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Vikings: Valhalla's David Oakes Teases Godwin's Character Arc - Exclusive

Just like in real life, stories also sometimes have individuals that come out of nowhere and become central figures. In Netflix's historical drama "Vikings: Valhalla," David Oakes' characterization of Earl Godwin is just such a person. When we first meet Godwin he is an advisor to English King Aethelred II (Bosco Hogan) and his son, Prince Edmund (Louis Davison). But although he plays an important background role in court, there's no hint that Godwin could become something more, especially because others are constantly dismissing him due to his disgraced father. But, when Edmund ascends to the throne and a Viking army descends on England in the hopes of taking the kingdom for themselves, Godwin suddenly proves his ability to adapt to any situation.

Godwin was a real historical figure, and in "Vikings: Valhalla" he becomes the ultimate political operator, expertly navigating the ebbs and flows of the situation in England with wits and cunning. In an exclusive interview with Looper, Oakes discussed the historical figure and how Godwin's father serves as a motivating force for the character in "Valhalla."

Godwin in real life and on Netflix

In "Vikings: Valhalla," the character of Godwin is imagined as a shrewd survivor, but actor David Oakes pointed out that, in reality, the historical documents that are available about the time when Godwin was alive shed little light on him. As a result, it gave Oakes plenty of places to fill in the blanks of the character. "There's very little we know about Godwin's father in real life. There's also very little we know about Godwin in historical records," Oakes observed. "There's lots of mentions of him at various interesting points, but we don't quite know how he gets from point A to B to C. What we do know a lot about is where his family history goes from that point on with his son and daughter. So, that's fascinating."

Given these limitations, "Valhalla" creator Jeb Stuart took the opportunity to imagine Godwin as someone attempting to correct his father's legacy. For Oakes, that offered the motivation to fuel an intriguing character arc. "By Jeb writing in this huge amount of correction that needs to occur to repay the debt is an amazing motivator for a character arc, which is great," Oakes revealed. "Also, for almost every single character to treat him like he's useless and worthless because his father was is a really good place, narratively speaking, to start from because it means that no one's expecting anything of Godwin. And I think that will be the mistake of a lot of people in this show."

The eight-episode first season of "Vikings: Valhalla" is now streaming on Netflix.