Love it or hate it, The History Channel’s Vikings is back for season number 2. Some folks have criticized the show for its inaccuracies of portraying a “Biker Bar” image of the 8th century Viking World.
HOW TV THINKS VIKINGS DRESSED:
SOMETHING CLOSER TO HOW THE VIKINGS ACTUALLY DRESSED
Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons and glittering bits of mirrors are not what we typically think of when imagining a Viking in his “digs.” Yet grave excavations reveal that Ancient Scandinavian men may have dressed much more colorfully than originally thought. Swedish Archaeologist Annika Larsson believes that the men could be vain and that the women liked to dress provocatively, with their cleavage exposed and the skirts consisting of a single piece of fabric that was open in the front. But this style of clothing disappeared once the Vikings made contact with the Christians.
Another glaring inaccuracy is the idea that the Vikings did not know where England was. Trading routes along the North Sea date back even before the Roman invasion of Gaul in the first century B.C. This idea is especially absurd considering that The Vikings were expert sea navigators for their time period.
The final inaccuracy I will touch on is the way that the role of Earl was portrayed. He is shown as a sort of local dictator who can make decisions about life and death for his entire tribe. The reality is that The Vikings were a fairly autonomous people who lived rather Democratic lives. Decisions were made through a vote at The Thing. The Earl, also known as the Chieftain, would take a role in helping to make tribal decisions about allocating justice in a legal dispute, choosing areas to explore, tribes to battle and deciding how much food to share in a time of famine. However, as far as we know, the Chieftain did not have the authority to condemn a man to death. The most harsh punishment was being exiled. Exile meant that a man no longer had the protection of his tribe, which means no legal protection if someone else wanted to kill him.
I’m sure there are all kinds of other minute details I could get into, but I’d rather discuss what is GOOD about the show.
Yes, The Vikings is not the world’s most accurate portrayal of the way that the Vikings may have lived, but this show wasn’t just released for History Professors and Heathens. This was a show that was designed to appeal to the general public. In doing so, people who may have known nothing about Vikings may now be intrigued enough to read a book or search the internet for Viking Lore. Sometimes, getting people interested in history is more important than creating something that is 100% accurate.
The Vikings is also a show that captures the emotional themes of the Sagas, if nothing else.
So enjoy Season 2, since it is on the internet for free after all.
One last exciting thing I’ll mention is that Wardruna, the Norse Folk Group containing former members of Gorgoroth, has written more music for the score of the second season. Here is a song that was included in the score of the first season: