It is thanks to the Viking series that King Harald gained the fame he currently enjoys. His story is now known to almost every fan of Norse mythology .
Main character of the fourth season of the Viking series, Harald is played by actor Peter Franzén who knew how to pull off the big game from his first appearance. In the series, he actually appears in 9 episodes.
Unfortunately, he is presented by the director of the series as a man who is envious of his companions and on whom luck has not smiled in love. In this article, we take stock of this character. His story, his motivations, his qualities, his weaknesses, etc. Let's discover Harald together.
Who is Harald in the Vikings series?
Harald Finehair or Harald à la Belle Chevelure is a Viking warrior and king. He is Halfdan's older brother and one of Ragnar's adversaries before he died. In the series, he is married to Astrid . Unfortunately for him, the latter is killed by Lagertha in battle.
If he dies before the end of the series, it must be recognized that, much as is the case with Ivar the Boneless, Harald I is one of the characters who have lasted the longest in the series. He does not die until the penultimate episode of the final season. And it must be said, even if he was not necessarily a saint, Harald had a rather difficult fate in the series. His whole adult life has revolved around a desire that he unfortunately could not achieve before joining the kingdom of the dead: to be loved.
Overview of King Harald's life in the Viking series
Harald was only looking for one thing. To be loved in return by a woman for whom he felt a rare attraction. In the series, the sweetheart's name is Ellisif. And since the beautiful woman saw in this young warrior only an ordinary man and unworthy to marry her, the latter had made a promise to himself to climb the ladder of power and become King of Norway . Only then would she find him worthy of marrying her.
But the story between Ellisif and Harald, which is precisely the source of the thirst for power that animated the latter throughout his life, the spectator only discovers it later, more precisely in season 4.
After being the victim of a number of betrayals and having a path strewn with pitfalls, Harald Finehair ends up becoming king as he desired. Unfortunately, it took too long to get there. Before he could achieve his goal, his sweetheart had already married another man. We can say that life has not always smiled on him.
Harald grows closer to Ragnar Lothbrok
At one point in the series, Harald goes to Kattegat, presenting as an alibi that he was going there to meet the famous Ragnar Lothbrok. In reality, he was only going to fulfill the promise he once made to Ellisif, the woman he desires to marry, to become King of Norway in order to deserve her. Indirectly, this promise meant that he was going to kill Ragnar.
To achieve his ends, the Viking warrior found no other options than to employ tricks. Instead of attacking Ragnar Lothbrok directly, he instead offers to participate in the second expedition organized by him against Paris in the company of his brother. His men are therefore added to Ragnar's manpower. His plan was well laid out.
Skilfully and with all the subtlety that his approach requires, Harald begins to approach the sons of Ragnar who get on well with him. He develops a good relationship with them, except with Bjorn who is suspicious of the man. He was offered to join the Grande Armée, a proposal he did not reject, although he still had his project in the back of his mind.
The prowess of Harald, future king of Norway
Between the Paris Raid and the Mediterranean Expedition , Harald takes possession of the kingdom of Rogaland after killing its king, King Arnarson and Jarl Eyolf. In another realm, he dismisses Jarl Svein from his post. From one feat to another, the spectator discovers a surprisingly charismatic and ambitious Harald. Unfortunately, unlike his brother Halfdan, he is very impulsive and quickly gets overwhelmed by his emotions.
It is in the penultimate episode of the last season of the series that Harald Finehair dies. It all starts as soon as a thick fog separates him from the rest of the army. It is an Anglo-Saxon warrior who snatches his life. And if he dies, he dies as a good Viking, happy to know that he will at least join his younger brother Halfdan Valhalla, as he promised him.
Harald's weak points
It must be admitted that King Harald cannot be considered a trustworthy person. Indeed, from one episode to another, we see him fight battles for people who are not necessarily on the right side of reason. We therefore guess what the nature of his motives is. He only wanted one thing: to become king of Norway. And he was obviously ready to give everything to get there.
Blinded by this obsession which reflects an excessive ambition , he does not notice that he is being used by the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok. And that is what will cost him his life. Even during the last battle he fought, he kept hoping for the impossible to happen.
Harald Finehair is a heartless character. Driven by an obsession for power, he takes pleasure in raping Ingrid and several village women. For the same cause, he snatches the life of his only brother , Halfdan, without hesitation during a battle with a swing of his sword with the promise that they will meet again in Valhalla. Harald is clearly a traitor skilled in the art of lying. His friends knew not to trust him.
Harald: a character who will have lasted too long in the series?
According to the director of the series, Harald was not supposed to have such longevity as he had. For Michael Hirst, this character had to “die in the first seasons”. It does not fail to point out that Harald was as important as Ragnar or Lagertha . That was precisely why it was difficult for the director to have him killed in his script.
Harald I, King of Norway: The Viking Series VS Norse Mythology
Because the first writings in which King Harald is mentioned are over 200 years old, it is not impossible that there are some inaccuracies between what is presented in the series and historical reality.
According to the writings, Harald I, King of Norway earned his nickname "Beautiful Hair" thanks to a woman. Let's start with his father, Halfdan the Black Gudroedsson, who died when Harald was just 10 years old . Harald I therefore inherited several kingdoms. Later, he embarked on many conquests and in just under 15 years, managed to take possession of the whole country.
But his determination for power was motivated by his love for a woman, Gyda, daughter of the king of a neighboring territory. The latter had objected to Harald's marriage proposal , for the simple reason that he was not worthy to marry her. To be so, she requires him to become king of all Norway. To have this title, Harald Finehair embarked on a quest that lasted more than 10 years. During these long years during which he made sure not to cut his hair, the king of Norway finds himself with enormous hair. This is how he became Harald à la Belle Chevelure or Harald Finehair in English.
Unfortunately, Gyda didn't wait . She married the first of Norway who, for the little reminder, killed Eric de Hordaland, father of Gyda, that is to say her father-in-law, and seized his territories. It was during the Battle of Hafrsfjord. Poor Harald. The glory and the honor that he sought without respite, he did it only for a woman who unfortunately will never marry him.