As any Game of Thrones fan knows, oftentimes the kingmakers are more powerful than the monarchs they serve. Such is the case with Godwin (David Oakes) in Vikings: Valhalla on Netflix.
We first meet Godwin in Vikings: Valhalla Season 1. Seemingly loyal to King Æthelred (Bosco Hogan) and Æthelred's son, Edmund II (Louis Davison), Godwin pulls a fast one by tricking them into believing a Viking invasion is on the horizon.
It's just the first of many times Godwin manipulates those in power so he can rise to glory.
Who is Godwin of Wessex in 'Vikings: Valhalla'? His character explained.
You could liken Godwin to Littlefinger in Game of Thrones — cunning and willing to play anyone on either side in order to get what he wants. Case in point: While outwardly it appeared as if he was loyal to Æthelred and Edmund, Godwin actually orchestrates Edmund's untimely death so he can get Canute (Bradley Freegard) on the throne of England instead.
Godwin's desire to survive and thrive stems from his past — his father was found guilty of committing crimes against the reigning monarch at the time. The problem with the lack of due process is that you can lose everything if you get on a monarch's bad side.
Sadly, Godwin's father learned that the hard way, which led to Godwin becoming determined to build a better future for himself, no matter how devious he had to be in order to get there.
Godwin has extremely lofty ambitions.
Godwin keeps his relationship with Emma's lady-in-waiting, Aelfwynn, a secret in Vikings: Valhalla Season 2. However, he's very open with his secret love about his ultimate goal — to have his own children sit upon the throne of England. (How very House of the Dragon of him!)
However, in order for Godwin's dream to be realized, he has to kill one of his biggest benefactors — Queen Emma (Laura Berlin).
But Emma is no fool. She eventually figures out that it was Godwin himself that was behind her assassination attempt in Season 2.
So how does Emma play Godwin? By using his one weakness against him: his hatred for his father.
Turns out Emma found Godwin's father's ring, a symbol of the very past that Godwin tried so hard to destroy. In an excellent power play, Emma gifts the ring to Godwin's wife, Gytha (Henessi Schmidt), without explaining the context behind the ring's significance.
Although Godwin is one step closer to the throne thanks to his marriage to Gytha, now he has to watch his own back. Emma is on to him, and her gift to Gytha signifies to Godwin that she isn't to be messed with.
Will Godwin achieve his ultimate goal in Vikings: Valhalla? We'll have to wait for Season 3 to find out more. In the meantime, you can stream Vikings: Valhalla Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.