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Monday, March 11, 2013

Vikings Invade England On TV

Ragnar Lothbrok as depicted by Travis Fimmel

  I watched "Vikings" on History Channel again this week- that would be the show I've described as "Sopranos meets Games Of Thrones meets shitty Showtime history based hour long drama of your choice."  But as good as the first two (potentially.)  You can never tell until later if a television show is actually good or not because of all the explaining that goes on within the context of a first and second episode.

Gabriel Byrne as Earl Haraldson of the History Channel's Vikings

 The awesomeness of Viking begins (as I expected) when they actually get to England, or the Kingdom of Northumbria as it was called back then, and sack the shit out of a Monastery and murder all (but one) of the Monks.  I had my copy of Peter Hunter Blair's, An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England in one hand and my DVR controller in the other so when they flashed a subtitle with the name of the to-be-sacked Monastery  I cross referenced it in the index of An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England and discovered that Viking is not just some quasi-fictional "any Viking" saga but actually purports to depict the initial Viking invasion of England in the late 8th century.  According to Blair, the sack of the Lindisfarne Christian Monastery in 793 represents, a "fundamental chang[e] in the course of English history."

 "The attack on Cuthbert's monastery on Lindisfarne in 793 marks the end of a peiod of about two centuries during which the shores of Britain seem to have been wholly free from attack.  Bede's church at Jarrow was sacked in the following year and in 795 Columba's monastery on Iona was plundered."
This map depicts the route of the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 by Viking raiders.  Viewers of the show will note that the characters in the television show only talk about heading "west" which would be more accurate if they were attacking from Denmark, but the geography of the homeland of the television Vikings is clearly Norway- with fjords, a scarcity of farming lands and notable mountains.

  So there you go- this is it, people: The actual invasion of England by the Vikings.  Grab your hat, and hold the fuck onto it because I am positive there are more elaborate depredations of the Vikings against the Anglo-Saxons to come.

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