‘The Valhalla Murders’ Season 1: Real-life story that inspired the Icelandic murder mystery
As Netflix dropped its latest crime thriller series, we delved deeper and discovered that the premise is not merely fictional but an extract from a real-life incident which is equally chilling
Spoilers for ‘The Valhalla Murders’ Season 1
Facts are stranger and more powerful than fiction, they say. And when fiction is inspired by real-life facts, it becomes more intriguing and chilling, especially if it revolves around a crime. ‘The Valhalla Murders’, Iceland’s first series to be featured on Netflix, is one such story that has its roots in historical facts.
But before we get down to talking about the facts of the series’ fiction, let’s look at the source of the story. The Nordic noir comes from some of Iceland’s best writers for screen and is the brainchild of Thordur Palsson.
‘The Valhalla Murders’ is the newcomer filmmaker’s leap of faith and surprisingly, it doesn’t even come across as a project of someone recent in the business, especially in creating television series. First aired on Iceland’s local network, RUV, and now globally on Netflix, the first half of the season is directed by Palsson himself.
Now, for the facts! As Palsson stated in an interview, his idea for ‘The Valhalla Murders’ came from a real-life incident that he and his co-writers landed upon.
The story is of historic importance in Iceland’s countryside in a way. For context, the series explores serial murders in Reykjavik, which are later linked back to an incident that took place 35 years ago, at a boys’ home named Valhalla. As a series of murders of old men shake up modern-day Reykjavik, detectives Kata and Arnar team up to seek the truth. On digging deeper, they learn that the present cases link back to a horrifying past, connected to Valhalla, where they finally end up discovering instances of child abuse and a missing child.
In the late 1940s, an almost similar event took place in remote Iceland. A state-run institution (probably some sort of a rehab/asylum) housed troubled, young boys, aged between seven and 14, where they were beaten and abused by the staff. Although in reality there was no murder per se, as shown in the series, it caused quite a noise and the boys were eventually compensated in monetary terms. Palsson wanted to address the issue of abuse, even if it was a dated event, and start a conversation around the same.
Discover the stories of Valhalla, from ‘The Valhalla Murders’, now streaming on Netflix.