Vikings: Valhalla season 1 – who is King Canute?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 25, 2022 (Last updated: January 18, 2023)
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Who is King Canute in Vikings: Valhalla season 1 - netflix series

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

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

Who is King Canute in Vikings: Valhalla season 1?

Like his future wife Emma of Normandy, King Canute is one of the most ambitious figures of Viking history. His wise, savvy, and ruthless measures have ensured that he is one of the defining figures of the Viking age. 

He isn’t one to be shy of sex outside of marriage, as when he marries Emma of Normandy, he is still married to Queen Aelfgifu of Denmark. As he is, as of yet, to face Queen Aelfgifu since marrying Emma, it remains to be seen how he will react to her. Throughout the first season of Vikings: Valhalla, King Canute remains strong-willed and certain that he will gain revenge for the murdered Vikings. 

What does King Canute do?

When King Canute hears about the slaughter in Danelaw, King Canute forms an army of revenge against Aethelred the Unready. During his journey, King Canute and his men camp outside of Jarl Haakan’s residence. In this stay, King Canute meets Leif and Freydis. And after Freydis brutally kills a Christian Viking, King Canute agrees to spare their lives if Leif pledges service to the upcoming battle. 

As the battle draws closer, King Canute has Leif convince him that his plans will work during the battle. Which they do, and the bridge of London gets brought down. Through that action, King Canute is able to win the battle, and defeat King Edmund. In the aftermath, King Canute prevents Harald from killing King Edmund. And instead, King Canute forms an alliance to rule alongside King Edmund. 

Soon after, King Canute forms a close relationship with Emma, and when he saves her children from Olaf’s threats, they get married. However, not long after they get married, King Canute sets sail to Denmark. Whilst King Canute is away, King Edmund intends to form a resistance against King Canute. However, it never develops as King Edmunds gets murdered by Godwin before he can act on it. And whilst King Canute is away, his father, King Sweyn, comes to rule in his place. 

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