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Small Details You Missed In Vikings: Valhalla Season 2

Season 2 of "Vikings: Valhalla" picks up where the first one left off, taking the characters we met in the debut season away from the familiar landscapes of Scandinavia and the British Isles while introducing new characters and aspects of European politics and trade. After the fall of Kattegat at the end of Season, 1 Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter), Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson), and Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett) are fugitives with bounties on their heads. "The whole concept of Season 2 is that we take these three heroes who are in Scandinavia and blow them out of their comfort zones," show creator Jeb Stuart told Tadum.

Like Season 1, there are plenty of epic adventures, fight scenes, and political machinations as these historical figures maneuver for leverage and power. In an interview with Looper, Stuart confirmed the major story arcs of "Vikings: Valhalla" are dictated by history, following the lives of legendary Vikings like Harald, Freydis, and Leif. However, just like "Vikings," some creative liberties are taken in order to make the story as enthralling as it possibly can be.

Season 2 of the follow-up series is immersive, epic, and exciting. Join us as we explore small details you missed that might be more important than you think. Spoilers ahead!

The start of Season 2 is the polar opposite of Season 1

Season 1 technically began with the violence of the St. Brice's Day Massacre in England, but the story hastened on to the Viking response to the mass murder carried out by the King of England. Leif and Freydis arrive from Greenland and meet Harald in Kattegat, where they form an alliance. In a reversal of Season 1, Season 2 begins with Freydis saying goodbye to Harald and Leif at the end of the first episode.

Freydis' guilt over abandoning the people of Kattegat at the end of Season 1 when she fled with Harald, combined with the knowledge that she is expecting her first child, pushes Freydis to look for a safe place to have her baby and reunite with the Vikings who worship the old gods. When Freydis sees the pattern that the Old One showed her on the arm of Jorundr, she believes it is a sign from the gods to join him, taking her place as The Keeper of the Faith.

Freydis sets sail to Jomsborg with the Jomsvikings to reunite with the Pagan refugees displaced by Olaf's Christian reign of terror. Our three main characters separating after spending Season 1 working together toward their common goals suggests Freydis' life path diverges from Harald's here. Freydis is now focused on spiritual pursuits, while Harald is still driven by a need to consolidate his power and become the King of Norway.

Freydis is allowed to keep her weapon in Jomsborg

In Episode 2, Freydis arrives in Jomsborg and Jorundr's uncle Harekr (the leader of Jomsborg) welcomes her with open arms. Freydis is allowed to keep her weapon, train with the Joms warriors, and live within the village walls as their new priestess. But, when Freydis welcomes her first boatload of Pagan refugees in Episode 3, she notices the refugees must turn in their weapons when they arrive and live outside the safety of the village walls, where they work making weapons for the Jomsvikings to use in their fight against Olaf's Christian threat.

Freydis soon begins to question why the refugees are treated differently. This is the first clue that something isn't right in Jomsborg. As Season 2 develops, it becomes clear that just because Harekr is a Pagan doesn't mean he is a benevolent leader. Harekr proves to have ulterior motives in welcoming Freydis and the refugees to Jomsborg. He wants to use Freydis' status as The Keeper of the Faith to legitimize Jomsborg in the eyes of Pagan refugees while using the refugees as forced labor. Freydis' questions lead to tensions between herself and Harekr, and dissension between Jorundr, Gudrid, and Harekr.

Mariam prays to Allah

In Episode 4, we learn that Mariam, the astronomer Leif befriends in Novgorod, is a Muslim. During their voyage to Constantinople, Leif uses her astrolabe to find the direction of Mecca for Mariam's prayer rug, and she prays to Allah. It is a small detail that shows Leif and Harald are moving away from the European sphere and into a broader world. After leaving Rus, they make for Constantinople and Asia Minor, where the religious conflict is between Muslims and Christians, rather than Christians and Pagans.

Despite his grief over the death of Liv, Leif is fascinated by this scholarly woman who studies the heavens and has knowledge that he has only dreamed of. It is Mariam's need to return to Constantinople due to her poor health that inspires Leif to join Harald's ambitious journey, and Mariam opens Leif's mind to a broader world filled with other cultures and perspectives.

Aelfwynn is given her last rites

Although much of Season 2 revolves around Freydis' experiences in Jomsborg and Harald and Leif's journey from Rus to Constantinople, we also revisit London, where Season 1 began. In Episode 1, Earl Godwin stops an assassination attempt on Queen Emma of Normandy while King Canute is away fighting in Denmark. Godwin tries to discover who was involved in the plot by torturing the man who attempted to poison the queen, but she becomes frustrated with Godwin's results when the prisoner is murdered.

In Episode 4, Queen Emma learns the assassin was the brother of Aelfwynn, her lady-in-waiting. She also discovers that Aelfwynn is secretly betrothed to Godwin. After these revelations, Emma suspects Godwin was behind the murder attempt, but she can't understand why Godwin — who has proven himself to be ruthless, ambitious, and resourceful — would choose a disadvantageous marriage to Aelfwynn.

Despite Godwin's insistence on his and Aelfwynn's innocence, Queen Emma takes Aelfwynn to the dungeon for enhanced interrogation. After what happened to her brother in the dungeon, we know things won't bode well for Aelfwynn either. When she is given last rites by a priest before her questioning begins, it's obvious Aelfwynn isn't getting out of the dungeon alive.

Gudrid is the first to cast a stone

When the villagers of Jomsborg turn on Harekr, rising in defense of Freydis, Gudrid is the first to cast a stone. Although Gudrid followed Harekr's rule in Jomsborg, watching her son Jorundr get maimed and banished for the alleged murder of Freydis makes her question her actions as a mother. When Freydis arrives at the village gates, very much alive and desperate to take back her newborn son from Harekr, Gudrid realizes Harekr lied and orchestrated Jorundr's banishment.

Season 2 is less about rulers consolidating their power and the rising tensions between Pagans and Christians, and more about how power can corrupt Pagans and Christians alike. In Season 2, many of our main characters are in weakened positions, and this gives them an opportunity to see life and conflict from another perspective. Freydis feels vulnerable while pregnant, and Harekr uses her weakened condition after giving birth to steal her son.

The sophomore season of "Vikings: Valhalla" concentrates on the powerless taking down tormentors and tyrants. We see this in Jomsborg when the villagers rally around Freydis as she confronts Harekr. We also see this theme when the three enslaved women traveling to Constantinople with Harald and Leif murder their captor in Episode 5. Everyone on the voyage despises Gestr, so when the young women attack him, nobody stops them from winning their freedom.

Godwin's father's ring

After Aelfwynn's death, the camera repeatedly focuses on Earl Godwin's hands and his ring. This repetitive action emphasizes the importance of a ring in the investigation into the attempt on Queen Emma's life in Episode 1. In Episode 3, Godwin tells Aelfwynn nothing is left from his life in Sussex because they took away everything when his father was imprisoned. All that was left was his dad's ring, which he gave away when he left Sussex.

In Episode 3, before she dies, Aelfwynn tells Queen Emma that Godwin gave away his father's ring, and that he dreams of having a son who will be king. This information leads Queen Emma to Sussex, where she learns that Godwin's guardian was known as The Bear, a name that has come up repeatedly during the investigation. When Emma finds The Bear dead, he has Godwin's father's ring. This confirms Emma's suspicion that Godwin was involved in the attempt on her life, arranging for The Bear to hire the assassin.

In Episode 8, after Godwin's wedding to King Canute's niece, the Viking princess Gytha, Queen Emma gives the princess a wedding gift — Godwin's father's ring. Godwin now knows Emma believes he was behind the plot to kill her. At the end of Season 2, it is unclear if King Canute arranged for Godwin to marry his niece to keep his enemy close, or if Canute believes Emma is paranoid.