Finished watching this series the other day, and I enjoyed it. Written by Michael Hirst (of ‘The Tudors’ and ‘Elizabeth’ fame) for the History Channel, ‘Vikings’ depicts the world of the Norsemen before their conversion to Christianity, at a time when Europe was coming out of the Dark Ages and the old gods of Asgard still held sway in Scandinavia.
The protagonist is Ragnar Lodbrok (portrayed by Travis Fimmel), a legendary raider and Norse ruler who is credited (in the TV series at least) with leading the first Viking raid into Christian Europe against the monastery of Lindisfarne in Northumbria. He is also depicted developing the Norse navigation techniques that allowed them to cross the open ocean. Historically, neither of these events can be attributed to him (or any one person, for that matter), but it makes for good storytelling.
The crux of the first series however is the conflict between Ragnar and his liege lord, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne).
I won’t spoil anything by telling you how it ends, but suffice to say if you know a little something about Norse myth and history, then there are no real surprises in store on that front.
Overall I enjoyed the nine episodes of the first season. Despite the inaccuracies that plague TV and film adaptations of historical events, I think Hirst and his production team did an excellent job in bringing the Viking Age to life, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the second season has to offer.
Here’s a taste:
Now that’s a lot of symbolism!