Character of the Week: Hildur Odegard

Sofie Gråbøl is known for her Faroese knitwear and a brooding determination to solve murder cases like no other detective, in the critically acclaimed Danish series The Killing. However, in Fortitude, Gråbøl defies the anti-establishment ideologies we have come to associate with Sarah Lund. Instead, she plays Governor Hildur Odegard who is driven by the desire to prosper her failing town by any means necessary.

Hildur-Odegard_Sofie-Grabol_

Hildur is the Governor of Fortitude and is also capable of providing legal counsel, having previously trained as a lawyer. Her ties to the town date back 20 years to when she visited the Svalbard region on her honeymoon with husband and police officer Eric Odegard (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson). Her intimate, private moments with Eric mirror her romanticised view of Fortitude with her meticulously rehearsed speech: “Where lovers of the wilderness, lovers of the Northern Lights or just lovers can witness the wildest things they can ever see from the safest place on earth.”

Her professional passions lie in the development of the mining town, which is in the middle of a depression. In order to boost the economy before the mines are shut down, Hildur’s radical plans are to build an extravagant glacier resort to encourage tourism. Her three year plan is jeopardised when she encounters resistance from environmental scientist Professor Charlie Stoddart (Christopher Eccleston), after an unknown fossilised relic is discovered at the provisional construction site.

Hildur’s can be seen as a matriarchal figurehead of Fortitude; caring and nurturing the growth of the town and being its formidable defender and protector. Her verve is further tested when she has to mediate between local Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) and outsider DCI Eugene Morgan (Stanely Tucci), when a murder in the “safest town on earth” generates attention from the British police force.

Sofie Gråbøl’s film credits include Ole Bornedal’s Nightwatch (1994) with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters, 2011 and Game of Thrones, 2011-) and Kim Bodnia (The Bridge, 2011-2013), Flickering Lights (2000), with Ulrich Thomsen (Festen, 1998), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, 2012 and Hannibal, 2013-) and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (The Keeper of Lost Causes, 2013) and The Hour of the Lynx (2013) with Søren Malling (A Highjacking, 2013 and The Killing, 2007).

Overall, Gråbøl describes her Fortitude character’s dualistic strengths and flaws: “Governor Odegard is an ambitious woman. It’s not easy for her to distinguish between personal ambitions and ambitions for the town; definitely a very strong-minded person.”

Watch Sofie Gråbøl in Fortitude tonight Sky Atlantic at 9pm