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  • #64198
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    So late last night I thought I would give the first episode of Vikings a try, many episodes later I slinked off to bed…

    Now, they did not have horned helmets which seemed legit, but other than that I can’t say how accurate it was.
    I am guessing as with most entertainment rather than educational shows it was inspired by history, rather than an attempt to re-tell day to day life.

    I liked it as a piece of entertainment.

     

    #64199
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Yes, it’s inspired by history rather than re-telling it. They have some serious academics on the payroll to provide advice, but they largely work to the rule of cool. I’ve heard it described as Hipsters in Horseskin, and that is fairly true. The haircuts are more hipster than Viking, the excessive leather is just wrong but cool, the shieldmaidens are ahistorical, the post-apocalyptic priests at Uppsala are wrong, etc, etc. I still find it fun to watch, and it does provide roles for women, which is something I applaud. Too many Viking-themed films and TV series really don’t have enough women in them. I mean, where do all the baby Vikings come from? Did they carve them from trees? To be fair, I honestly don’t think that judging it as a depiction of history ‘wie es eigentlich gewesen’ is the right approach to the programme. It tells us more about us than it does about Vikings.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #64202
    Victoria Dickson
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    It made me think of a Dark Ages version of Sons of Anarchy, with a longship instead of motorbikes.

    #64207

    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    IIRC it is based upon the saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, who was held up as the ideal Viking. It is certainly great fun to watch, whatever its historical merits.

    #64208
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    It’s well made historical fiction, loosely based on historical figures. It entertains and can spark interest in the period, so those are positive points in its favour. It is far more interesting to watch than reading the dry prose of Saxo Grammaticus’ “Gesta Danorum”! It is not a dramatic documentary, but that is fine with me, because there are so many holes in our knowledge of these fascinating sea-reivers and farmers that no one could make an historically accurate series which would stand the test of time. I like it despite the anachronisms and modern fetishes it demonstrates. The characters are interesting and there is a sense of wonder and discovery in most episodes.

    Cheers and good viking!

    Rodgnar Hairy Breeches.

    #64209
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Rodgnar Hairy Breeches.

    LOL.

    #64210
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Just don’t get me started on ‘The Last Kingdom’

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #64213
    Victoria Dickson
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    Just don’t get me started on ‘The Last Kingdom’

     

    Go on, let it out. 🙂

    #64214
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    It is far more interesting to watch than reading the dry prose of Saxo Grammaticus’ “Gesta Danorum”! … Rodgnar Hairy Breeches.

    Saxo dry? Really? Come, come, now. His Latin prose is florid and ornate to the point of being Stephen Donaldsonesque. That is hardly dry! 🙂 And, are you sure you wish to take the byname Hairy Breeches, given that loðbrók may actually translate better as ‘shitty-pants’, being a reference to a bout of dysentery that the semi-legendary character Ragnar loðbrók suffered?

    Just don’t get me started on ‘The Last Kingdom’

    I quite like The Last Kingdom. Just saying.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #64215
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    You mean to imply that Sons of Anarchy isn’t realistic, Victoria? 🙂

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #64216
    Patrice
    Patrice
    Participant

    No picture from any film about Vikings will ever surpass Kirk Douglas riding a Norwegian pony. 

    http://www.cinemagraphe.com/_imagery/2015-08-08/kirk-douglas-the-vikings.jpg

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    http://argad.forumculture.net/

    #64217
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Victoria wrote

    Not Connard Sage wrote:
    Just don’t get me started on ‘The Last Kingdom’

    Go on, let it out. 🙂

     

     

     

    Nooooooooooooo!

    You don’t know what happens next!

    C’mon NCS – you’ve moved on. Leave it safely tucked away. Pleeeeaasse.

     

    As for Vikings – I haven’t watched it so can’ t really comment but as for what Ruarigh said, with regard to most historical fiction: yes, enjoy it for the story don’t use it as a historical source material.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Guy Farrish Guy Farrish.
    #64219
    Victoria Dickson
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    You mean to imply that Sons of Anarchy isn’t realistic, Victoria? 🙂

    It’s more realistic than Braveheart or The Patriot.

    But then again, what isn’t? 

    #64220
    Rod Robertson
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    And, are you sure you wish to take the byname Hairy Breeches, given that loðbrók may actually translate better as ‘shitty-pants’, being a reference to a bout of dysentery that the semi-legendary character Ragnar loðbrók suffered?

    Ruarigh:

    As in the case of muscle cars, the stripes make me go faster! So, yes, I heartily endorse fecal-fouled fundaments with gusto! Vroom-vroom.

    Cheers and good plotzing.

    Rodgnar Hairy Breeches.

    #64222
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Ruarigh: As in the case of muscle cars, the stripes make me go faster! So, yes, I heartily endorse fecal-fouled fundaments with gusto! Vroom-vroom. Cheers and good plotzing. Rodgnar Hairy Breeches.

    I just laughed out loud properly at that. 😀

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #64233
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    It’s watchable fiction.

    #64247
    Cerdic
    Cerdic
    Participant

    I’ve not seen Vikings. I’ve watched The Last Kingdom and found that once I had ‘tuned out’ the square shields and stuff, I quite enjoyed it.

    So, if anyone has seen both, how do they compare?

    #64251
    Rob young
    Rob young
    Participant

    Star Wars is more realistic and truer to history than Braveheart or the Patriot!

    Rob Young

    #64257

    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    I much prefer the Vikings to The Last Kingdom. Having read Cornwell’s Arthurian trilogy (which is gret IMHO), you feel a sense of deja vu a lot of the time whilst watching TLK.

    As for the armour issue with TLK, it is annoying but it helps the general audience figure out which side is which, otherwise frankly they’d all look the same.

    #64261
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I prefer The Last Kingdom to Vikings because it’s less Hollywood. I find it interesting that my relationship with the characters in the TV series is different from my relationship with the characters in Cornwell’s books. Uhtred in the TV series is an annoying little twerp, and I really like David Dawson as Alfred. In the books, I find Uhtred much more relatable.

    The armour is annoying, but I think they are setting up the Saxons as the last bastion of civilisation, using the Roman-style shields as symbolic of this, as well as using them to differentiate the two sides. Same with the blue tunics. What annoys me about both series is the lack of colour. Both series have a very traditional, drab view of the Viking Age. The dyes available to Vikings and Saxons could produce a full range of colours, and we know they liked bright colours, so there is no real reason not to have more colourful clothes, other than going for the grunge aesthetic.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #64263
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    The very best thing about the Vikings TV series is one of my gaming pals’ wife loves it.

    She is a charming woman but has always disliked her husband’s gaming; considering it a footling way of wasting time.

    When he brought out his SAGA viking war-band, she had, if not a volte-face, at least a definite softening of attitudes.

    So, as far as I’m concerned, long live slightly dodgy TV historical series!

     

    donald

    #64267
    Cerdic
    Cerdic
    Participant

    Interesting!

    Ruarigh, I have to agree about the difference between the Last Kingdom books and TV series. Especially TV Uhtred being an annoying twerp!

    I get that they want the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings to look different so that the casual viewer can tell them apart, but do they really have to be SO un-historical!

    It seems to be a growing trend with TV types to invent fantasy costumes for historical dramas. And it is worse the further back in time it is set. Imagine the outcry if one of Lady Mary’s suitors turned up wearing a combination of shell suit, chainmail, and a tricorn hat on Downton Abbey….

    #67802

    No picture from any film about Vikings will ever surpass Kirk Douglas riding a Norwegian pony. http://www.cinemagraphe.com/_imagery/2015-08-08/kirk-douglas-the-vikings.jpg

     

    The Fjordhest/Fjording is not a pony, While some would fall under the 148cm height that is the “cut for for pony” Many do reach 150cm. But more importantly, it’s not a pony breed. It’s a small work horse.

    But there is evidence that a horses like the Fjording did exist during the Viking age. So Krik did get that thing right.

    Vikings (and most medieval media) makes everyone look like they came from the set of Madmax. Lots of leather(that is way too thin to actually give any protection.) I guess real vikings would look really boring. With their colorful long armed tunics and trousers.

    1. Color during the medieval age? Impossible, everything is brown and covered with brown mud! Anything else would be wrong.
    2. Mail armor is boring way too boring, so we use leather armor that wouldn’t protect against a butter knife.
    3. Spears are boring, everyone should have a sword or an axe.

    Vikings is better than other shows. It’s a Ken Burns documentary next to BraveHeart.

    #70442

    Maff Sparkes
    Participant

    I’ve enjoyed watching Vikings and my wife was addicted. I wasn’t keen on the vaguely odd Saxon armour – the Saxons seemed far to “regular army” looking but that was probably to differentiate with the wilder Vikings .

    I liked the way they showed hints of the tension between the Old Gods and Christianity and how some people might veer between the two – maybe for political reasons. A Thor’s hammer looks a lot like a cross….

    #70450
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    My feminist friends are all going gaga over it, as is my mother-in-law, who loved Sons of Anarchy, so I have started watching it.

    Strict history, it ain’t. It doesn’t take TOO many liberties, however. The only thing I really disliked was the idea that the vikings somehow didn’t know about the existence of France, etc. That was pretty stupid. But as for the rest…

    The aesthetics: sure, the vikings have too much leather and hipster styling but they look cool. I agree that the Saxon armies look far too uniform, but that is an error Hollywood almost always makes, so I will let it slide.

    Uppsala actually gets more right than wrong. Intrigued by the episode, I did some rooting around on the net and pretty much every historical detail attested to is in there, right down to the gold chain around the building. As we don’t know shit about the Vikings’ religious caste, the show is justified in making crap up that looks cool. But the hanging of human sacrifices from trees… that’s attested to in historical documents (whether it actually occurred or if it was just Christian propaganda is another thing entirely).

    Shield maidens. There is no direct proof that they existed, but lots of indirect proof in stories and even some archeological finds. Certainly, Vikings weren’t adverse to the notion that women can fight. Putting them in the show gives the female characters more interesting things to do and be and that, in turn, makes the show enormously attractive to women. I am all for it.

    As for whether it’s REALLY true… Well, the retelling of the past for entertainment purposes has ALWAYS been done with an eye to today’s troubles and moral values. That’s what the tale of Atlantis was all about. That’s why Arthur and his knights became the romantic standard for chivalry. As a culture, we seem to have no problem when historical male characters are warped to meet today’s values and give moral lessons to the kiddies. I see no reason to be upset when we do the same for female characters. If Lagertha was a massive killing machine in spike heels and a chainmail bikini, I’d be pissed. As it is, she’s pretty realistically portrayed.

    One of the little touches I liked the most was Lagertha and Ragnar’s domestic spat. Ragnar is, of course, bigger and masses more than Lagertha. So she picked up a shield as an equalizer and slammed him back. Something about that whole scene rang true to me with regards to violence and the women who know how to use it. Then there was the touching little scene of the two of them doing the laundry together. That is probably more realistic than un-, given that the hardcore notion of “women’s work” didn’t really solidify in the west until after the Enlightenment.

    In short, it’s good popcorn munching fare. And it’s got many people in my social circle interested in and talking about vikings. Now I can paint up some 28mm vikings and give them to my feminist friends for Christmas without them looking at me strangely.

    If only I could find 28mm vikings with pretty boy hipster haircuts. Any suggestions?

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70455
    Alan Millicheap
    Alan Millicheap
    Participant

    I’m really enjoying Norsemen on Netflix – a completely different take on the Vikings

    #70458

    Maff Sparkes
    Participant

    Thaddeus – go plastics and get your scalpel and green stuff…….

    #70465
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I probably am going to have to go to plastics, Maff. Turns out there ARE some 28mm figures out there, based on the show, made by Stronghold Terrain. Unfortunately, however, they look somewhat wooden in their poses, aside from their Floki. Ragnar Lothbrok’s beard, in particular, looks like it was pasted on.

    Floki’s kinda cool looking, though:

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70480
    Patrice
    Patrice
    Participant

    But there is evidence that a horses like the Fjording did exist during the Viking age. So Krik did get that thing right.

    Oh yes. Chrétien de Troyes who wrote in the 12th Century mentioned small “palefroi norrois” in his arthurian stories, probably meaning some breed from Scandinavia (Fjord or other).

    Kirk Douglas has been riding large horses in so many movies that the producers probably expected that seeing him on a Fjord horse would be surprising and funny to an American audience.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    http://argad.forumculture.net/

    #70485
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    As we don’t know shit about the Vikings’ religious caste, the show is justified in making crap up that looks cool.

    There’s no real evidence that the Vikings had a religious caste per se. The historical evidence that we do have is generally glossed with a heavy Christian understanding of how religion should be, not necessarily how it was actually lived. That said, the presentation of religion being a lived experience in Vikings is really quite good. It’s integral to daily life and not just something that is saved for Sundays. The idea that the sacrifice at Uppsala had to be voluntary made me really grind my teeth, mind. Sacrifices are more likely to have been prisoners, criminals or slaves. Choice may have been part of sacrifice on the death of a chieftain, as Ibn Fadlan describes, but not so much at other times.

    Good luck getting your Vikings force together. I hope you’ll post pics.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #70495
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I dunno. If they had temples, they probably had some sort of religious specialist — though certainly it’s true that it was probably nothing like full time priests, as depicted in the T.V. show. And you’re totally correct when you point out that the only bits of information we have come from Christians, who wouldn’t be the most reliable informants.

    I also agree that the sacrifices would not likely be voluntary, if they happened. Then again, there are cultures that have big death cults were sacrifices could be voluntary.

    Turns out Hasslefree has a beautiful set of Ragnars and Lagerthas, but they are TOO good (meaning too realistically proportioned) to match up with GBP’s plastic stuff. 🙁

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70505
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    It’s fair enough talking about religious specialists, but the problem with referring to ‘priests’ and ‘temples’ is that those words carry a ton of Christian bias, and using them creates certain expectations in the modern audience. There certainly appear to have been people that led religious ceremonies and who had charge of the sanctuaries. For the Viking Age, they are usually called ‘cult leaders’, and sources suggest that they would be one and the same as the local chieftains (goði in Old Norse) or kings (possibly related to the concept of sacral kingship). There is also a smattering of Old Norse words that indicate women could have roles as cult leaders, and that maybe point to different types of cults. This is fairly uncontroversial to my mind, because religion was not uniform across Scandinavia and Iceland, and local subcultures would have expressed themselves in different ways. However, delving into the detail really involves hardcore philology (aka meddling in the affairs of wizards). As for the temples, some were buildings as the archaeology from Uppsala suggests, but place-name evidence indicates that others were sacred groves or other outdoor sites.

    I’ve not seen anything to suggest that there was anything like a big death cult in Viking Age Scandinavia though. There is certainly evidence of human sacrifice related to burial customs, and some evidence for human sacrifice as an element of religious ritual, but it may have been on the way out as an element of ritual even before Christianisation.

    If you’re interested in Vikings generally and want to look into the culture in more detail, The Viking World is a great starting place that is fairly up to date. It’s not that cheap, but well worth the price, although not directly relevant to most wargaming needs.

    Shame about the Hasslefree Ragnars and Lagerthas. Will they not even pass the three foot test?

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #70508
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Thanks for the tip re: The Viking World! I was going to ask what you would suggest. I went to Copenhagen earlier this year and saw their maravelous archeology museum. That got me interested in bronze/iron age scandanavia. Vikings has jsut piqued my interest more. To tell the truth, it was never and era or region that held much attraction for me, before.

    My 15mm Iron Age fantasy project, however, needs a good back story for some early iron age viking types.

    Re: the Hasselfree figures, someone did a comparison shot. Look for yourself. Gripping Beast is to the far left and Ragnar is third from the left…. 🙁

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70510
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I love the museum in Copenhagen. Also the museums in Norway. Their digital collections are generally excellent too and well worth a look, although I’m not sure how many are in English. Still, they are streets ahead of the UK museums (with a couple of notable exceptions) in digitising their collections and making them accessible.

    I hope The Viking World is of use to you. It’s more academic than most of the general histories, and a hefty tome, but well worth the price, to my mind. For something more colourful and easier to read, I would recommend (if I may be permitted a little shameless self-promotion) Vikings: Raids. Culture. Legacy. It’s a general history of the Vikings that also looks great on your coffee table! 🙂

    The 15mm Iron Age fantasy project sounds fun. I’m more and more tempted to start a 15mm fantasy project myself, with only the weight of unpainted lead in my attic preventing me, like some kind of Unpainted Lead Pile of Damocles.

    I see what you mean about the differences between the figures. Shame about that.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #70512
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I’m an academic and don’t have a coffee table, so… your book looks wonderful, though! Now I am kicking myself because I could’ve picked up The Viking World in Copenhagen. I saw it there. My chance of buying any real books is slim to none these days unless I actually go to the country where they are. Otherwise shipping just kills me. I almost always have to get electronic editions.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #70582
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Sorry, I hope I did not come across as patronising with the academic comment. It was meant as an endorsement of the book, and not a criticism of the reader. I can understand the issue with getting anything shipped to Rio. My cousin lives there and has told me the same.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    #72106
    Noel
    Noel
    Participant

    Last night I decided to check out the show, as my teenaged nephew is really into it.  We went to see a Viking exhibit at a local museum when he last visited, which he loved as it tied into what he was watching.

    I saw the first two episodes and liked them so far.

    I came here this morning to ask this very question and it’s the top topic.  Gotta love coincidence.

    #72147
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Hey, I’m in season 4 now and it is still cool to me. Get’s a little slow in three for awhile, but I mean “slow”, not “bad”. For historical entertainment, it’s great for the kids, as long as you don’t feel their wee minds will be bent by the occasional nudity and sex scene. There’s plenty of graphic violence, too, but that doesn’t upset most parents as much as naked female breast flapping by on the screen. I’d say no reservations at all for 14 on up.

    It’s the kind of thing that you can use to get kids really talking about history.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #72151
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I wonder if I am squeemish as the blood eagle scenes really repulsed/upset me.

    #72152
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Not squeamish: they SHOULD upset you. That’s why I liked them. They were horrible. Compare and contrast with the Sons of Anarchy scene where a guy gets his tat burned off his back with a blowtorch.

    Interesting. I just watched both scenes again to make sure my memory wan’t playing tricks on me. And I noticed that when Ragnar finishes with Borg he looks up and sees an eagle watching them. And the eagle looks an awful lot like a snake.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

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