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Why Filming Vikings: Valhalla’s Season Finale Was So ‘Incredibly Emotional’ For Star Frida Gustavsson

Freydis crying while approaching Jarl Kove in Vikings: Valhalla
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers below for the Season 1 finale of Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla, so be warned if you have not yet watched!

Throughout the course of Vikings: Valhalla’s eight-episode first season, Frida Gustavsson was put through the emotionally and physical wringer while portraying Freydís Eiríksdóttir, the battle-ready sister to Sam Corlett’s legendary Leif Erikson. The culmination of the actress’ efforts was on display in the Season 1 finale, titled “The End of the Beginning,” as Jarl Kåre’s attempts to take over Kattegat were put into motion with surprising results. While not everyone could say the same, for better or worse, Freydis was still standing by the end, though her troubles are likely far from over, given how the Vikings universe tends to play things out.

Ahead of the show’s critically appreciated debut on Netflix, CinemaBlend spoke with Vikings: Valhalla stars Frida Gustavsson and Caroline Henderson, with the latter playing the wise and practical Jarl Haakon, ruler of Kattegat. Haakon tragically suffered multiple arrow wounds as Jarl Kåre’s army attempted to breach the city walls, and died in front of her already grieving friend’s eyes, with her final message a reiteration that Freydis is the last daughter of Uppsala. It was a brief but impactful scene, and led directly into Freydis’ big fight with Kåre. When I asked Gustavsson about pivoting from heartbreak to rabid murderousness for her character’s big final scenes, she explained why they were such an emotional ordeal to film.

Yeah, I mean, that was incredible. For me, it was like the the culmination of everything that I have [experienced]. I've gone on this journey together with Freydis. I've gotten to learn, to fight, together with her, and it was like blending myself and Freydis into one person. And we shot that the same day. In the morning, we have Caroline dying in my arms. It was just incredibly emotional. I'm losing my best friend, both as Freydis but also as Frida. And then they're like, 'Great, okay, thank you, that's a season wrap on Caroline. Let's go into the great hall and fight Jarl Kåre,' and it's like - [acts motivated with anger] - with that energy and you just walking around the corner going like... He was bound to die. Whether it was in the script or not.

Freydis about to kill Jarl Kave in Vikings: Valhalla

(Image credit: Netflix)

It was nice to have that fire lit inside me. But I enjoy that with Freydis so much. He's knocking her, she's losing her teeth, she's on the ground. And she's just like, 'No. Somehow I'm going to manage to stand back up, and then I'm going to stab you in the throat and kill you.'

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.