The Vikings *is* Game-of-Thrones-Lite, and that’s why I like The Vikings more

Source: http://www.vikingstvstore.com; Fair use - commentary

Source: http://www.vikingstvstore.com; Fair use – commentary

I like the TV series Game of Thrones. When I heard that the History Channel’s The Vikings was GoT-lite, I thought: Oh, let’s give that a try, but I know it ain’t gonna be as good as GoT, cuz GoT is pretty splendid.

I watched the first couple episodes of The Vikings and wasn’t impressed. It was okay, but the production value wasn’t nearly as shiny GoT’s. To be fair, GoT probably had 5,000 times the budget. Then I watched more of The Vikings. By the end of the first season, I was hooked. Having seen three season, I can safely say that I love it more than GoT.

The two shows have one thing in common: political intrigue. But there are key differences. The Vikings has one dominant story line. My atrophying brain finds it very taxing to follow the multiple parallel plots of an epic like GoT. Some GoT storylines I just don’t care for that much, and I find myself zoning out while waiting for the show to return to the characters I care more about. Second, The Vikings is faster paced. Lots of fighting. So yes, The Vikings is lighter. Lighter is more digestible. And digestion is good. Sometimes less is more.

The story is about Ragnar, a Viking leader whose dream is to go overseas (i.e. England) and raid. And raid. And raid. Them Vikings like to raid so much you’d think they have nothing else fun to do. If you’ve seen Sons of Anarchy (another fantastic show), Ragnard might remind you of Jax Teller. They’re both smart, cunning, and ambitious. Most importantly, they’re patient, biding their time until it’s ripe. Whereas most of their peers would gobble up their marshmallows in seconds, Ragnard can wait for hours. Days.

Since modern-day Scandinavia is one of the most socially liberal and egalitarian places, it’s fitting that the The Vikings portrays a progressive culture as well. The people vote for their leaders. Unmarried people cohabitate without shame. People (even kids) talk about sex as a natural human activity, not a dirty taboo. When a woman complains about an abusive husband, she is believed by the authority, not dismissed like chattel. Upon hearing that, the English king mused that the Vikings’ pagan laws seemed more enlightened than the English’s Christian laws. However, I don’t know how much of the show is historically accurate.

Lagertha is probably the most unexpectedly fierce character on The Vikings. She is smart and headstrong, but the best part is that she kicks ass. She goes with the men on raids and cuts up people as easily as she chops turnips. One time she leads a group of shieldmaidens (female warriors) on a special covert mission, kind of like Viking navy seals. Shieldmaidens are prominent in Scandinavian legends, though scholars disagree whether such warriors actually existed.

My favorite character is Rollo. Cuz he fights awesomely and is awesomely sexy. ‘Nuff said. If you don’t find him hot then I don’t know what to say.

If you like ancient political dramas like The Vikings and GoT, another good show to check out is Rome. Unfortunately, that one had a short run (only two seasons), but it’s very compelling drama.

I’m a season behind GoT and I’m still looking forward to watching it, but what I’m really eager to see is the upcoming fourth season of The Vikings.

About the author

donkeh
donkeh

Donkeh lives in a tiny barn in the City of Angels. He recently self-pubbed his debut novel, “Morocco, Maybe.” He is working on a scifi thriller.

4 Comments

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  • Donkeh! You sneaky ass you! You didn’t tell me you were watching my favorite show. You can have Rollo. I’m all in for Ragnar–WITH his long hair. God, they better bring back the hair next season.

    Couldn’t agree more about Lagertha. When GoT is pulling GoT stuff with its women characters, Vikings goes the other way, with no rape or overt threats of physical violence needed to allegedly “develop or demonstrate the strength” of its female characters. Even Aslag, who doesn’t get anywhere near a sword, doesn’t have to suffer those threats.

    It’s true it’s not as “big budget” as GoT, and some of the acting is questionable (Yeah, you Bjorn, but that’s what you get when you hire a USC student. *Go Bruins!*) but I don’t think I’ve ever been angry at the writing or the handling of scenes in Vikings. So count me as a huge fan, too. When does the next season start?? “Early” 2016?!? Argh! Puppies are NOT patient…

    • The past seasons started in Feb/March, so I’m guessing the 4th season will start at around the same time. Aside from The Walking Dead, The Vikings is the only show I’m impatiently waiting for. *paces back and forth in the barn*

  • Thanks for showing some love for this show. I get teased all the time for watching this and not GoT, but who cares? Lagertha is flawless and fierce. Floki is adorably wierd. Vikings is just plain fun. Can’t we just have fun on TV anymore?

    If I wanted to watch a show where women got sexually assaulted every twenty minutes, I’d watch Criminal Minds.

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