Vikings: Valhalla: Who is Leif Erikson?

Sam Corlett stars as Caliban, as seen in Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Sam Corlett stars as Caliban, as seen in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Pic credit: Netflix/Diyah Pera

Netflix is taking the helm from History Channel in order to retell the Viking sagas. This means there are plenty of new characters with which viewers need to get accustomed.

Vikings: Valhalla has yet to release its first season. However, Netflix has released a synopsis that details the characters involved in their retelling.

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.

Previously, we have looked at the first female character to be announced: Freydis Eriksdotter. Now, let’s have a look at her brother, Leif Erikson.

Who is Leif Erikson in Vikings: Valhalla?

In Vikings: Valhalla, Leif will be played by Sam Corlett. He is an Australian-born actor from the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Fans of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will know him from his portrayal of Caliban.

Netflix has provided the following bio for Leif.

A Greenlander, raised on the outer fringes of the known world, Leif comes from a tightly-knit family steeped in the old pagan beliefs.  An intrepid sailor and physically tough, Leif is our entry into a Viking world in the throes of violent change.

The Viking sagas, however, give us much more detail regarding this famous Norseman’s life.

What can the Viking sagas tell us about Leif?

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Leif is believed to be the first European to set down on North America. This is some 500 years prior to Christopher Columbus doing it.

Leif was the son of Erik the Red, a character that has already been introduced in History Channel’s Vikings and played by Eric Johnson.

Two sagas deal directly with Leif.

The first is called the Saga of Erik the Red. This story deals with Erik’s first sighting and subsequent landing on Vinland, which is believed to be an area of coastal North America.

In this saga, the Norseman was blown off course on his way to Greenland, where he was headed to introduce the pagans to Christianity. This contradicts the details of this character set out in Netflix’s biography for Leif.

It is also noted that Leif married a woman called Thorgunna, who bore him a son, Thorgils.

In the Saga of the Greenlanders, several further expeditions of Leif’s children are detailed.

In both sagas, conflicts between the Vikings and the indigenous people of Vinland are described. It is these conflicts that lead to the Norsemen abandoning their travels to Vinland and returning home to Greenland.

None of the sagas appear to mention Leif’s later life or his death. This means that Netflix will definitely have some creative license when it comes to dealing with his later years.

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

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