Warning: minor SPOILERS for Vikings: Walhalla.
the Vikings: Walhalla the map isn’t large and the number of places visited isn’t extensive, but it can all be a bit confusing considering the story is set a thousand years ago. The Netflix series takes place a hundred years after the events of the original vikings show and follow a new band of warriors, first beginning with their conquest to defeat England in retaliation for the St. Brice Massacre, in which countless Danes were killed by order of the King of England, Æthelred the Unready.
Much of the happenings of the real world are condensed into Vikings: Walhalla, allowing the series to use multiple people at once while streamlining the story. The way it is presented in Vikings: Walhalla season 1, King Canute of Denmark sent out a call to all Vikings to join him in his quest for revenge, but in reality it was his father, Sewyn Forkbeard, who sought revenge first . And while roughly five months to a year passed throughout the first season, it was more like 12-13 years in real life, according to historical records.
Always, Vikings: Walhalla stays true to the true story in many ways, at least as much as possible. The rest of the show’s changes can be attributed to the lack of primary source material as well as dramatic effect – both of which apply to the Vikings: Walhalla map. Many of the locations in the show are and were real, but how accurate are the locations and how accurate is the show?
Is the Kattegat real? Why it’s so important to the Vikings
Perhaps the most important place in Vikings: Walhalla is Kattegat, a stronghold in central Scandinavia that holds strategic value for all Viking rulers. In-universe, whoever controls this region can launch an invasion force virtually anywhere in the North Sea (which is why King Canute uses it as a staging ground for his campaign) – not to mention that his geographical location is advantageous against his own invasions (hence why Olaf’s plan to take control of Kattegat was based on Harald’s betrayal). Knowing all that, the fact that Kattegat is real seems too good to be true, especially since it’s never been mentioned as an important place in real life, and that’s because it’s not not real.
In reality, the Kattegat is a strait (green, above) located between modern Sweden and Denmark. It’s unclear exactly where the town of Kattegat is in the series, but it’s probably somewhere on the northeast coast of Denmark or the southwest coast of Sweden (although the latter is unlikely) , based on various discussions of Vikings and Vikings: Walhalla, although it is impossible to say for sure. Although not a city, the Kattegat was still important in the region since it was the main body of water that connected the Baltic region to the North Sea. Whoever controlled this strait could effectively establish a blockade on several countries in the region.
Where is Uppsala: Vikings: Valhalla’s History Explained
Unlike Kattegat, Uppsala is a real place (blue, above), but much of its true history is unknown. The Norse Temple is Uppsala’s main location in Vikings: Walhalla, existing somewhere in a mountainous region, while in real life it was located in the plains. Based on work from the 11th and 13th centuries, as well as archaeological finds over the years, the temple is located in what is now Gamlauppsala, just outside the town of Uppsala, about 40+ miles north of Stockholm, Sweden. Assuming the location is the same in Vikings: Walhalla, it would present a conflict with the Kattegat. The only way it would make sense is if Kattegat is in Sweden instead of Denmark, but then that begs the question of why the king of Denmark would go to Sweden first.
Interestingly, Jarl Haakon in Vikings: Walhalla calls Uppsala the “holiest site” in the Viking world, saying “everything is sacred there”, but she does not specify why. Its true significance to Scandinavian history is left aside instead of focusing on the Christian threat. Uppsala, particularly its temple, is said to be one of the oldest places in the region and where Odin lived, with Freyr also performing human sacrifices there. Historical records indicate that ruins have been discovered at Gamlauppsala, where the temple is believed to be, which supports the notion of human sacrifices to the gods, which viewers see in Vikings: Walhalla.
England of Valhalla: London, Mercia, Danelaw and other locations
The Viking stories of Kattegat and Uppsala generate the most interest as they are relatively unknown to viewers, but the locations of the English sites at Vikings: Walhalla are simpler, but still complex. The map of England has changed many times throughout history, especially from the 9th to the 12th century when various kingdoms rose and fell; however, the general locations used in Vikings: Walhalla take place in the south of the country.
The Danelaw (red): Early in the series, Vikings spread across the Danelaw were killed in the St. Brice Massacre. Although a specific location was not provided, it is presumed that the “Viking settlement” seen in the series occurs somewhere in the Danelaw region, which stretched from London to East Anglia during this time.
Kent (purple): Located southeast of London – and bordering the city’s southern border – Kent was one of the first places attacked by King Canute and his Vikings in Vikings: Walhalla.
London (blue): London in Vikings: Walhalla is where it’s always been, in the southern part of England, and centrally located between Mercia, Danelaw, and Wessex, all of which were unified under the Kingdom of England in the decades before the events of the series televised.
thank you (green): The lands of Mercia stretch from north London to the vicinity of Chester, England, and roughly from Chilbury in the west to Warwick in the east. As with the Danelaw Colony, no specific location has been given as to where the Queen of Denmark traveled to Mercia.
How Normandy Fits Into The Vikings: Valhalla’s Story (Not Just Emma)
Normandy did not play a big role in Vikings: Walhalla yet, but it may in later seasons. The Duchy of Normandy, a vassal state in the northern part of the Kingdom of France, is primarily referenced in relation to Emma of Normandy, who was married to King Æthelred of England in the early 11th century. She was a descendant – the great-granddaughter – of Rollo, one of history’s most famous Vikings, and her family ruled over the Normans in southern England. For now, she is the main link to Normandy, but England’s history shows that she will play a bigger role in the story to come.
Emma of Normandy’s brother, Richard II of Normandy, had a grandson who would become William the Conqueror, the first Norman to reign as King of England. Before that, around the time of King Canut’s death, William became Duke of Normandy in 1035, and about 30 years later he invaded England and took control of its monarchy. Since the series focuses primarily on the Vikings, this storyline may never come into play, but it would be a nice way to end the series if Emma and Normandy play bigger roles.
Next: Vikings: Valhalla – How Each Main Character Is Similar To Ragnar
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