It doesn’t happen very often that a premiere of a television show can grab my attention like Vikings has. Let’s face it. Typically, I’m your horror, gore, haunting, terror fan. I do love shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Sons of Anarchy, but in Vikings I found a show that is a little different and yet amazing. The History Channel has exceeded my expectations with this series.
But why? What about this show sets it apart from the masses?
Let’s start with how the Viking culture is portrayed. This show sticks to the historical facts about the vikings. From their superstitions, to their religion, and to their dealings with outsiders, the show’s portrayal of their culture is accurate and doesn’t step away to meet current expectations. The vikings views of Christianity is very interesting and the show also presents the viewer with a look at their gods and goddesses.
From the very beginning, the life of Ragnar (our tragic hero) is touched by Odin. There is a current of the supernatural and otherworldly tied into the show, with oracles, gods, and Ragnarok all taking their rightful place. Ragnar, who believes that he is a son of Odin, is able to see when Odin and his crows come to a battlefield to collect the souls of those who died a heroic death.
For the first season, we watched Ragnar move from his humble beginnings to a new role of leadership. We have watched his family change and his friends die (one death really, really bothered me since that character was my favorite). Ragnar lead a group of raiders to the west, to raid into England. We were also seeing the division between Ragnar and his brother. For a first season, it was a pretty amazing initial season which pulled in a huge following.
Below is a summary of each of the episodes (pulled from The History Channel). Take a look at the summaries and you really should think about catching this show. If you like Vikings, sword fights, gods and oracles, and viking culture, you should definitely take a chance on this series. After the summaries, there are two trailers for the show.
1. Rites of Passage
In 8th century Scandinavia, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) is a warrior and a farmer who dreams of finding riches by bucking the tradition of raiding to the east. Ragnar has been working in secret on a project that will turn the Viking world on its head. But first Ragnar must convince the leader of his community, the powerful Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne), who is none too happy to share in the renown that this journey could bring to Ragnar if it’s successful.
2. Wrath of the Northmen
The stage is set for the first journey west by Ragnar Lothbrok as he gathers a crew willing to risk their lives to travel into the unknown. Earl Haraldson’s paranoia reaches new heights as it becomes apparent that trust is hard to come by in this dark era.
A monastery in Lindesfarne is about to get a firsthand look at how the Vikings operate. In and out in a flurry of violence and terror, Ragnar and his crew raid the monastery for everything it contains, from treasure to monks who can be sold as slaves. Unable to ignore the riches this unsanctioned journey has returned, Earl Haraldson has no choice but to agree to let these warriors undertake a second trip out. The West has now been opened for the taking by Ragnar Lothbrok, and the world of the Vikings will never be the same.
The Vikings head back to England to see what other treasures this new world has to offer. Ragnar and his crew sail out with Earl Haraldson’s permission….and also with Earl Haraldson’s spy. After bloodshed on the beach, the Vikings choose the Sabbath to invade the town of Hexam and unleash a flood of violence and panic. In the midst of the terror, Ragnar and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) discover that there are consequences for every action and Earl Haraldson is always watching.
In the Great Hall of Kattegat, a seer reads Earl Haraldson’s future and tells him that Ragnar Lothbrok searches for his death. The unanswerable question is whom the gods favor more? As a man willing to defend his power and status to the death, Haraldson intends to take precautionary measures. Ragnar, his home and farm burned by the Earl, is hurt but hidden safely away. He must now choose the path that will lead him back to his freedom.
6. Burial of the Dead
Ragnar, weak and still hurt, must meet the Earl head-on after it comes to light that Rollo has been tortured on Haraldson’s orders. The two men will come together face to face with a single outcome possible: Only one man will leave this fight alive.
7. A King’s Ransom
Three Viking ships sail upriver towards the very heart of power in eastern England: the Royal Villa of King Aelle. Ragnar Lothbrok has come looking for ransom in exchange for peace. However, King Aelle has a different plan in mind for these northern heathens.
The traditional pilgrimage to Uppsalla to thank the gods brings a torrent of emotions for Ragnar, Lagertha, and Athelstan. Ragnar, pulling farther away from his wife, goes to make peace with the death of his unborn son. Lagertha, still reeling from her miscarriage, wants to find out from the gods if more sons are in her future. As the Vikings come together to sacrifice and give thanks to their gods, Athelstan discovers just how strong his Christian faith still is.
9. All Change
At the behest of King Horik, Ragnar assembles a small party to travel to Gotaland (modern day Sweden) to resolve a land dispute with the area’s leader, Jarl Borg. Ragnar’s renown precedes him and Jarl Borg is intrigued–has he found a new ally or is Ragnar just a puppet of the king? Meanwhile in Kattegat, with a plague taking its toll on the village, the people look to Lagertha to help appease the gods.