Vikings in the NEWS:
The New York Post's Michael Starr did a piece on Season 2 - click on the link to check it out: http://bit.ly/1jOKvot/>
The word “Viking” has been synonymous with brutality, terror and mystery ever since the first Norse warriors appeared along the coasts of England and France at the end of the eighth century. Their notoriety for barbarianism without pity was an important part of the mythology that grew up around them. And while Vikings are still characterized as such in popular culture, the reality is much more complex, visceral and powerful than their reputation suggests.
Here is a look back at Season 1:
A young Viking warrior and farmer, Ragnar believes he is destined for greatness. Frustrated by the restrictive policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson, he is convinced that great riches lie to the west and resolves to sail across the ocean to find them. Ragnar identifies with the god Odin, who traded his eye for knowledge, and is endlessly curious about what lies beyond his homeland. He lives with his wife Lagertha, a respected warrior in her own right, and their two young children.
Ragnar’s devoted wife is a powerful and well-known shield-maiden who has often battled alongside her husband and fellow Viking fighters. Determined to help Ragnar succeed in his ambitions, she has earned her husband’s respect and admiration, and the two share a great love story.
A fearsome warrior with a wild, impulsive streak, Rollo has begun to grow jealous of his increasingly prominent brother Ragnar. Though Ragnar has promised Rollo they will always be equals, tensions constantly threaten their relationship.
At 12, the first-born son of Ragnar and Lagertha has just come of age in Viking society. The rite of passage occurs when Earl Haraldson presents him with a ring at the gathering known as the Thing. Bjorn yearns to be a warrior like his father, but his youth and inexperience hold him back.
Viking mythology and the gods:
Odin – The chief amongst the group of gods, he is the god of warriors slain in battle and also the god of curiosity. The all-seeing Odin sacrificed his eye at Mimir’s well so that he might see the future. Odin oversees everything that passes on earth from his throne and each night retires to Valhalla, the Hall of the Fallen, where the great female warriors, his Valkyries, bring him the souls of brave warriors struck down in battle. Ragnar Lothbrok is said to be a direct descendant of the Norse god Odin.
Thor – Thor is stronger than any other God, and is the god of the common man. He rules the sky and governs thunder and lightning, winds and storms. When he wears his belt Megingjörð his strength is doubled and the world shakes as he walks.
Freyr – Freyr rules over the rain and the sun, and fertility and harvest. He is the god who brings peace and pleasure to the realms of men.
Loki – Loki is the trickster God, a shape-shifter, who both helps and hinders.
Valkyrie – Valkyrja is Old Norse for “Chooser of the Slain” and the Valkyries were female mythological beings that harvested slain warriors for Odin. Half of those who died in battle were selected by the Valkyries and taken to Valhalla where they feasted and prepared for the battle at the end of the world.
Valhalla – Valhalla is the Hall of the Slain in Asgard, where half those who die bravely in battle are brought by the Valkyries. In Valhalla the battle-fallen, along with the heroes of earlier ages and the great kings await the coming end of the world, Ragnarök, where they will fight alongside Odin. Valhalla has 540 doors that allow 800 men to leave at once and is roofed in golden shields.
Ragnarök – Ragnarök is the battle at the end of the world. During this battle the heroes who Odin has gathered in Valhalla will fight with him.