'Norsemen' creators say Kåre Conradi's Orm was one of their favorite characters to write for the show

'Norsemen' creators say Kåre Conradi's Orm was one of their favorite characters to write for the show

One of the most prominent driving forces in the period comedy 'Norsemen' is Orm played by Kåre Conradi. As Chieftain Olav's (played by Henrik Mestad) younger brother, Orm is next in line to lead the tribe. The first season of the series opens with Orm playing interim chieftain because Olav and the rest of the Vikings of the Norheim are on a raid to the west, where the land is wealthier and, as we figure out in due course, less disappointing. 

Orm's first impressions are along the lines of David Brent or Michael Scott. He comes across as awkward, he tries too hard to be included in things and when rejected, his displeasure becomes more than average. At first, one feels sorry for Orm as he has no connection with his wife Frøya, a shield-maiden with the tribe, and his brother Olav doesn't want to include him, but that is a superficial conclusion to come to. Orm is not just dumb, stupid and slow — he is very cunning and unforgiving. Through the course of the first and second season, we get to know that he is despised, and rightly so, by the entire tribe because of actions that only he can take sole responsibility for.

Orm (played by Kåre Conradi) in a still from 'Norsemen' (Image: Netflix/ NRK)

This combination of dumb and cunning makes Orm one of the creators' favorite characters to write. "Petty, insecure and dumb in some ways, but also cunning and ruthless," this is how creators Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen describe Orm. In an exclusive chat with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), the duo tells us how they wrote the character. "For us, it starts with an idea of the function of the character in the story and his relation to the other characters, and it snowballs from there. He [Orm] started out more innocent than what he has become, probably. But his pettiness and ambitions got the best of him."

There is no doubt that Orm wants to rule the tribe — he is waiting for Olav to die, indifferent about the ships coming back late from the raid to the west, and jumping at every opportunity to seize power. Towards the end of the second season, Orm is no longer the buffoon you met at the beginning of the series. His character has evolved well beyond that as he continues to get consumed by his hunger for power and greed. 


It was after finalizing Kåre Conradi in Orm's character that the purpose of writing Orm became clear for the creators. "Kåre Conradi, who plays Orm, recognizes himself way too much in how Orm acts. After he was cast for the role, Orm became much clearer for us," they say. 

The parallels that fans and critics have drawn between Michael Scott, David Brent and Orm haven't escaped the creators either. "We didn’t set out to make Orm similar to Scott/Brent, and that wasn’t something we thought of until some people started pointing it out on social media," they said.

The duo adds that Orm has qualities that set him apart from his contemporary counterparts. "Orm is probably a tad more heinous and vindictive, as he kills people in the most brutal ways — for example, burying people alive for excluding him from Friday mead. But his pettiness, insecurity, and vulnerability are something people can relate to in some way, probably. But luckily for mankind, few act upon them in the same degree."


You can see some of Orm's shenanigans here:


Set in 790s Norway,  'Norsemen' follows the Vikings as they deal with day-to-day life and conflicts. The show features everything you would expect from a Viking show: power struggles, battles, betrayals, rivalries, gore, and blood, and also everything you would not: conversations around gender equality, social commentary, identity, religion and culture, justice and government.

The third season for the series is set to air sometime after Christmas, and the Netflix version a bit later. But the duo informs us that there is no date set. The first two seasons of the show are available to stream on Netflix. 


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