Vikings: Valhalla: Who is Freydis Eriksdotter?

A woman dressed in stylized Viking clothing
A woman dressed in stylized Viking clothing. Pic credit: Pixabay/sarahfelde

With Netflix taking over from History Channel and continuing the Viking sagas with their new series Vikings: Valhalla, there is a new cast of characters to become familiar with.

Netflix has already revealed details of what their latest historical drama series is about.

The new saga begins 100 years after the original series concludes and dramatizes the adventures of the most famous Vikings who ever lived – Leif Erikson, Freydis, Harald Harada, and the Norman King William the Conqueror (also a Viking descendant). These men and women will blaze new paths as they fight for survival in an ever-changing and evolving Europe. This is the explosive next chapter of the Vikings legend.

So who are these Vikings and what can history tell us about their potential upcoming storylines in the new historical drama series?

Let’s start with the first female lead announced by Netflix.

Who is Freydis Eriksdotter in Vikings: Valhalla?

In Vikings: Valhalla, Freydis will be played by Frida Gustavsson. Those who are fans of Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher might remember her as the character Ma. She has also done some modeling work in the past.

Frida Gustavsson walks the runway during the 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at the Lexington Avenue Armory on November 7, 2012, in New York City
Frida Gustavsson walks the runway during the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at the Lexington Avenue Armory on November 7, 2012, in New York City. Pic credit: ©

Netflix has provided the following bio for Freydis.

Fiercely pagan, fiery, and headstrong, Freydis is a staunch believer in the ‘old gods.’ Like her brother, Leif (Sam Corlett), she reaches Kattegat as an outsider but becomes an inspiration to those of the old ways.

It’s interesting to note here that the town of Kattegat will still be present in the new series. Many have speculated that Netflix will adapt their version of the Viking sagas much closer to the actual stories written about the Vikings. However, it needs to be noted here that Kattegat is not actually a town in Norway but a sea instead.

It should also be mentioned that Freydis Eriksdotter is a different character entirely to the Freydis who was married to Ivar the Boneless in History Channel’s original series.

Already, there have been comparisons made between Freydis and another fearsome Viking female from the original series: Lagertha. However, the sagas may paint quite a different light on this new character.

What can the Viking sagas tell us about Freydis?

Freydis appears in two Viking sagas.

The Saga of Erik the Red reveals Freydis to be a fearless warrior — even when eight months pregnant.

Having traveled to Vinland, which is likely an area of coastal North America, her group was set upon by the native inhabitants. Everyone ran away but, because Freydis was heavily pregnant, she had no choice but to stay and fight when the locals caught up with her.

Taking a weapon from one of her dead companions, she took out her breast and slapped it with the flat of her sword. Needless to say, this terrified those attacking and the turned and fled.

As Screen Rant points out, there is also another version of Freydis’ saga.

This one is told in the Saga of the Greenlanders and reveals Freydis to be particularly brutal.

In this saga, Freydis wants to be famous but like her brother, Leif. So, deciding to travel to Vinland, she journeys with two brothers, Helgi and Finnbogi.

Things do not go smoothly and Freydis ends up quarreling with these brothers. Finally, they settle their differences but Freydis won’t let things lie.

Instead, she convinces her husband that the brothers had beaten her and that he must kill them both in order to make amends. Her husband does this but refuses to kill the women who are also present.

So, Freydis steps in and does this herself.

She then makes sure that everyone is sworn to secrecy before they return home.

While this works for a time, her brother eventually finds out about what she did and is suitably horrified. While he won’t kill her, he does, basically, curse her and her family line that follows after her.

As to which avenue Netflix will take with this character remains to be seen and viewers will have to tune in to find out more.

Vikings: Valhalla will premiere on Netflix at a later date.

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