When does Vikings Valhalla take place? The real history behind the Netflix show

Unless you are a history buff, the Vikings: Valhalla timeline may as well be Norse code. That can be frustrating. Chances are, you will want to immediately dive into that corner of history after bingeing Netflix’s swords-and-shield epic featuring real-life historical figures such as King Canute, Leif Eriksson, and the Earl of Godwin.

But where to start? At the expense of thumbing through history books and reams of confusing Wikipedia entries, we’re here to bring you a brief overview of the period that newcomers can use to provide further context to the series. On top of that, Valhalla diehards can even use the info to accompany them on a rewatch. We’ll even keep things as spoiler-free as possible.

 When is Vikings: Valhalla set? 

Vikings: Valhalla

(Image credit: Netflix)

Vikings: Valhalla begins in the early 11th Century. 1002 to be precise. To be even more precise, the premiere is set on November 13, 1002, when the St Brice’s Day Massacre took place. The events of the series, though, take place some time later.

Sadly for those looking to follow along with a proper timeline, Vikings: Valhalla plays it pretty fast and loose with which year everything is set in. 

The only thing that is clear is that a fair amount of time has passed since St Brice’s Day. The premiere’s story card reveals Canute’s plans to sail for England in “revenge”, but comes without a firm date.

There are other historical moments that did not happen in the order presented in the Netflix series, which confuses things further. King Canute’s rise to power comes almost 15 years after St Brice’s Day, for example. There’s also the small matter of Harald not even being born in 1002, despite being present during the St Brice’s Day Massacre. As such, it’s a fool’s errand attempting to piece everything together and place the series neatly over real-world history.

In short, Vikings: Valhalla is set in 1002 to start with. The early part of the 11th Century can then be used as a rough timeline for everything that goes down. We imagine it’s just a few years after, given that no one has aged significantly and younger characters (such as Harald) are also around on St Brice’s Day. Besides, attempting to plot how long each journey and battle takes would be maddening and goes against the blunt, straightforward nature of Vikings: Valhalla.

How many years has it been since Vikings?

Vikings: Valhalla

(Image credit: Netflix)

In terms of the Vikings franchise, the first season of the main series begins in 793 and ends decades later. That means Vikings: Valhalla takes place, according to Netflix’s “A New Era” featurette (opens in new tab), 150 years after Vikings season 6.

For more context on the series, here’s the answer to whether Vikings: Valhalla is a sequel and whether you should watch the original series first.

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