Vikings Valhalla: The connection to real life of Frida Gustavsson’s character

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Vikings Valhalla: The connection to real life of Frida Gustavsson's character

Loosely based on the life of the real Viking king Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), the show turned Old Norse from half-remembered myths into real people. It didn’t shy away from their more violent practices (the show more or less told the disturbing truth about the execution of the Vikings’ blood eagle, for example), but it also showed them as very human, with desires, fears, romantic entanglements, beliefs. and religious doubts, and even a sense of humor.

Vikings was the most successful show in history. When it was announced in January 2019 that the upcoming sixth season would be its last, it took less than a year for Netflix to get a sequel series. In November 2019, the streaming service ordered 24 episodes of Vikings: Valhalla, which picks up from the original show, but with a major time jump.

Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla begins in the year 1002 with a “particular historical event.” The Viking attack on London Bridge led by Olaf Haraldsson (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), as glimpsed in the trailer, but historically that event didn’t take place until several years later (if it happened at all), so it’s more likely seen a little later in the season.

We often talk about how actors are “born” to play a role because of how well they give themselves to their character, but in the case of a Vikings: Valhalla actor, that could literally be true. Frida Gustavsson plays Freydis Eriksdotter in the Netflix series, the daughter of Erik the Red and the sister of Leif Eriksson. But in a strange coincidence, Gustavsson’s real-life father is also named Erik, and her real-life brother is also named Leif.

As if that wasn’t enough to make your hair stand on end, the actress’ real-life nickname is also “Freydis,” the same name as her character. Not surprisingly, she really threw herself into the role of her, reading several books to prepare, her favorite being “Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World” by J. Friðriksdóttir. Frida Gustavsson was also an accomplished horsewoman before the show, which gave her an advantage during the scenes on horseback.

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We can only hope that she’s also done some strength training alongside her equestrian training, as Frida Gustavsson’s costume is actually the heaviest of all the show’s main characters, due in part to the more than 2,700 sheets cut to hand that decorate her shieldmaiden armor.

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