After a marathon session of the TV series Vikings, I’m left with as many questions as Rollo has hair combs. Who were the Vikings? What made them so pissed off, and how did they keep their beards so clean? Most importantly, why did they dance around in giant bird costumes? Not judging, just curious.
Nearly all these questions are answered in historical documentary series Real Vikings. It’s a deep dive into the Viking world, featuring a team of experts who lift the archival lid on whether myth matches up with fact. So, is what we see on Vikings the real deal?
Spoiler alert: yes. The Real Vikings team of archaeologists, historians, and Vikings actors help to shed light on all things Norse. No sword is left uncovered, no rotten tooth left unfilmed in their quest for the truth. They learn how to weave a longboat sail, discover what it took to be a shieldmaiden (FYI you shout “SHIELD WALL” a lot), and investigate whether Ragnar was as hot in real life. By ‘hot’, I mean a fierce warrior king, obviously.
There’s no mention of the whole ‘dress as a bird’ thing, but if you want to unleash your inner Viking, then chuck on your horned helmet and listen up. Anyone can be a Viking in six easy steps, but please don’t decapitate me with an axe if these suggestions don’t work. Instead, just watch Real Vikings until the great Odin showers you in a thousand fox furs and sparkly brooches.
1) Must like rocks
2) Must love a good yarn
Vikings survived the long, harsh Scandinavian winters by retreating to their farmhouses to tell the epic legends of their gods and ancestors. These sagas sound as dramatic as an episode of Days of Our Lives, but with cooler shieldmaidens. Ragnar might have slain a dragon, but did he ever catch a bullet in his hand like John Black? Nope, don’t think he did.
3) Must be a people person
You’ll need to enjoy the company of others and be comfortable dealing with conflict, similar to the experience of invading Kmart during the Boxing Day sales.
4) Must do weird things that puzzle archaeologists until the end of time
A dentist’s nightmare but a historian’s dream: the hole in this Viking’s tooth was caused by too many Jaffas a piece of metal rubbing against the enamel. But how? And what? And why the Valhalla are dead teeth in a museum? It’s a toothy mystery wrapped in an enigma stuffed inside a climate controlled archival room.
5) Must not get seasick
As seafaring warriors, Vikings travelled around Europe in a flotilla of longboats that reputedly scared the bejeezus out of everyone who saw them. That’s the official historical version of events, by the way: ye olde folk were shit scared.
6) Must like shiny things
No reflective surface was safe from these human magpies, who pillaged and plundered their way through Europe like it was a Dark Ages 21 Day Contiki tour. Gather your precious jewels, get comfy on your throne of chocolate coins, and watch your wealth and status grow quicker than a barbarian’s beard.
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Click below to watch Real Vikings on Lightbox, before the new season of Vikings arrives exclusively this December:
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