Who Was Gudbrand the Grim in Viking Wolf? Is He Based on a Real Viking?

Directed by Stig Svendsen, ‘Viking Wolf’ is a horror thriller film released on Netflix. It revolves around Thale Berg, a teenager who becomes a key witness in the murder of her classmates. However, soon Thale realizes that the events from that fateful night are slowly transforming her. The film explores the werewolf myth through Norse folklore and provides a fresh spin on the material. Its iteration of werewolves is connected to the story of Gudbrand the Grim, A Viking from the 11th century. If you are wondering whether Gudbrand the Grim in ‘Viking Wolf’ is based on an actual Viking, here is everything you need to know

Who Was Gudbrand the Grim?

‘Viking Wolf’ mostly takes place in the modern day and follows the story of Liv and Thale Berg, a mother-daughter duo dealing with the sudden emergence of a mysterious creature in their small Norwegian town. However, the film’s opening sequence is set in 1050 and introduces viewers to Gudbrand the Grim. In the movie, Gudbrand the Grim was a Viking general who undertook an expedition to Normandy in Northern France. He led a fleet of twenty ships to plunder Normandy. While looting the city, Gudbrand and his crew came across a hidden door in a dark abbey.

The door led them to the discovery of a chest that contained neither gold nor silver. Gudbrand and his men found a dog-like creature they take along with them to their homeland. However, the creature is a hound from Hell, and Gudbrand is responsible for unleashing the monster in Norway. After killing Gudbrand’s fleet, the creature escaped into the Norwegian woods and got lost in folklore. Thus, Gudbrand’s expedition to Normandy is directly responsible for the origin of the werewolf myth in Norwegian culture.

Is Gudbrand the Grim Based on a Real Viking?

Gudbrand the Grim’s story is integral to setting up the events of ‘Viking Wolf.’ The film’s title can be interpreted as originating from the creature’s travel with the Viking chieftain that led to its arrival in Norway. Therefore, the film essentially builds up Gudbrand the Grim as a part of Norse folklore. However, the character does not appear to be based on a real Viking. In Norse folklore, there is a story about a man named Gudbrand. The name comes from the Old Norse word Guðbrandr. Its literal translation means “God’s Sword.”

In the tale from Norse folklore, titled ‘Gudbrand on the Hill-side,’ Gudbrand is a farmer and not a Viking. The story revolves around Gudbrand and his wife as they deal with a chain of depressing events on their farm. Gudbrand is described as an impulsive man whose decisions often land him in trouble. The story’s primary theme is optimism and gives the message of finding good in every situation. As a result, it is evident that the Gudbrand from the folktale does not share any similarities with the film’s iteration.

A real Viking named Gudbrand is mentioned in the tales of Haakon Sigurdsson (also known as Haakon Jarl), the ruler of Norway. However, since Haakon was active in the 10th century, it is unlikely that the film’s Gudbrand is based on this particular Viking as a werewolf killed the latter. Furthermore, we could not find any record of a Viking general named Gudbrand, who operated in the 11th century. Hence, it is safe to say that Gudbrand the Grim is a fictional Viking created by the filmmakers. Nonetheless, Gudbrand’s story is a fascinating addition to the werewolf lore.

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