Harald Hardrada Facts
A meticulous balance between myth and reality, the Vikings series propels many characters into the history of those famous Scandinavian tribes who have plundered people using their innate talent for war.
To demonstrate the power of these legendary characters as good fighters and fierce leaders who inspired Michael Hirst, here is Harald Sigurdsson's story.
This king of Norway was born in 1015 or 1016 and died on 25 September 1066. He is better known as Harald Hardrada or Harðráði in Old Norse, which means "difficult command". He has also been called the "ruthless" or "the Severer". He also received softer nicknames, such as "The North Lightning" or "The Last of the Vikings"
This half-brother of Olaf the saint and son of a Norwegian king was forced into exile following Stiklestad's defeat. He assumed the role of head of the Varangian guard and returned to his country in 1046 to form an alliance with the Danish king Sven Estriden. He plans to end the reign of King Magnus, the good that is at the head of the country. But the latter offered to share power with him and eventually died a year later.
Why was he baptized the Ruthless
His reign is, according to these critics, a bloody and brutal reign. It is also marked by the multiplication of naval battles against its Danish neighbour. Adam of Bremen, a contemporary of the king, considers that he was cruel and that he started campaigns to kill Christians.
A great raider, he was still at war and fought all over the North to build a bloody empire. His power and speed in battle earned him an appearance in "The Saga of the Kings of Norway", a work written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.
He is represented as a wise and wise man. Its size and presence are also described. For the monk Theodoricus, a contemporary of Snorri, he was valiant, good advisor and ambitious. For the Agrip, he was a great king who knew how to be firm, but peaceful.
The last of the Vikings
Harald is known in history as the last of the Vikings. He thus closed the line of Scandinavian tribes spread across the European continent. He was born in an environment where the structure and rites of the Vikings gave way to Christianity after surviving for more than two hundred years.
Like any self-respecting Viking, he has difficulty dealing with failure. After fighting for more than seventeen decades against its former Danish ally. A truce was signed in 1064. Not being a man to rest, he wanted to extend these colonial tentacles to England, where he was a candidate for the succession of the throne in 1066.
Indeed, Edward the Confessor had just died, leaving his throne to William of Normandy. After successfully invading Yorkshire, he lost his life in a battle with Harold Godwinson.