat appears before Freydis once more to tell her about her destiny as the savior of the refugees who are running away from forceful conversions. This was a sign that was meant to lead her where she was needed. Freydis finally realizes she has a responsibility towards the people who survived at Kattegat and accepts Harald’s offer to head back to the town with their missions.

Queen Emma in England is expecting King Canute to not return anytime soon because of an ongoing war in his home country. However, she is aware that he is alive and well, because Canute keeps letting her know. The way the relationship between Canute and Emma has developed forges the fact that both admire each other for their strategic minds and valor. Emma was thankful to him for saving her and her children’s lives; she would forever be in debt for that act of kindness he showed. Emma, on the other hand, also makes sure Godwin will stay loyal to her, and with his help, she would be able to keep England under her thumb and never be called an outsider. Though Godwin insists on the fact that there is talk of assassinating Queen Emma among the general public, especially at ale houses, Emma is unperturbed by this revelation and orders him not to let them get carried away by such news and concentrate on ruling the land at hand. Emma has lived in England for quite some time now and has become a part of the land herself. The people of England have accepted her for the way she is, and she finds no reason to worry that they will indeed kill her now.

Why Does Freydis Part From Harald And Leif? 

Olaf is still in captivity, thanks to King Forkbeard. He does not intend to let Olaf go out, and he is not sure if killing him publicly would be the answer either, for Olaf is of Norwegian blood. Forkbeard decides to give Olaf another chance to prove himself so that it adds to his credibility in the eyes of the Norwegian people. Olaf will be freed, provided he becomes a guardian to Forkbeard’s grandson, Svein, the new King of Norway. Olaf will never be accepted by his people as the ruler because many in his land still follow the old gods. His forceful conversions would never work, meanwhile, Forkbeard would make sure Olaf’s son Magnus will sit on the throne one day. By making this deal, Forkbeard has now broken the deal Canute made with Harald. Forkbeard made this deal without consulting with Canute. Forkbeard cannot afford to kill Olaf because he has a group of people who support him. He doesn’t want to risk losing them by going on an “ego trip.” Olaf agrees to these conditions. Forkbeard publicly announces Svein to be their new king of Norway and Olaf Haraldsson will be the King’s Guardian. The returning Queen Ælfgifu of Denmark will be the regent. The people are not happy with the news, but with Olaf back in some sort of power, they are happy to see a familiar face. Olaf makes a declaration that any one who brings Freydis and Harald’s heads would be rewarded a huge sum. Olaf takes it upon himself to prove his worth as a candidate fit to be the man in power.

Godwin is proven right when an assassin attempts to kill Queen Emma at the church. The assassin is captured in the nick of time. Emma is grateful for Godwin for bringing this to her attention and saving her from being killed. With Edmund dead and Canute being the new King of England, neither he or she are English by birth. Emma now believes that since they don’t stand a chance of producing any heir of English descent, they don’t deserve to rule over the state. Emma is now concerned for her life and is at Godwin’s mercy to find out more about the said assassin. Emma is keen to know who paid the man to eliminate her from the seat of the throne.

Harald and Freydis are recognized by Olaf’s men at a site, though Freydis and Harald refuse to acknowledge their identity in front of strangers, which puts Freydis in a bad state of mind. Freydis wants to save her people from being erased from history, but at the same time, she cannot reveal herself so soon. Olaf feels threatened by Harald’s claim to the throne, but using Christian values would help Olaf more than his greed for the throne. The bounty hunter spots them, Harald and Freydis are rescued by Leif, who was following the bounty hunters. Leif informs both of the ground situations in Kattegat. Furious to have known what Olaf had done and the change in plans of King Canute and his father, Harald has no choice but to head to Novgorod, a place where his uncle rules. Harald must be taken back to Norway, for Canute had promised him the throne. Harald is hell-bent on taking what is his, even if it means getting rid of his traitor brother Olaf. Along with Leif, they are also helped by Jorundr, a jomsviking (pirate), who is rescuing people from Olaf’s terror and taking them to Jomsburg, the new Uppsala. Jorundr knows Freydis is supposed to be the savior of these people and insists she comes with him to Jomsburg. People who follow the old gods are driven out of their homes due to religious persecution. They have been driven to Jomsburg, a new place that will accept people who follow the old gods without any discrimination. Such was the state of people who did not agree to take up Christianity, driven out of their lands and heading out to a new place to restart their life. Freydis reveals to her brother that she is pregnant with Harald’s child, and she does not intend to let him know. Freydis is a staunch follower of the old gods, and if Harald ever becomes king, she doesn’t want her child to be the king or queen of the Christian kingdom. She intends to bring up the child as someone who will follow her gods. Being king or queen of the Christian kingdom would mean eradicating the old gods, which she will not let happen. She keeps her pregnancy a secret for this reason.

As  Jorundr takes the three of them to the coast to wait for the boat, Olaf, Svein, and their men find out the location of the three. In the bid to capture and kill them, Olaf takes Svein with him to show the real power kings hold. The gang of three along with other refugees are rescued by Jorundr in the nick of time. Soon, the three of them decide to split their journey. Freydis was wracked with guilt for not helping followers of the old gods when Kattegat fell. She takes it upon herself to head to Jomsburg, the new Uppsala, as the chosen one and as the one who will help the people. Harald and Leif head to Novgorod to secure help from Harald’s uncle to get Norway back. None of them knows when any of them will cross paths, especially Harald and Freydis. But they promise to meet one another soon. Soon being the keyword, that means it will be a while before any of them see each other. By that time, hopefully, Freydis will either be heavily pregnant or have Harald’s child. By then, Harald will probably build a support group for himself to take on his brother Olaf’s army as well as Canute’s army.

Final Thoughts

“The Web of Fate” began and ended impressively. The stage is set for all of them, as they all have a purpose to fulfill. The screenplay here is well spread out and paced, as it does not spend much time establishing how the last episode of the previous season ended. The makers quickly jumped on what happened now that said events had taken place. The pacing is to be applauded. It will be interesting to know where their journeys will take the three of them. Olaf’s journey would also be the highlight of this season. A good start.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.
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