In “The Northman” the Viking culture is highlighted by Robert Eggers. There is notably a Valkyrie, presented with a strange dental device. The director explains this in detail.
The Northman the new film by Robert Eggers
After the myth of the witches with The WitchRobert Eggers takes on Norse mythology in The Northman. Meanwhile, he had made a radical proposal with the hypnotic The Lighthouse. This time, it’s in a more easily accessible way that he tells the story of Arleth, a young Nordic prince who witnesses the assassination of his father. After managing to escape, he promises to get revenge one day. Years later, he will have the opportunity.
In his new film, Eggers, therefore, stages the universe of Vikings. A culture he did not know before taking a trip to Iceland. For the film, the director had to do years of research before they can get started. It is then with the support of specialists of the Viking world (historians or archaeologists) that The Northman was mounted to offer a work that is both realistic and fantastic because it is always consistent with the universe presented.
An amazing detail about the Valkyrie
The Vikings did they have braces? The question may seem surprising. And yet, we immediately asked ourselves this when we saw The Northman. During a dreamlike sequence, Robert Eggert presents a Valkyrie. In Norse culture, it is a deity responsible for, among other things, taking the age of heroes to Valhalla. In the film, she is played by Ineta Sliuzaite, dressed in armor, a helmet, and therefore, a dental appliance we can see on the image in one of the articles, and very quickly at 2min03 of the trailer below.
This is an intriguing detail that does not come from the actress but from the will of the director. During the promotion of the film, we had precisely asked the filmmaker about this element. And he then explained to us that it was not just an invention on his part, but that it came from real questions that arise from marks found on the teeth of skeletons of Vikings :
There have been archaeological finds of skeletons Vikings with grooves at the teeth. We don’t know what that means. There is a lot of speculation around. I thought it was nice to represent it in this way with the Valkyrie.
There is therefore a grain of truth in this proposition by Robert Eggers. The Vikings had marks on their teeth, but impossible to know exactly why (to decorate, to frighten their enemies, because of beliefs…). But the way the filmmaker uses this element allows us to anchor the fantastic in our real world. Because, as he explained to us, in the Viking spirit, the supernatural corresponds to reality. And the filmmaker plays perfectly on it, even with this kind of detail.
You can find our entire meeting with Robert Egger for The Northman in our article here.