“I will avenge you, father. I will save you, mother. I will kill you, Fjölnir.”
A Norse folktale about a prince who sets out to avenge his father’s death at the hands of his own uncle. Does this ring any bells? Yes, everyone knows Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. However, this isn’t Prince Hamlet. This is Prince Amleth of Jutland, the literary ancestor of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The legend that inspired Shakespeare to write Hamlet
Robert Eggers’ highly anticipated film, The Northman tells the story of this Viking prince who’s on his quest to avenge his father’s murder. Thanks to his first two movies, The Lighthouse and The Witch, Eggers has already made a pretty good name for himself in Hollywood with his period dramas. This bloody-action-fantasy epic is absolutely one of the titles fans are waiting for to hit theaters in 2022.
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Here’s everything you need to know about The Northman:
When will The Northman release? Where can you watch The Northman?
The Northman finished filming in December 2020 and was originally set for release in 2021. Being one of the many casualties of the pandemic, the film faces further delays and is now finally set to be released exclusively in theaters on April 22, 2022.
The Northman Cast Members: Who’s in the cast of The Northman?
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The Northman features an all-star cast, led by Alexander Skarsgårdas Viking Warrior Prince Amleth. When asked about The Northman and the character he plays, Skarsgård told Collider, “In The Northman, there are long, intense fight scenes with 40 stuntmen and horses and 200 extras. To shoot it all in one shot means you do this four-minute take, and then a horse deep in the background looks the wrong way and you have to do it all again…”
Nicole Kidman plays Amleth’s mother, Queen Gudrún while Ethan Hawke plays King Horwendil, his father. The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy reunites with Eggers in the role of Olga, a young slave who aids Amleth. “Robert and I have now been friends longer than we have been co-workers,” Anya told Collider in 2020. The other cast members include Claes Bang, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.
The Northman Plot: What’s it about?
The film, based on the Scandinavian legend that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, follows the blood-soaked revenge of Prince Amleth, set in the 10th century.Shakespeare’s Hamlet, written somewhere between 1599 and 1601, has been the inspiration for thousands of literary and artistic works. Over the last four centuries, we have seen and heard the story of the Prince of Denmark in countless movies, musicals, ballets, and many more. But the inspiration behind Hamlet is the legend of Amleth, which was first recorded in Latin around 1200 by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus and first printed in the 1514 edition in Paris.
Saxo’s Amleth Story:
King Rrik of Denmark appoints the two brothers, Horwendil and Fengo, as rulers of Jutland (also known as the Danish-German Cimbrian Peninsula). Horwendil assassinates King Rrik of Norway, marries Gerutha, King Rrik’s daughter, and has a son named Amleth. Envy for his brother drives Fengo to murder Horwendil and marry his wife Gerutha.To protect himself from his uncle’s brutality, Amleth feigns insanity, dressing in rags and speaking nonsense. The name “Amleth” is derived from the Icelandic word “Amlói,” which means “fool” or “simpleton.
However, Amleth’s actions raise suspicion, and the King tries to trick him into confessing his plans for vengeance. A gorgeous woman is first used to persuade him to betray himself, but she later reveals herself to be faithful to Amleth. Then a spy is put to listen in on Amleth’s conversation with his mother, during which she apologizes and he exposes his vengeful intentions.
Amleth discovers the spy, murders him in a fit of rage, and disposes of his damaged body in a sewer for pigs to consume. Fengo then deports Amleth to England, escorted by two guards bearing a letter commanding the King to condemn him to death. Amleth replaces the letter with another, ordering the escorts’ deaths and requesting the English Princess’ hand in marriage.
When Amleth returns to Denmark, he enters disguised, burns down the hall, and chases down his sleeping uncle in the middle of his own funeral. Because Amleth had injured himself on his sword, attendants had nailed it to the scabbard (the sheath used to hold it), making it useless. Amleth replaces his worthless blade with Fengo’s, kills his uncle, and is proclaimed King the next day.