While history is full of interesting things that can be found in old writings, objects, and pieces of art that testify to past events and cultures, these relics don't always engage people outside of academic circles - understandably.
Enter the Vikings TV series, an on-screen presentation of Vikings, their way of life, and brutal combat scenes.
At the time of writing this article, as evident on IMDb, around 490,000 viewers rated the Vikings TV series with an 8.5 out of 10. The series was created by Michael Hirst, well-known for history drama work, including "Tudors "and "Elizabeth."
Between acclaim and criticism
Apart from the audience, the Vikings TV series was also acknowledged by critics. The show earned nine awards, including an Emmy in 2020 for its special effects (it had 22 nominations). It was on air for eight years, and in that time, it completed six seasons and 93 episodes between 2013 and 2020.
The story is focused on Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the most famous Vikings of all time, as he explores and raids England.
"The plotting and characterization are simple going on simplistic, but business picks up as Ragnar takes the boys off to northeast England in episode two, and the whole thing has a drive and seriousness of purpose missing from creator Michael Hirst's previous project 'The Tudors.' This might be one to snack on from time to time, but gorgers and pillagers will be pleased to note that, as with many Netflix shows, the whole nine-part series is landing at once," Time Out London wrote in 2013 when the show started airing.
"Since Vikings premiered in 2013, it has drawn a fascinating picture of Norse culture and history, while also gradually building up the power struggle between the pagan gods and Christianity that the Vikings were ultimately destined to lose," Screenrant wrote.
However, despite Screenrant's author praising it for projecting a fascinating picture of Norse culture and history, the history depiction isn't too authentic - Ranker listed eleven "hilarious historical inaccuracies" in the show.
Such inaccuracies include the timeline of known events, clothes, Christians using crucifixion as punishment, and many others.
Vikings TV series main characters: Beyond Ragnar and his sons
Still, being based on Skaldic poetry (again, not completely and accurately, but loosely), the Viking TV show would be very short if it focused only on Ragnar.
While Travis Fimmel did (justifiably) get both a nomination and an award for his portrayal of Ragnar Lothbrok, the Viking TV show's main characters' list stretches further (in accordance with historical knowledge of the events that took place in England).
Therefore, apart from Ragnar, all of his three sons are included: Ivar the Boneless (played by Alex Høgh Andersen), Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith), and Bjorn Lothbrok (played both by Alexander Ludwig and Nathan O'Toole).
In addition, there is also Ragnar's wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), his trusty friend and shipbuilder Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), and Rollo (Clive Standen), a Viking noted in history for the last big raid on France, Norwegian king Harald I Finehair (Peter Franzén), mysterious storyteller Harbard (Kevin Durand), King Ecbert (Linus Roache), and others.
Creative decision: One story ends, another begins
With the end of Season 6, the Vikings TV series got canceled. As Screenrant wrote at the time, after the death of Ragnar, many fans felt a bit disappointed with how the show progressed.
The reduced interest of the audience wasn't the final nail in the coffin for the show - the show's writers simply felt they were running out of stories to tell.
However, 2019 brought about exciting news for Vikings TV series fans - a spin-off series named "Vallhalla "was announced. Filming of Valhalla started in 2020 but was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. Netflix is expected to begin airing Vallhalla's first season on February 25.
What we do know is that while the Vikings TV Series focused on the beginning of the Viking Age in England, Valhalla will focus on the final years of the period.
While the Vikings TV Series was not the best way to learn about Viking endeavors in England, it was nevertheless a fun introduction to Norse culture that had huge potential of invoking interest for the brave and fierce warriors of old among a broader audience.
With Caribbean pirates, ninjas, samurais, and Spartans already having a big impact on modern pop culture - with various movies and video game titles - the Vikings TV Series, along with the Assasin's Creed Vallhala video game, raise hopes that Vikings are on their way to conquer the media space.
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