Is anyone else out there watching the Vikings? Silly question, cause I know it’s really popular. And wow, isn’t it just fantastic. I think I love almost everything about it, well, apart from one or two niggles, and I’m going to attempt to discuss without giving anything away. So hopefully, I don’t need to give a spoiler alert!
I’m up to episode three in Season 2 and well, the thing that’s bothering me most, is the portrayal of ye old Anglo-Saxon Kings. The Vikings are essentially all quite, and apologies here for not being the next word, ‘cool’. They’re simple men, with simple needs and wishes and their women are strong and loyal. What I love most is the characters – even though they’re supposed to be characters from over 1000 years ago, I think that they’re very easy to relate to. They’re not all bloody thirsty (insert your own expletive here).
The scenery is stunning, the dialogue is simple and effective, the storyline is ambling along at a lovely pace, just enough to keep you intrigued but not in a huge rush. The battle scenes are far more realistic than anything in Game of Thrones, and reveal just how lethal and brutal and strong they were, but until last night, they didn’t come across as too obsessed with a bit of torture.
But the Anglo-Saxon Kings, they’re being portrayed as arrogant and dumb, all at the same time. Now, before everyone jumps up and down, I appreciate that they’re the ‘enemies’ of the Vikings. I get that, but, having them strut their stuff in an ancient Roman bath house and make it all into a bit of a c*** fight is doing them a little bit of a disservice. (It also makes me want to know where they are? Where is this bath house? I know that much of the structure of Roman Britain remained in place when they hoped off back to Rome, but, after four hundred years I’m not sure it would have been in quite such good condition!)
I admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to the Northumbrian King’s portrayal (although I might have to go back and watch it again) and maybe his character was the same (only without the Roman bath). And I also know it’s really easy to see the whole Christianity thing as a bit of a joke and show the priests as zealots but to do the time period any justice I feel that both the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons need to be treated with the same respect. Everyone (I hope) likes the Vikings so why can’t we like the Anglo-Saxons as well. It bugs me a little.
The joy of other shows that I’ve enjoyed in (almost) recent years is that the writers make you engage with the characters even when they’re nasty pieces of work (Prison Break is the best example I can think of, although Game of Thrones has its far share of nasties who the audience end up finding appealing), and I want The Vikings to do the same. Please!!!
Is my rant over? Not too sure really (cause the scene with the lovely Agatha annoyed me as well but I don’t, as I said, want to spoil anything). So maybe for now, I’ll go back to my hermits shell, and my copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and get on with some writing. But hey, writers of the Vikings, give us a few Anglo-Saxon characters to engage with (other than the monk – is he called Athelstan, I can’t remember?).
And now, I really must do some writing. Brunanburh continues over on Wattpad, and I’d love some feedback on how you think it’s developing.