Vikings: Walhalla is a sequel to vikings. Although it’s on Netflix instead of History, it nevertheless details the ongoing exploits of the Northmen as they expand their reach across Europe and beyond. This being a follow up, it makes sense to have reminders.
In effect, Valhalla has many references to the original vikings. These are often direct references to past characters, but some are more obscure, having to do with familiar ideas or places. As such, they can fly right over most viewers’ heads. Only eagle-eyed fans can find all of these Easter Eggs.
To find his goal, Freydis goes to Uppsala on the advice of Jarl Haakon. It is the spiritual center of the Nords, a place where they can celebrate and connect with the gods. This is not the first time viewers have come here.
Ragnar Lothbrok and his family trip to Uppsala in the first season of the previous series. The goal is to make a sacrifice. In this case, said sacrifice is a Christian priest named Athelstan. The characters explain that it is a semi-regular ritual for them, but the audience will never see Uppsala again.
Granted, Kattegat is also in both series, but it’s the main focus of the franchise. It would therefore obviously be a recurring presence. On the other hand, Uppsala hasn’t appeared in years, so bring it back for Valhalla is a deep cut.
6 Warning light
It’s easily the most egregious callback to the original vikings. The deformed fortune teller makes an appearance from beyond the grave when Freydis comes to Uppsala. She walks into a vision, but he is oddly dismissive. His only advice is to keep going despite his fear. To be fair, he wasn’t much help in the previous series either.
Many characters in vikings come to him looking for answers. Either way, he responds with vague riddles and prophecies, many of which are self-fulfilling. Moreover, they rarely leave the characters satisfied. In this context, the attitude of the Seer in Valhalla is just par for the course.
5 Harald Finehair
Early on, Leif and Freydis meet Harald Sigurdsson. Pursuing a romance with the latter, he boasts of being the descendant of King Harald Finehair. Freydis smiles and says she doesn’t know who it is. While this line is obviously there to explain Sigurdsson’s ancestry, it may also be an intentional dig.
Finehair is an important character in the first vikings. He constantly changes sides in his quest to become King of Norway.. He eventually succeeds, but it brings him little happiness. By his own admission, he has “bad luck with women”. Those he loves are either interested in someone else or killed prematurely. Making Freydis laugh at his name shows that his bad luck remains with him long after his death.
4 Emma of Normandy
Here is another descendant of Northman, but not a Viking. Emma is a Wessex figurehead, but she is actually from Normandy. Specifically, she is part of Rollo’s family line. He was a Viking warrior who took part in the siege of Paris. Subsequently, the emperor granted him lands and titles if he would defend France against future incursions. The Scandinavian settlers who flourished here formed the region of Normandy.
Viewers see a lot of that in the original show. Rollo’s conflict with his native people is a big part of the drama. Considering Emma acknowledges her kinship with the Northmen (and even marries one), fans will be curious to see if she’ll go through the same identity crisis.
King Canute certainly makes a powerful first impression. Following the massacre of Danish settlers in England, he delivers a rousing speech to his Viking army, encouraging revenge for this affront. He points out that the great Viking heroes wouldn’t have let him go unpunished, and neither should they.
This is where he refers to several characters from the sagas. Ragnar Lothbrok, Bjorn Ironside, and Ivar the Boneless are all mentioned here. These guys are major protagonists from the previous show. Their ambition and exploits drive the narrative at different times, transforming the Viking world. For this reason, their names obviously carry weight. It’s no wonder Canute returns to them before embarking on his own grand destiny.
2 The gold standard for the Shield-Maidens
Part of Freydis’ journey involves her training to become a shield maiden: the elite female warriors serving under Jarl Haakon. Although not as numerous as the male Vikings, they did exist in some capacity. In fact, they are some of the most famous characters in the Viking sagas.
Chief among these in the first show is Lagertha. First Ragnar’s first wife, she soon becomes her own ruler and commands vast armies as Queen of Kattegat. As strong as she is, however, she only wants peace for her family and her people. This is a big part of why she is so loved and respected. This is also why she comes back into the conversation with Valhalla‘s shield-daughters. Lagertha’s legacy gives them something to aspire to.
1 A miracle
As Leif experiences many battles and defies impossible odds, he begins to marvel at his fortune. Harald, a converted Christian, tells the hero that God is watching over him. He attributes it to a miracle: an inexplicable event caused by divine intervention. This choice of words should strike a chord with fans.
Miracles are a recurring subject in vikings when discussing the differences between Norse beliefs and Christianity. Athelstan explains the phenomenon to Ragnar. The Viking King later jokes that he would have conceived a son with Queen Kwenthrith of Mercia was an example of this, as they never slept together. Ivar then questions the concept while conversing with Bishop Heahmund as he tells the story of the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary. The Northman asks how this is possible, and the Bishop states that it was a miracle. Ivar laughs okay.
Suffice to say, Leif is a bit more receptive to the idea. Audiences have to wait to see how it changes in the future. Either way, that’s probably not the last they’ll hear about miracles in this series.
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