Sigurd Styrbjornsson, as a jarl, husband, and brother, absolutely sucks. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is divisive in many ways, but when it comes to Eivor's one-armed adoptive sibling, I stand firm in my judgement. The only good thing Sigurd did in the entire game (aside from gifting us the hidden blade) was getting his delusional self kidnapped. When he did, it was a shame that I had to rescue him.
I can hear your protests already. True, there is one huge plot twist toward the end of the game that is supposed to explain away Sigurd's frankly rotten behavior, but my gripe is not with Norse mythology. It's with the fact that, up until the point we discover the root of Sigurd's problem, you are given the option to actually side with him. Not only that, but going with your gut instead of your head three times or more will result in getting the "bad" ending. Ubisoft wants me to care about this absolute trash human, and I refuse. The game is much more fun, satisfying, and realistic when you give Sigurd a piece of your mind. And steal his wife too, of course.
Spoilers for the endings ahead
Stick it to the man
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Memorable characters are at the crux of the best Assassin's Creed games, and in the case of Valhalla, there are many of them. With the exception of my hero Axehead, Sigurd is one of the most memorable for the sheer fact that the game's clunky main storyline involves following him around Ye Olde England and saving his neck time after time. The size of the continent is dwarfed only by Sigurd's ego, something we quickly find out upon first setting foot in Ravensthorpe.
You barely reach the longhouse before Sigurd tells you and his wife, Randvi, that he's off to Leicestershire. Leaving Eivor in charge of Ravensthorpe in his absence, the only thanks you get for raiding nearby monasteries, building up the town's renown, and generally being a jarlskona in his absence is a whole lot of nothing. This would make sense if you decided to keep his father Styrbjorn's riches – which you rightfully won for him in the early hours of the game, so fair's fair. I left them behind in Fornburg and went on to build Ravensthorpe off my own back, though, so a little pat on the back from brother dear would've been nice.
Lack of manners aside, Sigurd's actions just don't make sense before we find out about his being a sage. To my mind, they serve no other purpose than to make me – and by default, Eivor – outrageously angry. Supporting Sigurd makes Eivor out to be just as bad a leader in my book. That means not only is it more fun, but defying my brother is the only way I can play Assassin's Creed Valhalla in good faith. The fact that the game tries to punish us for not siding with him is something I will never understand, but will happily defy in my current playthrough.
Make it make sense
Sigurd's judgement of Eivor comes right at the end of the game, after the revelation that his mind was not his own. It brings us to the question of why Sigurd's strikes even exist, and why we should have bent to his will. Sure, it turns out they both really are gods incarnate, but looking at it from Eivor's initial perspective, it does not make sense to do anything other than rally against him.
By the time he gets kidnapped by Fulke, Sigurd has done enough to warrant a punch in the face. When you try to stop him from doubling back on his oath to Thegn Geadric, he gets in Eivor's face for interfering and screams bloody murder. Hindsight reveals his aggression was due to Norse god Tyr's consciousness awakening in him, but at the time, Eivor doesn't know that. Sigurd is choosing Basim over his own sibling, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to introduce both their noses to Eivor's fists. Protecting Ravensthorpe and building friendships across the country is exactly what you've been told to do; why wouldn't Eivor punch Sigurd in the face after he put those alliances in jeopardy?
Sigurd's five strikes aren't worth the double-edged "gift" you get when the dust settles. He admits that his marriage to Randvi was a peacekeeping arrangement, so it's his pride alone that's wounded by your tryst. Not only that, he pulls you up for defying his cruel decision to punish one of your clansmen unfairly. Why isn't Sigurd the one to apologize for being an ass, forgiving Eivor for all of the above? It feels like a ploy from Ubisoft to give us the illusion of choice when both paths lead to one place.
Ultimately, your Assassin's Creed Valhalla experience remains unchanged whether or not he accompanies you back to Ravensthorpe: Eivor still becomes jarlskona, and Sigurd is still obsolete, so I'm wholly unbothered by his opinion of me. I've had a blast sticking my middle finger up at him so far, and I can't wait for him to leave me and his divorced wife to continue our dalliance in the sweet assurance that we won't have to cozy up to his arrogance any longer. That, to me, sounds like a pretty good endgame for Eivor.
Basim returns in one of the upcoming Assassin's Creed games on Ubisoft's checklist.