The recently debuted spin-off of the popular History TV show, Vikings, Vikings: Valhalla became a massive hit. Viewers have especially liked the portrayals of the strong women Viking warriors, who played a significant role in shaping the history of the Nordic people, in the Netflix show. Notable characters were Freydíd Eiríkdodóttir, Queen Emma of Normandy, and Jarl Estrid Haakon.
Although Jarl is a fictional character, the popularity of the show has reignited viewers’ interest in Viking history. Were the Vikings women really warriors or did the creators just use their creative liberty to create a show that is fitting in today’s society? Let’s find out.
Archeologists found remains of a women warrior
In Vikings: Valhalla gender stereotypes don’t exist; there are no conflicts over women joining the army. In fact, women served in higher rankings as well. Archeologists found evidence in a tomb in Birka, to support this. The team had assumed it to be the resting place of the male war chief.
But they were proven wrong when they ran the remains through genomic sequencing. So in Nordic history, did enjoy a higher authoritarian position.
Vikings women enjoyed more rights than European women
The Viking social setup was largely patriarchal. Men were leaders and naturally occupied higher positions in society. Given the setup, the Vikings women still had more sense of agency than their European counterparts. Apart from taking care of their households and families, the women also ventured into business. According to Elisabeth I. Ward, the women could own properties and take the place of their deceased husbands. Ward is Los Altos History Museum executive director and Norse literature scholar and Smithsonian Journeys guest lecturer.
Freydís Eiríksdóttir from Vikings Valhalla is a controversial figure in the history
A prominent figure in the Vikings lore, Freydís has two versions of her story. The Saga of Erik the Red depicts her as a fearsome fighter. On the other hand, she is a scheming betrayer in The Saga of The Greenlanders. Which version is true? Ward believes it more likely the former.
Although it is not known how many of the Viking warriors were women, there were few who definitely rose up the ranks through sheer determination. Have you streamed Vikings: Valhalla yet? What are your thoughts on the female warriors in the show? Share with us in the comments below.