“Vikings” Season 3 Episode 3 Spoilers: Michael Hirst Reddit AMA Touches On Historical Background And Characters
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.”
His statements are rather dubious, because people have pointed out that there are glaring inaccuracies even in the buildings, costumes and furniture. The characters and events themselves appear anachronistically, for instance figures like Cnut and the raid on Lindsfarne are often separated by hundreds of years. On the other hand Hirst justifies himself saying, “I had a radio interview, with the head of Scandinavian Studies at Harvard University, who is a Swedish professor. And we showed him the first 3 episodes of the first season, before they were broadcast, and I thought he was going to eat me alive… but what he said was “this is the first time my culture has ever been taken seriously, and treated intelligently.”
During the AMA Hirst also covered the future direction of the characters on the show, specifically Ragnar and his sons.
“So Ragnar continues to be the central character, a wonderful character, a very interesting man, a very deep man, and his son Bjorn is grown-up now and will likely represent a challenge to him in the future, and he has other sons of course… And historically, his other son did things just as extraordinary as Ragnar himself. So the story of Ragnar and his sons is very rich in exploration, and dramer, as we move forward through this next season and hopefully seasons beyond.”
That means “Vikings” could potentially move on even without Ragnar, with Bjorn (later known as Bjorn Ironside) taking a lead role. Future plotlines could take the sons of Ragnar,
“Bjorn and Ivar to a diverse range of settings.Because as I said, his sons also became famous, particularly Bjorn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless, and indeed, Bjorn became famous because he sailed around the Mediterranean. He went to Spain, he went to Italy, he was chased by pirates in the Mediterranean – who knows? He may have gone to Portugal, we don’t know that. But there was so much material – the Vikings went everywhere and left their imprints and their DNA from the Urals to Canada, and indeed, to Africa – they found Viking DNA in Africa. So this story is, for me, I’ve only just started to tell this story. And it’s a story that waited a long time to be told, because up ’til now, the representations of the Vikings have largely been cliches, and totally wrong. So I’ve said, many times, and I hope it comes through (but you never know) but I would like to continue writing VIKINGS until they discover America.”
Taking the “Vikings” to America would be a really unique direction for the show to go and make it epic on a scale equal to “Game of Thrones”. “Vikings” season 3 episode 1 “Mercenary” will air on History Channel Thursday Feb. 19 at 10pm,