The Northman Movie Review

Prince Amleth is enraged by his father’s death and the betrayal to blame.

The Northman Movie Review
The Northman stars Alexander Skarsgård. Source: Focus Features.

The Northman is a 2022 action-adventure movie by Focus Features about a Nordic prince who seeks to avenge his father. Prince Amleth is enraged by his father’s death and the betrayal to blame. His father is murdered when he is just a boy and just after his initiation into manhood where he partakes in the rituals of the Norse. The Northman is directed by Robert Eggers.

Faðir (Father)

Amleth, played by Alexander Skarsgård, is the son of King Aurvandill War-Raven, played by Ethan Hawke. The king comes home after being out in battle and is injured. He chooses to initiate his son and prepare him for what is to come instead of resting and healing his wounds. Amleth and his father then go on to perform the Nordic ritual and Amleth learns the ways of his ancestors. He also has a vision where he sees the Tree of Kings. Even more, his father makes him swear that if he [his father] is slain in battle, he shall avenge him.

Valholl, Nordic Valhalla

The Nords who die in battle go to Valholl. Amleth’s father teaches him that a king should die with honor in battle. The Nords believe that when one dies in battle and is a strong Viking, the gates of Valholl will open to them and they shall be carried there in a glorious horse. Therefore, when one dies, a horse is slain and laid alongside the body. In some messed-up ritual, a woman may also be sacrificed to carry or take the deceased to Valholl.

Fjölnir the Brotherless

King Aurvandill’s brother, Fjolnir, played by Claes Bang, attacks him while coming out of the ritual with Amleth. He slays the king, his unafraid and stoic brother who tells him to do it, without flinching or batting an eye. The king tells Amleth to escape and Fjolnir sends his men after him. On slaying the king, Fjolnir also attacks the village and becomes king. He kidnaps Amleth’s mother, Queen Gudrún, and Amleth escapes vowing to avenge his father, save his mother, and kill his uncle.


Amleth grows up to become a Viking who is part of a wild Viking group that raids Slavic villages. They raid a village where he overhears one of the other Vikings mentioning Fjolnir the brotherless, to whom some of the slaves are to be taken. The slaves get a mark, which Amleth also burns onto himself as he plans to go take his vengeance. Amleth swims to the boat going to Iceland, where his uncle now lives, and pretends to be a slave. Apparently, his father was slain for nothing as on Fjolnir taking over as king, the King of Norway raided their village and retook his kingdom.


Amleth also encounters a seer/seeress, played by Björk, who tells him that from the ashes of his revenge will rise a maiden king, which can be interpreted as to say a queen who will lead her people by the sword and ax.

Strong Slave

Amleth, unlike the other slaves, is strong and brute and is retained by Fjolnir along with some of the other slaves as the others are sold and discarded. He comes across as a strong slave and even saves Gunnar, Fjolnir, and his mother’s son. On kidnapping Amleth’s mother, Fjolnir has a son with her who they named Gunnar.

Olga of the Birch Forest

Amleth comes across Olga, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, one of the other slaves from the village he and the other wild Vikings raided. Olga and Amleth grow close. She is a witch and resistant to the advances of Fjolnir and his men who want to take advantage of her. She and Amleth grow close and fall in love. She helps him make Fjolnir’s life a living hell and tends to him when he gets caught while defending her from being slain by Fjolnir.

Draugr, A Blood-Hungry Sword

Amleth goes out to retrieve an ancient sword named Draugr, from a mound-dwelling revenant; after he comes across a he-witch who summons the spirit of his late father’s now-slain friend, Heimir the Fool, played by Willem Dafoe. Heimir reincarnate tells him that he has to go to the mound and retrieve the supernatural sword with which he will exact his vengeance. Amleth goes on and slays the vampire revenant. He retrieves the sword and learns that it can only work at night and is blood-hungry.