By Anisa Alice-Claire.
If you haven’t heard of this series, you’re missing out. Vikings is a historical drama, created by Michael Hirst, and starring actors such as Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnich, Gustaf Skarsgard and Alexander Ludwig. The show’s countries of origin are Canada
and Ireland (Yay, Canada!) and it premiered on March 3rd, 2013.
The story is based around the historical figure Ragnar Lodbrok (some say Lothbrook), who, in the show, is portrayed as a farmer in the beginning. He then, through the actions of discovery and successful raiding, raising to fame amongst his local villagers.
Travis Fimmel plays Ragnar in the series and in choosing him, it seemed things might end up a little too ‘Hollywood’ and a lot less authentic, but he definitely proved my initial thoughts wrong. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they managed to cast everyone extremely well. Even the less-known Skarsgard, Gustaf, is epic in his portrayal of Floki, the somewhat spun, somewhat off-balance shipbuilder and best friend of Ragnar.
Interestingly, in history, it’s unknown whether Ragnar actually existed, as there is no solid proof that he did. His story seems to originate from the stories of many historical Viking heroes and rulers. The experts can’t even say for sure whether or not he fathered all of the famous sons he was said to have fathered. Sons such as Ivar the Boneless, Bjorn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd Snake-in-Eye and Ubba.
Legend states that Ragnar was thrice married to Lagertha, the Viking Shieldmaiden from Normay. Her story also appears to be a reflection of the the Norse Deity, Þorgerðr Hǫlgabrúðr (Good luck pronouncing that one!). Her story begins when the king of Sweden invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king. The women of the dead king’s family were placed in a brothel for public humiliation and when Ragnar heard of the attack, he came to avenge his grandfather, the king of Norway. Many of the abused women dressed in men’s clothing and fought on Ragnar’s side.
Lagertha, as history would write it, fought with her hair loose over her shoulders, betraying that she was a woman. Ragnar was impressed with her courage and then courted her. The story goes on saying that Ragnar killed the bear guarding Lagertha’s home with a spear and then proceeded to choke the hound, who was also guarding her home, to death. That won her hand in marriage. I laugh, only because if this is true, wow. That’s quite the courting.
Even after divorcing Lagertha, because he apparently was upset about the bear and the hound, Ragnar called upon her for help in battle. And because she still loved him, she came to his aid. Awe, now if that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is. Anyway, I digress. Lagertha arrived with 120 ships, according to Saxo, right when Ragnar needed help the most.
Back to the television show, it does follow history lightly by weaving through the vague guidelines provided by historians. However, the creator, Michael Hirst, has had to fill in some blanks on his own, as there isn’t enough information available to make a complete series. So far, I think he’s doing a marvelous job. Even the way the actors speak is believable and, surprisingly, not annoying. I find many historical recreations try too hard with the language and it ends up not sounding very natural at all. Especially because the challenge is that we now speak with contractions whereas back then they did not.
There are some brutal scenes, savage even, but all in all, it’s what you would expect from a T.V. series called ‘Vikings’. If you’re expecting something PG, this is not the show. I am excited for season three to launch in February this year.
If you would like to tune in, the show airs on the History Channel CA and US.
Anisa A. Claire manages property by day and is an eclectic author by night. She is also the creator and co-owner of Writer’s Carnival, a successful online community for writers. She has multiple publications in e-zines such as Long Story Short, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, The Short Humour Site, and Blood Magazine. She’s placed in, and won various contests, and completed in last year’s 3-Day Novel competition.