". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, March 14, 2013

*The Vikings* (2013) History Channel - First 3 Episodes

There are to be ten episodes in all.

So much eye liner (for the men, of course) and such talented hair stylists (for the men, of course).  Which makes the viewer wonder why the writers inserted a scene of a 12 year old Viking-to-be sneering at a monk’s tonsure, when half of his own head is shaved, his father definitely has a high fade + tail, and so do almost all the other warriors with the exception of an Eric (who has flowing blonde locks and I'd like to see more of him).
It’s nice that the rape to set-up and establish character we see in the first scenes fails because the baddies try it on with a Shield Maiden, Our Protag Ragnar's wife, Lagertha, who chops them up.  Yet – rape, to do this. Couldn't we have seen some other sort of action scene to establish that Lagertha is a kick-ass woman?  And not that much later we have a successful rape committed upon a poor smith’s daughter, by Our Protag’s Bad Brother, Rollo -- who also wants to f*ck his brother's wife -- which is how we know of course that Rollo is a Bad. This poor raped girl will later also have to watch her father be murdered by other Bads in a particularly horrible manner, with the insinuation she will be taken off to be a slave and treated with yet more physical and sexual brutality. Which is another way we know Earl Haraldson and his minions are Bads. They also willy nilly seize members of a man's following or relatives as hostages, just because they feel like it.  I’m not sure how historically accurate this is for the culture of the time – the time when the Vikings had no idea there was an England. No more than I previously knew that the Vikings of the time (the time is that of the monastery of Lindisfarne) didn't know about England. 
Also, these Vikings are extraordinarily sexually permissive, quite like LA Californication types, offering to share their wives with other men in sexual threesomes at the drop of a hat an axe. Who knew?  Though again these scenes are plot and character-establishment devices. The Bad antagonist, Earl Haraldson, offers his wife, Siggy, the only woman allowed eyeliner, because clearly she's some sort of sorceress and a Bad, to a minion, as a test of minion's loyalty. Well, Earl Haraldson did offer, Siggy writhed in willingness, but minion's lust-hazed acceptance somehow proved treason so he's chopped.  However, when Ragnar offers a threesome with himself and Lagertha to Athelstan, his captured slave priest, Athelstan refuses -- and reshaves his tonsure -- proving he's worthy to be left with Ragnar's children, running the farm. At least, that's presumably what that scene was doing there. Thus Ragnar can securely take his Shield Maiden wife Lagertha with him on his second raid on England's monasteries.   Because, of course, Vikings always take their wives on expeditions of rape, murder and plunder!
The scenery scenes of mountains a fjords are breathtaking though.
Vikings was created and produced by Michal Hirst (Elizabeth; The Tudors).


Foxessa said...

With all the resources they have to work with $40 million budget!), why are there so many silly decisions in the production?

Especially with how Lagertha is treated, the one exceptional female character, almost the only female character -- it just screams, "Give us Inclusion Cookies Now!"

Considering what we do know about Nordic women, particularly those above the class of thrall, there is so much to draw upon that shows them strong, physically and emotionally, as well as intelligent and creative. Instead they go for the "man with t*ts" gambit, every frackin' time. Feh.

Actually, I'm pretty sure these sea farers knew there was land to the west, even in the 8th century A.D.

Ah yes. After checking it turns out that the peoples out of whom came the Vikings were very familiar with the lands to the West. They got blocked by Charlemagne from getting to those southern and western lands that they liked to plunder. So they moved north and west instead, which was also better for raiding in the improved ships they were building. As they weren't really horse people, since their lands couldn't support raising the heavy warhorse and destriers that were the backbone of cavalry, plundering via sea and ship worked better for them -- and provided then, a work-around to the Med and Iberia and so on.

For some reason though the production preferred to play silly buggers with basic history. Not to mention dress and hair and cosmetics.

Love, C.

wildair said...

And, just where did they get the idea the tiller is on the port side, when all they have to do is go to the Viking Ship Museum to see all the longships, even the knaars are built with the tiller on the starboard (right) side? I can accept a left-handed steersman, but later in another episode where 3 longships sail to Britain, all 3 have them on the wrong side. I thought this series was supposed to be so historically accurate.

Foxessa said...

It's the History Channel so historic accuracy doesn't matter!


Love, C.

wtf said...

I don't care how accurate it is! I love it! Its better than G.O.T, much easyier to follow, I could honestly watch it all day. I am from northumberland in england so should of been mortified with what they did to the poor monks (I was a little as I'm not evil lol) but to be honest I was still on the Vikings side all the way, it had me that gripped! brutal tho, eeesh!

Love it! X