The trailer of The Northman, which is set to hit theaters soon, reveals that the tagline of the movie is “conquer your fate.” Aside from the fact that we know that this is a Viking movie, we also know that this is a movie about vengeance and retribution as a boy grows into a man that’s strong enough to take back his kingdom. However, what does “conquer your fate” in The Northman mean?
“Conquer your fate” in The Northman could very well mean that Amleth is out there to show that he is the one in charge of his fate and that no seer or shaman could dictate what he should do in his life. In a sense, it might mean that he is the only one that can control his destiny.
It is interesting to see that The Northman follows a somewhat vanilla story that became the historical basis for Shakespeare’s Hamlet movie. Nevertheless, as vanilla as the plot may be, there must be something more to this movie that makes it a blockbuster. And that may be hiding in the tagline “conquer your fate.”
What Is The Northman About?
Robert Eggers was always known for being a visionary director who takes time in assessing every scene imaginable so that every frame in his films means something and has a contribution to the overall narrative and quality of the movie. We have seen this in movies like The Witch and The Lighthouse, which are two of the best movies ever directed by Eggers. And we also know that Eggers makes it a point that his films have meaningful plotlines.
This leads us to understanding the meaning of “conquer your fate,” which is the tagline of the movie. Nevertheless, understanding what this phrase means with respect to what the movie’s narrative requires that we look into what The Northman is all about.
As mentioned, Eggers isn’t shy about delivering movies that tend to be quite ambitious and visionary in terms of their plots. And that’s where some people tend to wonder about what The Northman really is all about, considering that this is a film that seems to have a vanilla story on the surface.
Basically, The Northman explores the story of Prince Amleth, who is a Danish prince that was set to inherit his father’s kingdom. However, his uncle Fjolnir mounts a successful coup that leads to Amleth’s father’s death. And this forces the child to flee from the kingdom so that he can stay away from his uncle’s wrath.
As he is seen fleeing in the trailer of the film, Amleth utters, “I will avenge you, father. I will save you, mother. I will kill you, Fjolnir.”
Fast-forward 20 years from the day he fled the kingdom, Amleth has become a fierce Viking warrior that makes a living out of raiding and fighting. However, he was reminded by The Seer about his vow two decades ago, and that very same vow was to avenge his father, save his mother, and kill his uncle Fjolnir.
This leads him to a quest that involves him returning to his home as he embarks on a personal mission to avenge the death of his father and retake his kingdom. Nevertheless, this was something that fate told him to do, as it had to take him two decades to return to his home and reclaim his kingdom. In a way, it could be possible that this isn’t something that he wanted to do but was instead forced to by fate. This is where we explore the tagline of the movie.
What Is The Meaning Of “Conquer Your Fate” In The Northman?
As mentioned, The Northman’s tagline is “conquer your fate,” as Amleth’s fate seems to be something that the movie’s narrative focuses a lot on. But what does this tagline mean in relation to what the film is all about?
When we say “conquer your fate,” this generally means that we should be able to know what we want for ourselves and that we are the ones who are in control of our own destiny. This means that no one but our own selves can dictate what our fate is, and that’s what it means to conquer our fate. But what does the phrase mean in relation to the events of The Northman?
We do know that The Northman’s Amleth escaped from his kingdom as a child while promising to his father that he would avenge him, to his mother that he would save her, and to his uncle that he would kill him. In a manner of speaking, he vowed that he would wrong the rights that his uncle did so that he could one day take his place as the king of his father’s kingdom.
Nevertheless, it did take him decades to finally return to his kingdom, and he only did so when The Seer reminded him of his promise. She told him the words “remember for who you shed your last teardrop” as a reminder of what happened long ago when he was still a child. The trailer also shows us that Willem Dafoe’s character tells Amleth, “your fate is set, and you cannot escape it.”
The things that both The Seer and Dafoe’s character said point to the belief that Amleth has a destiny that he ultimately needs to fulfill and that it has always been his fate to return to his kingdom and retake it while avenging his father’s death by killing his uncle.
Nevertheless, we have seen this vanilla plot in a lot of other movies as there have been films that have followed the same kind of narrative wherein the main character was wronged and is now on a personal quest to take back what’s rightfully theirs. This kind of plot isn’t similar to what we have seen in the previous Eggers films, which explored stories and narratives that are outside the norm.
In that regard, it could be possible that the meaning of “conquer your fate” leads to the possibility of Amleth choosing what he ultimately wants in life instead of following the path that had long been paved in front of him by fate. And this is hinted at in the trailer when one of the shaman-like characters told him, “You must choose between kindness for your kin and hate for your enemies.”
The phrase could mean that he has a choice between focusing more on his personal quest for vengeance or on becoming the leader that his people needed him to be. And we all know that a quest for vengeance isn’t always in line with what’s good for everyone because vengeance is something that’s personal.
That said, the main focus of the film might be related to Amleth assessing whether or not this quest for vengeance really is worth it when weighing the different factors that are in play. And that might be where conquering his fate becomes important because he has to know what he really wants in life and what he really should do so that he can ultimately become the master of his own destiny.