VIKINGS: VALHALLA Is an Excessive Exploration of Pagan Life
By Movieguide® Contributor
VIKINGS: VALHALLA is a 2022 NETFLIX original series. The show is a sequel to History’s VIKINGS, a historical drama following the sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok. Created by Jeb Stuart, VIKINGS: VALHALLA stars numerous talented actors from around the world, including Sam Corlett, Frida Gustavsson, Leo Suter, Bradley Freegard, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Caroline Henderson, Laura Berlin, and David Oakes. Set one hundred years after the events of VIKINGS, VIKINGS: VALHALLA follows famous Vikings Leif Erikson, Freydís Eiríksdóttir and Harald Hardrada as they journey across oceans and through battlefields from Kattegat to England and beyond. The series chronicles the end of the Viking Age, marked by the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.
In the one hundred years following the exploits of the great Viking Ragnar Lodbrok, many Vikings left their northern homelands and settled across Europe, many in villages along the coasts of England. But as these settlements began to prosper, the Vikings became a threat to their Saxon neighbors. As a result, the English king, Aethelred II, set out to rid England of all Vikings. On St. Brice’s Day, King Aethelred II sent hundreds of soldiers to Viking settlements with orders to burn their villages and kill their people. The St. Brice’s Day Massacre succeeded in purging all Viking settlements from the English shores. However, the slaughter did not go unnoticed in the north, where King Canute of Denmark sent out a call for all Vikings to assemble in Kattegat to form an army of revenge.
Greenlanders Leif Erikson and Freydís Eiríksdóttir, the children of Erik the Red, travel to Kattegat, unaware of the massacre until their arrival. Freydís reveals to Harald Siggurdson that the reason for their journey is to seek revenge against the man that raped and scarred her as a child. She soon discovers that the man responsible, Gunnar Magnusson, is protected by Harald’s older half-brother Olaf Haraldsson, a devout Christian. After sneaking into the great hall and killing her Gunnar in front of everyone, Olaf Haraldsson commands that Freydís be put to death. However, Harald defends Freydís and forces Leif Erikson to join the army of revenge to spare her life. Harald, Leif and the rest of the army prepare for the voyage to Europe and the battles to follow. However, the Vikings continually fight amongst themselves over their conflicting Christian and pagan beliefs. Will the Vikings remain unified enough to enact their revenge on the English, and will Leif and Harold return to Kattegat and Freydís?
VIKINGS: VALHALLA glorifies a pagan, occult worldview while negatively portraying Christianity. The plot itself revolves around the clash between pagans and Christians. Many of the Vikings worship multiple gods, and some can be seen engaging in the “old religion” and occult practices, such as ritualistic fires and chanting. The main characters, or “good guys,” are all pagan Vikings portrayed as caring and loyal with a strong moral compass. While this does not mean that they are perfect, they often demonstrate more Biblical or Christian traits than those who identify with Christianity. Many of the characters who profess Christianity are pompous chauvinists and commit horrific acts.
A Christian king commits genocide, and the Christian Viking leader defends another Christian man who claims he did no wrong even after evidence that he repeatedly raped a young girl before carving a cross in her back to convert her has been revealed. While this representation of Christians committing these types of actions is not altogether historically inaccurate, pagan Vikings and members of other religions have committed equally horrendous actions. However, the show dramatizes the Christians’ behavior in such a way that they are seen as the enemy, which only fuels the inaccurate understanding and belief of true Christianity that our culture holds today.
While VIKINGS: VALHALLA does have a captivating influenced storyline, it is steeped in violence, sexual immorality and light profanity. Bloody battles, village raids, mass genocide (including the killing of women and children), violent revenge killings, and discussion of rape and sexual assault are just some of the examples of the series’ violence. The show contains many instances of nudity, including both male and female rear nudity and upper female nudity. There are several sex scenes throughout the series, and most are rather explicit and lengthy. The series does contain profanity and obscenity, but not as much as one might expect. There is no drug use, but alcohol is consumed somewhat regularly.
While the series content is more than questionable, its production is suburb. The sets, costumes and various other design elements do an excellent job of replicating what life would have been like for 11th-century Vikings and the English. The fight scenes, various stunts and other action elements are excellent. The only two places where the show truly fails to live up to expectations are in its visual effects and writing. There are several points throughout the show where it is obvious that digital effects and green screens are used. While this is common in shows and movies of this kind, many do an excellent job of blending them with the rest of the scene and set. However, this show does not do that with the same skill. Lastly, while the overall writing is excellent, there are many places where viewers can get easily lost and confused. As a result, viewers must pay attention to the plot and dialogue all of the time.
VIKINGS: VALHALLA is full of excessive violence, nudity, immorality, and worldview problems. For these reasons, MOVIEGUIDE finds the series to be unacceptable for viewers.
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