In 922 AD, an Arab poet named Ahmed is exiled and sent to the north as an emissary as punishment for his interest in another man’s woman. During the journey, they encounter another group of people quite different from themselves—the Vikings. Shortly after, the Vikings embark on a journey to defeat a group known as the Eaters of the Dead and, according to the Viking oracle, the 13th warrior needed for the journey must not be a Northman. As a result, Ahmed ends up going on the journey with the Viking warriors. Although they make fun of him and doubt he can contribute to the group, the Vikings grow to respect Ahmed and appreciate his help. Together Ahmed and the team of Vikings travel to fight the Eaters of the Dead and stop their attacks on Viking villages. The Vikings are confident in their ability to defeat these killers, but they are surprised by the skillfulness of their opponents. With the help of Ahmed and more advice from a wise woman, the Vikings overcome their opponents and save their villages from further attacks.
Anyone could watch this movie and follow the plot, but it takes a little more effort to find the true meaning. To the untrained eye, The 13th Warrior could be considered a typical action movie; but deeper messages exist. The first is obvious—the differences between cultures (specifically Arabs, Vikings, and the Eaters of the Dead). Variation in clothing, language, and political structure illustrate the individual cultures very clearly. The second theme is the way people of different backgrounds can unite to overcome a common enemy, which was shown in the alliance between the Arab and the Vikings to fight the Eaters of the Dead. The third message was the importance of balance—the need for both male and female influence within a culture. There will always be a need for wisdom, strength, comfort, and protection within societies. This balance is best achieved when men and women are equally respected and accept their