‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Character: Freydis, Explained: What Happened Between Her And Herekr In Jomsborg?


Freydis knew her mission in life from the first season of “Vikings: Valhalla,” but it became even more clear to her in the second season when she found out about a hidden pagan land. Freydis was called the keeper of the faith, and she took upon that responsibility with all honesty. She was dutiful towards her cause, and she believed that the divine light would always guide her in the right direction. So, let’s take a look at Freydis’ journey and how her life completely changed after she stepped foot in Kattegat.

When Freydis Eriksdotter first arrived at Kattegat, she had no clue about King Athelred’s “Viking problem” or how he had mercilessly butchered the Vikings living in Danelaw. She wasn’t aware that King Canute had asked all the Vikings to join forces and fight for their cause. Freydis hailed from Greenland, and it seemed like the people there were cut off from the outside world. Freydis met Harald the moment she landed in Kattegat, and while sharing an intimate moment with him later, she made him privy to the real reason why she and her people had taken the risk to sail in the perilous sea and come all the way there. Freydis had been raped and assaulted when she was very young, and she wanted to find the perpetrator to take revenge on him. Freydis spotted the man who had assaulted her years ago, and he turned out to be Gunnar, who was the brother of Olaf and stepbrother of Harald. Freydis killed him in the common hall, where everybody had assembled to eat and commemorate the last night before they went to war against England. Olaf was enraged, and he wanted to kill Freydis there and then, but Earl Estrid Haakon, the ruler of Kattegat, didn’t allow Olaf to do any such thing. Harald, who had also witnessed everything in front of his eyes, knew that Freydis was not lying, as he had seen the cross that Gunnar had carved on her back, symbolizing that she had been converted to Christianity. Although Olaf and Gunnar were his brothers, Harald knew that both of them were capable of doing such dastardly deeds. Harald saved Freydis’ life the next day, as he convinced everybody to let her brother, Leif Eriksson, pay her debt, by serving in the army and swearing allegiance to the King of Denmark.

Freydis and Estrid had a lot of mutual respect for each other. Estrid wanted Freydis to visit Uppsala, a sacred place for pagans. Estrid had seen Freydis performing a ritual, and she had realized that she had an immense amount of faith in her gods. There was something very pure about Freydis, and Estrid had an intuition that she would do great things in her life. Estrid told Freydis that many people went to Uppsala to know their destiny, and there was no harm in visiting the sacred place once. Freydis agreed to what the queen said and went on a journey to find out what the gods had planned for her. On her way to Uppsala, Freydis had to face a lot of lethal challenges as she was attacked by a berserker who used to hunt pagans traveling to Uppsala. That berserker was the brother of Earl Kare, a zealot who had made it his mission in life to destroy the pagan community. When Freydis reached Uppsala, she was made to perform a ritual by the priests, and she entered a hallucinatory zone where she met an old soothsayer who was sitting in a forest. The Old One told her that she was the Keeper of Faith, the last daughter of Uppsala who was going to carry the sword. Freydis didn’t know what she had done to achieve such a status, but she realized that she couldn’t just wash her hands of her responsibilities now. Freydis, together with Estrid, Haakon, Leif, and Harald, defended Kattegat against the joined forces of Kare and Olaf. Kare couldn’t accept the fact that a girl belonging to the pagan community was called the keeper of the faith when, his whole life, he had thought that he was the only one meant for the role. Before attacking Kattegat, Kare had turned Uppsala into ruins and slaughtered all the priests living inside the shrine. Later, in order to avenge those innocent lives, Freydis killed Kare when they came face to face in the battle of Kattegat.

Freydis and Harald, together with other survivors, had to flee from Kattegat, which had been taken over by Olaf and then ultimately by Sweyn Forkbeard. Freydis and Harald hid in the jungles 200 miles north of Kattegat. Olaf, who had entered into a plea bargain with Forkbeard, once again started hunting the duo, and soon, he came to know their whereabouts. He had almost gotten hold of them when Jorundr from Jomsborg arrived at the scene and spoiled his plans. Freydis and Harald had to part ways, as they both had different missions in life that they had to accomplish at all costs.

When Freydis reached Jomsborg, she thought that she had found a new Uppsala. It was probably the last pagan holdout in the region, and she knew that she would stay there and join the cause of her people. The leaders of the Jomsborg, Herekr, and Gudrid seemed to be of high moral character, but soon they started showing their true colors, and that’s when Freydis realized that reality was not what it seemed to be. Though Herekr proclaimed himself to be the savior, he was just like any other fanatic from whom Freydis had been running to save her life. Herekr discriminated among his own people, and he didn’t consider anyone who was not a descendant of Skuld worth anything. Those people whom he didn’t consider worthy enough were not allowed to possess weapons or enter the temples. Freydis didn’t understand such discrimination, and she treated everybody equally. Herekr knew that it was imperative for his plans to be successful that Freydis be on his side, but in the end, when she rebelled, he wasn’t left with any other option than to kill her. Herekr took advantage of the situation and made the people believe that Jorundr had killed Freydis, which wasn’t true at all. Jorundr was the only one who was trying to save Freydis, and he had been successful in doing so. Herekr was given enough reason to believe that Freydis wasn’t alive, and that is why he became even more confident that his wicked intentions wouldn’t ever come to light. Herekr knew that Freydis was the chosen one, and the people had immense faith in her. That is why he took her son to show the people that they still had somebody to look up to. The rug was swept from under his feet when he saw Freydis alive and back to take her son. The people also realized that Herek had orchestrated the entire thing and lied to them. The people had realized that when justice is denied to a group and society conspires to oppress them, nobody could be safe. They realized that today it was somebody else who was being discriminated against, and tomorrow, it could be their turn. They took law and order into their hands and killed Herekr in the most brutal manner by pelting stones at him. The so-called leader writhed in pain and agony, but nobody stopped, as what he had done was not pardonable.

Freydis brought about a change in the practices and aimed to build a society where everybody had the right to equality. Freydis was met with another challenge when Olaf arrived on the shores of Jomsborg with his fleet of ships. Freydis, with the help of Jorundr, was able to defeat his army, and she slaughtered Olaf with her own hands. Freydis knew that for peace to prevail between both communities, it was imperative that she entered into an arrangement with queen Elfgifu, who, at that time, was sitting on the throne of Kattegat. Freydis didn’t want to indulge in unnecessary bloodshed, which was why she decided not to kill Elfgifu’s elder son, Svein, and in a friendly gesture, escorted him back to Kattegat safely. Queen Elfgifu was elated to find that her son was alive, and that is why she promised that Kattegat would try to maintain peace at all costs.

Freydis, the keeper of the faith, was able to protect her people, but she knew that her job was not finished. In season 3 of “Vikings: Valhalla,” we would probably get to witness what role she has to play once Harald comes back from Constantinople with an army to fight for his rights.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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