The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
Snorri is unhappy about your bar tab - VERY unhappy...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"VIKINGS" tv series, season 1: A brief review

I'm titling this a brief review as I'm certain this has been beaten to death in other places.  But it is part of the "inspiration" theme of this site, so I felt obliged to say something about it.
  1. Style, artistry.  Very good, I'll give it a 9/10 on this.  The music is great and the opening credits memorable.  Overall the acting is solid and restrained as much of the culture was.  In other words, it has "good feel".
  2. Viking Culture.  I'll give it a 6/10 on this.  It is a bit anachronistic in ways.  Jarl / Earl Harald [nicely played by Gabriel Byrne] is too much like a medieval lord / thug.  Viking society was not hierarchical until the late middle ages.  The earl engages in numerous plots to jealously kill off the hero, which are as silly and nonsensical as they are anachronistic to the period.  Also, the Thing was a place where all freemen participated in judgment, and where lawyers [of the style to the time] held a lot of power.  Earl or not, aside from fighting in single combat and gathering threatening numbers of supporters, earls / jarls had no more power than anyone else before the law.  Enforcing the law...well, that's another story.
  3. Nordic Religion.  I'll give it a 6/10.  The barbarity and violence of their religious beliefs is presented well, and Christianity isn't abused too much.  Their paganism is ugly including human sacrifice.  Still, despite capturing a Christian monk, they fail to present a balanced account of the blessings of Christianity.  The monk Athelstan isn't a very good bearer of the Word considering his claims to being a missionary.  He also indulges in 'shrooms and sex thrills.  But hey, what the hell, right?
  4. Viking combat.  Aside from the usual hollywood tricks of "all enemies of the hero are dundering stormtroopers trained by the Stooges, it's not toooo bad [except for the shieldmaidens, there's a second unnamed one towards the end of the season].  The fights are small, which is as it should be.  Most raids were small affairs.
  5. Viking Women.  They're sluts, they fight, and they get to act like earls when the earl isn't at home.  They also stand up for women and children and fight like men.  They do 'shrooms and participate in threesomes and orgies with abandon.  Basically, they're a combo of heavy metal and hippie chicks.  They're probably the most anachronistic aspect of the series, as Nordic women were held in high honor as valuable parts of society, too valuable to be wasted in battle [where they'd do a lousy job anyway] and essential to homestead management and the creation / raising of children in a pre-daycare time.  In fact, they don't even make sense with a shallow knowledge of history and anthropology.  But there it is. 
  6. Viking Shieldmaidens.  Total BS.  Norse women were kept at home safe where they ruled the roost, engaged in power struggles with their husbands and extended family, and had children [lest there be no one to carry the family forward and care for the elders].  Also, women don't have the upper body strength to fight in melee with men on average.  Sorry to put the science forward, but the new hollywood commitment to "warrior babes" is ludicrous.  The fact that women still have to be segregated in the Olympics says it all: still physically weaker / slower than comparable men".  Of course, guns and technology equal some of this out, but that's for another gaming period!
  7. Viking Threesomes.  More total BS.  The idea of a procreating Norse couple, including a warrior aspiring to earldom, sharing his woman with a slave / priest is ludicrous.  In an era where progeny was an economic determinant, sex was closely monitored and controlled.  This is anachronistic idiocy.
  8. Viking Historicity overall.  a 5/10, which is good for Hollywood or Bollywood.  But the overall feel is pretty good on such a small budget.
  9. Final Recommendation.  Watch if you aren't too particular or knowledgeable, but it may annoy you in any event.  I got DVDs at the library, so I can muddle thru with the occasional guffaw.

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