Who is Erik Thorvaldsson (Erik the Red) In Vikings Valhalla? (& What Did They Get Wrong About Him)


It isn’t a secret that Vikings: Valhalla, just like the original Vikings series, is based on historical events that actually happened long ago in the past. That may be true, to some extent, but it can also be a bit too inaccurate in some instances as well. In that regard, one of the characters that were mentioned in Vikings: Valhalla is Erik Thorvaldsson, who may have been the same Erik in the original Vikings series. So, who is Erik Thorvaldson, and what do they get wrong about him?

Erik Thorvaldsson, also called Erik the Red, was a Norse explorer during the Viking Age and is actually the father of Leif Erikson, who is the main character of Vikings: Valhalla. Erik was never seen in Vikings: Valhalla but is said to be a murderer that Leif hated because of his penchant for murder.

One of the things that people should know about Vikings: Valhalla is that it was meant to be a dramatic way of bringing history to life without being too accurate when it comes to whether or not the events and the characters are portrayed correctly. As such, even a character like Erik Thorvaldsson, who never appeared in the series, shouldn’t be taken too seriously in context with his historical counterpart.

Who Is Erik Thorvaldsson From Vikings: Valhalla?

Vikings: Valhalla is the legacy sequel of the popular Vikings series that ran for six seasons. This time, the story takes place long after the events of the original Vikings and follows new characters that are also based on their historical counterparts. One such character is Leif Erikson, who is regarded as the main character of the series.

Throughout the series, Leif Erikson is constantly reminded by the fact that he is the son of Erik Thorvaldsson, also called Erik the Red, who committed atrocities in the past. It is no secret that Vikings and Vikings: Valhalla love talking about sons trying to live up to the reputations of their fathers, but Leif is different this time because he is actually trying to get away from his father’s shadow. So, who is Erik Thorvaldsson from Vikings: Valhalla?


When Are Vikings & Vikings: Valhalla Set? (Timeline Explained)

The truth is that Erik was never shown in Vikings: Valhalla because he is already most likely died during the events of the series. However, he is often talked about in relation to his son, especially when other Norsemen confront Leif Erikson regarding the sins and atrocities of his father. And that was what led Leif to harbor some sort of resentment towards his father throughout the series.

Erik Thorvaldsson was portrayed in the series as a legendary Viking explorer and warrior who was known for being a strong fighter and a fearless man of the seas when it comes to exploring different parts of the world.

In the series, the reason why Erik doesn’t have the best reputation is that he was banished from Norway and Iceland for murder, and that’s exactly the reason why he had to sail all the way to Greenland so that he could live and form a family there. This means that his atrocities were so grave that he had to be exiled from his former home.

According to Leif in the series, his father was someone who was filled with darkness because he seemed like someone who was possessed whenever he killed people in battle or elsewhere. Being fearless made him a ferocious warrior and a hero, but it also turned him into a complicated character. Leif couldn’t control his anger to the point that it overcame him many times throughout his lifetime.

During the series, Leif told a story about how his father took him with him to claim a lamb that someone owed him. When that man couldn’t give him the lamb because it hadn’t been born yet, Erik beat the man up in front of his family senselessly. And such a rage often took over him in war and even in normal society, as he didn’t care about hurting other people whenever he became too angry.

Throughout the season, Leif feared that he would become just like his father in the sense that there is a part of him that shares his father’s darkness. During the early part of the series, Leif seemed to have a good grip on his anger. However, in the final episode, he went on a rampage after the death of his lover and was ready to kill whoever was in front of him.

Leif Erikson in Vikings Valhalla

This made it seem like the same darkness that often took over his father was slowly manifesting itself in Leif. And that’s where the narrative regarding Leif and his relationship with Erik becomes interesting because we are left wondering whether or not he will end up just like his father.

Who Plays Erik Thorvaldsson In Vikings: Valhalla?

As mentioned, Erik Thorvaldsson was never shown onscreen in the events of Vikings: Valhalla because it is believed that he may have already died during the events of this series. However, the original Vikings series has its own version of Erik, which is believed to be based on the same Erik that Leif’s father is based on.

1. Erik is more Legend than Historical Figure

But, considering the fact that the original Vikings took place during the early part of the ninth century while the real-life Erik lived during the 10th century, it seems like the Vikings: Valhalla version of Erik the Red is closer to its historical counterpart than the original Vikings version.

What Vikings: Valhalla Gets Wrong About Erik Thorvaldsson

While Erik Thorvaldsson was never shown onscreen during the events of Vikings: Valhalla, there are still some things that the series got wrong about him in the historical sense. 

It is true that the historical version of Erik the Red was actually exiled from Norway and Iceland for his crimes of murder. However, what the series never explained is that Erik was actually the one who was responsible for establishing the first settlement in Greenland.

097 ilustracion erik1

The series also probably exaggerated Erik’s anger management issues. It might be historically correct that he was banished for his crimes, but there is nothing in the history books that suggest that he was someone whose anger often got the best of him. And while the series portrays him as someone who his son resented due to his anger, he and Leif are historically portrayed as having a good relationship.


Do You Need To Watch Vikings Before Watching Vikings: Valhalla?

In fact, as history suggests, Erik was supposed to accompany Leif in his quest to find new lands, which eventually resulted in the discovery of North America or Vinland. However, when he fell off his horse before getting on the ship, he decided to stay put because he thought that this was a bad omen. Erik eventually fell ill due to a pandemic that happened shortly after Leif left to seek Vinland.

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