‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 2, Episode 8: Recap And Ending, Explained: Does Freydis Kill King Svein Of Norway?

The seventh episode of “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 2 ended with Olaf meeting his ticket to Jomsborg. Jorundr is now being sheltered by Olaf, who is successfully brainwashing this young boy to bring him to his side. Jorundr is glad to have been rescued but by someone unexpected. Harald, Leif, and the rest of the gang are on the final leg of their trip to Constantinople. They are keen to know what is in store for them in the biggest city and the cultural center of Europe at that point. The final episode of “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 2 will all be about the ending of a chapter in each of their lives. How will it end?

Spoilers Ahead

Mariam’s Last Journey

Leif, Harald, Elena, and the rest of the team are grateful for the sacrifice Kurya made for them so that they can move ahead with their journey. They make a final pit stop because Mariam’s health is sinking by the day. They reach a spot that is supposed to be a pit stop which many travelers use to stop at during their travels. Mariam is happy to have stopped by here. She is thanked by everyone for being an absolute angel so far, and they have a small gathering just to cheer her up. Leif is heartbroken, but he knew Mariam’s passing was something inevitable. We’re not sure how Leif will deal with two heartbreaks, one after another. But Leif knows that Mariam has imparted plenty of life lessons to him and shared most of her knowledge with Leif, which will probably help him in his life in Constantinople. Leif is all set to let go of Mariam, a woman who changed his life. Mariam passes away, and all of them are happy because she is not in pain anymore and she doesn’t have to endure the pain of being terminally ill. Harald knows he must be there for Leif, and he makes sure Leif does not spiral like he did when Liv was killed. The spiraling probably happened because he didn’t expect Liv to be killed in action; meanwhile, in Mariam’s case, everyone knew, including Leif and Mariam, that she was ill and would eventually leave the mortal world. 

Queen Emma’s gift

Godwin and Princess Gytha are betrothed to be married as per the order given by King Canute and Queen Emma. Queen Emma is sure that Godwin had been behind the assassination attempt, but she has no way to get to him. She might be able to get some dirt on him eventually, now that his family and hers are in close quarters. Godwin is more than happy to be included in the Viking family, which will bring him closer to the royal family and the fact that his child will carry the royal blood of the Vikings.

Olaf’s Invasion Plan

With Jorundr under his fingers, Olaf brainwashes him to help him invade Jomsborg, remove the evil leader Harekr, and rescue Gudrid, Freydis, and the people trapped in Jomsborg. Olaf manipulates Jorundr by bringing up stories of his father, who sailed the seas with him, raiding and looting together before Olaf became a Christian. Olaf uses big words like destiny and becomes poetic about how both are destined to take back what is theirs. Olaf offers big support to get Jomsborg back to Jorundr. Jorundr is happy but is not sure if he should accept the support of a staunch Christian. The whole point of Jomsborg was to rescue people from forced conversions, and Olaf is spearheading forced conversions in all of Scandinavia. Jorundr knows he needs help to tackle Harekr, save Freydis, her child, and Gudrid as well. Jorundr, at this point, is not aware of the fact that Harekr has been killed and of the conflict between Freydis and Olaf. Olaf is surprised to learn Freydis has given birth to Harald’s child. Olaf now sees the child also as a threat to this seat in Norway but doesn’t reveal his final plan on why he needs Freydis. Jorundr is a little bit naïve to not have seen through Olaf. Olaf is a Christian who is a believer in the fact that his kingdom and the people should follow the mandate of Christ.

Why Does Emperor Romanos Save Harald And The Entire Group On The Ship? Does Freydis Kill King Svein Of Norway?

Olaf finally reaches the coast of Jomsborg with the help of Jorundr. Freydis and Gudrid know he doesn’t know Harekr is dead, and that none of them need to be rescued. Jorundr hopes that Freydis, his mother, and the rest of the people can be freed from the tyranny of Harekr with the help of Olaf. However, he has bigger plans for himself, and Freydis can see through him. Through Gudrid, Freydis informs Jorundr of Olaf’s plan to take over the land and forcefully convert his people to Christianity. Jorundr realizes his mistake but makes sure Olaf does not smell betrayal. Jorundr asks Olaf to bring back a larger fleet from Kattegat to attack Jomsborg. However, Olaf says that there is not much to attack in Jomsborg, and he cannot waste his whole fleet attacking a small island like this one. Jorundr leads Olaf’s army to a trap set by Freydis. Freydis makes it clear that she is in no mood to lose, for she has to survive for her son. Olaf, on the other hand, wants to take her son away to raise him as a Christian and not a pagan. Freydis can see through his lies, for he sees Harald’s son as a threat to his throne, and will quickly kill her son. She is the barrier he must cross to get a hold of her and Harald’s son. Jorundr dies in the process of protecting his land and leads Olaf’s army into a trap.

Meanwhile, the showdown between Olaf and Freydis takes place, which is witnessed by King Svein of Norway. Freydis sets Olaf’s fleet on fire with the help of a combustible product that was saved by the people of Jomsburg. They start a  man-to-woman combat. Olaf and Freydis are both highly trained warriors and find it difficult to beat each other. Freydis finally finds the upper hand and kills Olaf. The young King Svein must have seen the sight of his guardian being killed by a highly skilled female warrior. Olaf knew when he went in to fight that Freydis would be a difficult opponent, but he knew fighting her would be worth it. Knowing Harald and his taste in women, Freydis was a warrior who would fight till the end, which she did. Freydis’s only aim was to save her and her child from Olaf’s twisted power games to get hold of the seat of Norway. She wanted Harald to see their child alive and safe. Killing Olaf was the only way to keep her child safe from the nasty game of thrones. Olaf’s death would mean Harald’s path to being King is clear unless King Canute changes his stance and supports Olaf’s son. Freydis decides to return to Kattegat one last time to make sure King Svein is returned safely and without any harm. Freydis reaches Kattegat and delivers King Svein to his mother, Queen Ælfgifu. Freydis’s only demand is peace between the Christians and the followers of the old faith. Since she returned King Svein without harming him, the King and the Queen regent granted Freydis what she demanded. Freydis did not want to indulge in any warfare going forward, and she wanted to live peacefully in Jomsborg, taking care of her people and helping them keep their faith. Freydis is just following what Harald had promised her if he ever became King. A tolerant kingdom where all religions will be allowed to practice their faith under his rule. A religiously tolerant kingdom. Though Queen Ælfgifu promised her peace, it is to be seen in the next season if King Canute and his father, King Forkbeard, would keep this word.

Queen Emma, in England, as a wedding gift to Princess Gytha, offers the ring she procured from Sussex. She requests that Gytha wear the ring every day as a token of love from Emma. Emma knows the ring will surely irk Godwin. The fact that it belonged to his guardian, who he probably killed as well, so that he wouldn’t crack open during Emma’s interrogation, the ring will surely bring up some unwelcome guilt from now on. Gytha, on the night of the wedding, showcases this ring as a gift by Emma, and as expected, Godwin is disturbed to look at the ring and asks Gytha to remove it. Gytha refuses to remove the ring, as she claims Emma wants her to wear it every day. Godwin falls for the trap set by Emma, and he knows he will have to live with the guilt being thrown at his face every day. Godwin did not expect Queen Emma to play this dirty game, but it looks like he will have to find a way to make sure Emma does not get to him.

Harald and Elena are attracted to each other and cannot seem to stop themselves from kissing. Elena is glad that Harald stayed by her side and did not abandon her after her father died. Harald is conflicted at this point, for on the one hand, Freydis is waiting for him with his child, and on the other, Elena is falling in love with Harald. But love is not enough to sustain them. They are invited by the Byzantine Emperor Romanos; he reveals that Vitomir’s goods that were to be delivered was his own daughter Elena, and he is thankful to Harald for bringing her to him safely and soundly. Harald is taken aback by the fact that Elena did not reveal that she is to be a bride for the King, and that from now on, she will be the Empress. She conveys that she owes him a huge debt for saving her life and protecting her. Her influence on her husband will help Harald gain an army, which will help him get his homeland back from Olaf and King Canute. Harald considers this as a win-win situation, but he is still conflicted about his feelings towards her and her feelings for him. However, he takes up the offer given by the now Empress Elena and considers staying back in Constantinople till he gathers an army for himself with the help of Leif.

Final Thoughts

The final episode of “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 2 ended on a high note but lacked the punch it required to make sure the audience would wait for the third season with the utmost eagerness. The last episode also lacked a structured screenplay and narrative, the plot was all over the place. The editing was again sloppy, and it felt like the writers wanted to close all the loopholes rather quickly without any thorough explanations. The death of Olaf came out of nowhere, and there was a hope we’d see more of Olaf in the next season because he is a crucial player in the game for the throne for Norway. The ambiguous ending of Leif and Harald hoping to find what they are looking for in Constantinople is a cliched end to a season that could have ended on a better note. Since the show is based on a lot of real-life characters, I wish as a viewer that the writers had explored the complexities of all the leads instead of giving them definite black-and-white shades. History is filled with layered characters. It would have been fun to watch writers dive deeper into the reasons why they acted the way they did. This season was rather disappointing.

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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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