Vikings: Valhalla season 1 – who is Earl Godwin?

By Jordan Lyon
Published: February 25, 2022 (Last updated: January 18, 2023)
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Who is Earl Godwin in Vikings: Valhalla season 1 - Netflix series

This article, “who is Earl Godwin” contains spoilers regarding Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla season 1.

Access the archive of recaps, reviews, and features for Vikings: Valhalla.

Who is Earl Godwin in Vikings: Valhalla season 1?

Earl Godwin starts the first season of Vikings: Valhalla as the chief counselor to the King of England (Aethelred the Unready). Despite the rapid change of events, Godwin proves that he is the ultimate survivor. As one of the few characters that aren’t related by blood to anyone else, he still knows how to make powerful allies. Using his ability from being born on the political fringes, he remains haunted by his late father’s mistakes. Appearing to work in ways that benefit him, he can be cruel, heartless, and deceitful.

What does Earl Godwin do?

Following the Viking’s plan for invasion, Godwin discusses plans for defense with Aethelred the Unready. As Aethelred the Unready dies, Godwin motivates Prince Edmund into believing that he is good enough to be King. Despite the initial goal to encourage Prince Edmund, now the King, he soon openly criticizes him. Going on to claim that his arrogance will be his downfall.

During the battle in episode four, Godwin attempts to alert King Edmund of the trap he has fallen into. Whilst he alerts King Edmund of the trap, King Edmund still loses the battles. And despite the deadly situation, Godwin may be faced with, he manages to prove his worth and remains a part of the kingdom. Upon the danger that Emma’s children face from Olaf, Godwin works with King Canute to rescue them.

With King Canute and King Edmund sharing the power of England, Godwin suggests that King Edmund starts a resistance. But, despite King Edmund having the nobles and power, Godwin leads him into the trap, where Godwin stabs King Edmund to death. Seemingly unaware of the schemes by Godwin, King Sweyn makes Godwin the Jarl of Wessex. And whilst Emma correctly assumes that Godwin is responsible for his stepson’s death, she doesn’t act on it (yet). Proving once again that he will grasp any opportunity, Godwin offers his support to England’s new arrival Queen Aelfgifu of Denmark.

He continues to support Queen Aelfgifu, apparently betraying Emma in the process. However, in the season finale’s closing minutes, it’s revealed that Godwin worked with King Sweyn and Emma to betray Quenn Aelfgifu and secure Emma’s role on the English throne.

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