Netflix's Spin-off to Vikings, Vikings: Valhalla, is a critically acclaimed series filled with gore, bloodthirst and vengeance. Of course, if you know anything about the fierce Vikings in history, you can expect nothing less. After its popularity, the show was already renewed for a second series (available to stream now). Before you dive straight to the sofa to binge-watch series two, how about some backstory to season one? To what extent was the show a valid representation of Viking History?
Massacre of St. Brice's Day: A King for the Slaughter
In Episode one, King Elthered hosts a feast for some of his Viking Settlers- who, under Danelaw, have been living harmoniously with the Anglo-Saxans. The Feast quickly turns sour after a mass poisoning of the Danes- giving us Game of Thrones: The Red Wedding vibes. We also discover that King Elthered has ordered the mass assassination of the Danish Settlers across the country. While there definitely could have been more development in the scenes leading up to this massacre, these early scenes truly reflect the abolition of many Viking settlements in England. This massacre also reinforces Elthered's nickname 'The Unnerved/ Ill-advised'- as Elthered may have let his concerns of being overruled shadow his judgement. This led to the irreversible death of many Viking settlers- whose bodies are still being discovered today.
Were Viking Women Really Involved in Politics and War?
Representation of Women as strong, capable and having a voice in politics has become increasingly apparent in media. And for a good reason- Women HAVE been involved in Politics and War throughout history. When we hear about Women in Battle- we hear about the sole figures like Boudica and Joan of Arc, but rarely an army where there is a large proportion of women. This is where the Vikings differ. Not only were the Viking women actively participating in war, but they were said to have the most autonomy compared to other cultures. For example, being able to own property, divorce and even be priestesses.
Freydis Eriksdotter was a real Viking warrior and explorer- whose fierce spirit in the show was just as dynamic in real life. She was described as quite ruthless and determined to achieve her goals by any means necessary. It's no wonder she never flinched when she asked about being trialled by combat, showing true warrior spirit.
Freydis and Leif: Exploring Uncharted Land
Not only were Freydis and her brother Leif warriors and the offspring of Erik the Red, but primarily they were explorers. In Vikings: Valhalla, we see Leif joining the fleet of Vikings to seek revenge for the slaughter of their people. However, in history, Leif was commonly thought of being an explorer. Leif led to the discovery of continental North America, where he is claimed to be the first European to set foot on this land.
London Bridge is Falling Down
Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme: London Bridge is Falling Down? Well, it could be that the Vikings were the reason it was. In Episode four of Vikings: Valhalla, London Bridge is destroyed by Leif and his accomplices. However, there is no concrete historical evidence to suggest this is true. While we are not 100% sure if the Vikings did pull down London Bridge, the scene kept us entertained.
Kattegat: Re-writing History.
While we are on the topic of myths, you might be surprised to find out that Kattegat- the village where a lot of the drama unfolds, is completely fictitious. We're not mad that this location is fake because the final battle did show the ongoing tensions between the Viking Community itself, the pressures of religion and the infamous methods of warfare that we associate the Vikings with.
Were you impressed by Vikings: Valhalla? If so, let us know your thoughts on the series. You can watch both series one and two on Netflix. For more content on the shows you've been loving, visit our website: SerieswithSophie.com.
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But how can you level up your viewing experience at home? Whether you're a Netflix in-bed, a projector on the wall or a cuddle-on-the-sofa watcher, there's one thing we all have in common. We want to be cosy!
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