This is an entirely spoiler-free article.
About a year ago, The History Channel released its original series, Vikings. Spearheaded by Michael Hirst, who wrote the film Elizabeth, the HBO show The Tudors, and more, it was clear that the historical accuracy of Vikings wasn’t going to be the main focus of the show. In fact, from the beginning it had more than its fair share of detractors lamenting its inaccuracies.
As a history major myself, I do find it sad how much those in the entertainment industry feel the need to sensationalize history, especially when they stretch it to a point of no return. But The History Channel must keep up with the times, I suppose, and in airing Vikings they are doing just that.
The strongest point of this show is most definitely the casting. For a basic cable network, it seems that The History Channel had more than its fair share of good luck in finding talented new stars (most notably Katheryn Winnick, who plays Lagertha, and Travis Fimmel, who plays Ragnar Lothbrock) and signing bigger names (Gabriel Byrne as Earl Haraldson).
Filmed mostly in County Wicklow, Ireland (with some photography from Norway), the scenery in Vikings is nothing if not beautiful. Along with the strong character acting, including Swedish star Gustaf Skarsgard as shipbuilder Floki, the locations are probably the next best thing about this show.
But it rings true that pretty scenery and good acting aren’t usually what keeps a show running for more than a season (or two). In the case of Vikings, there’s also some sex and human sacrifice, a good bit of sacking and pillaging, plenty of battle scenes, and a lot of plotting and backstabbing. At times some of the latter can be a bit maddening, especially in season one – but stick around through the end of season two, and you’ll be hooked, I promise.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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