Vikings: Season 3 (2015)

vikings season 3 poster


What I liked: 

  • The battle scenes. They are still incredibly well done, and always thrilling to watch.
  • The score for the show is so suiting and it comes together well.
  • How things skipped between Wessex, Kattegat and wherever the vikings were raiding and warring.
  • The understanding yet mistrust that is evident between Ragnar and King Ecbert.
  • Seeing how faith is still so important here. Athelstan finally got his “sign”, so to speak, and it brought him great happiness, though it definitely threw him back to the status of outcast. Ragnar was not too bothered about Athelstan’s faith, as long as they were friends. Later, it was immensely interesting to see how Christian vs Nordic faith had become such an issue for Ragnar, and how it tore at him.
  • The siege that went down in Paris! OMG! You all know that I am immediately sold the second there is a siege. This was no different. It was intense, it was bloody, it was vicious, violent and seemed so superfluous at the best of times.
  • The concept of who the real barbarians are. The vikings are painted as uncouth animals due to their traditions, but when you look at what the Christians do, they are equally savage in their own way. So ultimately, who is at fault here?

Both of these scenes just gave me goosebumps…

vikings season 3 headsvikings bjorn paris invade

What I didn’t like: 

  • Floki really went all darkside here. It was well done, but it crushed me, it didn’t gel always. At the end of season two it was presented that the strife between Ragnar and Floki was all fake, yet in this season it started up and they were immediately at odds again.
  • End of season two showed us that Ragnar was all in love with Lagertha again, and that they were not together, but she was aware. Here we return and Ragnar simply doesn’t love Princess Aslaug anymore, but nothing is happening with Lagertha, either, so it just felt a little pointless.

vikings ragnar and ecbert

I have been eagerly awaiting the new season of Vikings. The show is that good. When it was time to watch, my fiancé and I made the laughable decision of “watching one episode over brunch” which, naturally, turned into the whole season. Bang. Just like that. Over. It was worth every second of the time spent watching it. There was just so much going on in this season I didn’t even know where to start. I obviously expected Kalf to screw Lagertha over, that was going to happen, and King Ecbert cannot be trusted even when your eyes are on him, so there were no surprises there, though both takeovers were handled extremely well. I was not a fan of how it started with Ragnar and Floki at odds again, I genuinely thought that they had sorted things out, but here we were with them once again. It didn’t progress as smoothly as it could have. I was devastated to see Floki finally take that step against Ragnar and kill Athelstan, it was truly something that crushed me. He was a favourite character of mine. Ouch. Religion was again important here, and it brought about some crazy things all over the show, I was a huge fan of how that was done. The brutality was not held back here again, and I think that the History channel is onto something with this show. The cast does wonders with the material that they are given, and there are so many moments where your heart jumps into your throat before you can even process what has happened. The vikings moving on to invade France was something I have been waiting for for ages now, there is so much that could be going on there and I was dead right in that assessment. It was brutal, violent, extreme, entertaining and nerve-wracking, so the goods were delivered in typical Vikings style. Floki has definitely finally lost his marbles, and his descent into madness is a gripping watch. Well worth the watch!

vikings season 3 athelstan

Vikings: Season 2 (2014)

vikings season 2 poster


What I liked:

  • The speech Ragnar made to his daughter. It was beautiful and it was crushing. “Dear child, Gyda, you are not gone because you are always in my heart. They say that a man must love his sons more, but a man can be jealous of his sons, and his daughter can always be the light in his life.” – So beautiful and crushing.
  • loved seeing how the priest had settled into life in the Scandinavian country, and how he had earned some respect from the locals. He was fierce in battle, a totally different man from the timid mouse that Ragnar had snatched in Northumbria. Also, him joining the raiding parties – what a change!
  • Rollo’s fall from grace was a total collapse, no grace there whatsoever.
  • How Athelstan and Floki actually have a lot in common, though they are polar opposites. The discord growing between them is getting pretty heavy.
  • The battle sequences and action scenes have greatly improved over season one, definitely a bigger budget to work with.
  • Athelstan’s crisis of faith – beautifully summed up in his lines “In the gentle fall of rain from heaven, I hear my God. But in the thunder, I still hear Thor. That is my agony.”
  • The plots and politics. While not ridiculously intense like Hannibal or anything like that, they are still fascinating, well-constructed and presented, wily and smart, and come together well.
  • The way none of them actually fear death, and even if you are the enemy and are defeated, the honourable death was still provided. I thought the way Jarl Borg’s Blood Eagle scene was shot was heavy, beautiful and chilling, all at the same time.
  • Lagertha and Bjorn returning. Bjorn was far less annoying for me as a young man (not that Nathan O’Toole portrayed Bjorn badly as a child, it is just that he was a kid, and did not contribute too much to the show for me). It is evident that Ragnar is still in love with her, and holds her in the highest esteem. He loves Aslaug, but definitely not the way he loves Lagertha. The reunion between Ragnar and Bjorn was beautiful, and the relationship that built from there was incredibly satisfying.
  • The fact that Athelstan was presented with a choice to return to Scandinavia, and he did, because the Norsemen are his family now.
  • Floki’s plans. Whoa, those were some crazy ones, but I loved it!

ragnar vikings season 2vikings season 2 shield wall

What I didn’t like:

  • That Ragnar actually allowed his family to leave in favour of Princess Aslaug. I don’t care that he feels the gods provided her to bear his sons as the prophecy foretold, he lost the love of his life and his son who adored him.
  • The new family arrangements of Ragnar. They just didn’t sit well with me at all.
  • Aslaug is such a drama queen, and it got old, fast. She is so shallow, too, and ungrateful. Yes, obviously I am very pro-Lagertha. But really. This character just… no.
  • The way Floki was going darkside. It was not really properly introduced, and before you knew what was happening he was King Horik’s worm.
  • Earl Sigvard, Lagertha’s new husband. What a darn tool! I was no fan, and I didn’t like the way that Lagertha was his bitch basically, though goodness knows she took her power back and exacted vengeance.
  • Porunn. She had such a chip on her shoulder, which I can understand (I mean she was a slave), but when she got her freedom, she was pretty messed up to Bjorn, who honestly loved her. She was pretty wearing and annoying.
  • I didn’t like the way Aslaug ripped apart Lagertha’s marriage, yet has the audacity to treat Lagertha like she is the homewrecker (!!!), but I am glad that they somehow found even footing.

vikings season 2 athelstan and ragnar

Again, what a winner! I am really, really not a fan of Lagertha having left Ragnar, but I don’t blame her one iota. Only problem? I am not a fan of Aslaug, she is in no way Lagertha’s equal. She was whiny and annoying and just meh… it took me a while to get back into this season due to her usurping the place of Lagertha. Then there was Athelstan’s intense turmoil over his Christian God and the Norsemen gods was really great to watch, and to see Ragnar’s fascination with the Christian way of things was cool, too. The two have developed into far more than captor and slave, having moved beyond that into the realm of friends, family. It is little wonder to see how close they have gotten. Things have changed a lot in this season from the last. While it took two or three episodes to get on with how things have changed a lot, it was not a bad thing. There were things that I missed from the first season (such as Ragnar being lower on the totem pole and fighting up and his marriage to Lagertha), but there were also things that were exceptionally interesting (such as Athelstan joining the Northmen, King Ecbert and his similarities with Ragnar). I was a big fan of the development the creators took with Floki. It was all over the show and it was dark. Something I thought was absolutely stunning was seeing the savage wedding between Floki and Helga, so to speak. I was so enthralled by the beauty and significance of it. Rollo is definitely down in the dumps and knocked clean off of his game since his fall from grace, what a traitor. There was some politics to this one again, also great to follow. King Horik was such a big character, coming in and changing the ballgame altogether. The way the vikings perceived death and the afterlife is just so amazing, and the way that an honourable death was meted out whenever possible was intense, too. The Seer was back in action in this one in a few places, making some crazy absurd and ambiguous predictions, all that make immense amounts of sense when things come to pass. I must say that even through all of this, I am no fan of Aslaug, though you start to warm towards her a little by the end of the season. Or maybe I need to warm more, it might just be me and my other half that are not fans of her. The reunion between Ragnar and Bjorn was well worth the watch, and I appreciated the way that Vikings does not stagnate, but moves the story along, both in years and with the characters. I do, however, think that Bjorn chose the most annoying woman to spend his time and affections on. Gustaf Skarsgård is still a scene stealer whenever he makes it onto the screen, and the tension between him and Ragnar is something else to witness altogether. Vikings delivers another solid season with a great score, character developments, story arcs and camera work, and it is still something I would highly recommend.

vikings season 2 floki and helga wed

Vikings: Season 1 (2013)

vikings season 1 poster


What I liked:

  • The documentary/series style presentation.
  • The costume and set design was fantastic. I have to hand it to them – everything looked authentic and beautiful.
  • The “court” proceedings.
  • The rituals were grand and detailed.
  • The score complemented the show every step of the way.
  • The opening credits/intro. I just loved that song, the scenery, the imagery, all of it.
  • The women were also strong, not merely there to bear children and keep house. They were respected, and they were warriors.
  • The relationship between Ragnar and Lagertha. It was deep and complex and multi-layered. I also love that she was by his side is every way – not just at home, but in battle, too.
  • The scenery is stunning. All the panning shots of Scandinavia and England was gorgeous.
  • Travis Fimmel was a stroke of genius to portray Ragnar. He captured his cheekiness, his fearlessness, his love for his family, his loyalty. He also seems just that little bit off the rails, detached from certain things, and I like that.
  • Gustaf Skarsgård as Floki. I absolutely adore this character. He is amusing as hell, loyal, different and most certainly a scene stealer.
  • The distinct differences portrayed between the Scandinavian gods and Christianity from the west.
  • How seriously Floki took his faith, and his disgust that Rollo would be baptised – it just showed you that faith was no mockery for him.
  • The friendship between Athelstan , the priest, and Ragnar. Initially this started as something cold, but I loved how it warmed up between them, and how Athelstan tries to find a way to fit into his new Scandinavian home.
  • The Seer (Kattegat’s oracle) looked terrifying, epic and brutal. The Seer truly highlights the difference in religions.
  • The brutality and purity of the Angel of Death.
  • The gradual decay between Ragnar and Rollo is heavy to watch. It starts so subtly, and before you know it, they are openly at odds.

vikings season 1 floki and ragnar

What I didn’t like:

  • Yes, yes, petty me, but the sudden switch to English. I understand why it was necessary, but there were a few times you had to remember why this Norseman could suddenly chat with the Saxons, but bear in mind that he was the only one in his lot that could understand them.
  • Another small thing, but how the accents slipped from time to time. Jarring.
  • The battle scenes were great on one hand, but really tame on the other.

vikings season 1 beach landing

WOW! What a show this is! I really love Norse mythology and lore, etc. I think it is fascinating and wonderful and intricate and strange, so naturally this was going to grab my attention. Plus, the vikings are fascinating. The brutality, the way they did things, the raiding, all of it. This show was so appealing. It starts with a bang, in the battlefields, and it progresses from there, introducing us to Ragnar, having us follow him on. His simple life of a farmer and his relationship with his wife show us a whole different side of the man, and it is something else. Seeing how Ragnar found a way to take the ships West was something to experience, and just getting on board with the raid had me hooked. Meeting Floki and watching the building of the boats was something that I liked, as the vikings were renowned for their ships. Vikings was also lucky because it had some pretty damn good camera work to carry out the epic story. Athelstan was a character I found to be incredibly intriguing, what with his plight from being snatched from England and moving to a Scandinavian country. He changes from being a regular slave to being brought into Ragnar’s confidences, teaching the man as well as learning from him. I was crushed to see him taken with to Uppsala for the rituals, and I was really glad to know that he escaped becoming a sacrifice. I was enthralled with that sequence of events, it was another look into their religion. Also, who the hell knew that Fimmel had it in him to be such an outstanding viking? Looking at his pictures and his other work, I would never have thought he could pull off the role of Ragnar, never mind owning it like he does. I thoroughly enjoyed that the history was presented as a story in a series way, which is great. Vikings depicted how ruthless the Norsemen were, and I was so happy to see that they didn’t have the helmets that have become so popular nowadays. Vikings also shows us how much warring there was among themselves and not only with the raids across the lands. It peeved me that Ragnar hooked up with the princess, even though I was waiting for it after he spoke to the gods about the woman who would bear him children. Not the point, I was with Bjorn in my unhappiness with Ragnar and his stupid mistake, especially seeing as I felt his marriage to Lagertha was damn near perfect. Then let me talk about Floki: can I just mention how much I adored this character? He was amazing, hilarious, always around Ragnar, and he was loyal as hell. Gustaf Skarsgård’s casting was also just a thing of beauty, and I really felt that Floki could contribute so well to a scene as well as steal it. It seems the Skarsgård family is always destined to provide favourite characters and entertainment. If you have not picked up from my writings here, I cannot recommend Vikings enough.

vikings season 1 temple uppsala