Tonight on Netflix: the series that proves that in the Middle Ages, Europe was worse than Game of Thrones

This nugget of the small screen plunges you into a distant and extraordinary past when glory and gore went hand in hand: we named “Vikings”, the heroic, the aesthetic, the absolutely epic.

Our story begins in the 8th century in a small Scandinavian village called Kattegat where lives Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who is working in secret on a project that will change the Viking world. Aspiring to explore – and raid – the distant shores of the oceans, his ambition does not sit well with the local chief who prefers to continue plundering the impoverished East rather than heading for the unknown West. But Ragnar, the rebel, still joins forces with his friend Floki, an outstanding boat builder, to build ships capable of conquering the rough northern seas. Vikings is the story of this famous Ragnar but also of his family, his sons, his wives and his war companions, all as famous as him.

With its breathtaking sets, Michael Hirst’s series (The Tudors) – a gem of the American History channel broadcast between 2013 and 2020 – contrasts with the brutal and mysterious world of the Vikings that it depicts, a universe of conquests and conflict, filled with spirituality and mythology: a one-way ticket to Valhalla please! Here, we believe in Odin, Thor and company, and we seek eternal glory at all costs.

Cryptic, graphic and epic, the historical drama is very loosely inspired by the Scandinavian sagas of Ragnar “Lodbrok”, one of the most legendary Nordic heroes, a notorious scourge of England and France. These stories, little documented and coming from the oral tradition, already have a fictitious part which is accentuated in the show. In effect, vikings is known for taking real liberties, blending many historical milestones, actually decades apart, to take place in the time of Ragnar and his sons. Many of the heroes presented in the show, having really existed, however, did not live at the same time as the latter, such as Rollo, brother/enemy of Ragnar in fiction who was in no way linked to the latter. Hybrid events, composite characters, invented adventures: it’s all there.

MGM Television

However, the show is much more than its inconsistencies, it is a real journey through time in the heart of a mystical and mythical world which still fascinates as much, a grandiose spectacle benefiting from sublime cinematography, fabulous costumes and games of breathtaking actors – we are of course talking about, among others, Travis Fimmel who embodies an inhabited Ragnar and Katheryn Winnick who gives life to the ferocious Lagertha, one of the most “badass” heroines of the small screen. Added to this are lifelike battle re-enactments and a magical soundtrack – by Trevor Morris and Wardruna – that will transport you straight to the time of the Viking epics and give you a glimpse of what awaits you in Valhalla (the beyond paradise obviously but the spin-off of the series as well).

Tonight on Netflix: the series that proves that in the Middle Ages, Europe was worse than Game of Thrones