‘Vikings’ Season 5: Who Are The Sami And How Will King Svase And Princess Snaefrid Affect The Story?

Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

Episode 7 of Vikings Season 5 introduced a new group of Vikings: the Samis. Who are these people and how will the introduction of their leader, King Svase, and his daughter, Princess Snaefrid, affect the storyline according to what history says?

SPOILER ALERT: This recap contains information about Episode 7 (titled “Full Moon”) of History Channel’s Vikings Season 5. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.

The Samis

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Samis were a group of people who inhabited “Lapland and adjacent areas of northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as well as the Kola Peninsula of Russia.” This group of people exists to this day. While this group of people are not really considered to be “Vikings,” they had some similarities with the Vikings, such as living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era and having pagan beliefs. it is likely that trading would have occurred between these two groups, so to have Lagertha come into contact with them in Season 5 of Vikings is something that could have potentially happened in Vikings times.

Episode 7 of Vikings Season 5 saw the Sami princess, Snaefrid, refer to reindeer as an important part of their culture. This is indeed true. The group developed originally as a nomadic tribe and even to this day, they rely on reindeer herding to survive.

While the Samis that exist today are usually of the Russian Orthodox and Lutheran branches of Christianity, some elements of shamanism that likely heralds back to their pagan roots still survives within their culture and it is often thought that the Samis were closer to the supernatural elements of the Viking religion than other groups.

King Svase

While evidence of the Samis is fairly easy to find, the history of King Svase is less clear. Episode 7 of Vikings saw him come to Lagertha’s aide when requested, so a likely starting point to find out more about this character is within Lagertha’s story.

However, Lagertha’s Viking story, which only appears in one chapter of the Danish, Gesta Danorum (also known as The Danish History, Books I-IX), makes no mention of King Svase.

In order to find any character that matches the Sami king, one must turn to another manuscript about the Vikings: the Heimskringla. Written in Iceland by Snorri Sturluson, it tells many stories about the lives of the old Norse kings.

While a King Svase is not directly mentioned, within Harald Fairhair’s (the character known as Harald Finehair in History Channel’s Vikings) saga, there is mention of a man called Svase (also known as Svasi) of Finn. The term “Finn” was also used in some of the sagas to describe the Sami. So, it seems likely this is the same character as introduced in Episode 7 of Vikings season 5, especially since he also has a daughter called Snaefrid.

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Episode 7, Full Moon, Bjorn Ironside and Princess Snaefrid, Sami, Samis, Svase
Featured image credit: Jonathan HessionHistory Channel

Princess Snaefrid

Snaefrid was a Sami that was considered to be able to ensnare men according to Saga Thing. Which means Bjorn might get more than he expects in this potential new relationship.

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While Episode 7 of Vikings Season 5 saw Bjorn Ironside infatuated with Snaefrid, in the Heimskringla it is Harald who is attracted to the Sami princess. He marries her and they have four sons: Sigurd Hrise, Halfdan Haleg, Gudrod Ljome, and Ragnvald Rettilbeine.

So, this involvement of Harald and Snaefrid could be an indicator of how the storyline could play out moving forward in Season 5 of Vikings. However, the show’s creator, Michael Hirst, has changed storylines from the sags before and has already done so with the inclusion of Bjorn Ironside being interested in Snaefrid over Harald. So viewers will just have to tune into further episodes of Vikings Season 5 to see how this story will play out.

Vikings returns to History Channel on Wednesday, January 10 at 9 p.m. ET. Zap2It writes the following synopsis for Episode 8 (titled “The Joke”).

” The battle for Kattegat begins; as the two armies line up to fight, the Great Heathen Army must decide between a final plea for peace or all-out war; Floki faces discord among the settlers.”