As with the original series Vikings, Vikings: Valhalla tells a fascinating story set in the Middle Ages when various monarchs and warriors vied for control of nations. In this case, the focus is on the Vikings and their attempts to conquer and rule England. The series is full of fascinating characters and great personalities, men and women doing the best they can to survive and thrive in a dangerous and precarious world.
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It’s thus especially useful to think about them in terms of likability since this often determines their fate in the world of politics.
10 Olaf Haradlsson
As one of the most important men among the Vikings, Olaf plays a key role in the action. However, though he is clearly a formidable warrior and owes at least some loyalty to his brother and family, he shows many times that he is not an especially likable person.
Thus, even though he is a Christian and should follow the rules of his own faith, he repeatedly demonstrates that he is a ruthless man that will do almost anything–and tell any lie–so long as he is able to come out ahead of others.
9 Eadric Streona
Since he is one of the most powerful people in England, it would be expected of Eadric Streona that he would want to play a key role in the defense of his own homeland. However, he refuses to help his own king at a crucial stage, and he thus demonstrates that there’s not a great deal to like about him.
The only thing that he seems to care about is his own personal destiny, but he soon finds that his lack of likability can be very costly when dealing with the Vikings.
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There are many intelligent characters in this series, and Earl Godwin is one of those, showing time and again that he has what it takes to survive in the cutthroat world of medieval politics.
However, it also has to be said that he can be a very cold person at times, and he is another of those who shows that he can switch sides when the time comes. However, given that his own father endured political ruin, his lack of likability is at least somewhat understandable.
There have been many great fictional monarchs on television, but it has to be said that Edmund is unlikely to be one of these. Though he inherits a precarious situation in England, he shows that he doesn’t have a strong leadership style that would be required to defeat the Vikings.
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Just as importantly, he also shows that he is not an especially likable character, since he has a petulant and impulsive nature that leads him to alienate those that he should be trying to win over.
Canute is one of the series’ bravest characters, and he shows that he has the sort of political and military acumen of which leaders in this world are made.
However, though he can at times be ruthless when it comes to the pursuit of his ambitions–including to take the throne of England for himself–he also shows that he is, at heart, an honorable man who takes the position seriously, demonstrating that he should be regarded as one of this series’ most likable and sympathetic characters.
Many great queens have appeared in movies and TV, women who were determined to seize their own destiny. Emma of Normandy is certainly one of these, as she shows that she has a political skill that is the match of any man.
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While there are times when she can be a bit cold, for the most part she is a likable character, largely because she seems to genuinely care about the running of the kingdom and making sure that the people of England are ruled by someone who has their best interests at heart.
Though he is one of the youngest of the main Viking characters, Harald is still someone who has an unmistakable charm. He’s the type of hero that is very common in this series, a formidable warrior who isn’t afraid to go into battle against almost anyone.
At the same time, he also shows that he values loyalty, and the bond that he forges with Leif Erickson is sure to be seen as one of the best friendships in the Vikings franchise.
The women of Vikings are formidable, and their presence shows that these warlike people gave women opportunities to flourish that they might have had in other cultures. Haakon is one of this particular series’ best characters.
She is someone who values loyalty and justice, and she is clearly the type of ruler that is the envy of the other Vikings. As a result, it’s impossible to dislike her, especially since she takes those who are seemingly weaker under her wing (including and especially Freydis).
Leif Erickson’s sister Freydis is another powerful female character. From the moment that she appears, she makes it clear that she isn’t going to let anything or anyone stand in the way of her pursuit of justice.
Just as importantly, she also shows that she has a great deal of compassion and understanding for those that she loves, whether that is Leif or her friends. Her loyalty to the old gods of her people is yet another indication that she will follow her principles rather than the expediency of the moment.
1 Leif Erickson
Leif Erickson is, of course, one of the most famous Vikings in history, and his name is synonymous with these ancient people. In the series, his intelligence is matched by his charisma. He’s the type of warrior that others are destined to follow, as he shows time and again.
What makes him an especially likable and appealing character, however, is the fact that never displays the sort of arrogance and hubris that one might expect from a warrior of his standing. The fact that he is able and willing to question his own beliefs helps add to his appeal.
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About The Author
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Thomas J. West III earned a PhD in film and screen studies from Syracuse University in 2018. His writing on film, TV, and popular culture has appeared in Screenology, FanFare, Primetimer, Cinemania, and in a number of scholarly journals and edited collections. He co-hosts the Queens of the B’s podcast with Mark Muster and writes a regular newsletter, Omnivorous, on Substack.
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