Vikings: Valhalla Season 3, Episode 1 Explained: Siege at Syracuse, a Meeting with the Pope and a new Visitor at Jomsborg

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 11, 2024
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Stigr in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3, Episode 1 - "Seven Years Later" for recap and explained article
New arrival Stigr (played by Leander Vyvey) arrives in Jomsborg in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3, Episode 1 - "Seven Years Later" (Credit - Netflix)




Episode 1 of Season 3 is a solid opener. It introduces the key characters seven years after the events of Season 2. It sets the tone quickly for the rest of the final chapter.

Season 3 of Vikings: Valhalla, the final chapter of the series, enters with “Seven Years Later,” an apt title for Episode 1, signifying the time jump for our beloved characters. And considering it’s the opening episode, there’s plenty to discuss, from ambitious sieges to a meeting with a pope and Freydis getting extra friendly with a new visitor in Jomsborg.

It’s not a bad opening and brings a healthy continuation from Season 2. I’ve broken down the key moments from Episode 1:

Harald and Leif Assist Emperor Romanos in a Siege at Syracuse

Harald Sigurdsson in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3, Episode 1

Harald Sigurdsson played by Leo Suter in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3, Episode 1 (Credit – Netflix)

It did not take long for Season 3 to bring action relaying historical events. Harald and Leif are in Sicily, six months into the Byzantine Army’s siege of Syracuse. However, the Emperor is displeased at the siege’s progress, so Harald offers his warriors to support it. As we reach this juncture of the story, Harald still plans to return to Norway to take back his land and needs as many riches as he can acquire, so there’s a motive for needing these victories, especially when he knows of the treasures beyond the castle walls.

Muddling all this is George Maniakes, the Emperor’s main guard, who detests Harald and believes he cannot be trusted. But, we do learn that Maniakes has a hatred of the Saracens, so his distrust of the plans to siege the castle is likely coming from that; he wants blood, and blood quickly.

Harald and Leif plan a complex and rather innovative explosion to breach the castle walls as part of the siege. And it pays off, with Episode 1 ending with a great battle between Harald and Leif’s warriors and the Saracens’ army.

The third season has not held back from bringing action as soon as possible. I love how Harald and Leif are sticking to their principles; Harald is concerned with legacy, while Leif wants to gather as much knowledge as possible, concerning himself with the library beyond the walls.

King Canute travels to Rome to meet with the Pope

King Canute in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3

King Canute is not happy that he has to kiss the Pope’s ring in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3 (Credit – Netflix)

King Canute is not happy with religious proceedings. He wants things done, whether violently or aggressively, but the Pope’s Emissary is aware of who he is dealing with. Canute wants to speak to the Pope directly, but he is not allowed to, aggravating him further. The Emissary tells Canute that to get his infinite blessings, he must build 300 churches in England and name an heir.

Canute is angry, but Godwin intervenes, offering a diplomatic position and providing riches in the negotiation. This helps form common ground, but Canute detests being judged and does not like the deal with the Pope but agrees reluctantly. On the other hand, Queen Emma has other ideas—she is not happy with the bribe Godwin brought forward and asks for a different tact.

Of course, what’s interesting here is how Canute has to accept a religious power. In the past, he could get what he wanted by brute force, which could not be allowed or stood for by the Pope. It’s uniquely interesting to see a man, machined for violence, having to keep his anger at bay.

Freydis Has A New Love Love Interest

Freydis Eriksdotter in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3, Episode 1

Freydis Eriksdotter played by Frida Gustavsson in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3 (Credit – Netflix)

Throughout Season 2, the character I respected the most was Freydis. She’s an outlier who has managed to secure a domain herself, and you can tell she does what is best for her people while worshipping the old Gods with her Pagan belief system.

Freydis is still enquiring about Harald, but you can tell she’s at peace with her life in Jomsborg. However, a visitor of Jomsborg catches her eye. Stigr, a healer, arrives and is especially good at mixed martial arts and knowledge of herbs. Freydis tests the new visitor and tries fighting him, but his defensive skills usurp her, bringing a smile to her face. Stigr gains Freydis’s respect, especially when he tells her that his grandfather was a Jomsviking.

By the end of the episode, Freydis wants Stigr to teach her son Harald (from henceforth in these recaps, known as Harald II) how to fight. The romance between Freydis and Stigr grows relatively quickly as they sleep together.

The story of Freydis is the most interesting one, in my opinion, but it makes me the most anxious because there’s always a sense she’ll lose her dominion quickly if peace is threatened.

Read More Season 3 Explanations: Episode 2

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