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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s female Eivor is the series’ best protagonist

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It’s all about that growl. When Eivor talks, even when joking around with her mead-soaked comrades, there’s always an edge—a promise that, if shit goes down, she’s ready to whip out her axe and start chopping off heads. It’s a simmering ferocity that’s with her at all times in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and when a raspy, snarling threat doesn’t prove that she means business, that’s when the whirlwind of destruction begins. I’m going to swoon again.

While I’ve yet to see the credits roll on Valhalla—it’s approximately 10 million hours long—I’m still ready to call it: Eivor is Assassin’s Creed’s best protagonist. Desmond and Conner rightly get dunked on a lot, but otherwise it’s a series blessed with a lot of entertaining characters. Syndicate often gets forgotten, but Evie and Jacob were a wonderful odd couple, and then there’s Odyssey’s Kassandra, who does tend to overshadow the rest. But now we’ve got Eivor. 

There are actually two Eivors, male and female, but I’m only giving the title to the latter. Their lines are identical and they are essentially the same character, but the voice performances make a huge difference. Magnus Brunn lends his voice to male Eivor, and he’s got plenty of experience from his stint playing Cnut (not that one) in The Last Kingdom. As Cnut, he was loud and energetic, all fired up and ready to screw over Danes and Saxons alike, but as Eivor he’s a lot more restrained. His voice is softer and his tone is more thoughtful, and while it’s a good performance, it doesn’t feel like an entirely comfortable fit for the character. 

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Cecilie Stenspil’s Eivor is also quite restrained, but in a way that suggests she could become unrestrained very quickly. Whichever version you play, this is not the popular image of a Viking berserker, but one that’s a bit more nuanced. Eivor is a person first, and it’s her relationships that define her more than her love of raiding and boozing. Some of these relationships hit harder, however, with female Eivor. The dynamic between Eivor and her brother, for instance, or Eivor’s friendship with the village seer, feel meaningfully distinct, even though all the words are the same. When she helps another Dane root out a traitor and reclaim her settlement, there’s this undercurrent of women fighting hard to succeed in a masculine society, and you just don’t get that if you’re playing as a burly guy with a beard. 

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