The war of religion that had made the foundations of the Viking empire hollow from within gathered pace in Season 2 of “Vikings: Valhalla.” We had witnessed how Harald and Freydis had tried to make the people understand that there was no end to such animosity and that one day, it would burn everything to the ground, but the people were blinded. They had preconceived notions about the people who followed the old ways, and they were often referred to as devil worshipers. The leaders of the different kingdoms, instead of educating the people and making them get rid of their false assumptions, added more fuel to the fire and worsened the situation because somewhere, they also believed in those ridiculous notions. So, let’s find out if Harald becomes the king of Norway and if Freydis can do justice to the title she had been given by the Old One in Uppsala, i.e., the keeper of the faith.
‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 2: Plot Summary: What Happens In The Second Season?
Sweyn Forkbeard had decided not to execute Olaf Haraldsson, as he had planned something else. Sweyn was leaving Kattegat to go and help his son in the battle. He wanted somebody loyal to be by the side of the young prince, though he couldn’t find anybody to trust. So, he gave Olaf an offer wherein he would have to take care of his grandson if he wanted his son, Magnus, to be the king of Norway one day. Olaf knew that availing of the offer that Forkbeard made had many benefits, with the most alluring one being that he could once again hunt Freydis and his stepbrother Harald. Olaf took Svein under his wing and started teaching him how to become a fierce warrior. Olaf announced a bounty on the head of his brother in the hope that somebody would bring in some vital intel that would lead him to Harald and Freydis. Leif Eriksson was in Kattegat when Olaf publicly announced Harald and Freydis as enemies of the state. Leif kept a close eye on the movements of Olaf, as he knew that when the time came, he would have to save his sister and his friend. Olaf finally found them, and it felt like it would be the end of the trio, i.e., Leif, Freydis, and Harald, but out of nowhere, Jorundr from Jomsborg arrived at the scene with his fleet of boats, and he bombarded the beach, making sure that Olaf just stood there like a bystander and saw them escaping right in front of his eyes.
Was Emma Right In Suspecting Goodwin’s Intentions?
Emma was being told by Earl Godwin time and again that his informers had told him that her life was in danger. Emma didn’t believe him until somebody tried to murder her when she was in the church offering her prayers. Godwin was able to catch the perpetrator, and he tortured him to the extent that nobody had imagined. The hired assassin told him that he operated alone and was from Northumbria. Apparently, the killer hated King Canute because he lost his lands when Canute decided to give them to Yarl Nori. The assassin was paid by someone in the south, whom he referred to by the pseudonym “Bear.” Godwin assured Emma that he would get to the root of the problem and find out the real mastermind behind the plan. In the second episode of “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 2, we witnessed that, together with all the guards, the assassin who had attacked Emma was also killed by anonymous people. Godwin came to the conclusion that the killer was not operating alone as he had told earlier, and there were other accomplices out there who had killed him so that he wouldn’t be able to reveal any more secrets. To Emma, it all felt very convenient, and she started suspecting the intentions of Godwin, who, until then, had posed as the loyal servant of the crown. Godwin was going to marry Aelfwynn, who was the maid of Queen Emma, and he had informed about it to king Canute as well. People around him saw how unconditionally he loved Aelfwynn, but Emma saw a different reality. She came to know that the assassin who had tried to kill her was Aelfwynn’s brother, though she said that Earl Godwin didn’t know anything about it. Emma was very sure that Godwin was orchestrating the entire thing, but she didn’t have any substantial proof to support her beliefs. Emma took Aelfwynn into her custody, and she tortured her till the poor soul died. Aelfwynn repeated time and again that she wasn’t on talking terms with her brother, and she had no clue that he was going to attack the queen. Before dying, Aelfwynn said one thing: Godwin always wanted his son to be king one day. Emma found it weird because it wouldn’t be possible to do that if he married a maid.
Emma started feeling guilty about the fact that she had murdered an innocent girl, but she still held onto her beliefs as she couldn’t imagine that an ambitious man like Godwin would marry somebody like Aelfwynn without any cause. Agnarr found out that Godwin had paid a huge sum of money to a man from Sussex named John Barr. Emma and Agnarr both went to Sussex, where they got in touch with an alewife who knew Godwin’s family from before. The alewife said that even after Godwin’s family lost everything, the Bear stayed loyal to him. The Bear’s real name was John Fletcher, and he had been Godwin’s guardian since the time he lost his parents. When Agnarr and Emma went to Fletcher’s house, they found him dead. There was no sign of a wound, so it could have been possible that he died from natural causes. Emma was once again left stranded, and when she came back, she realized that King Canute had returned after defeating the Wends in Denmark. Canute offered the hand of his niece, Gytha, to Godwin, as not only did he find him to be a suitable match for the girl, but he also felt that he had not been treated fairly after dedicatedly serving the crown for so many years. Emma speculated that maybe that was Godwin’s entire plan. Maybe he wanted Emma to kill Aelfwynn so that he could gain the sympathy of Canute. Though whatever Emma was thinking was quite far-fetched, there was a high possibility that Godwin actually did plan everything. Godwin wanted his son to be the king one day, and now, after marrying Gytha, who felt indebted to be the wife of such an honorable man, he had a genuine chance of fulfilling his dream.
Were Leif And Harald Able To Reach Constantinople?
Leif and Harald knew the risk they were taking by deciding to go to Constantinople. There was a constant threat of the Pechenegs (nomadic warriors) attacking their boat, and in addition to that, the terrain also posed a lot of challenges for the crew onboard. Kurya, the blind prisoner, suggested that they should move their sled off the river channel and let the water pass. But Harald wanted to keep pushing through as he knew that they were near the lake, which was free of ice, and once they reached there, they could easily reach their destination. That was a wrong move, and it cost them the life of the crewmember, Vitomir. Nobody knew until that moment that Elena was Vitomir’s daughter. Vitomir was scared to let the others know Elena’s identity. Elena always wore a locket, which she said was worth the entire kingdom of Novgorod. She confided in Harald and told him that once when she was young, raiders invaded Chude, and to stop them, her father had traveled all the way to Constantinople to negotiate with the emperor. In return for peace, Vitomir offered to pay a huge tribute, and the locket that Elena wore was part of it. But that was not the entire truth, and Harald had no clue about the secrets that were going to be revealed to him in Constantinople.
After the crew got rid of the Varangians, they finally encountered the feared nomadic tribe, the Pechenegs. Kurya knew his tribe, and he told the others that the Pechenegs would find them ultimately, no matter what strategy or plan they incorporated. After taking the boat down the waterfall, the crew got scattered, and before they could regroup, the Pechenegs finally arrived on the shores and took Harald into custody. The Pecheneg tribe was divided into many factions according to the region they lived in, and after Mariam told Kurya that the people who took Harald were wearing something white and red, he knew that they were not from his brother’s clan. Kurya’s brother, Khan, was a feared leader, and he knew that Khan would do anything to get an opportunity to finish what he had started years ago. Kurya devised a plan to save Harald by putting his life in jeopardy. Leif went to the encampment where Harlad was being held, and he told the Pecheneg leader that he would kill Kurya if they didn’t leave his friend. The Pecheneg leader sent his men to inform Khan that his brother was in their custody. Meanwhile, Leif, Harald, and Kurya were able to escape with the help of the other crew members. Kurya had some old scores to settle, and he also knew that somebody had to buy time so that the others could run. Kurya had a poisonous powder that Mariam had given him and asked him to use with caution. Kurya used it to take revenge on his brother Khan, killing him with it. The Pechenegs caught Kurya, and Leif shot an arrow from a distance so that his friend would die before being further tortured. When the crew finally reached Constantinople, Harald realized that the treasure that Vitomir wanted to give to the emperor was not the locket but his daughter Elena. Elena married the king and became the new empress of Constantinople. Harald felt deceived, and he could not bear the pain of losing a loved one yet again. Elena knew that if she wouldn’t agree to the matrimonial alliance, then Harald wouldn’t have been able to ask for the favor from the king. While leaving, she secretly told Harald that she had the utmost faith in his abilities and that nothing was out of his reach if he set his eyes upon it.
‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 2: Ending Explained: Was Olaf Able To Capture Jomsburg And Kill Freydis?
After meeting Harekr and Gudrid, Freydis thought that all her problems would come to an end. But soon, she realized that reality was not what it seemed to be. Harekr was not a good man, and though he claimed that his mission was to save the innocent pagans from the ruthless Christian fanatics, he was no different from them. Freydis treated everyone equally, and she believed that if she wanted to build a pilgrimage like Uppsala, she would have to be fair and just. She believed that if they all believed in the same god, there couldn’t be any sort of discrimination. This caused a conflict between Herekr and Freydis, where the former tried his level best to kill her and take her son from her. Herekr’s hypocrisy was exposed, and Jorundr played a key role in it while helping Freydis as much as he could. Jorundr had to pay the price, and after severing his hand, he was abandoned on a boat in the middle of nowhere. Freydis came back and took what was hers. The people of Jomsborg also realized that Harekr was not worthy of leading them, and they killed him by pelting stones at him.
Olaf had a lucky breakthrough when he found Jorundr lying on a boat while he was trying to locate the hidden settlement of Pagans: Jomsborg. Olaf had been told when he was in Novgorod that Freydis and Harald had separated their ways, and though he had realized that it was not feasible for him to travel all the way to Constantinople, he believed that he could surely go to Jomsborg and destroy one of the last holdouts of the pagans. If we come to see, Olaf was a zealot who was driven by ethnic animosities, and he believed that by removing the ‘scourge’ from the earth, he would be fulfilling his duty as a good Christian. Before leaving Novgorod, a priest had given him his blessings, and Olaf was once again assured that whatever he was doing was righteous. The anti-pagan sentiment was the sole reason why Olaf’s disdainful actions were being validated time and again by society. People wanted Christianity to prevail, but they were scared of the mere concept of secularism. There was a general belief that if pagans were allowed to thrive, it would be detrimental to the Christian community. The beliefs of the people in “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 2 were as unfounded and baseless as they are in our contemporary world. But as we all know from our real-world experiences, it is the most difficult thing to make a person believe that he must not be threatened just because somebody comes from a culturally different background.
Olaf did have an encounter with Jorundr earlier when the latter had facilitated the escape of Freydis, Harald, and Leif on the beach. Jorundr didn’t know that Herekr had been killed by the people of Jomsborg, and that is why he told Olaf everything he knew. Olaf got to know that Freydis had given birth to a boy, and now he had one more reason to kill her. Olaf had always wanted his son, Magnus, to sit on the throne of Norway, and he knew that Harald and Freydis’ son could pose a threat, as he was also a contender for the throne. Jorundr told Olaf about Jomsborg’s defenses and how the fortress could be breached. Freydis saw Olaf’s ships stationed at a distance, and she ordered her men to launch an attack, but to her astonishment, Olaf knew the range of her sentinels. Freydis realized that Jorundr must have told him everything, as he didn’t know that Herekr was already dead. Before the war, Feydis decided that under the pretext of reconciliation, she would meet Olaf and seize the opportunity to inform Jorundr about what had happened after he was banished from Jomsborg. Jorundr got to know that Herekr was dead, and his mother, Gudrid, created a distraction for everybody by calling him a traitor and secretly passing him a message from Freydis without anyone noticing. Jorundr knew what he had to do in order to save his pagan land. Jorundr led a part of the army to the sentinels and told Olaf to take his fleet of ships and attack from the harbor. Jorundr sacrificed his life to protect his people, but he also made sure that Olaf’s soldiers were ambushed by the pagans and killed. When Olaf reached the harbor, he realized that it was a trap set up by Freydis. The fleet was burned to ashes, and Olaf was killed by Freydis in a deadly combat. In his last few moments, Olaf took solace in the fact that he would be called a martyr by the world for having given his life fighting for his religion, but Freydis broke his imaginary bubble and told him that she would make sure that nobody survived to tell that narrative to the world.
Freydis didn’t kill Svein, and she escorted him back to Kattegat, where she met Queen Elfgifu. Freydis wanted to make sure that the two religious groups coexisted in peace and that no innocent life would be lost henceforth. Queen Aelfgifu agreed to keep her end of the promise, and the keeper of the faith, Freydis, returned to Jomsborg with her people. Harald still does not have an army, and probably in “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 3, we will see him asking the emperor of Constantinople for the same. Even though Olaf had died, with Svein already being called the King of Norway, it could be possible that Harald would still have to fight for his rights. “Vikings: Valhalla” Season 3 would tell us if Svein puts up a fight or if King Canute remembers his promise and asks his son to withdraw from the race.