Raids of Glory

Hadassah Lavianlivi

TV show: Vikings- Season 1, Episode 1

Vikings is a drama series that portrays the historical myths of Viking legend. The show follows Ragnar Lothbrok, the first viking legend of old Norse history and his life journey to acquire fame, power, and wealth. His journey has many threatening and gory bumps in the road, but he has his faithful brother Rollo, his best friend Floki, his fierce wife Lagertha and their two children by his side. Throughout the course of the show, Ragnar acquires wealth and fame, but he continuously faces tremendous challenges within his family and friendships while trying to protect his newly acquired earldom and his Chritain friend Athelstan from many surrounding enemies. Ragnar’s world is full of twists and turns, his mind is ahead of the times, and that gets him into many difficult situations with the people around him.

In this episode viewers meet Ragnar Lothbrok and his family for the first time. At this point, he is just a simple farmer who is bound by Viking honor to his chieftain Earl Haraldson. It is the time of year for Ragnar and the vikings to go East and raid for their Earl, but Ragnar wants to go West. His defiance gets him into trouble, but in the end the Vikings do go West and obtain wealth while killing many along the way.

The aesthetic qualities of the show are impressive.It is obvious just by looking at the set design in this episode that a lot of time, money, and effort went into production for the show. Every detail seems to be thought out entirely, from the pots and pans in the street markets to the intricately designed braids in the women’s hair. Although there is beauty in the details, everything is very grey: the clothes, dirt and even the sky all seem to be the same color. It is understood that during the Norse time period things were very simple, but the lack of color does make the show a little flat. To some, the hue of grey may show how genuine the creators want to be when portraying the simple Nordic lifestyle. This all is viewer preference. Since the show is based in the Scandinavian region of the world, it is obvious that the creators wanted to give authenticity to the Nordic accent, but unfortunately there is not a unified accent between the characters. Each character has a different accent- British, Scandinavian, Australian- which ruins the the authenticity of the dialogue. The cinematography is fabulous, some of the scenes are shot so up close it feels as if the viewer is part of the conversation. For example, when Ragnar and his son Bjorn are in the field together the viewer feels as if they are standing right next to both characters during their dialogue. It appears that the creators did focus on the show’s sound effects, in this episode the viewer could hear every sword slash and scream during a battle scene or even the crunch of grass during hunting. Over all the aesthetics were pleasing with a few minor issue that took away from the authenticity of the episode.

The story is mainly told through the life journey of Ragnar Lothbrok. The episode primarily progresses through dialogue between characters. Conflict and tension continuously pop up during the episode, usually between Ragnar and another character like his wife, brother or the Earl. Viking raids seem to be the underlying foundation in the progression of story because each raid brings along more conflict and power for Ragnar.

Different values are exemplified but extremely undermined in the show. The Vikings believe in bravery and courage but the way they obtain those traits undermine their value. To vikings, bravery and courage are obtained by the willingness to fight and raid for wealth even though innocent people are murdered along the way. Leadership and power are “values” deeply rooted in the show: Ragnar wants to be the leader of the vikings, but instead of working hard for it he chooses deception and murder to obtain it. Although these values are being pursued in the wrong way, it does still show a great passion to achieve those valuable attributes which can be something to admire.

Violence is the epitome of this show, they are Vikings after all. In the episode, if Ragnar and the Vikings are not actually fighting they are thinking of the best way to fight and raid for more success. It is obvious that bloodshed does not phase them.

Unlike many periods in history, woman are of great value in the Nordic world. They are strong and powerful and even fight alongside the men during raids. Lagertha, Ragnars’ wife is the best representation of a strong Nordic woman. These woman can speak their own mind and are not treated like property or second class citizens.

Vikings is a unique show for those who enjoy learning about different periods of history.It has a huge fandom and is progressing into its fifth season. Whether myth or truth, Nordic legends are enticing.