Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Return of Ragnar Lothbrok!

Television gets even better tonight as Season 3 of Vikings premiers on History. Vikings, along with Black Sails, is part of a quintet of great historical fiction and historical fantasy shows that will soon include Da Vinci's Demons, Outlander, and Season 5 of Game of Thrones. Needless to say, I love this time of year!

The last season of Vikings ended better than I could have imagined. Just when I thought Floki would betray Ragnar and side with King Horik, the writers executed a perfect twist: Ragnar, Lagertha, and their whole clan turned the tables on Horik, proving definitively that no one messes with Ragnar Lothbrok! Or is it "King" Ragnar now?

Ragnar and Lagertha are back!*
I love that History chose Ragnar as the series' protagonist. Ragnar Lothbrok may be more of a legend than a real historical figure, sort of like the King Arthur of Scandinavian Vikings. He, Lagertha, and Aslaug all appear in old Norse and Saxon poems, but whether they truly lived or were characters based on one or more real personages has never been settled.

Some of Ragnar's sons, on the other hand, were in fact real men. His sons Ivar the Boneless and Ubba, for example, led a Danish invasion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in ninth century England. They are also characters in Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom, which is one of the best Viking tales around.

In any event, I'm back to my research on Vikings for my next novel, and I'm looking forward to spending some extra time with them Thursday nights on History.

* Image courtesy of History.


Bill said...

The producers chose a novel way to reprise the series to date by using the captured and co-opted Priest Athelstan's journal entries in 8 short segments, specifically his struggles with the attraction of the pagans versus his Christian faith. I expect him to play a large role in this season.

Joseph Finley said...

Thanks for the comment, Bill. I suspect we'll be seeing lots of Athelstan this season too. Loved the first episode, by the way.