Oversimplified Norwegian language history lesson:
Norway basically spoke Danish. We share the same norse origins, but we were ruled by or in unions with Denmark and Sweden. Most of our kings didn't even speak Norwegian, they spoke Danish. So Norwegian is heavily influenced by Swedish and Danish, but mostly Danish.
Riksmål is the traditional name for this kind of Norwegian Danish-dialect pretty much. Which is the closest thing to the Bokmål we have today.
Come independence process 1814 and the surrounding years. Norway starts going "so... is it about time we properly decide what our own Norwegian language should be and make a standard that not basically a Danish dialect?"
To help solve this, some guy called Ivar Aasen decides to travel across rural areas of Norway, at least a considerable amount of them keeping in mind the travel methods of the 1800s, and then creates an "Average" written Norwegian based on how people really speak Norwegian around the country. This was called Nynorsk ("New Norwegian" or "Neo-Norwegian")
So there were two contenders:
- Riksmål (Closest equivalent to today's bokmål)
The capital goes "Hey wait a minute, this Norwegian sounds nothing like the Danish one we speak here in the capital!" (No shit sherlock)
So the capital who sits on most of the rubber stamps goes "No way, we don't want to standardize and enforce this Norwegian, because it's nothing like what we speak" (Norway wasn't the famous rich paradise it is today, so representation of people outside of the capital on most political decisions was a bit mediocre at best)
While the rest of the country goes "No shit, the whole point was to figure out what actual Norwegian sounds like, don't get butthurt now because it turns out you're too close to the Danes"
Fast forward to 2020, and still not resolved in the slightest.
And I'm pretty sure they just flat out forgot to make a proper spoken standard. Or maybe they didn't want to open yet another can of worms until they solved the written one.