Michael Hirst, the sole writer and creator of the popular History Channel series “Vikings” did a Reddit AMA where he answered questions about the historical background of the show and its characters. “Vikings” has faced criticism that it deviates frequently from history and the character of Ragnar Lothbrok is a legendary composite character that could have been a number of different figures. Similarly actual aspects of the lifestyle of the “Vikings” are inaccurate. Some of the geographical facts like the mountains in southern Scandinavia and the lack of knowledge of the British isles are similarly inaccurate.
Hirst addressed the amount of historical research he does for “Vikings” and explained, “The story I’m telling comes out of my historical research. I don’t have a fictional story that I just add historical details to. Everything I do starts in research, and reading. And during the research / reading, storylines and characters start to emerge. And although I can take these characters for a walk, I never leave their historical reality behind.”
Hirst went on to say, “So of course you’re not watching history, you are watching a show – this is the twenty-first century, and we’re in a studio, and our actors are dressed-up – but having said that, everything you see on the show is researched. The buildings, the costumes, the furniture – everything has been researched, and talked about, and is as real and authentic as we can make it.”