While a thousand-year-old Viking prediction that the world would come to an end on February 22 went unfulfilled, the Norse warriors who were once the scourge of Christendom are again coming over the horizon – this time on The History Channel, where Vikings returns for a second season starting February 27.
The Viking apocalypse, known in their lore as Ragnarok, was supposed to have brought an end to the world this past weekend, at least according to ancient warnings deciphered by scholars of Norse mythology. Fortunately those predictions made over a thousand years ago by the Scandinavian godi, as their temple priests were called, proved no more accurate than those made by their Mayan counterparts, who were so certain the end would come in 2012 that their calendars did not go past that fateful date. Although the seemingly endless icy onslaught of the past few months does call to mind the Fimbulvinter or never-ending-winter that in Viking lore presages the coming of the final battle between the gods that heralds the start of Ragnarok, at least so far the Dark Ages’ prediction of an apocalypse has not come to pass. ( Then again, winter is not over yet.)
For those who want to know more about the people who issued those warnings, The History Channel once again offers the popular, entertaining and remarkably accurate adventure series Vikings, which returns for a second if once again short season on Thursday, February 27. While there is precious little history left on the channel whose big gold “H” once stood for such, at least Vikings is based on history, and its producers have gone to great lengths to portray the Dark Age warriors and their world as authentically as possible. Several of the major characters, notably Ragnar Lothbrok, as portrayed by Travis Fimmel, are based on real people of that era, and many of the events depicted – such as last season’s attack on the English monastery at Lindisfarne – actually occurred.
Vikings, however, is no documentary. It is all about swords and sex, raids and rapes and the emotions of lust, revenge, envy and the thirst for fortune and glory that helped launch the real Vikings on their voyages of plunder, pillage, conquest and discovery. Episode one of season two, for example, opens with a bang – or more accurately, a CLANG! as two opposing war bands square off, bang spears on shields, scream their battle cries and charge headlong into each other. This little skirmish between about 300 actors (many of them reenactors) may not be quite the epic apocalyptic battle of the gods as predicted in the Scandinavian sagas, but until the real Ragnarok comes upon the world, it will do.
Vikings returns to The History Channel at 10 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, February 27, where it will air for another nine subsequent Thursdays (with repeat showings several times each week).
Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with over 30 years of experience as a ghost-writer, columnist, historian and game designer. Like so many tall, blond Irishmen, there is likely some Viking blood coursing through his veins, probably as the result of some night time raid on an unsuspecting coastal village, the likes of which are frequently depicted in Vikings.
An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories from the age of Lincoln. To view Mark's 16th published design, the American Civil War Naval strategy game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, visit his publisher at http://www.gmtgames.com/p-238-rebel-raiders-on-the-high-seas.aspx
…or his blog at http://markgmclaughlin.blogspot.com/
Mark’s latest work, the science fiction adventure novel Princess Ryan's Star Marines, is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats at http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Ryans-Star-Marines-Save/dp/1466218487/ref...
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