‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 3, Episode 7 Explained: The Great Escapes

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 11, 2024
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Empress Zoe has no choice but to marry George Maniakes in 'Vikings: Valhalla' Season 3, Episode 7 - "Hardrada" (Credit - Netflix)




A mature penultimate chapter that begins to tie up loose ends as the series reaches its final conclusion.

Considering this is the penultimate chapter of the final season of Vikings: Valhalla, there’s not much action, but there are a couple of great escapes. Season 3, Episode 7 is a warm-up to what should be a grand finale in what I feel has been a good sequel series to Vikings. Freydis, Canute, and Harald have work to do in “Hardrada” (historical definition: Harald Sigurdsson).

I have broken down all the key points and analyzed them in this digestible recap.

Freydis challenges her father and escapes

Freydis (L) and her father, Erik the Red (R), fight in ‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 3, Episode 7 (Credit – Netflix)

It does not matter if you are a bloodline. In circumstances that involve land and resources, even father and daughter can battle. The traders arrive in Greenland, and Aki’s body has been found dead in the ocean. Erik denies all involvement, but Freydis is done with being polite as she knows her father is lying about the missing boat and Aki’s death.

Freydis challenges Erik to a trial by combat, and she manages to get him into a submission position. But then the trickster reveals that he has kidnapped her son, Harald II. He blackmails her: if he is safe, her son will be.

So, Freydis is left a hostage by her father. Luckily, Stigr finds information about Harald II’s whereabouts, and her mother frees her. Freydis’ adventure changes course again as she makes herself a stowaway with the traders heading to Kattegat.

Season 3 is tying everyone’s stories together, with Freydis en route to finally be reunited with Leif.

Lord Magnus goes to extreme lengths to claim Olaf Haraldsson’s body

Lord Magnus in Vikings: Valhalla Season 3

Lord Magnus (Credit – Netflix)

Lord Magnus almost disappeared from the story since Freydis left him stranded in Jomsborg; however, he returns in Episode 7 of Season 3. In a moment of madness, Magnus kills one of his men, brutally beats his face so he is not recognizable, and declares that the dead body is Olaf and that it has not decomposed, marking it a second miracle, much to the horror of the bishop. He asks for his father to be sainted.

This was a desperate moment for Magnus, but luckily Leif could smell bullshit. When Lord Magnus arrives in Kattegat and claims his father’s remains have not yet decomposed, Leif detects lies, having been in Jomsborg himself. Leif wants to see Olaf’s body, but the bishop, who is scared of Magnus, tells him that rules prevent him from seeing the miracle.

But later on, Leif confronts the bishop privately and gets the truth: Jomsborg was devasted by Magnus, and Leif may be dead from poison. The bishop calls Magnus the devil.

This sets up a great conclusive story for the Season 3 finale.

Canute declares a successor

King Canute (middle) decides his successor in the penultimate episode of ‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Season 3 (Credit – Netflix)

Maybe it’s naivety or the softness of old age, but seeing King Canute trying to name his successor with his death coming may seem noble, but there’s an air of delusion surrounding it. Everyone is thirsty for power.

Before he names his successor, he asks Leif, who has met many rulers, what are the two key strengths of a king — Leif replies with “Strength and Intelligence,” which becomes the basis of his assessment as he looks to his sons at dinner.

The dinner briefly turns to madness as Harefoot and Edward attempt to fight each other, believing that they should be the next king. This only proves Canute’s point about what will happen once he is dead.

And so, King Canute announces his decisions on his successor:

  • Young Harthacanute will go to Denmark and be king.
  • Prince Edward and Alfred will return to Normandy to continue their work.
  • Hareful will be Harthacanute’s regent in Denmark.
  • There will be no “king of England”. Queen Emma will rule England.

Of course, there’s a surprise, and afterward, in private, Godwin tells Harefoot that when Canute dies, his opinion will become irrelevant. Also, Queen Emma tells Edward that he will someday become King of England.

Despite the story leaning to many betrayals on its way, the end of Canute’s reign has been marked with brilliant drama.

Harald proves his legendary status of “Hardrada”

Harald in 'Vikings: Valhalla' Season 3, Episode 7

Harald devises a great escape in Constantinople in season 3, episode 7 (Credit – Netflix)

So, as we have established, Harald is in a sticky position after recklessly getting himself in trouble: he’s accused of killing Emperor Romanos and having an affair with Empress Zoe, with the latter being true. Harald is scheduled for execution.

Meanwhile, the smug George Maniakes offers Empress Zoe two narratives for her future: the first story is that she grieved over Emperor Romanos but then fell in love with Maniakes, who became Emperor. The second story is that the Empress was so overcome with grief that she killed herself, and Maniakes became Emperor with another wife. Of course, Empress Zoe picks the first story—she has no choice.

Anyway, it was pretty inventive how Harald escaped. In his pit, he concocted a plan where he created tools to unshackle himself from chains and enticed crows so he could attach fire embers onto them. As Harald’s execution loomed, the crows went to their respective nests around the town, causing a fire to spread.

Amongst all the panic, Harald escapes and immediately challenges George Maniakes to a fight, which is pretty incredible and has been building up since Episode 6. Without any doubt, the legend, Harald himself, defeats Maniakes, putting a spear through him. Empress Zoe is delighted at what she sees, believing that Harald will whisk her away, but he’s gone by the time she can reach him.

The fight between Harald and George Maniakes made the penultimate chapter worthwhile and sealed the third season’s reputation.

Read More Season 3 Explanations: Episode 8

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