Now, this is one epic series.


Vikings: Valhalla, the anticipated Vikings spin-off, is currently the most-watched series on Netflix in the UK since its arrival in February.

Set 100 years after the finale of the original series, Vikings: Valhalla chronicles the adventures of legendary explorer Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett), his sister Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson), and Nordic prince Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter).

Based on a blend of history and mythology, the series features simmering tensions between the Vikings and the English royals, with the three Vikings embarking on a perilous journey that will take them across oceans and through battlefields as they fight for survival and glory.

One character that wields a vast amount of power and influence is King Canute, played by Brad Freegard, based on the iconic historical figure.

In Vikings: Valhalla, he is the respected leader of the Vikings and King of Denmark, leading the attack on England to avenge the Vikings killed at the St. Brice's Day massacre one year earlier. Following the invasion, which featured Leif executing his plan to destroy London Bridge, King Canute seizes the throne from King Edmund (Louis Davison), son of King Aethelred II (Bosco Hogan). Instead of killing Edmund, King Canute invites him to be his ally, and they reign England together.

However, who was the real King Canute?

Who is King Canute in Vikings Valhalla?

Bradley Freegard plays King Canute
Vikings: Valhalla. (L to R) Bradley Freegard as Canute in episode 104 of Vikings: Valhalla. Cr. Bernard Walsh/Netflix © 2021 Netflix

In history, the story is slightly different. King Canute was King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018, and King of Norway from 1028, ruling no less than three kingdoms, known then as the North Sea Empire. When Canute arrived in England in 1015, he took over Wessex and Northumbria, while King Edmund remained seated in London. After a bloody coup to take London, Canute and Edmund entered peace talks, with the pair coming to an agreement in which all of England north of the Thames was to belong to Canute, while the south (including London) would be kept by Edmund. It was also agreed that the throne of England would pass to Canute after Edmund's death. Within weeks of their agreement, Edmund died, and Canute took the throne as the king of the whole of England.

Though Edmund fought valiantly to defend England from a Danish invasion, he could not defeat Canute.

In Vikings: Valhalla, Edmund was murdered by Godwin (David Oakes), but historically, the circumstances surrounding his death remain unknown. In the series, Canute has left the throne after Edmund's death (as was true in real life), and fans will have to wait and see what he does as king as the drama continues.

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The original Vikings series was made for the History Channel in the US and has traditionally been broadcast on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

Vikings: Valhalla is available to stream on Netflix now. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide


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