What Happened to Canute in Vikings: Valhalla?

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One of the most important characters of Vikings: Valhalla in season 1 was King Canute, who was responsible for the entire attack on England in response to the St. Brice’s Day Massacre by King Aethelred several years before the events of the series. However, despite how important he was during the early parts of Vikings: Valhalla, he disappeared from the scenes. So, what happened to Canute in Vikings: Valhalla?

King Canute went back to Denmark so that he could defend his kingdom from the attack of the Wends, which are a Slavic group of people living in the east. As such, he allowed King Sweyn Forkbeard and Queen Emma to rule England in his place but returned during the events of Vikings: Valhalla.

The return of Canute during Vikings: Valhalla was a welcome relief for a lot of fans due to the fact that he was a very influential character in the storyline of the series. But his return also allowed Godwin’s plans to come to full fruition due to the fact that he was the final puzzle piece that was missing in his grand scheme. As such, let’s look at what happened to Canute in Vikings: Valhalla.

Is Canute Still Alive In Vikings: Valhalla?

Back in the first season of Vikings: Valhalla, one of the most important characters was King Canute. In fact, in terms of his historical importance and how vital he was to the chain of events, Canute was probably the most important Viking of the early part of the series. That’s because he was the one who called for the unity of all of the Vikings so that they could all avenge the deaths of the Vikings that were killed by King Aethelred in the St. Brice’s Day Massacre.

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As such, Canute led the charge against Edmund and the English forces. While he and the Danish army ran into some trouble during the early part of their invasion of England, especially because there was infighting among the Vikings due to their religious differences, he was eventually able to succeed in his revenge quest. This was due in large part to Leif Ericsson’s plan of weakening London Bridge.

In that regard, King Canute conquered London and proclaimed himself the new king of England, all while sparing both King Edmund and Queen Emma so that he could rule alongside them. Canute even married Queen Emma because he was so impressed by her strategic brilliance during the defense of London. Canute’s conquest of England was one of the most important events during the early part of Vikings: Valhalla, as it appeared that he was one of the focus characters of the series.


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Nevertheless, as the series went on, Canute’s importance kind of decreased because of the fact that he had already done his part in conquering England. After marrying Queen Emma, he left England because he was told that his home country of Denmark was facing a threat from the Wends, which are a group of Slavic people that live in eastern lands that are now part of the greater country of Russia. In that regard, he needed to return home so that his people could have a leader that could help them defend the country against this threat.

Of course, Canute made sure that England was left in good hands as he not only allowed Queen Emma to rule the country in his stead but also called his father, King Sweyn Forkbeard, to oversee the things that were happening in the country that he had just conquered. As such, Forkbeard and Emma ruled England while Canute was away.

Meanwhile, during the early part of Vikings: Valhalla season 2, Canute was still nowhere to be found, all while Forkbeard was now away from England to chase off the Christian Vikings that attacked Kattegat. That meant that Queen Emma was now the sole monarch of England and was now facing threats from within her own kingdom. Of course, while Emma was worried about the threats to her life, she didn’t seem to be too worried about Canute because it was clear that her king was still alive during the events of season 2.

What Happened To Canute In Vikings: Valhalla?

As mentioned, Emma was facing threats from within her own kingdom. She faced an assassination threat that forced her to become paranoid enough to suspect everyone around her. That was when she learned that the assassin that attempted to kill her was the long-lost brother of Aelfwynn, her maid or lady-in-waiting.

During the early parts of season 2 of Vikings: Valhalla, Godwin developed a relationship with Aelfwynn and told her that he dreamt of seeing his children on the throne of England despite the fact that neither he nor she was of royal blood. Nevertheless, Godwin desired to marry Aelfwynn as it was actually convincingly clear that he loved her. Meanwhile, Aelfwynn was also in love with Godwin because he treated her nicely. Aelfwynn often boasted to Princess Gytha, the niece of Canute, about how good of a man Godwin was to her.

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Godwin and Princess Gytha

Of course, during that time, Canute was still alive because Godwin actually sent a letter to him to request his blessing for the marriage between him and Aelfwynn. Canute replied positively as he gave his blessing to the union. In that regard, King Canute was well aware of Godwin’s desire to marry Aelfwynn.

However, Emma learned late in the day that Godwin and Aelfwynn were in a relationship. That was when she thought that it was Godwin, through Aelfwynn, that sent the assassin after her because he was Aelfwynn’s brother. As such, Emma tortured Aelfwynn to extract information from her regarding Godwin’s plans because she thought that Godwin had been confiding with her his grand schemes.

Aelfwynn didn’t know anything about what Godwin was planning, as the only things that she knew were Godwin’s seemingly legitimate feelings of love for her. As such, Aelfwynn died from her wounds as Emma was seemingly left empty-handed and with feelings of guilt for the death of Godwin’s betrothed. In fact, Godwin was vocal about how he blamed the queen for Aelfwynn’s needless death, as Emma was left wondering whether or not she did the right thing when she tortured her former lady-in-waiting to death.


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Proving that he was still alive, Canute returned to England at the right time not only for Emma, who needed him for comfort but also for Godwin, who needed him to complete his grand plan. Canute successfully defended Denmark from the Wends so that he could return to his queen. Emma told Canute what happened between her and Godwin and how she was responsible for Aelfwynn’s death.

While Canute understood the paranoia that the queen experienced after there was an attempt at her life, he also told her that they needed to compensate Godwin for his loss. That was when he decided to arrange a marriage between Godwin and Princess Gytha, as he felt that it was only right to welcome him into his family after his queen was responsible for the death of his beloved.

This was all within Godwin’s plans as he knew that Canute would try to repay him for his loss by marrying him off to Gytha, who also admired Godwin because of Aelfwynn’s stories of him. As such, Canute fell right into the trap of Godwin, who was now married to a woman of royal blood and could now fulfill his dream of seeing his children sitting on the throne of England.

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