The Vikings series made a debut right around the time of Game of Thrones. Being in the same genre, Vikings has had to contend with one of the biggest series of this generation and it has come out strong. The show doesn’t have any of the bigger names of TV or the movies, but after it there will be many who will leave stronger. The story lines are inspired by the history of tenth century Vikings.
The series starts with Ragnar Lothbrok as a simple farmer with a wife and child. He dreams of sailing to the uncharted ports of England and France where he imagines great wealth lays. Unfortunately, the leader Earl Haraldson does not agree with his ideas. For all they know England is just a myth.
Ragnar gets the help of his long time friend and carpenter Floki to build a boat and the two gather a few men and set sail. With a sundial as a compass they find England, a land of wealth and people unprepared for a raid. The villages are easy pickings and they reward themselves with its bounties.
When they return, Earl Haraldson is upset that they disobeyed his orders. However with their success it would be difficult to punish them. Earl Haraldson now harbors a stewing envy for Ragnar, who now looks like a threat to his power, and he begins to plot how to bring Ragnar down. They will eventually face off in a battle where the winner takes all.
The series takes a lot of liberties with Viking history. Some of the things it has been criticized for include its depiction of Viking society as an autocratic state where the ruler had all the say. This is far from the truth. There was a lot of democracy in those societies. While the character of Lagnar Lothbrok is inspired by the actual historic character, whether he was as eccentric as the character Travis Fimmel has created is a matter of speculation. This is, however, a breakout role for him. The popularity of the series has led to some other roles, including playing the lead in the movie Warcraft.
Gustaf Skarsgard’s portrayal as Floki, the demented wood genius who hasn’t met a problem he can’t solve with a saw, is one of the highlights of the show. Katheryn Winnick, a real life bad ass, does a great job as Lagertha the shield maiden and wife of Ragnar. She is fiercely loyal..
What is the show missing?
Consistency might be its biggest problem, but overall it has proven to be one of the best shows to come out of the History Channel. It’s definitely worth checking out. Start with the earlier seasons.