The reveal of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has everyone buzzing. Not only is it the follow-up to the brilliant Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (which may eventually be seen as the title that helped revive and revolutionize this franchise) but it will clearly lean heavily on the fascinating era of Vikings and Norse mythology.
The more you dive into the details of the time period we see in Valhalla‘s first trailer, the more you understand why fans have been asking for a Viking Assassin’s Creed game for years. This was a time when some of history’s most renowned warriors were waging war against the world’s greatest empires. It was a time of gods and man. It’s perfect for this series, and there are more than a few historical (and mythological) characters we’d love to see featured in the game.
Before we dive into that, though, we need to lay down two important pieces of criteria. First off, it looks like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will cover the Viking invasion of England which primarily took place between 865 and 878. As such, most of the characters we mention were active in some way during the rough time period between the years 800 and 900. Second, we’re not covering characters such as Odin who were clearly featured in the game’s debut trailer and therefore are essentially guaranteed to be in the game.
Ragnar Lodbrok is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating Vikings of the era that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla seemingly takes place during.
Much of what we know about Lodrbrok seems to be a combination of myth and history. It’s even been suggested that he may even be an entirely mythical character created by the enemies of the Vikings in an attempt to explain the success of the Viking armies. What we can tell you is that most accounts portray him as one of the most successful, feared, and beloved conquerors in Viking history. Legend has it that he died when King Aelle of Northumbria had him thrown into a pit of vipers.
More importantly, at least for our purposes, Lodbrok is referenced as the father of many of the commanders who led the great assault on the English we see referenced in the debut Assassin’s Creed Valhalla trailer.
Halfdan Ranarsson was one of the leading commanders of the Great Heathen Army that invaded England in 865 and a son of Ragnar Lodbrok. As such, there’s a strong chance he’ll be featured heavily in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
We certainly hope that is the case. Not only is Ragnarsson a historically important character (he was even named the first Viking King of Northumbria), but his tireless efforts to conquer the British resulted in some of the Viking army’s bloodiest victories and defeats. He was on the frontlines of many of the battles that we’ll probably see in Assassin’s Creed.
Ivar the Boneless
The story of Ivar the Boneless‘ (the youngest son of Ragnar Lodbrok) strange nickname is quite fascinating. Some attribute it to weak bones that he was cursed with as a result of consummating his marriage too soon. Others say it’s actually a cute way to say that he suffered from impotence. Many seem to agree that he simply suffered from a physical disability. Ultimately, though, there is still some debate about how he got the name or whether it really means anything at all.
What we do know is that Ivar was considered to be one of the great Viking strategists of his era. It also seems that many legends suggest that his apparent physical shortcomings may have led to him serving as more of a strategist than a renowned warrior (though there are many accounts of him actively serving on the battlefield). He is often referred to as the primary military leader of the Great Heathen Army.
Like so many historical Vikings of this era, what we know of Ubba (another of Ragnar Lobrok’s sons) seems to be a combination of mythology and history. Ubba is certainly referenced in some of the historical accounts of the Great Heathen Army’s invasion, but the tales of some of his deeds are so great that some have doubted their authenticity.
Regardless, Ubba is often portrayed as the ultimate Viking warrior. He was an absolutely fearless and ruthless individual who would reportedly take babies from their mothers and execute them on the spot in order to ensure nobody dared challenge him and his raiders. While it’s sometimes hard to separate the exaggerations in these instances, we imagine you don’t earn that reputation if you were typically a diplomatic individual.
While Guthrum is certainly one of the more interesting leaders of the Viking wars against England due to his successes (he conquered various kingdoms in Mercia and Northumbria), he is perhaps best known due to the circumstances of his defeat at the hands of King Alfred of Wessex.
After being thoroughly defeated by Alfred at the Battle of Edington, Guthrum accepted a term of surrender that required him to not only be baptized but to accept Alfred as his adoptive father. Yes, the King of Wessex essentially made Guthrum call him daddy before he’d let him surrender. Now that’s pretty hardcore.
In life, Sigurd Eysteinsson was a conqueror and leader of great renown. However, the circumstances of his death are so bizarre and hilarious that we’re officially begging to see them recreated in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Basically, Sigurd decapitated a nobleman named Máel Brigte of Moray and decided to attach the nobleman’s head to the side of his horse (as was his style at the time). While Sigurd was riding his horse, the head must have flown up at one point and Sigurd was scratched by the nobleman’s tooth. He later died of the infection from that scratch. Isn’t that ironic? Don’t you think?
Odda, Ealdorman of Devon
While it’s certainly true that we know much more about the individual Vikings of military renown at the time of the Great Heathen Army, there is at least one member of the other side that we feel is worth exploring in Valhalla.
Odda, Ealdorman of Devon was among the many who were forced to side with either Guthrum and his invading army or Alfred. At a time when siding with the Vikings looked like the winning play, Odda remained loyal to Alfred and helped turn the tide in Alfred’s favor. Actually, Odda is believed to have led an army that consisted mostly of peasants and still managed to hold off a vicious Viking attack and counter with a surprise attack of his own. Some have suggested he was even the one who killed the great Ubba.
We probably don’t have to elaborate on who Thor is given his many, many appearances in notable pieces of pop culture over the years. However, it would be interesting to see how the Assassin’s Creed team would choose to use Thor in this game.
Would he be a physical being who turns the tides of battle with his power? Would he be worshiped more as a deity or idea? It all goes back to just how much of a role the gods will play in Valhalla and whether or not the game will treat them like the mythological figures of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Again, we’re guessing we don’t have to dive too deeply into the history and characterization of Loki. This well-known trickster has been a pop culture staple for as long as creators have needed to reference a god of mischief.
Just like Thor, though, we’re really curious to see how Loki would fit into the world of Valhalla which seems to be slightly more grounded than Odyssey. We love the idea of Loki making a small cameo (likely in disguise) as the quest giver behind some entertaining adventures.
While it sometimes feels like the famous Valkyries are referred to more as a group than as individuals, there are some infamous Valkyries who have considerable lore and history of their own.
That’s especially true of the legendary Brunhild who has become something of a poster child for Valkyries in modern pop culture. We suspect she may play a similar role here as one of the front-facing Valkyries who help lead fallen Viking warriors to Valhalla.
The term “Norns” generally refers to a group of goddesses who preside over the fate of all who believe in them, but some versions of Norse mythology highlight three Norns (sometimes referred to as The Three Fates) who specifically represent the past, present, and future.
Such characters tend to be popular in various mythological tales, but we’re especially intrigued to see a recreation of a popular version of The Norns which suggests they looked like fairly common women who happened to possess this great power. You could do some fascinating things with these characters in Valhalla.
Many know the story of Valhalla itself (a great hall presided over by Odin which fallen warriors hope to enter in death), but did you know that Norse legend says only half of the fallen warriors go to Valhalla? The other half go to a great field presided over by the goddess Freyja.
What’s interesting is that this other version of the warrior afterlife isn’t an example of a Heaven/Hell contrast. More often than not, it’s portrayed like two sides of the same coin. Regardless, there’s enough mystery and debate surrounding Freyja and the fields of Fólkvangr to make it worth exploring in a game that bears the Valhalla name.
Ymir is a hermaphroditic giant and one of the oldest known beings in Norse mythology. He’s the ancestor of all giants and gods and was reportedly born when the fire and ice of Niflheim combined in the bottomless abyss of Ginnungagap. Legend has it that his dead body was later used to create the cosmos.
That’s all clearly awesome, but whether or not Ymir is featured in Valhalla in any form really depends on how heavily the game wants to play with mythology and whether or not the writers are really willing to get weird with it in order to incorporate such an ancient being into the story.
First off, Vidar (or Víðarr) is known in Norse mythology as the god of vengeance. God of vengeance is always a pretty badass title, so that alone makes him worthy of potential inclusion in Valhalla.
Again, if the next Assassin’s Creed ends up diving deeply into the mythological side of things, it’d be great to see Vidar’s legendary battle against Fenrir. We’d also be fine with seeing him appear in a vision when one of our heroes goes on a quest for vengeance.
Bragi, the god of poetry, isn’t like so many of the other gods we typically associate with Norse mythology and Vikings who deal with death and destruction. However, that’s part of what makes him so interesting.
We love the idea of Bragi serving as some kind of great overseer who tells the tales of our deeds in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. You could either have him directly be in the game or use him in a kind of meta sense in order to explain mechanics such as game saves.