So Vikings, I’m not really sure how to start on this one. The series follows the story of Ragnar Lodbrok a significant figure in Viking history. He was known to have raided into France and England on numerous occasions. His stories are part legend so we don’t really know what’s true and what is not. For the basis of this series the creators have taken the original stories, actual historical events and historical evidence from the time period. They don’t pull any punches they show the Vikings for what they were, on one hand a group of murderous raiders on the other incredibly advanced people naturally adapted to sea life with strong family bonds.
Filmed in Ireland the series has some beautiful back ground images that help give it a feel of reality. It has a fantastic cast staring Travis Fimmel as Ragnar Lodbrok, Gabriel Byrne as Earl Haraldson(the chief rival), Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha and Jessalyn Gilsig as Siggy, the cast do an excellent job of bringing us further into this rich and colourful world. Another appealing factor is the violence, it’s done with a certain sense of realism, not gratuitous or over the top, it’s just there, almost to further hammer home the fact that violence was a normal part of their daily lives.
To further bring people in are the 2 main pillars on which the show stands. Firstly is the epic story of where Ragnar came from, rising from obscurity to become a figure of legend. Sailing to Britain waging war with the unknown, risking life and limb for those closest to him, his courage and charisma, these are the epic side of the story but they are not the whole story. The second driving force is the family dymanic Ragnar’s realoshinship with his children showing him as a kind figure, his love for his wife, who herself is a warrior and not the stay at home mom you’d expect. An on-going subplot is Ragnar’s friendship with Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid in England, it’s an odd dynamic you can’t be sure are they friends or master and slave, there is a loyalty to each other that is fascinating.
Yes the series has some historical inaccuracies, but let’s face it information from that time is not always credible and a few little lies help the drama of the series so it’s easy to overlook.
All and all is a wonderful series, with beautiful scenery, costumes (and cast). It’s brilliantly told, as a history channel produced show it’s going to educate you a little bit (don’t let that put you off) and it may help scratch that Game of Thrones itch if you wanting more.
Definitely worth a watch.