‘The Northman’: Alexander Skarsgård’s Hero Connects to ‘True Blood’

Alexander Skarsgård stars in director Robert Eggers’ new movie The Northman. While Eggers previously made horror movies The Witch and The Lighthouse, his latest is more of a historical action drama. Skarsgård’s character, however, intriguing ties back to the role that first made him famous. Here’s how his character in The Northman ties all the way back to HBO’s True Blood.

Alexander Skarsgård rose to fame on HBO’s ‘True Blood’

True Blood — based on Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries novel series — debuted on HBO in September 2008. The story focuses on the romance between a human (Anna Paquin) and a vampire (Stephen Moyer). And as such, the show’s success coincided with that of the Twilight movies. And from 2008 until 2014, the show’s fan base relished the horror-fantasy melodrama and breakout stars like Joe Manganiello and Skarsgård.

Skarsgård plays vampire Eric Northman, who gets caught up in a love triangle with Sookie (Paquin) and Bill (Moyer). The way the character is portrayed on the show differs somewhat from how his story progresses in Harris’ novels. Nonetheless, the connection between Skarsgård’s character on True Blood and the one he plays in The Northman remains.

His role in ‘The Northman’ ties back into his character

Eggers’ movie is titled The Northman and recounts the tale of a Viking warrior prince named Amleth (Skarsgård) who wants revenge. And while the actor’s True Blood character isn’t intended to be the same as Amleth, they share a similar background. Eric Northman — as the name implies — is also a Viking whose family was slaughtered.

So though True Blood‘s Eric Northman doesn’t directly build on the story in The Northman, the matching names are no accident. The shared Viking heritage, if anything, builds on the archetypal Viking mythology. And it makes for a fun connection for fans who have been following Skarsgård since his True Blood days. Just don’t expect Amleth to turn into a vampire by the end of Eggers’ film.

Will ‘The Northman’ make Alexander Skarsgård a movie star?

Despite his success on True Blood, Skarsgård is perhaps still best known for his role on another HBO series, Big Little Lies. The actor won an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award — among other accolades — for his performance. But now he continues to build a steady movie career in major Hollywood releases.

Although Skarsgård is no stranger to box office hits — he even has a small role in 2001’s Zoolander — he seems to be making a more focused effort to hit leading-man status. In 2021, he starred in both the critically acclaimed drama Passing and Godzilla vs. Kong. Perhaps The Northman can be the movie to establish his ability to open a movie.


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