Vikings

Ragnor and FamilyHistory Channel has taken an uncharacteristic turn away from aliens and Hitler with its new series, Vikings.

Despite some historical inaccuracies (unlike in the series, Vikings were well-aware that England lay to the west and Scandinavian society was remarkably egalitarian whereas, in the series, the Viking chieftain is an autocratic ruler), the show is well-produced and has excellent actors, including Gabriel Byrne and Gustaf Skarsgard.

In the show, Viking attacks are merely reasons for plunder while recent scholarship has shown the possibility that Viking raids were retaliation for mass executions and forced conversions by Christian kings, specifically those of Charlemagne against the Danes.

History aside, the show is great. Produced by the same people who did The Tudors, it is rich and violent, perfectly reflecting the spirit of Dark Age Europe and the rise of the powerful Scandinavian force that we call the Vikings. A force that ranged across Northern Europe, Russia, and even to the walls of Constantinople.

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