Warning: This article contains spoilers for season two of Vikings: Valhalla.
Season two of Vikings: Valhalla presented a new challenge for star Frida Gustavsson.
While the Swedish actress underwent extensive training to portray shield maiden Freydís Eiríksdóttir in season one of the Netflix drama, she had to shift the way she carried herself in the new season as her character transformed from Viking warrior to expectant mother.
"I don't just fight, I fight while pregnant and wearing a dress," Frida told E! News about her season two transformation. "I worked really closely with Susan O'Connor Cave, our wonderful costume designer, and we broke down the entire arc of the season of how far along is she in the pregnancy."
She continued, "And then we worked with the prosthetics team to create prosthetics that would weigh the appropriate amount of where I was in the stage. It really shifted my center of balance and made me have learn how to fight again."
As for how she felt while filming with the fake baby bump? "I felt so protective, because it changed everything about my physicality," she recalled. "All the sudden, my feet started turning a little bit more outwards, because the belly was weighing in and that shifted how my hips set. It changed how I walked. Instinctively, I'm standing holding my belly. And, for everyone on set, they had to remind themselves that I'm not actually pregnant."
The season two premiere revealed that Freydís and Harald (Leo Suter) were expecting a child together after the dramatic events of season one. However, Freydis did not reveal her pregnancy to Harald, as she did not want her child to become the ruler of a Christian nation. Thus, Harald and Freydís parted ways to pursue their respective destinies: to become the ruler of Norway and a protector of the Old Faith.
And Frida loved this storyline for Freydís, as it reflected the real freedom Viking women actually had. "They had so many liberties and opportunities and possibilities that women are still fighting for today," she shared. "Viking women could own their own property, they could marry, they could divorce whenever they wanted, they could have sexual relationships with pretty much anyone they wanted. They could rule."
Yet, as Frida highlighted, this changed over time with the rise of Christianity. She noted, "Women were thrown back into the shadow and put in the back seat."
Experience Freydís' empowering storyline for yourself, as season two of Vikings: Valhalla is now available to stream on Netflix.
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