In the previous episode of “Vikings: Valhalla,” Season 2, Harald and Leif parted ways with Freydis, hoping to attain what they seek from life. Olaf is hell-bent on capturing and killing them, presenting them as an example of the people who would lead Norway into catastrophe by taking the populace to the non-Christian world. Olaf not only wants to make this country a Christian nation; he also wants to get rid of a potential heir that he sees in Harald. Harald was promised Norway by King Canute, while Olaf’s son was promised the throne by Canute’s father, King Forkbeard. It will be interesting to watch what Canute and Forkbeard have in mind by pitting Olaf and Harald against each other. Hopefully, more of this will be discussed in the second season of “Vikings: Valhalla.”
Olaf Is On The Hunt
Olaf and Svein, the King of Norway, are on the hunt to find out who is harboring Harald and Freydis. Their hunch is that they are being protected by jomsvikings (pirates) on a land across the sea only a few know about. Olaf wants to get hold of Harald so that he can convince Forkbeard of his capabilities. Meanwhile, his taking Svein along is proof of the fact that he is excelling at the job he is assigned to. The young king must know how to rule and instill terror in people’s eyes. Olaf wants to make a good impression on Forkbeard, who is a big deciding factor in his fate. Queen Ælfgifu, on the other hand, is trying to find a foothold in a strange country and gain some allies for her benefit so that, going forward, no one would threaten her existence or power. Olaf and Svein have captured someone who might know where Harald and Freydis are. At this point, no one is aware that they went on different paths, but Olaf desperately wants to know where the couple is. The man refuses to divulge the information, and he is killed by King Svein at the insistence of Olaf. Olaf knows the trigger points of young kings such as Svein. He would want to kill those who defy him just to prove himself the rightful ruler of the land. Olaf is successful in pushing Svien to kill this man.
Freydis At Jomsburg
Freydis and the rest of the refugees reach Jomsburg, led by Jorundr, in this holy land, which is now considered the next Uppsala. All the worshippers of the old gods are happy to be there. This movement of people from the Christian ruled territories to the land where they have been sheltered by Harkr and Gudrid, the leaders of Jomsborg, where the refugees can now pray to the old gods without any worry of persecution or discrimination. As Freydis reaches Jomsburg, she is welcomed by the leaders. They are keen to learn the knowledge she carries with her and what all she can impart to the followers living in this town. Freydis is happy to see people of her faith gathered in town practicing the way they want without any disturbance or violence. Freydis herself is keen to involve herself in matters of faith so that they will keep her enlightened. She is happy to know Jorundr journeys to various areas to bring back more refugees of the old faith to this town.
Harald And Leif In Novgorod
Harald and Leif reach Novgorod, and Leif does not expect it to be as cold as it is. Harald was aware of the climate and was unaffected by it. Harald now has the job of meeting his uncle and ally to defeat his brother Olaf. As Harald looks for his uncle, he reaches a fighting arena and is intrigued to watch wrestlers making money off fighting. He finally locates his uncle and requests a private audience with him. His uncle is happy to have reconnected with his long-lost nephew, now the Prince of Norway. Harald puts across the problem he is facing because of Olaf and how he needs to take back what is his and what was promised to him. His uncle is not keen on supporting Harald because he believes it is a lost cause. His uncle can’t afford to make Canute or his father angry, considering several trade routes are being cut off because of a barbarian tribe on the border. A fellow businessman at the same dinner table talks about finding it difficult to head to Constantinople because of these tribes, and it is because of Forkbeard and Canute that they have sustained themselves so far. Harald feels helpless at this point, for he realizes he needs an army of his own, and for that, he needs to make quick money. Leif, on the other hand, is still hung up on Liv and cannot stop thinking about her. He comes across an opium den, where he is told he could speak to the dead. Leif is also keen on heading back to Greenland because, when asked about his homeland, he had nothing but beautiful words for it. Harald also realizes he loves his land, and to preserve it from the shackles of Olaf, he needs to fight for it, and he will do anything to gather money to raise an army.
Queen Emma’s Life Is In Danger
Queen Emma’s assassin has been captured by Godwin, but he is not revealing anything at this point. The assassin is being tortured ruthlessly, but Godwin has no answers so far on who gave the assassin gold to kill Emma, and the reason behind it is also ambiguous so far. Emma is still confused about why anyone is trying to kill her. The assassin finally reveals that the person who gave him money was from the south, and that many refer to him as “Bear.” This still leads them nowhere; Emma and Godwin are not just worried but clueless about the identity of the person who wants Emma dead. Emma has never been this worried in her life. She has constantly felt since the assassination attempt that people are after her life. On the other hand, Godwin is in a secret relationship with Emma’s lady-in-waiting, Aelfwynn. He reveals to her that he dreams not only of marrying her but also of making his children the rulers of this country. His girlfriend is taken aback by this statement made by him, for it was blasphemous in that era to make a statement such as this. People making statements like this would end up dead if the King or the Queen got to know of it. Is Godwin the one creating this fear in Emma’s head about people wanting her dead? It is hard not to suspect Godwin, given the way he is feeding on Emma’s fears of not just losing her life but of her children becoming orphans.
What Is Harald’s Plan To Raise Money To Gather Enough Money To Take Back Norway From Olaf? Will Freydis Become Gudija?
Olaf comes back from the expedition and brings Svein back with him. Queen Ælfgifu is glad to see her son back, bloodied and all tainted. Olaf, on the other hand, is trying to get into Ælfgifu’s good books after the debacle of the Canute fleet. Queen Ælfgifu avoids him and his ambitious plans on how to rule Norway and grab the power away from Harald. She is wary of siding with Olaf, after all. Olaf once again offers to be loyal to her and be by her side whenever she wants. Olaf, at this point, is desperate to make allies, and he thinks Ælfgifu would be an ally he can make use of. He also offers to provide her with company whenever she feels lonely. Queen Ælfgifu is taken aback by these words but does not outright say no to him. Olaf is slowly building a support group for himself, and bringing Ælfgifu to his table is the first step toward it. At the dinner table meant for Svein, Queen Ælfgifu, and Olaf, the King forgets to join his mother. Both get along, and soon it is implied that Olaf is sleeping with the Ælfgifu, a secret that will never be revealed. In this scenario, Olaf has nothing to lose, for he can now control Queen Ælfgifu rather easily unless Ælfgifu herself is a good manipulator.
Freydis is asked by the leaders of Jomsborg to become a Gudija (priestess), as she is the last daughter of Uppsala. Freydis is confused at this point, for she is unaware of the powers she might lose or procure. She requests some time to ponder over it. Meanwhile, she offers to provide combat training to men and women living in this place in case of an inevitable invasion. Freydis is still feeling the guilt she felt when she was unable to help her people when Kattegat fell. She instead ran away to save her life and Harald’s. This makes it easy for her to decide for not just herself but also the people living in Jomsborg, who look up to her. She finally agrees to become a Gudija, and the people rejoice over her decision. She believes that with this, she will be able to find a purpose that will help her serve her people, who have fled from their towns for fear of persecution. Freydis is more than happy to help the people of her faith.
Godwin and Emma are very close to finding out who paid the assassin to kill her, but the assassin himself is found brutally murdered. The man died without revealing much about his master. Godwin claims the person who paid the assassin was probably aware of assasin revealing a big name. Emma is worried to see Godwin taking such an interest in finding out who the conspirator is. She also cannot help but notice the amount of time Godwin is devoting to the theory that Emma’s life is in danger. Emma, at this point, is confused as to whether to trust Godwin or not, keeping in mind he was also the one who killed Edmund.
Harald and Leif are clueless at this point on how to live life ahead in Novgorod since Harald’s uncle refused to help with any aid to defeat Olaf. Harald comes up with an idea to buy as many winter clothes as possible, fight in the arena to earn money, and head to Constantinople to gather men with that money. Leif, at this point, has given up on Harald and his plans. Leif is plagued by Liv’s memory, which constantly haunts him. Harald, with the hope of earning some quick money, joins the fighting arena. In the arena, Harald is overwhelmed when Leif comes to rescue him. As Leif and Harald win, the man betting on the other fighters runs away, as most of the spectators bet on the fact that Harald and Leif will lose. No one earns any money at this point. But the trader, his uncle’s friend, is intrigued by Harald’s urge to win at any cost. He offers to pay Harald a handsome amount if he helps them get to Constantinople. Harald agrees to the deal because he is in dire need of money. Harald, at this point, would take up any work, but Leif is not keen on joining Harald on his expedition. To ease the trauma of losing Liv, Leif decides to try out Opium with the hope of talking to her. As he takes in the stuff, Liv appears and guides him through the city to the rooftop of a building. Liv asks him to join her at Valhalla, but he refuses, and she finally disappears, and he collapses on to the rooftop. The fact that Liv still haunts Leif is proof that he is emotionally unstable and has not gotten over the tragedy of losing her in the battle. She died right before his eyes, and that’s probably the reason he keeps seeing her and assuming she is talking to him. Leif probably should get some closure over this, for he won’t be able to live happily.
The second episode “Vikings: Valhalla,” Season 2 was slower compared to the first episode. The writers took their sweet time to establish the fact that the leads are in new places, and they are taking their own time to find their ground and voice. It will be interesting to watch where this journey will take them and how and when they will reunite to form a strong army. There is a possibility that Freydis, as Gudija, might convince her followers to form an army to help Harald defeat Olaf. Harald possibly has a difficult road ahead, having to start everything from scratch. Olaf, on the other hand, is all cocky about the fact that he has the king of Norway and his mother, Queen Regent, in his grasp. Hopefully, he will use them wisely.