By Gustavo Quiros
We all know the stereotypical image of a Viking; large burley men that love to eat and drink, masters of the sea whose immense braided beards have no rival, along with the iconic horned hats.
It’s not very often that Hollywood will put out a film or television series that digs deep into the culture of the Vikings, until now.
The acclaimed television series Vikings on History Channel has taken these Viking stereotypes and brought light to what is true and what has grown from popular culture.
Creator Michael Hirst, has shown that Vikings were more than just restless blood thirsty savages looking for treasure to steal. His powerful cast of Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, and Clive Standen, really bring life to the legends of the Vikings and truly pull you into the world with their compelling acting.
The story begins with protagonist Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) fighting a horde of combatants all by themselves, showing their prowess in combat and the significance of battle to their people. The series does not hold back when it comes to violence and thus gives you a glimpse of the brutal reality these men had to face. After defeating the swarm of soldiers Ragnar has a vision of Odin the All-father of the Norse gods pre-cursing his important role in the series.
The central plot revolves around a man (Ragnar) who is not in search of power or riches but instead a man looking for knowledge and adventure. The show is filled with colorful characters as well as a story that could snatch anyone’s interest.
The acting is wonderful; the cast really knows how to captivate the audience and really give life to their own character. Ragnar’s wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) plays a strong female lead and gives her both an intimidating yet alluring factor that I cannot get enough of. Another show favorite would have to be Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) Ragnar’s good friend and master craftsman. His character embodies a crazy kind of brilliance that can only be truly appreciated by the gods themselves. As for the rest of the characters, the way they interact with each other using such passion and emotion really makes the show believable.
The series was filmed in parts of Canada and Ireland so the scenery is gorgeous and authentic. One feels as if they are breathing in the cool air of the mountains of Norway, and dealing with the harsh winters along with the characters.
Adding to the authenticity of the story, the set designs are magnificent, looking like they were pulled straight out of the 12th century.
The costume design fits the time period superbly and the use of different languages as they transition back to comprehendible English makes you feel like you are dealing with people from all over Europe.
The producers have done their research and everything in the show ties together seamlessly to give the viewer an accurate representation of what life was like back during the age of Vikings.
After binge watching seasons 1 and 2 in about a week’s time, I can give the series an honest 5 out of 5 stars. In my humble opinion the series does a great job episode by episode leaving the viewer wanting more. At one point I can sincerely say I watched up to five episodes in a row simply because Michael Hirst knows how to keep the audiences’ interest at hand and the wonderful cast only makes the show that much more fun to watch.
It is fair to say that this show is intended for a more mature audience due to that graphic violence and occasional sensual scenes. So keep that in mind before you decide to embark on this Viking journey.
Each episode runs about 45 minutes and there are roughly 10 episodes per season. I would recommend the series to anyone who is into the Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings type of entertainment, this series is right up that alley, and well worth checking out.
Both seasons 1 and 2 are streaming online and on Hulu plus, for those interested.
The third season of Vikings premieres on the History Channel on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 10/9c and is sure to leave audiences yearning for more.