Vikings: Valhalla continues the Viking legacy that started with the first Vikings series. While it may be a sequel series, Valhalla follows the story of entirely new historical characters that lived during the Viking Age. And one such Viking that the Netflix series heavily focuses on is Leif Eriksson, who is one of the main characters of the series. So, who is Leif Erikson from Vikings: Valhalla, and what did they get wrong about him?
Leif Eriksson is a Viking explorer who came from Greenland and was able to establish a home in Kattegat after helping King Canute in his conquest of England. However, the real Leif Eriksson is actually more of a smart adventurer and explorer who was the first to discover North America.
We are not aware why the showrunner and writers intended to make Leif Erikson one of the central characters of Vikings: Valhalla, as his historical counterpart wasn’t described to be a strong warrior and a conqueror. As such, Leif Erikson in Vikings: Valhalla might be the biggest deviation from his real historical counterpart. And you might want to continue reading if you want to understand why there is a huge difference between the Valhalla and the historical versions.
Who Is Leif Eriksson From Vikings: Valhalla?
When Vikings: Valhalla was announced, it was marketed as the sequel series to the original Vikings series that spanned for six seasons. While Valhalla isn’t a direct continuation of the events of the first Vikings series, the story of the new series happens more than a hundred years later. And its events are affected by the things that happened between the Vikings and the Saxons in England during the events of the original Vikings series.
That said, Vikings: Valhalla features a new cast of characters led by Leif Eriksson, among others. A good part of Vikings: Valhalla revolves around Leif’s story, as he is one of the most important characters in the series. But who is Leif Eriksson from Vikings: Valhalla?
Leif Eriksson, in the Vikings: Valhalla series, is a great sailor and is the son of Erik the Red. In the series, he and his sister Freydis traveled all the way from the icy and cold land called Greenland to settle in better pastures in Denmark.
However, after learning that the Danish king Canute was building an army to attack England in retaliation for what happened during the St. Brice’s Day Massacre, Leif joined the battle and proved to be very useful.
Leif Eriksson realized that London Bridge had a flawed design that the Vikings could use as an advantage during the siege of London in the middle portion of the series. He was responsible for weakening the bridge to the point that it would give in when enough weight was exerted on it.
When King Edmund was tempted to attack the Vikings, his army tried crossing the bridge, which ended up giving out. As such, the Danish attackers were able to capture the boy king and use it to their advantage to take over England.
After King Canute had completed his conquest of England while also thanking Leif Eriksson for his services, the Greenlander went to Kattegat to establish a home there with his sister Freydis and his lover Liv.
However, due to the fact that the Christian Danes hated the Pagan beliefs of the other Vikings, they attacked Kattegat, which forced Leif, Freydis, Liv, and the other Norsemen to defend their home unsuccessfully.
It is worthy to note that one of the central subplots in Leif’s story during the entire series was his resentment for his father, who was a known murderer that got exiled from Norway and Iceland because of his grave sins. He described his father as someone having a darkness that took over him in the form of his uncontrollable anger. That’s why, throughout the series, Leif struggled with the possibility that he too may have that inner darkness that his father had.
When Liv died during the attack of Olaf Haraldsson and Jarl Haakon on Kattegat, Leif’s inner darkness manifested itself when he started killing everyone in front of him near the end of season 1 of Vikings: Valhalla. As such, the final scene at the end of the series was that of Leif Eriksson letting out a primal scream in front of one of the grandsons of King Sweyn Forkbeard, who saved Kattegat before Olaf and Haakon could complete their takeover.
Who Plays Leif Eriksson In Vikings: Valhalla?
The actor responsible for portraying Leif Eriksson in Vikings: Valhalla is Sam Corlett. You may remember him as Caliban in the Netflix original series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Vikings is actually just Sam Corlett’s sixth acting job in his young acting career.
Corlett, before he started acting, studied drama in Australia for three years and went on to work on his acting with acting coach Les Chantery. His first acting job was in 2018, when he acted the role of Oscar in a short film. He subsequently acted in Pretty Face, which is another short, before making his way to the 2020 Australian Drama The Dry as one of the lead actors.
After that, Sam Corlett became a sensation when he became a heartthrob as Caliban in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. That role in the Sabrina series ultimately earned him enough attention to be given a chance at portraying Leif Eriksson.
However, Corlett almost didn’t accept the role of Leif because he believed that it was going to be a long commitment. After all, the original Vikings series ran for six seasons, and that seems to be the trajectory for Vikings: Valhalla as well.
But it was ultimately the trauma that Leif Eriksson had with his father, Erik the Red, that convinced Sam Corlett to take the role because he felt that his mother also had a similar experience when she was younger. He wanted to absolve his mother’s trauma by giving life to a character who also experienced something similar.
What Vikings: Valhalla Gets Wrong About Leif Eriksson
While Vikings: Valhalla did a great job with all of the drama and action that surrounded Leif Eriksson’s character in the series, what fans should know is that he is probably the most historically inaccurate character on the show. The series portrayal of Leif is very different from the historical accounts regarding the same character.
First of all, neither Leif nor his sister Freydis belonged to the same timeline as Sweyn’s and Canute’s invasion of England. Leif’s prime happened during the latter half of the 10th century, as he lived from 970 to 1020. Meanwhile, the invasion of England by the Danes happened during the beginning of the second millennium, and that was already near the end of Leif Eriksson’s lifespan.
Then there is the fact that the series did away with the fact that Leif Eriksson was more of a notable explorer and adventurer. The series focused more on his ability to fight and his skills as a sailor, but it is yet to explore how intelligent and wise of an explorer Leif is. As such, it becomes questionable why the exploration and discovery portions of Leif’s character were deliberately left off during the first season of Vikings: Valhalla.
In line with him being a great explorer, Leif Eriksson wasn’t described as a great warrior or conqueror. He lived his entire life as an explorer that preferred to travel the seas in search of new lands rather than to join Viking raids or to fight in a king’s war against another country.
As an explorer, the most notable discovery that the real Leif Eriksson made was the discovery of North America, which he called Vinland. However, the problem here arises when you think about how it was Ubbe in the original series that discovered North America. This is where the conflict between the two series arises as Vikings: Valhalla will have to deal with the fact that the original Vikings series already showed the discovery of North America.
It will become a huge problem for the showrunners to try to reconcile the events that happened in the original Vikings with the fact that it was actually Leif who first discovered North America and created a settlement there. The possibility is that Valhalla might explore how Leif reported his discovery of North America while Ubbe never went back home after settling in Vinland. But it could also be possible that Vikings: Valhalla will completely retcon the events of Vikings.
Then again, considering that they had already begun portraying Leif Eriksson as a great warrior instead of as an explorer, there is also a chance that the showrunners will focus more on the warrior aspect of the character instead of portraying him as an explorer. After all, people are more drawn to strong fighters than to those who excel at exploration and discovery.
There is also the fact that the show portrays Leif as having a complicated relationship with his father, Erik the Red. The series talks about how Leif has been struggling with the possibility that he too may have the same darkness that his father once had and that it was only a matter of time until his inner darkness would take over.
However, there is nothing in the historical accounts that suggest that Leif Eriksson struggled with anger management issues or that he didn’t have a good relationship with his father. In fact, Erik was supposed to accompany Leif in his discovery of Vinland, but a last-minute event caused him to deliberately stay home instead of traveling with his son.
So, with that said, Vikings: Valhalla got more things wrong than right when it comes to Leif Eriksson’s character. Probably the only thing they got right was the fact that he came from Greenland and that he had a sister named Freyda. Other than that, almost everything about the show’s portrayal of the character is historically inaccurate.