The Vikings: The Problem with Earl Haraldson

An Historian Goes to the Movies

In my previous post on the History Channel’s The Vikings, I discussed the main characters of Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, and Rollo, who are sort of a mishmash of historical and legendary characters. This post is going to focus on the last remaining major character, Gabriel Byrne’s Earl Haraldson, who is the main villain of the first season. For some reason he doesn’t seem to have a given name, being known only by his patronymic, which is pretty unlikely. Most of the important figures from this period are known by a given name and then a patronym (‘Haraldson’), loconym (based on a place—‘of Møre’, for example) or a nickname (‘Hairypants’). So this character should probably be something like Jarl Eirik Haraldson, and generally referred to as Jarl Eirik.


Earl Haraldson is presented as being a stock oppressive ruler. In the pilot, he oversees the local community, has the power to make…

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One thought on “The Vikings: The Problem with Earl Haraldson”

  1. Hello,
    Please disregard the post if my earlier message of this hour already went through. And if not, Gathering from another blog and article on the Pomeranian history devoted to you I wish to tell you that as a Pomeranian native I am enthusiast of history of the region, especially concerning Viking presence there. I invite you to see my article “Vikings in Poland – an official view”
    and some other articles in English on my blog:
    My latest article on the Viking participation in the early medieval history of Pomerania has been written only in Polish “Manowce historii w Manowie” but you may gather the idea of the contents through a google translator:


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