Fearsome Facts About Harald Hardrada, The Last Viking

Harald Hardrada was King of Norway from 1046 to 1066. But his biggest accomplishments were on the battlefield, not the throne.

Whether he was fighting off pirates in the Mediterranean Sea, invading England, or terrorizing his own subjects, Harald was a Viking, through and through. And these are the hard-hitting facts that make him the last true Viking.


Harald Hardrada Facts

1. He Was Savage

Harald Hardrada was actually born Harald Sigurdsson—he had to earn the epithet Hardrada. Different translations over the years have given Harald’s epithet as “tyrannical”, “ruthless”, and “savage,” among others.

Given these bloody and berserk facts about the last Viking, he clearly earned that name. Many, many times over.

Harald Hardrada Facts

Wikimedia Commons, Colin Smith

2. He Was A Poet

Over the course of his life, Harald developed an aura of invincibility on the battlefield. A contemporary historian of his remarked that he was far stronger and more massive than other men. But he had a surprising softer side. Even though all Norwegian kings wrote poetry, he was “the only one who showed a decided talent”. Harald's real gifts, however, involved a sword.

Harald Hardrada Facts

Vikings: Valhalla (series), MGM Television

3. He Was An Unlikely King

Harald Hardrada was born to Åsta Gudbrandsdatter and her second husband Sigurd Syr around 1015. Even though his father was a wealthy and powerful chieftain in the area, Harald wasn’t an obvious choice as the future king of Norway.

Additionally, from the looks of it, he got his ambition from his mother’s side of the family.

Harald Hardrada Facts

Vikings: Valhalla (series), MGM Television