What Happened to Jarl Estrid Haakon? How Did She Die in Vikings Valhalla?

Image Credit: Patrick Redmond/Netflix

Portrayed by Caroline Henderson, Jarl Estrid Haakon is one of the main characters in the first season of ‘Vikings: Valhalla,’ the Netflix series that serves as a sequel to the History Channel’s ‘Vikings.’ Jarl Haakon is the ruler of Kattegat, a port city that continues to be an important setting in the world of ‘Vikings.’ Hundred years have passed since the days of Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, and Bjorn Ironside, and Scandinavia has become a battleground between Christianity and the old Pagan religion. Jarl Haakon is a follower of the old faith, but her approach to leadership is much more secular. In Kattegat, people of all faiths co-exist in relative harmony, but that hasn’t stopped Jarl Haakon from collecting her share of detractors. If you are wondering what happened to her in the first season, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.

A Multicultural Hub: Kattegat Under Jarl Haakon’s Rule

According to history, Jarl Haakon is a white man. By changing the sex and race of the character, series creators got to explore the expansive aspect of the Viking Age. These people were adventurers and raiders who traversed all around Europe and well beyond. As Jarl Haakon relates to Freydis, her grandmother hails from an African aristocratic family. Her grandfather, a great Viking warrior, fell in love with her grandmother and brought her to Kattegat.

As Kattegat’s leader, Jarl Haakon is a respectable figure in Scandinavia. In her halls, even King Canute of Denmark, the leader of the Viking invasion, defers to her. After Freydis meets Jarl Haakon, she quickly comes to admire the older woman. Under her tough but able leadership, Kattegat has become a prosperous city where people belonging to different religions live alongside each other without many issues, even though the world beyond is rife with violence. When Canute prepares to invade England, he asks Jarl Haakon if he can use her port. When Freydis returns from her pilgrimage to Uppsala, she joins the ranks of Jarl Haakon’s shieldmaidens.

Ultimately, despite being an extremely competent leader who inspires loyalty in others, Jarl Haakon’s position is threatened by the likes of Olaf Haraldsson, who wants to rule over all of Norway. It’s this conflict with Olaf that leads to Jarl Haakon’s downfall.

Jarl Haakon Falls in Battle

As the leader of one of the last safe havens of the old faith, Jarl Haakon draws the ire of religious fanatics. Olaf, who has garnered notoriety for his harsh treatment of the Pagans, joins forces with Jarl Kåre, the psychotic zealot who burns down the Uppsala temple and kills the priests and devotees there. Kåre also harbors a vendetta against Freydis. Meanwhile, Olaf’s brother, Harald, returns from England and joins the fight in Kattegat’s favor.

In the penultimate episode of season 1, Harald seemingly switches sides and joins his halfbrother, but Freydis’ own brother Leif realizes that this is a ruse on Harald’s part to figure out what Olaf’s real plans are. Unfortunately, Olaf sees through Harald’s intentions and feeds him false information.

While fighting Olaf and Kåre’s forces, Jarl Haakon is shot with multiple arrows. She is subsequently brought to her Great Hall, where she perishes. Unfortunately for her enemies, they fail to hold Kattegat for long. Freydis kills Kåre, and even though Olaf takes control of the city, Canute’s father, Forkbeard, arrives, prompting Olaf to flee along with his soldiers. In season 2, Olaf is captured and brought to Forkbeard, who makes him the guardian and mentor of his grandson, taking Olaf’s son Magnus hostage to force compliance. But even this doesn’t last long. Toward the end of season 2, Freydis kills Olaf while protecting the last bastion of her faith.

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