Vikings (TV series)

Vikings (TV series)

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Since June 10, Canal + has been broadcasting the series Vikings, from the History channel, Michael Hirst's latest creation. The father of the Tudors and the Borgias, remains once again in a semi-historical theme, offering us to relive the Viking epic and the end of a turbulent eighth century.

The main theme of the series is the epic adventures of Ragnar Lodbrok, a semi-legendary character in the history of Denmark and Sweden. If historically, Lodbrok can be placed in the context of the great Scandinavian raids on West Francia by Charles the Bald, he is here the very initiator of the Viking Age. An ambitious warrior, supposedly son of Odin, tired of the pillaging of the Baltic coasts, he dreams of making his fortune by sailing west towards lands no one thinks he can reach. Braving the authority of his Jarl (Earl) he gathered a small troop of intrepid warriors and managed to reach the coasts of Northumbria, near the monastery of Lindisfarne, one day in 793… It was the beginning of a bloody and glorious epic . Odin seems to be granting him his favors, but at what cost?

Overall positive criticisms

As much to say from the start, on a purely artistic level this series constitutes a quality product. Slick production, classy casting, breathtaking scenario, all the ingredients are there to make it a good entertainment.

Historically speaking, however, we navigate in troubled waters. Many liberties are taken with the facts, characters are introduced in an absurd way or even displaced in time by several decades (from Ragnar to his brother, Rollo…). We do not escape certain cartoons either, and the idea that the Scandinavians of the time considered the British Isles as mythical lands will make more than one smile (or cry?).

However, the series is often on target when it comes to portraying the Scandinavian mentality of the time. The way in which the main myths, discovered by an Anglo-Saxon monk, brought back as a slave by Ragnar, are introduced is effective. Special mention will also be made to dialogues in Norse and Old English.

As for the amateurs of reenactments and costumes, they will find something to amuse or frighten them, although the whole is of quality and relatively functional (and fortunately no helmets with horns… or almost). On a semi-military level, the clever asymmetric warfare tactics of the Vikings, and their taste for psychological maneuvers, are rendered in a distracting way.

In the end a good quality entertainment, pleasantly served by convincing actors. The 9 episodes of the first season will quickly be released in full, but fortunately the series has already been renewed for a second season.

Vikings, TV series in 9 episodes, since June 11 on Canal +.

Video: Vikings - First season Recap