There’s a zombie in THE NORTHMAN. There are also witches and a vampire sword. I penned (well, keyboarded) an article this week over at our sister site WEREWOLVES.COM pointing out why it is a werewolf movie. (It is.) And in a separate article here on this site this week I profile that aforementioned vampire sword. But let’s talk about the draugr just now. Amleth, the hero of THE NORTHMAN (the protagonist, anyway; we’ll leave it to the viewer to determine whether or not he qualifies as a hero) has to retrieve his magical sword by descending into a burial mound and taking the weapon from a draugr.
Also known as a “barrow wight”, just like the ones in Tolkien’s THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, the ones that didn’t make it into Peter Jackson’s movie, unfortunately, the draugr is also the obvious inspiration behind the ice zombies of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a zombie, simple as that. Unlike ghosts, they possess physical bodies, and they’re always to be found in some grave mound or cairn, or more rarely in the ruins of some decrepit castle, and usually they’re guarding treasure of some sort. The fight with the one in THE NORTHMAN almost makes up for us not getting to see any of them in the first LORD OF THE RINGS movie.