Courage, Brutality & Spirituality Vikings
Dish Magazine

posted in: Articles, Online | 0

the_vikings_dish_magazine

By Diedre Johnson

Love, romance, friendship, family values (yes, that phrase again), courage, brutality and spirituality are all major issues in Vikings, the History Channel’s hit series now in Season 3.

Of course, there is also pillaging (or raiding, as the main characters call it), because Vikingsis indeed based on the mythological and historical discourse of the violent Norsemen of Scandinavia in the 8th and 9th centuries. Also, fact hasn’t been completely separated from fiction, as current-day historians base their information on artifacts such as the remains of Viking ships, Viking script on stones, and stories that were not written until a couple of centuries later. Still, it has not been proven that all the characters in Vikings the series ever existed.

Series creator Michael Hirst, along with the History Channel, has produced a show featuring a bevy of sexy, hot young actors shot in a nostalgic, artificial gray hue that provides just the right hint of vividness, say, on a close up of Travis Fimmel’s blue eyes, or the brick-red of a dress or shirt, or the white-blonde Nordic-ness of shaved and plaited hair. 

Australian-born Fimmel is the heart of Vikings, starring as the handsome, brooding and bloody-violent Ragnar Lothbrok, first a farmer in Kattegat, Denmark, and later a warrior leader. Now, in Season 3 of the series, he’s the King. He leads his group of warriors on raids throughout the lands west of Scandinavia, including Northumbria in England, and after conquering the monastery there and stripping it of all its treasures, he yearns for more adventures.

He is also part of a love triangle that began long ago, between himself, his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) and his first wife, Lagertha (Katherine Winnock). Although Rollo lusts for Lagertha, for awhile she is loyal to her husband, that is, until Ragnar’s wondering eye sends their marriage into turmoil after he sleeps with a princess (Aslaug played by Alyssa Sutherland) from another region and she literally turns up at the village pregnant with his child. Yep, soap opera.

For those who might just want to binge watch the first two seasons before knowing too many spoilers, let’s just say that Lagertha, mother to his first-born son Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig)  isn’t too happy, and ventures to demonstrate that even in medieval Scandinavia, women should not be scorned. 

Pretty Katherine Winnock plays Lagertha with all the alleged moxy of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and continues to be one of Ragnar’s many Achilles heels, as she is clearly the love of his life.

The saying “there is honor among thieves” is very apt in Vikings, where Ragnar insists on loyalty from his warriors as they steal and pillage, and viewers can see this played out in his relationships with his brother Rollo, as well as friends and the people he makes into slaves, and even the monk Athelstan (George Blagden). As Althelstan, the monk-turned-slave, adapts to the ways of the pagan Vikings, he finds himself questioning his Christianity, just as Ragnar finds himself drawn more to Christianity as a result of Athelstan.

The question of just how far Christianity will spread, and whether the Vikings will warm to it, is mildly explored in Season 3, as well as the outcomes from certain raids and fights, such as relatives of enemies spared and a returning to adventure and raids, according to Fimmel.

“We’ve done the England thing,” he said in an interview. “He gets back to raiding rather than setting up the farm. I’m glad a lot of the family stuff is out of the way.”

Later in the show, King Ecbert of Wessex (Linus Roache) will forge a romance between himself and Lagertha, although one wonders if at least part of his attraction to the shield maiden and Earl is for political gain. She and Ragnar’s son Bjorn find love with former slave girl Porunn (Gaia Weiss), but must also realize the responsibility of that love as the two face a tragedy.

And the ladies of the court, now-Queen Aslaug, the regal Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), the widow of the former Earl of Kattegat and Helga (Maude Hirst) the wife of Ragnar’s shipbuilder, find they have all had dreams and visions of a mysterious, cloaked man (Kevin Durand).  Will he appear? If so, will he help or harm the Vikings?  Is he a god? Well, you get the drift.

One important historical recounting will be the pillaging of Paris, which at the time was under Roman rule.

“Yeah, we’re going to attack Paris,” says Hirst. “Paris was the most extraordinary city. It was still a Roman city and it was like nothing else on earth, when Ragnar attacked Paris with 100 ships.” While sets were built to recreate the historical city, CGI was also used, according to Hirst. 

Getting into the secure city will be a challenge for Ragnar and his men, but according to historic folklore he did make it.  “It was a castle surrounded by the Seine, almost an island, but somehow Ragnar and his men managed to get in,” said Vikings’ Clive Standen, in an interview with Showbiz Junkies.

Lothbrok is said to have believed the attacking of Paris would seal the Norsemen a place in history, and it did, but not in a good way. Instead the story goes that he was the “scourge” of France and England for his pillaging ways.

However, back to Season 3. The Paris storyline will introduce Emperor Charles of France (Lothaire Bluteau) and his daughter, Princess Gisla. Gisla will be played by 22-year-old Morgane Polanski, the daughter of famed director Roman Polanski and French actress Emmanuelle Seigner (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Polanski’s true French roots run deep. Her grandfather was chairman of France’s State Theatre, Comedie Françoise and her mother has acted in French, American, and her father Roman’s films.

“Michael writes great parts for women,” Polanski says in Interviewmagazine.com. “He doesn’t just write these roles where the women are pretty flower pots. His women are brave and bold. They don’t just … sit.”

Lagertha’s confidante and number one Kalf will be played by Ben Robson. The season will see him attempt to retain his loyalties to his Earl, while also trying to raise his own status in society, as well.

Love, romance, friendship, family values (yes, that phrase again), courage, brutality and spirituality are all major issues in Vikings, the History Channel’s hit series now in Season 3.

Of course, there is also pillaging (or raiding, as the main characters call it), because Vikingsis indeed based on the mythological and historical discourse of the violent Norsemen of Scandinavia in the 8th and 9th centuries. Also, fact hasn’t been completely separated from fiction, as current-day historians base their information on artifacts such as the remains of Viking ships, Viking script on stones, and stories that were not written until a couple of centuries later. Still, it has not been proven that all the characters in Vikings the series ever existed.

Series creator Michael Hirst, along with the History Channel, has produced a show featuring a bevy of sexy, hot young actors shot in a nostalgic, artificial gray hue that provides just the right hint of vividness, say, on a close up of Travis Fimmel’s blue eyes, or the brick-red of a dress or shirt, or the white-blonde Nordic-ness of shaved and plaited hair. 

Australian-born Fimmel is the heart of Vikings, starring as the handsome, brooding and bloody-violent Ragnar Lothbrok, first a farmer in Kattegat, Denmark, and later a warrior leader. Now, in Season 3 of the series, he’s the King. He leads his group of warriors on raids throughout the lands west of Scandinavia, including Northumbria in England, and after conquering the monastery there and stripping it of all its treasures, he yearns for more adventures.

He is also part of a love triangle that began long ago, between himself, his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) and his first wife, Lagertha (Katherine Winnock). Although Rollo lusts for Lagertha, for awhile she is loyal to her husband, that is, until Ragnar’s wondering eye sends their marriage into turmoil after he sleeps with a princess (Aslaug played by Alyssa Sutherland) from another region and she literally turns up at the village pregnant with his child. Yep, soap opera.

For those who might just want to binge watch the first two seasons before knowing too many spoilers, let’s just say that Lagertha, mother to his first-born son Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig)  isn’t too happy, and ventures to demonstrate that even in medieval Scandinavia, women should not be scorned. 

Pretty Katherine Winnock plays Lagertha with all the alleged moxy of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and continues to be one of Ragnar’s many Achilles heels, as she is clearly the love of his life.

The saying “there is honor among thieves” is very apt in Vikings, where Ragnar insists on loyalty from his warriors as they steal and pillage, and viewers can see this played out in his relationships with his brother Rollo, as well as friends and the people he makes into slaves, and even the monk Athelstan (George Blagden). As Althelstan, the monk-turned-slave, adapts to the ways of the pagan Vikings, he finds himself questioning his Christianity, just as Ragnar finds himself drawn more to Christianity as a result of Athelstan.

The question of just how far Christianity will spread, and whether the Vikings will warm to it, is mildly explored in Season 3, as well as the outcomes from certain raids and fights, such as relatives of enemies spared and a returning to adventure and raids, according to Fimmel.

“We’ve done the England thing,” he said in an interview. “He gets back to raiding rather than setting up the farm. I’m glad a lot of the family stuff is out of the way.”

Later in the show, King Ecbert of Wessex (Linus Roache) will forge a romance between himself and Lagertha, although one wonders if at least part of his attraction to the shield maiden and Earl is for political gain. She and Ragnar’s son Bjorn find love with former slave girl Porunn (Gaia Weiss), but must also realize the responsibility of that love as the two face a tragedy.

And the ladies of the court, now-Queen Aslaug, the regal Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), the widow of the former Earl of Kattegat and Helga (Maude Hirst) the wife of Ragnar’s shipbuilder, find they have all had dreams and visions of a mysterious, cloaked man (Kevin Durand).  Will he appear? If so, will he help or harm the Vikings?  Is he a god? Well, you get the drift.

One important historical recounting will be the pillaging of Paris, which at the time was under Roman rule.

“Yeah, we’re going to attack Paris,” says Hirst. “Paris was the most extraordinary city. It was still a Roman city and it was like nothing else on earth, when Ragnar attacked Paris with 100 ships.” While sets were built to recreate the historical city, CGI was also used, according to Hirst. 

Getting into the secure city will be a challenge for Ragnar and his men, but according to historic folklore he did make it.  “It was a castle surrounded by the Seine, almost an island, but somehow Ragnar and his men managed to get in,” said Vikings’ Clive Standen, in an interview with Showbiz Junkies.

Lothbrok is said to have believed the attacking of Paris would seal the Norsemen a place in history, and it did, but not in a good way. Instead the story goes that he was the “scourge” of France and England for his pillaging ways.

However, back to Season 3. The Paris storyline will introduce Emperor Charles of France (Lothaire Bluteau) and his daughter, Princess Gisla. Gisla will be played by 22-year-old Morgane Polanski, the daughter of famed director Roman Polanski and French actress Emmanuelle Seigner (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Polanski’s true French roots run deep. Her grandfather was chairman of France’s State Theatre, Comedie Françoise and her mother has acted in French, American, and her father Roman’s films.

“Michael writes great parts for women,” Polanski says in Interviewmagazine.com. “He doesn’t just write these roles where the women are pretty flower pots. His women are brave and bold. They don’t just … sit.”

Lagertha’s confidante and number one Kalf will be played by Ben Robson. The season will see him attempt to retain his loyalties to his Earl, while also trying to raise his own status in society, as well.

But one thing is for certain. Whether it’s the attack on France that interests you, or Kalf, or King Ecbert, or the sudden arrival of a mysterious man in Kattegatt, Vikings will be arriving with swords drawn in a living room near you! Vetrivel!, Veeravel! as the Vikings would shout before battle.

But one thing is for certain. Whether it’s the attack on France that interests you, or Kalf, or King Ecbert, or the sudden arrival of a mysterious man in Kattegatt, Vikings will be arriving with swords drawn in a living room near you! Vetrivel!, Veeravel! as the Vikings would shout before battle.

Leave a Reply