THE STAR – Series is a less costly, less complicated Game of Thrones.
The Show: Vikings, Season 1, Episode 5
The Moment: The sexy mythology
Snuggled around a crackling fire, bold Viking chief Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), his fierce wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), his best pal Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Floki’s wife Helga (Maude Hirst) teach Athelstan (George Blagden) — a monk Ragnar captured on a raid in England — about Valhalla.
The mood is boozy, sexy, sleepy. They all touch one another as they talk and each sentence is uttered dramatically.
“The roof is made out of shields,” Floki intones. “The rafters are spears. It has 540 doors and, when Ragnarok comes, 800 warriors will march out of each door shoulder to shoulder.”
“What is Ragnarok?” Athelstan asks.
All fall silent. Clearly, Ragnarok is taboo. “Well then, how was the Earth created?” Athelstan ventures.
“The Earth was made from Ymir’s flesh and oceans from his blood,” Helga purrs. “The gods made hills out of his bones and trees from his hairs. The sky dome is his skull.”
“How do you think it was made, priest?” Floki asks.
Athelstan opens his mouth but has no words.
Welcome, friends, to Vikings, a less costly, less complicated Game of Thrones, with the added benefit of truthier history-ness.
Wrap yourself in furs and smear blood on your face, shave parts of your hair and braid the rest (including some truly scary beard braids), and enjoy lots of axe-wielding bloodletting, punctuated by many candlelit three-ways. Because these Northfolk may be weaving the first strands of a social safety net and experimenting with democratic equality. But they also know, way better than the pale English, how to get down.