Vikings has earned its salt and has became without a shadow of a doubt, my all time favorite TV series! I have watched up to the current season 4 and started again from season 1 and back to 4. Each time i cannot fail but be inspired by the incredible genius behind Vikings.

Vikings is not a Game of Thrones like series since it is mostly based on real life historical events around 860. Yet it is not same as Rome (Season 1 and 2), since at its core, Vikings is about spirituality more than than politics, emotions behind the violence more than the gore in the violence, love more than than lust and discovery rather than conquest.

Ragnar – the founding Viking King

Ragnar Lothbrok is just an ordinary farmer, with an ordinary wife and kid. The thing about Ragnar is that he likes to learn. So when he stumbles upon a guy who has mastered the art of travel in the ocean and uncovers a secret few knew, he not only approached his community’s leader – Earl Haraldson – about the idea: to travel where no Viking had ever gone, west to a suspected land full of riches, but he actually takes the great risk.

The Earl obviously declines the idea. And so the seed of rebellion is sown in Ragnar, that eventually pits him in a fight against the establishment, especially when he goes out, discovers the lands, raids it and returns back full of riches, of which he gives all to the Earl, waiting for the expected reaction. This is the sort of politics behind every episode of Vikings.

Love – not as we know it, but as it was

More interesting than politics is the underlying theme of love. And in vikings, Ragnar displays a passionate love for his wife, son and brother. His family is so dear to him none dare cross any of them. Yet we see the discord between him and his wife, his son, and most painfully for Ragnar – his brother doing something terrible to him, not just once, twice, or even thrice.

Another thing i liked about Vikings is that is shows you what people talk about you when you are not around. People who were jealous of Ragnar’s success would pretend to be his friend and behind his back plot for his very death. Some would plot to steal his beautiful wife. Others would get close to him so as to further their own personal ambition with the gods. The story has real substance.

I imagine the real Ragnar would relate to this series. Especially since in real life all his sons become great Kings, his brother set a famous history in Paris and his christian friend become the father of the first King of England.

The gods

Vikings worshiped gods who were like us – walk, talk, love, die and blessed people on Earth. Odin was the most powerful of the good gods, and Loki was the most treacherous. Throughout Vikings we interact with their gods and see how, from their point of view, their religion was the only way to Valhala – the majestic hall ruled by Odin when all good men go after death.

Every soldiers desire was to go to Valhala. So it is very surprising when things turn around so much that, all that Ragnar wants, is to go the Christian heaven! This is after being spiritually inspired by his slave, then friend, then trustee – Athelstan.

From my opinion Athelstan steals the show completely, giving an incredible performance worthy of an Oscar. How does a Christian monk, taken captive by Vikings, adapt to the new spiritual reality around him? His perception of evil is reversed, his Christianity challenged, his very soul almost captured. He turns Viking, completly and turns back to Christian, completely. Marvelous performance.

I believe all Christians should watch Vikings – with a special focus on the influential character of Athelstan and his journey through faith. You should have no reason not to be born again by season 2. Yet by season 3, your very own beliefs in Christianity will be challenged, your reasoning of what is right, what is love, what is death, what is real…all this is challenged to the core.

The part about Athelstan is ostensibly about a bad guy who meets a good guy that turns into a bad guy with the bad guy turning into a good guy and the now bad guy figuring out again he is a good guy and influencing everyone around him to either kill him or save him – depending on whether you see him as a good guy or a bad guy. The Viking gods – or the Christian God – know the truth.

Something else about Ragnar inspires me deeply. He seeks wisdom and doesn’t hide that fact. Athelstan reads books but doesn’t have the wisdom Ragnar has; Ragnar hasnt read anything yet he questions everything.  The two are the very difference between being clever and wise. Of all things Ragnar seeks, it is wisdom, and all Athelstan seeks is understanding.

These are endearing qualities of a leader, a commendable quality portrayed in a TV series, especially when we a filled with a lot of nonsense on TV nowadays.

The best TV series ever

To say that Vikings is a portray of a great man is an understatement. Every history student should learn about Ragnar Lothbrok and his marvelous achievements. If you consider yourself ambitious, measure the length of your ambition in comparison with Ragnar’s…

He arguably discovered and raided the following: 1. Iceland. 2. Greenland. 3. England. 4. Norway. 5. Finland. 6. America 7. Paris – France 8. Egypt. 9. China 10. Russia

Such a man deserves some respect and this show, this masterpiece of a show, gives him the respect he deserves.

Long live Ragnar Lothbrok! 

Rated 20 out of 10 for incredible cinematography, smooth special effects, well knit story with few loose ends, and a stellar cast giving a performance of a lifetime 🙂

PS: Other characters worthy of mention (google them for some real life historical fun facts):

  • Ivar the Boneless
    Ragnar: Our child should have a name. Now that the gods have saved him.
    Aslaug: His name is Ivar.
    Ragnar: Ivar the Boneless.
  • Rollo: “I wanted to step out of your shadow… but when I stepped out of the doors, there was no sunlight.”
  • Floki: “Warriors don’t show their heart, until the axe reveals it.”
  • Lagertha:
    Lagertha: Don’t sleep with lots of women in Kattegat.
    Ragnar Lothbrok: I can do without it for a few days.
    Lagertha: Is that another way of saying you love me?
  • Bjorn
    Floki: This table is very well made.
    Bjorn: So are the women. 
  • The monks:  give this a thought: if your enemy was the one documenting history, what would they write about you? The leader of the Great Heathen Army? Think about it. Were the ones who wrote history right or biased????????
  • King Ecbert “What world do we live in when the friend of our friend kills our friend!”

 

 

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James Maina is the editor of What To Watch. Passionate about the creative world of film and media, James loves to create magazines, video games, websites and android apps in his spare time, but he is most passionate about one thing: Movies on the big screen. Email your feedback to info@whatyouneedtowatch.com