THE NORTHMEN*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The North Atlantic
895 AD – Prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) watches as his father, King Aurvandill War-Raven (Ethan Hawke), returns home with his men after a series of conquests. Aurvandill greets his son and wife, Queen Gudrun (Nicole Kidman). As they host a ceremony, they are visited by Aurvandill’s brother, Fjolnir (Claes Bang). The jester Heimir (Willem Dafoe) makes a crass joke about Gudrun, which Fjolnir dislikes but Aurvandill says is merely a jest.
As Aurvandill has been injured in battle, he is set to make Amleth his successor. He brings his son to Heimir, where they engage in a ritual where they drink a special concoction. Aurvandill has Amleth promise that, if he is ever slain, that Amleth will fulfill his vow to avenge him. Amleth agrees, and Heimir takes Amleth’s tear drop, for it is to be the last one that he will ever shed until the day he will need it again.
The following morning, Amleth is out in the woods with Aurvandill, when several men ride in on horses and fire arrows at Aurvandill. Although he attempts to fight them off, the men overwhelm him and stab him with their swords until he is on his knees. Leading the men is Fjolnir, who is attempting to usurp his brother. Aurvandill warns Fjolnir that while he may have killed him today, his reign over the kingdom will be brief. Fjolnir beheads Aurvandill and orders his men to find and kill Amleth. The boy runs and hides, nearly caught by Fjolnir’s soldier Finnr (Eldar Skar), but Amleth cuts off his nose and flees. As he runs back into his village, he finds Fjolnir’s men pillaging and murdering the citizens, and Fjolnir is carrying Gudrun out as she kicks and screams. Amleth runs to the ocean where he takes a boat and sails away, repeating a vow to himself – “I will avenge you, Father! I will save you, Mother! I will kill you, Fjolnir!”
The Land of the Rus
Years later, Amleth (now played by Alexander Skarsgard) is part of a group of Vikings and grows up to be a berserker after a ritual of their own. The men later raid a village where Amleth slaughters the soldiers, and the rest of his group goes after women and children. The surviving citizens are taken in as slaves.
At night, Amleth wanders into a dark and empty temple. He sees a vision of a blind Seeress (Bjork), who presents him with the last tear that he shed, to remind him of his vow that he made as a child. She tells him that he will now have another chance to avenge his father, save his mother, and kill his uncle.
The next day, Amleth speaks to fellow berserker, Eirikr (Tadhg Murphy), who states that Fjolnir had been overthrown from his kingdom by King Harald of Norway, forcing Fjolnir and his people to relocate to Iceland. Amleth then sees a raven, taking it as a sign from his father to carry out his mission of revenge.
Amleth brands himself with the mark of a slave and swims to a slave boat with other Rus people. There, he meets a young Slavic woman named Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), who claims to have the power to corrupt the minds of men. As he sleeps next to her, Amleth sees visions of Aurvandill, Gurdun, Heimir, a special sword, and Olga herself.
The boat appears to have capsized during a storm, killing some slaves while the survivors swim to land. They are taken by Fjolnir’s men and brought to his farm, where he has taken Gudrun as his wife and fathered a son with her, Gunnar (Elliott Rose), in addition to Fjolnir’s eldest son Thorir (Gustav Lindh). Fjolnir takes note of Amleth, not recognizing him but noting his size and strength. He also takes a special interest in Olga.
Later that night, Amleth sneaks out of his tent and attempts to go after Fjolnir. He sees an animal and follows it into another tent where he meets a He-Witch (Ingvar Egger Sigurosson). He is holding the head of Heimir, whom Fjolnir had murdered after cutting out his tongue, eyes, and ears. The He-Witch manages to create a communication between Amleth and Heimir, where Heimir tells Amleth about the mighty sword Draugr, which Amleth will use to carry out his revenge.
Amleth comes upon Draugr’s location, where it rests with the corpse of a former king. As Amleth attempts to grab the sword, the corpse appears to come to life and fight Amleth in a duel, ending with Amleth swinging his axe upon the skeleton and beheading it before he can pull the sword from its bony hands. When he returns to the village, he nearly uses the sword on several men, but decides to hold off for now. He then watches as Fjolnir attempts to have his way with Olga, but she repels him by smearing her menstrual blood on him.
The slaves are later put to a game of Knattleikr (a violent version of lacrosse), where players can beat and kill their opponents to win. Gunnar runs into the field as he wishes to play along, but the other team’s captain, Thorfinnr (Hafbor Julius Bjornsson), knocks Gunnar over so hard that he hits his head and is knocked unconscious. As his mother and father rush onto the field, Amleth attacks Thorfinnr and headbutts him repeatedly until his skull is caved in. Amleth is thanked by Fjolnir and Thorir after Gunnar regains consciousness, and Amleth is granted a higher position among the slaves.
The slaves later gather for a party in the woods where they have sex with each other, and where Amleth consummates his relationship with Olga. After they finish making love, they make vows to bring down Fjolnir.
Over the next few nights, Amleth takes Draugr and slaughters some of Fjolnir’s men, including Thorir’s friends. He hangs their corpses outside for Thorir to find, where he yells in despair over the loss of his friends and vows to find the man responsible. That same evening, Amleth kills two people about to engage in a sacrificial ritual with a slave woman. He hangs their disemboweled corpses for Fjolnir and his men to find. Meanwhile, Olga aids Amleth by slipping some of Fjolnir’s men hallucinogenic mushrooms that drive them insane and cause some of them to kill themselves. In another instance, Amleth gets wolves to howl, riling up Fjolnir’s dog to attack him and prompt him to stab the dog to death.
Amleth later goes to Gudrun’s room where he reveals himself to her. She is stunned to see him, but not out of relief for her son being alive. Although he tells her he is there to free her, Gudrun reveals that she is not Fjolnir’s prisoner, but that she genuinely loved him and agreed to marry him. It was she who asked Fjolnir to kill Aurvandill, as he had taken her as a slave and raped her, which is how Amleth was conceived. She had also asked Fjolnir to kill Amleth as well. Gudrun makes an attempt to seduce Amleth, but he pulls back. Enraged by this revelation, he impales Thorir in his sleep and cuts out his heart.
Fjolnir weeps over his son’s body and begins to accuse the slaves of being guilty of Thorir’s murder. He begins to kill some of the slaves, but when he gets to Olga, Amleth steps out with a bag that he claims contains Thorir’s heart and will give it to him in exchange for Olga’s life. After fighting off some of the men, Amleth becomes overwhelmed. Fjolnir takes the bag, but Amleth says it is the heart of the dog he killed.
Amleth is taken prisoner and is brutally beaten so that he may give up the location of Thorir’s heart. When Fjolnir and his men have their backs turned, a pack of ravens, apparently sent by Odin, come to free Amleth. He flees on a boat with Olga, but when he kisses the wound where Fjolnir placed his blade on her, he sees a vision of twins that are meant to be Amleth and Olga’s children. Knowing that they will never be safe as long as Fjolnir lives, Amleth swims back to the farm to finish his mission. Olga weeps for Amleth but makes a prayer to guide him.
Upon his return, Amleth slaughters Fjolnir’s men and frees the rest of the slaves. He is attacked by Gudrun, who begins stabbing him until he impales her through the heart. He is then attacked by Gunnar, who also stabs him repeatedly, but Amleth kills him with a slash to the chest. Fjolnir finds the body of his wife and child, and then says to Amleth that they will duel at the Gates of Hel.
The Gates of Hel
Amleth travels to the volcano Hekla, where he comes upon Gudrun and Gunnar’s bodies and pays respects to them. He finds Fjolnir and they engage in a duel called Holmgang. With their swords, they fight over the lava, with Fjolnir nearly overpowering Amleth, but the prince gathers his strength and wits to continue the fight. The battle ends when Fjolnir stabs Amleth through the heart, but he succeeds in decapitating his uncle.
Amleth is dying, but he sees a vision of Olga with their twins, one of whom will become The Maiden King that the Seeress had prophesied. A Valkyrie spirit then arrives to escort Amleth to Valhalla.
The young prince Amleth watches as his father Aurvandill is slain by his brother, Fjolnir, before Fjolnir's men raid the village and take Amleth's mother Gudrun for himself. Amleth flees before he can be killed, and he vows to avenge his father, save his mother, and kill his uncle. Amleth grows up among Vikings before sneaking away as a slave with other Slavic captives to be taken to the farm where Fjolnir now resides since he was overthrown by King Harald of Norway.
Amleth comes upon a legendary sword, Draugr, which he uses to slay Fjolnir's men while managing to gain his trust as a slave. He also forms a relationship with another slave named Olga, who claims to be a sorceress. When Amleth tries to save his mother, she reveals that she hated Aurvandill because he took her as a slave and raped her, which is how Amleth was conceived. She truly loves Fjolnir and their son Gunnar, and she was the one who ordered the deaths of Aurvandill and Amleth.
After Amleth kills Fjolnir's eldest son Thorir, he is later taken captive before being freed by ravens. He nearly flees with Olga until he finds out she is pregnant with twins, and realizes they will never be safe as long as Fjolnir lives. He leaves Olga and returns to the farm, where he kills Fjolnir's men, plus Gudrun and Gunnar, before Fjolnir challenges him to a duel at the Gates of Hel (a volcano, Hekla). There, Amleth and Fjolnir fight and both kill each other.
Amleth sees one last vision of Olga with their children before he ascends to Valhalla.