Who Is King Edmund From Vikings: Valhalla? (& What They Got Wrong About Him)

Like the original Vikings series, Vikings: Valhalla is a tale that is based on historical events that happened long ago in real life. That means that the characters of this series are also based on real-life people that existed during that era. One such character that plays a prominent role during the beginning of the series is Edmund. But who is King Edmund from Vikings: Valhalla, and what did they get wrong about him?

King Edmund was the English king that led the Saxons in their resistance against King Canute’s attacks on England during the series. But what they got wrong about him was that he led a revolt against his father in real life and was not a childish boy but was a brave king who resisted the Danish.

The thing that people need to know when watching historical drama shows like Vikings: Valhalla is that the showrunners and writers are given leeway when it comes to how they want to portray the characters. While King Edmund may have existed as a real person long ago, a lot of the things about him in the series weren’t totally accurate. That’s why we are here to talk about this character and what the series got wrong about him.

Who Is King Edmund From Vikings: Valhalla?

One of the central themes surrounding Vikings: Valhalla is the quest for vengeance. The Danish king, Canute, invaded England with a huge army of Norsemen in an attempt to take revenge on his people for what King Aethelred did to the Danes on England during the St. Brice’s Day Massacre.

RELATED: The St. Brice’s Day Massacre In Vikings: Valhalla Explained (True Story)

However, during the series, King Aethelred died due to old age, with his son Prince Edmund by his side as he passed away. Edmund was eventually proclaimed king by the Englishmen in the middle of an impending Viking invasion from King Canute of Denmark. The series portrayed Edmund as a boy king that wasn’t ready to lead England but had no choice in the matter because he was the heir to the throne.

While preparing to ascend to the throne and readying himself and the army for the attack from the Danes, King Edmund was portrayed as a childish boy who thought that he was invincible, a trait that is quite common among younger people who are yet to experience the harshness of reality.

But as prepared as King Edmund and his army may have been, they eventually couldn’t resist well enough against the army of Norsemen that King Canute brought to the island. The English capital of London eventually fell to King Canute’s forces, as the Saxons were forced to accept the Danish king as their new ruler.

However, King Edmund wasn’t killed then and there by the Danes. Instead, Canute thought that it was the right political choice to spare the boy king and use him as a puppet ruler by his side so that he could control the English nobles that were ruling the other parts of England. And throughout the entire time, he was seemingly conspiring with Godwin and the other nobles to overthrow the Danish rule so that England would once again return to the Englishmen.

But due to Godwin’s betrayal of his king, Edmund was murdered by his most trusted adviser at the tail end of the series. Godwin set up a trap that forced Edmund’s horse to stumble after he had met with the other English nobles to plot against the rule of the Danes, particularly King Sweyn Forkbeard, who ruled England while Canute was away. As Edmund was lying on the ground, Godwin killed the boy king right then and there.

Who Plays King Edmund In Vikings: Valhalla?

King Edmund in Vikings: Valhalla is portrayed by Louis Davison. Despite being in his early 20s, he looks comparatively younger than his age would suggest. And those who think that he is familiar should know that he broke into the scenes as Victor in the 2016 movie by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. He didn’t have a lot of screen time in that movie, but it did help Davison earn more roles.

Davison continued to appear in different acting roles, as he appeared in the BBC historical drama entitled Poldark. He made an appearance in the fourth season of the series as an older version of Geoffrey Charles.

What Vikings: Valhalla Gets Wrong About King Edmund

Even though a good part of the things that Vikings: Valhalla allowed us to see about King Edmund was correct (such as being the king that resisted Canute’s attacks on England), there were also a lot of things that the series got wrong about him.

In the series, he was portrayed as a son that was loyal to King Aethelred, as he was seen by his father’s bedside when the old king passed away. However, the history books suggest that he wasn’t the most obedient son.

History would tell us that King Sweyn Forkbeard was able to take control of England through his invasions during Aethelred’s reign. However, after fleeing from England, Aethelred returned to take it back after Sweyn’s death in 1014. Aethelred ordered the wife of a traitor to be executed. 

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

Edmund defied his father and married the widow instead because he wanted to consolidate his power in the eastern part of England. He led a revolt against his father in the hopes of becoming the ruler of England while his father was yet to solidify his hold over the country against the Danish invaders.

When Aethelred died in April of 1016, Edmund returned to London and was the de facto king that raised the city’s defenses against King Canute’s invasion. The battles between Edmund and Canute continued until they brokered a peace that divided the country between the two kings. Edmund received Wessex while Cnut took Mercia.

Edmund eventually died just seven months after assuming the throne. It is believed that he died when he received multiple stab wounds while he was relieving himself in the privy. However, there were also accounts that tell that he died due to a crossbow wound that he suffered in battle. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that he died before his reign even reached a year.

As such, you can see that there are a lot of things that the series got wrong about King Edmund. He was not the obedient son that the show made him look like, as he actually defied his father and led a revolt against him.

On top of that, Edmund was not a childish boy but was actually a brave fighter who didn’t back down against King Canute’s invasion. He resisted the Danish attacks well enough to the point that a peace settlement had to be brokered. And because of his resistance against Canute, he was called Edmund Ironside.

  • Ysmael is a self-professed geek that loves anything related to fantasy, sci-fi, video gaming, and anime. Spends his free time watching movies, TV shows and gaming, a lot.