Vikings Valhalla Season 2 Ending, Explained: Is Olaf Dead or Alive?

Taking place about a hundred years after the events of History Channel’s popular series ‘Vikings,’ Netflix’s ‘Vikings: Valhalla’ is set in a critical moment in the history of Northern Europe. In Britain, the tension between the Scandinavians and Saxons reaches a tipping point, leading to a massacre, which, in turn, leads to a Viking invasion. Meanwhile, in Scandinavia, a conflict of faith takes place between Christianity and the old Pagan religion.

In season 2, Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) becomes the leader and protector of the last bastion of her religion, whereas her brother Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett) and lover Harald Hardrada (Leo Suter) journey to Constantinople in search of their destinies. Meanwhile, Emma of Normandy (Laura Berlin) discovers what just might be the most intricate plot Godwin (David Oakes) has ever weaved. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of the second season of ‘Vikings: Valhalla.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.

Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 Recap

The second season begins sometime after the end of the first season. The show doesn’t take long to answer the cliffhanger from the first season: Leif has spared Canute’s son Svein, though he still seeks vengeance against Olaf Haraldsson (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson). Meanwhile, his sister and Harald have made their own little paradise in the forest, but Harald still wants to be the King of Norway, so he and Freydis decide to go to Kattegat and speak to Forkbeard about Canute’s promise. Unfortunately, Forkbeard has to leave for Denmark to help his son defeat his enemies. So, he makes a deal with Olaf. Forkbeard declares Svein as the King of Norway, makes Olaf his protector and advisor, and takes Olaf’s son Magnus to Denmark to force compliance. After hearing Olaf putting out a bounty on Freydis and Harald, Leif finds and warns them.

The trio subsequently encounters a man named Jorundr, whom Leif met earlier. Jorundr reveals himself as a Jomsviking or pirate and promises Freydis, Harald, and Leif to take them to Jomsborg, Pomerania, where people freely practice the old faith. Seeing that Jorundr has the same tattoo as the Seer, Freydis decides to accompany him, while Harald and Leif head to Novgorod to ask the former’s uncle, Yaroslav the Wise, for an army to invade Norway. This is the last time Freydis sees both Harald and Leif in the season, and she doesn’t tell Harald that she is pregnant with his child.

Although Harald and Leif reach Novgorod safely, Yaroslav declines to help his nephew. He already has enough problems with the nomadic Pechenegs; he does not need to draw the ire of Canute the Great. Eventually, Harald is hired by Lord Vitomir of Chude for a journey to Constantinople. After some introspection, Leif joins his old friend in the journey, along with an Arabian scholar named Mariam (Hayat Kamille).

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

In Jomsborg, Freydis becomes the priestess of the temple and notices the discrimination meted out against the refugees. A conflict develops between her and Lord Harekr (Bradley James), the settlement’s leader. Harekr massacres the refugees and takes Freydis’ newborn son, whom she names after his father, from her. The other residents of Jomsborg later stone Harekr to death when he tries to kill a weakened Freydis after defeating her in a fight.

Meanwhile, in Britain, Godwin seemingly saves Emma from an assassination attempt and arrests the man responsible, who turns out to be the half-brother of Aelfwynn, one of Emma’s lady-in-waiting. When Emma learns that a ruthless and ambitious man like Godwin wants to marry a penniless woman like Aelfwynn, she realizes Godwin is planning something.

In season 2 episode 8, titled ‘The Reckoning,’ Harald and Leif discover the exact nature of the treasure they have transported to Constantinople. Freydis must fight a battle for her people’s survival. Canute arranges a wedding between Godwin and his niece, Gytha.

Vikings: Valhalla Season 2: Is Olaf Dead or Alive?

Yes, Olaf is dead. After visiting Novgorod and learning about his brother and Leif’s journey to Constantinople, Olaf is blessed by the local Christian priest for his crusade against the Pagans. He comes to believe that it is his religious duty to destroy Jomsborg and erase the Pagan faith from the world. The problem is that the Jomsvikings are an elusive group of people, and no outsider knows about Jomsborg.

Olaf and his people find Jorundr, who lost his hand and was exiled by Harekr after being falsely accused of killing Freydis. Jorundr agrees to help Olaf, not knowing that Harekr is dead, and Freydis now leads Jomsborg. He sacrifices his life to protect the settlement when he finds this out. Freydis lures Olaf with a false sense of safety before burning his ships and men with oil and driving a spear through him. Afterward, Freydis takes Svein back to his mother in Kattegat and receives a promise of peace in exchange.

What Treasure Do Leif and Harald Deliver to Constantinople?

When Vitomir recruits Harald for the journey, the latter is told that they are transporting something extremely valuable meant for the Byzantine Emperor himself. Harald initially thinks it’s the necklace that Vitomir’s daughter, Eleana, always wears around her neck. The necklace is indeed priceless, but it was given to Vitomir to denote that he has something extremely important for the Emperor himself.

In the season 2 finale, it is revealed that Eleana is supposed to be that important treasure Vitomir hired Harald for. Vitomir arranged a marriage between his daughter and Emperor Romanos, and by delivering Eleana safely to Constantinople, Harald secures the Emperor’s gratitude. The problem is that Harald has started to develop feelings for the would-be Empress, and these feelings are seemingly reciprocated. They have survived a harrowing journey together, which has brought them close in more ways than one.

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

By the end of the second season, Harald has secured himself a strong ally in the Emperor, arguably the only man in Europe who can help him against Canute. However, he can potentially lose all the favor he has earned, along with his life, if he decides to pursue a secret relationship with Eleana, which is hinted at the end of the second season.

Was Godwin Planning to Marry Gytha All Along?

After the attempt on her life, Emma notices Aelfwynn becoming visibly shaken after seeing the would-be killer’s face. The Queen later learns that the man is Aelfwynn’s half-brother. After Aelfwynn confesses about her relationship with Godwin, Emma begins to suspect that Godwin is involved in the assassination attempt. She orders to have Aelfwynn tortured to know what the other woman knows about this but learns nothing except that Godwin wants his son to be a king. Aelfwynn dies because of the torture, claiming Godwin loves her until her last breath.

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

Troubled by Aelfwynn’s death and her role in it, Emma continues to investigate, eventually realizing that Godwin orchestrated the assassination attempt. However, it is always supposed to fail, as it was only meant to win favors from Canute. When Emma returns to London, she finds that Canute is back from Denmark. After learning what has happened, Canute has his niece Gytha married to Godwin.

Of everything that Godwin told Aelfwynn, he was being honest at least once: he does want his son to become a king. But a child with Aelfwynn, who has neither the money nor familial connections, can never be that. Gytha, on the other hand, can give him access to both in Canute’s court. So, yes, Godwin was planning to marry Gytha all along. He knew that if he made Emma kill Aelfwynn, he would be offered Gytha’s hand in marriage as recompense.

What Does Emma Give Gytha for Her Wedding?

As Godwin and Gytha prepare to consummate their marriage, the former discovers that Emma has gifted Gytha a very special ring, which now hangs from Gytha’s neck on a necklace. Emma also told Gytha never to take it off. That ring belongs to a man named John Fletcher. After his father’s imprisonment, Godwin was brought up by Fletcher, who, as Emma discovers, also arranged the attempt on Emma’s life. When Emma finally tracks him down, Fletcher is already dead. Although there is no sign of any foul play, Emma deduces that Godwin is responsible for this as well.

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

Emma gives the ring to Gytha and instructs her never to take it off because she wants Godwin to be always aware that she knows where he came from and what he did. Even though he now effectively has become a part of her family, Emma wants Godwin to know that she will never trust him.

In Mariam Dead or Alive? What Is the Key For?

Image Credit: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

In season 1, Leif’s first love, Liv, is killed, and he hallucinates about her early in season 2. At one point, he takes opium to deal with the grief and nearly dies. In season 2, he becomes romantically involved with Mariam, despite knowing she has a terminal disease. He promises to take her to Constantinople, and she teaches him language, mathematics, and astronomy during the journey. Mariam eventually dies at the Pontic Olbia but not before she gives Leif the key to her home in Constantinople. Her life work is in that house, and she knows that the books and scrolls there will help Leif find his destiny.

Read More: What Year Does Vikings: Valhalla Take Place? Where Is It Set?