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Vikings: Valhalla Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – The Greenlanders

BY Kean

Published 1 year ago

Vikings: Valhalla Season 1 Episode 1 Recap - The Greenlanders

A hundred years after the great Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok, many Vikings left their homelands and settled across Europe. Many of them have decided to stay in England. As these settlements grew as time passed, they became a threat to the Saxons. So King Aethelred II was urged to act and find a solution. On Saint Brice’s Day, Sten is enjoying the celebration with his younger brother, Harald Sigurdsson. They celebrate with their families in a Viking settlement in Danelaw. Harald leaves the celebration to go back to Norway. Sten also leaves the celebration with some of his men. They ride as fast as they can to London, knowing King Aethelred II has summoned them. The king invites them to join him in the feast. He then reveals that he has ordered all Vikings living on the land to be killed. Sten and the other guards try to fight, but they are outnumbered. While fighting for their lives, soldiers are already attacking the settlements and killing the people. That night, Sten and the other inhabitants of Viking settlements died.

Because of this act, King Canute of Denmark calls the other Vikings to gather at Kattegat to avenge their people. Many warriors answer the call and make their way to Kattegat. But the heavy storm destroys many ships, killing the warriors even before they reach the shore. Strong winds and massive waves hit a boat carrying a crew, but they pass through the storm and reach land under the guidance of their captain, Leif Eriksson. When Harald sees the newly docked ship, he approaches Freydis, Leif’s sister. She tells him they came from Greenland. Even Harald is surprised that they traveled for five weeks, non-stop, across the open ocean.

Leif goes to town with some of the crew to look around. He reaches the great hall where some warriors offer him a drink. When the warriors ask if his family was killed on Saint Brice’s Day, Leif admits he doesn’t know what they meant. He looks around and sees warriors gathered to avenge their families‘ deaths. Leif takes out a piece of paper with an illustration of a cross. Then he says he is looking for the Viking who wears a cross that looks like it. Alfrun from Trundelike approaches Leif and asks for his fur coat. He refuses to give it, so Alfrun tries to take it by force. Leif fights back and disarms him. He only stops and apologizes when the guards tell him to stop because they are in a sacred place.

Freydis sleeps with Harald and then enjoys a hot bath. She shows the scar on her back to Harald. She shares she is looking for the person who gave her the scar. Freydis says when she was younger, a man came to her home when her father and brothers were away. The man said he was a Christian Viking. When he learned Freydis was alone, he attacked her and knocked her unconscious. When Freydis woke up, she was naked on her stomach. The man raped her and beat her. When the man was done, he took out his knife and carved the cross on Freydis’ back, saying he was converting her. 

Leif tells Freydis that ships are coming. They both wait for the ships to dock, and when Freydis sees one of the passengers, she says, “It’s him.” She gets even more surprised when she sees Harald welcoming the men. She takes out her knife to attack, but Leif stops her. Instead, they follow the warriors and Harald when they leave to go to King Canute’s camp.

Harald introduces Olaf Haraldsson and Gunnar Magnusson to King Canute. Jarl Olaf says he and Harald share the same mother. King Canute gets to the point and says he is interested in Olaf’s knowledge of the English defenses, especially in London. Olaf says it’s not just knowledge they have because they built the defenses themselves for King Aethelred. Olaf points out that many of the warriors are pagans, and he refuses to fight with them. He says if King Canute wants his knowledge of the English defenses, then they should have a mass conversion. Harald thinks it’s not a good idea and will cause a civil war, but Olaf insists on his condition. King Canute says he doesn’t draw the line between pagans and Christians because they are there to avenge all Vikings. He tells Olaf he may leave. Harald talks to his half-brother and convinces him to change his mind. He says their half-brother, Sten, was also killed in the slaughter. When Olaf says he doesn’t want to take revenge, Harald mentions Canute will not change his plans just for Olaf. 

King Canute gathers all the warriors and gives a speech. He says the attack on Saint Brice’s Day was not warriors to warriors but an attack on innocent women and children. He tells everyone that they gathered for their families, their honor, and because they are Vikings. But some warriors refuse to fight with Christians; some refuse to fight with pagans. Harald stops them from fighting and says they are all Vikings — all that matters to him is their honor and courage. The warriors get encouraged by Harald’s words and say they are with him.

Some warriors tell Leif his father, Erik Thorvaldson, killed their brother, Sven. Leif avoids confrontation and says he has nothing to do with his father’s history. The men still attack him, but Leif defeats all of them without killing anyone. Harald sees what happened, so he talks to Leif afterward. Leif admits he is the son of Erik Thorvaldson, known by many as Erik the Red.

Canute meets with Jarl Haakon and asks if his army may camp outside their walls and depart for England from Kattegat’s harbor. Jarl Haakon gives her permission and invites them in as guests. As the warriors gather inside the great hall, Harald continues to watch Leif. He tells him not to do what he is planning to do, but Leif says he is not the one they should be worried about. Freydis is already inside the hall, carrying her knife. She walks to Gunnar. When Gunnar sees her, he tries to take his weapon, but Freydis has already stabbed him and carved a cross on his chest, killing him. Olaf takes his ax and swings it at Freydis, but Jarl Haakon covers Freydis with a shield. She says she is the only one who can render judgment in that place. Olaf demands justice. Freydis says she was raped, and Gunnar was found guilty of his crimes in Greenland. Harald steps in and says he believes Freydis. Freydis shows everyone the scar on her back. Olaf gets furious, but he can’t do anything when Jarl Haakon says she will render judgment the next day.

Our Thoughts

Leif is a good fighter, but it seems like he doesn’t like fighting at all. When you look at him, he looks like he just wants to do what he wants, but other things don’t interest him. But trouble gets to find him even if he doesn’t do anything. If he fights like such, he will be a good warrior to fight alongside Harald and the others.

Freydis finally got the justice she wanted. When Olaf was about to attack her, she didn’t even flinch. Maybe because she got to finish her mission — the only reason they traveled from Greenland. The question here now is, what will the judgment be? Of course, King Canute will respect Jarl Haakon’s laws as he promised. But what of Olaf? He was so furious he said he would burn the city to the ground. Seeing how Harald acted in this entire episode, we think he’d stand by Freydis or even protest if Freydis is to receive punishment.

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