Why Vikings is a must-see for Game of Thrones fans
Vikings is returning for a third season on History Channel on Tuesday, May 24 at 9pm. If you’re currently in the midst of Game of Thrones fever, here’s why we think you might also enjoy Vikings.
Vikings is based on the life of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, who devastated England and France in Old Norse poetry and sagas, the series recreates Norse raids, battles and executions like no other. Ragnar’s band of pillaging Vikings are not so far removed from Khal Drogo and the Dothraki in season one of Game of Thrones, so if you enjoyed Daenerys’ subplot then you’ll probably enjoy Vikings.
Like Game of Thrones, Vikings boasts an excellent cast portraying strong, well-developed characters. Ragnar is our ambitious, powerful protagonist – always eager and pushing for the next big raid. His wife and shieldmaiden Lagertha is a force to be reckoned with and completely holds her own against the men of the series. Other characters like the eccentric and clever boat maker Floki, and the understanding monk Athelstan are fan favourites. One advantage Vikings holds over Game of Thrones in telling the stories of these characters is a more streamlined cast list and plot. This allows Vikings to focus on character drama, and really go above and beyond when uncovering character background and motivations.
One of the things we love most about Game of Thrones is that at its core it is based upon real medieval history. This gives it a realism that grounds the series, even when we’re watching characters fighting ice zombies or leading dragons. Vikings also scores big for grounding itself within history and legend. It is by no means an accurate depiction of the real Vikings – historians are not sure how much of Ragnar’s exploits were real or fantasy – but the series is based upon Old Norse mythology that has entertained nonetheless for centuries.
It’s not a Game of Thrones comparison unless there is sex and violence, and Vikings has plenty of both. While History is not a premium cable channel like HBO and cannot get away with quite as much nudity, Vikings packs in what it can. More importantly, in Vikings they have a lot of battles, whereas Game of Thrones tends to cut away from battles due to the expenses involved. Vikings appears unafraid by the scale of what Ragnar hopes to achieve, and season three will spend three episodes on Ragnar’s attempts to take Paris. Yes, they want to pillage and raid the capital city of France.