Friday, July 22, 2016

On: VIKINGS (and serious fangirling)

Over the first part of 2016, I picked up a number of new television series, mostly out of boredom. I know, I know, I should have picked up Fairy Tail again or another anime series. But like, I really wanted to watch these shows ok? And along with Shadowhunters, I started to watch this amazing gem that I can't get enough of: Vikings. 

Vikings is produced by the History channel, but unlike other History channel shows, Vikings plays out like a drama, bringing to life the legendary tales surrounding Ragnor Lothbrok, the farmer-turned-king. At the beginning of the first season, we meet a young farmer named Ragnor who is an amazing warrior that has sworn fealty to Earl Harldson, for whom himself and his brother Rollo raid. But Ragnor is not satisfied raiding lands that he says, are often just as poor as them - he wants to travel West, a journey no viking has ever successfully completed. Undeterred by the Earl's dismissal of his attempts to sail West, Ragnor asks his good friend Floki to build him a ship. And using the knowledge he gained from a wanderer on how to sail West using the position of the sun, Ragnor sets sail on his own with a crew of men. The success of his raid will set him onto a path of power and politics as two languages and cultures - those of Christians and pagans - clash. 

Vikings is definitely not 100% accurate, but I for one, am totally cool with that. Ragnor is a legendary figure - all that is known about him comes from Old Norse poetry and sagas as well as information from the historical viking warriors and rulers that are said to be his sons: Bjorn Ironside, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Ubba,  Halfdan (referred to as Hvitserk as in the Norse sagas) and Ivar the Boneless. But there is so much that can be learned about the viking lifestyle and traditions from watching this show. There is much emphasis on the gods - Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki in particular. The introduction of Athelstan, a Christian monk that Ragnor took to be his slave but eventually freed, allows for scenes in which the vikings explain to Athelstan certain traditions, sacrifices to the Gods and occurrences in detail about life as a viking. Many of the major historical aspects are portrayed well and battle scenes are oh mai gah - AMAZING! 

One aspect I really love about this show is the music. The music chosen for each scene is absolutely fantastic and brings the battles and scenes to life. You will also completely fall in love with the main characters (except maybe Siggy and Rollo. Like really, I can't bring myself to care for them - at all). And throughout the series, you will get to know Ragnor as much more than a viking - you will learn about his desire to improve the lives of his people and beyond all else, his insatiable curiosity. Ragnor will get on your nerves and make some of the stupidest decisions EVER, but you will still want to watch on to learn if Ragnor is able to succeed in his plans. 

I've watched up to the 3rd season, but I understand that the 4th begins to shift some focus on his sons
Bjorn Ironside
from his second wife, Aslaug. And that's pretty cool because his sons did great things in their time and are sure to add a new layer to the story. In the first season, Ragnor is shown as having two children by his first wife, the shieldmaiden Lagertha. One is a daughter named Gita, who is actually not mentioned historically and was likely added only for the show. However, when standing on the edge of the bay at Kattegat, Ragnor says something along the following: "A man may become jealous of his sons, but not of his daughter." This quote foreshadows what is to become of Ragnor (as historically, he does indeed become jealous of his sons). At the moment, my favorite of his sons is his first son, as he has reached adulthood. While he was somewhat of a brat as a kid, he grew up to be a strong warrior. He still makes some dumb mistakes, but I've respected Bjorn a lot as he has shown not only that he is an intelligent warrior, but that he has a deep respect for women, likely stemming from the respect he has for his own mother, Lagertha.

Now about Lagertha. SHE IS MY FAV CHARACTER. She is absolutely freakin' amazing. She not only owns her sexuality, but is also an amazing warrior and
fights alongside her husband Ragnor, and later as her own person in the viking raids. She is also an exceptional mother and ruler (having been left with the duty of running Kattegat when Ragnor went to raid). I was so devastated when Aslaug became pregnant with Ragnor's child because I knew there was no way that Lagertha would stay with him. I was satisfied to see her leave him, claiming that she would not be disrespected any further by him (this is one of those stupid decisions I told you Ragnor makes). Lagertha though, remains deeply in love with Ragnor and raids with him later on when their son is older. She never disrespects Aslaug though and takes her leave gracefully, never pursing Ragnor romantically, but nevertheless remaining a trusted fellow raider and ally. Her relationship with her son is one of mutual respect and my favorite scene in the series so far is when Bjorn decided to stay with his father in Kattegat and not return with Lagertha to her second husband. The person Lagertha remarried doesn't respect her and has hit and abused her before. Before she leaves, Bjorn takes his mother aside and tells her, "Don't take anymore shit." And she doesn't. She really doesn't and you'll have to watch the show and see how Lagertha takes her son's words to heart.

I'm so excited to watch the fourth season and see where this show goes from here. There's so much going on and I absolutely love the way the clashing views between pagans and Christians are portrayed. So if you haven't watched this show, I definitely recommend you watch a couple episodes and see why I love it so much!

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