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The 13th Warrior (1999) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • A cultured diplomat joins a band of savage warriors in time to meet an even more fearsome enemy in this historical adventure. In 922 A.D., Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is a Muslim emissary from Baghdad en route to meet with the King of Saqaliba when he is captured by a gang of Vikings. While Ibn and his people are intelligent and well-mannered, the Vikings are a rowdy and sometimes unpleasant lot, with an unquenchable appetite for food, alcohol, and women. However, in time he develops an understanding and respect for the Viking warriors and is welcomed into their society by their leader, Buliwyf. However, Ibn must now join them as they return to their homeland once they receive word of an invasion by a huge pack of bloodthirsty invaders who will destroy and eat anything in their path -- including the flesh of the men they have killed.

  • In AD 922, Arab Ahmad Ibn Fadlan is sent to the land of the Bulgar's as an emissary, because he fell in love with the wrong woman. During his journey, his caravan runs into a Vikings camp. They stay the night and the next day a young boy reaches the camp to call the warriors home: The Wendol, creatures of the Mist, have started attacking their homeland, killing and eating everyone in their way. The oracle forces a thirteenth warrior to accompany the Vikings, but this must not be a man from the north. Ahmad does not feel comfortable with the strange men of the north, at first, but when he finds out that the Wendol really exist, he bravely fights alongside the Vikings in an impossible battle against an enemy that can't be stopped.

  • A man, having fallen in love with the wrong woman, is sent by the sultan himself on a diplomatic mission to a distant land as an ambassador. Stopping at a Viking village port to restock on supplies, he finds himself unwittingly embroiled on a quest to banish a mysterious threat in a distant Viking land.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Based on award-winning author Michael Crichton's best-selling novel, Eaters of the Dead, Touchstone Pictures' "The 13th Warrior."

    The story of Ibn Fahdlan (ANTONIO BANDERAS), a refined Arab courtier, representative of the powerful Caliph of Bagdaad, who encounters a band of Viking warriors on their journey to barbaric North. The Northmen coerce him into joining them when they are summoned to fight the monsters of the mist.

    Surrounded by the frightening and ferocious foe, Ibn must conquer his personal fears and help battle the illusive invaders -- who emerge out of the mist in the black of night to slaughter the Vikings and devour their flesh.

    Before the dawn of the second millennium (922 A.D.), the city of Baghdad is the center of highest civilization. Within its cultured protection, young Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas) enjoys the privileges of a prominent position until he succumbs to a politically dangerous relationship with a beautiful young woman. Sent away as an appointed emissary to a distant land, Ibn is traveling by caravan with his mentor and manservant, Melchisidek (Sharif), when he meets a band of warriors.

    Ibn is appalled by Viking customs -- the wanton sexuality of their pale, angular women, their disregard for cleanliness, and their cold-blooded human sacrifices. Regardless of his feelings towards them, an old soothsayer whom the Vikings call the angel of death, cast the bones and warns the band that they will fail unless they are accompanied on their journey by a 13th warrior and one who is not from the North.

    Herger to Ibn: "Buliwyf is called by the gods to leave this place and swiftly, putting behind him all his cares and concerns, to act as a hero to repel the menace of the North. This is fitting, and he must also take eleven warriors with him. And so, also, must he take you."

    Branded as the foreigner they need to succeed, Ibn is enlisted as they set out on their conquest by land and sea to Venden, the land of King Hrothgar.

    Led by the enigmatic and courageous Buliwyf (Vladimir Kulich), the warriors include Herger the Joyous (Dennis Storhoi) whose love of women is only exceeded by his love of fighting. Herger becomes Ibn's most frequent tormentor, and his closest ally, as he travels with the group that also includes Helfdane the Large (Clive Russell), Roneth the Horseman (Neil Maffin), Rethel the Archer (Mischa Hausserman), Skeld the Superstitious (Richard Bremmer), Weath the Musician (Tony Curran), Edgtho the Silent (Daniel Southern), Halga the Wise (Asbjorn Riis), Hyglak the Quarrelsome (Albie Woodington), Haltaf the Boy (Oliver Sveinall) and Ragnar the Dour (John De Santis).

    Arriving at the warriors' northern homeland ruled by the elderly King Hrothgar (Sven Wollter), Ibn discovers that the King and his young wife, Queen Weilew (Diane Venora), and Hrothgar's treacherous son Wigliff (Anders T. Andersen), have been unable to stop their enemy's rampage.

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