Vikings is a story primarily driven by male warriors, but that does not mean that the women are given a less important part to play. Vikings: Valhalla shows a varied storyline, also as seen by the women, who greatly influence the events of the plot. Caroline Henderson, who plays Jarl Haakon, shared how her character shaped the story.
In her interview with Screen Rant, Caroline Henderson that unlike most of the characters in the Vikings: Valhalla series, her character is "purely fictional." Yet, the character does draw inspiration from real people who lived in the era. There was considerable research put behind as her character was shaped up.
Some of the characters in Viking: Valhalla are a combination of real people with fictional qualities and tales. Caroline appreciated the team of the writers on the series along with Jed, who helped create the strong female character that Caroline portrays.
She also appreciated having gotten the chance to work with Frida Gustavsson, saying that the story brought them together so that they could bond. Their respective characters play friends on-screen, and their real-life friendship can be easily seen through their acting portrayal.
Explaining what it was like to play women of that particular era, Caroline shared that it began with finding that women like the Scandinavian women lived in the era. It includes all women ranging from leaders to fighters and maidens who made up the society then.
Bringing the women of that era into the forefront helps shed light on their struggles and their history. The actress also said that her character makes her "proud."
Frida also gave an insight into her Vikings: Valhalla character. Her character, Freydis, has a spiritual arc in the story, and the actress explains that her role was "very physical."
Explaining the personality of Freydis, she revealed that the lady is someone who is very precise with her words. She believes in actions over words and always lets her deeds speak for her. Freydis grew up in the outskirts of the influential Vikings world. Hence, she learned to manage and grow with whatever she had, hunting for food, fighting for protection, and more.
Being from a class of less-privileged people, Freydis had to struggle and fight a lot to get by each day merely for survival. Her need to live influenced how Frida Gustavsson approached the character as an actress. She brought in the movements that Feydis would have acquired as a "fighter," and a "trained survivor."
In the first season of the show,m the audience will get to see Freydis embark on a journey where she will learn to become a "fierce," "fantastic," and "capable shieldmaiden." The character is particularly close to Frida, and she says that she enjoyed enacting the lady. Later in her journey, Freydis turned towards the spiritual side.
Similarly, the men are not far from the field and have a lot of action sequences that keep them busy in the fighting arena. Sam Corlett, who plays Leif Erikson, in Vikings: Valhalla shared with Screen Rant that from the many action scenes in the series, one is his favorite. His second scene in the episode was a particular favorite, which he dedicated to his father and also called a "dynamic fight."
The stunts were managed by Richard Ryan, a stunts coordinator famous for his work in Troy and Sherlock Holmes. The stunt team was up to the challenge of a real trial by fire and made it worth a fun shooting sequence. The process of the production of the action sequence along with its forming into reality was a great experience for the actor.
Unlike Frida and Caroline's fictional characters in the series, both Sam and Leo Suter get to play real historical figures from the past age.
Explaining that they had to follow the script but also do what felt right at the moment, Suter shared that actors managed to find a balance between the two. They believed in getting acquainted with the era, the history, and the people concerned with the era to get things right and portray the characters in the best light.
It was amazing to see the history of the kings of that time, along with the Canut's invasion of England. Needless to say, the invasion and many other events shown in the series were brutal and authentic events taken from the past, showing the ugly side of history.
Still, the scripts play an important part to get the historical events right, and the actors do adhere to them to create a more "authentic world." Even if the characters do not wish to extend their own research, the scripts are written thoroughly enough to suffice.
Of course, as bloody and gore-filled the scenes were, they required immense dedication and hard work from the actors to get the fighting scenes right.
The series director, Steven Saint Leger, made sure that all the right steps were taken to ensure that the fight scenes, from the building of the armies to individual fighters, were precise and accurate. It also required them to be very conscious of all the tiny details that helped make the movie.
The plus point of the extensive research was that the actors and directors were successful in creating a standalone Vikings: Valhalla universe, which is very much a franchise on its own. Hence, if you have not yet seen the OG series, you are not obligated to watch it first to understand the newest series. The storyline is distinctly unique and understandable for new Viking initiates.