Vikings Valhalla: Does Queen Emma Marry Harold Harefoot?

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

The fight for the throne gets cutthroat in Netflix’s ‘Vikings: Valhalla,’ especially as King Canute’s successors line up to claim themselves as the next king. The third season focuses on this growing conflict as Canute’s sons from his first marriage, his children from his second marriage with Emma, and Emma’s children from her first marriage with Aethelred all vie for the crown. Things are calmer as long as Canute is alive, but once he dies, all hell breaks loose, and everyone begins to make their move. The first one to do so is Harold Harefoot, backed by Godwin. At first glance, this makes it look like Emma and her sons are completely out of the picture. However, underestimating her is a grievous mistake. SPOILERS AHEAD

Queen Emma Has a Few Tricks Up Her Sleeve

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

Over the course of the three seasons of ‘Vikings: Valhalla,’ we see several people try to become the King of England. Starting from Aethelred, we move on to his son, Edmund, and then Canute and then his sons, not to forget every other side character with even a hint of relation to the royal bloodline dreaming of getting their shot at the throne. Amidst all these people, the only constant is Queen Emma, who remains the queen no matter who sits by her side on the throne. In the end, as Harold Harefoot takes over after his father, she is still there, already making her next move.

With Canute’s failing health, Emma had thought about putting her son, Edward, on the throne. He was her eldest son from her first marriage with Aethelred. It made sense to put him on the throne because he was to be the natural successor of Aethelred after Edmund, who died in Season 1. She calls for him as soon as it becomes clear that Canute will die, but her message is lost along the way. Before Edward, Harold comes to England and declares himself king. Godwin considers this a huge success for himself, believing that he has finally bested Emma. But all she has to do to reverse the game is to walk up to Harold, take his hand, and sit next to him. Everyone, including Godwin, is confused by what happened here. Does this mean Emma is going to marry Harold now? Most likely not.

While Emma may still be young and beautiful and might be considering seducing Harold to keep him under her control, it is unlikely that she will marry Harold. Rather, it seems she will convince her stepson, who is already in awe of her, to let her be his counsel, like she served Canute and Aethelred before her. She must ensure she is in Harold’s good graces to ensure the survival of her sons and her own. Of course, she will be plotting to dethrone Harold and place one of her sons, preferably Edward, on the throne, but it won’t be easy, and knowing Emma, she is prepared for this.

Real Life Queen Emma and Harold Harefoot Were Not Married

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

Much like in ‘Vikings: Valhalla,’ real-life Harold Harefoot came to England shortly after Canute’s death and claimed the throne. For the lords of the kingdom, he was more favorable as the regent, especially since Canute’s son with Emma, Harthacanute, was supposed to take over the reins following his father’s death. However, Harold took advantage of his brother’s absence, who was already fighting a war to save Denmark and assumed full power as the king. Some accounts differ, calling him the co-ruler rather than appointed regent or king. However, everyone agrees that Emma rivaled his regent candidacy and pushed for her sons’ appointment as king.

Things may have gone down differently than what we see in the ‘Vikings: Valhalla’ finale, but Emma did stay in England and plotted to have Harold removed. She was briefly exiled but eventually returned when Harthacanute came to England with his forces to get what was rightfully his. Eventually, Harold died, and Emma got what she wanted. The path for her sons (those who remained, at least) was clear, and they became the rulers of England. Like always, Emma worked behind the scenes, wielding much more power than she’d have others believe.

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