There are minor spoilers in this review that cover the introduction in the first episode and nothing beyond that.
There are many shows that stretch between multiple streaming platforms that highlight windows of human history. One of the more popular of these shows was ‘Vikings’, the story of the rise and fall of Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons. As the Iconic series ended back in 2020, releasing on Amazon the day before we entered a new year, many fans were sad to say goodbye to the thrills of Viking adventures.
It was to no one’s surprise then that a sequel series was planned, taking place a century after the events of the original series. Vikings boots were always going to be difficult to fill, and as the series aired on the 25th of February 2022, we now look to see if Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla can carry the axe.
We begin this story on a true moment within history, showcasing the Vikings style massacres that returning fans will know all too well. St. Brice’s day is a brutal introduction to our first main character Prince Harold Sigurdsson, as we see him escape the massacre and sail for Norway.
We are then introduced to another 2 protagonists in the middle of a storm at sea. Leif Eriksson and his sister Freydis Eriksdotter are the children of Erik the Red, a Norse explorer who settled in Greenland and a well-known and bloodthirsty warrior. Finally, we are introduced to Emma of Normandy, Queen of England by marriage and descendant of Vikings OG Rollo. With the stage set, we are introduced to a medley of supporting characters and we watch our protagonists intertwine (sometimes literally 😉).
We follow each of these protagonists on their own journey and see them build relationships with their surrounding friends and foes, but more importantly each other. It’s made clear early on what each character strives for in their life, with Leif looking to make a name greater than his father, Freydis wanting to become a strong Norse warrior, Harold wishing to rule all of Norway, and Emma wishing to rule England.
This leads to many of these characters intertwining and forming strong bonds, the most notable being the bromance between Leif and Harold. What begins as a debt and oath becomes a solid bond between brothers, and the chemistry between a lot of these actors is high.
Another note for the story of this season is the overarching growth of religion that was started within Vikings. We left a world that was strong in both Norse and Christian faith, we now have a world that is filled with many Vikings who follow Christianity. This leads to many encounters of unease between the two faiths' followers, and truly reflects the lack of progress that we still see today. This isn’t a message or a statement as it is written very naturally and consistently proves that faith has many interpretations, some far more ruthless than others.
There are 2 main battles within the series, many deaths and for any fans who are looking, many references to the original show. The theme is similar here, however, the characters and world have matured.
As a fan of the original show I can honestly say that the plot was gripping, the battles and fights were expertly executed, and the emotions were real. If you are looking to recapture the feelings that the Vikings experience gave you, you may not find it here as this is a whole new beast entirely. However, if the style and drama in the show was what captured your heart, this is present in spades and is certainly worth a watch.
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