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THE VIKINGS Mini-series is Hot!

By STOCKTON BRIGGLE

Much to the dismay of its thousands of fans, Sunday night was the conclusion of the first season of the series THE VIKINGS. The History Channel, coming off it’s roaring success with The Hatfield’s and the McCoys, has struck gold again with this exciting new adventure starring drop dead gorgeous Travis Fimmel as the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok.

On Sunday, Lin Milano, the powerhouse behind Celebrity Loop, did an on-line talkfest between Fimmel and fans. There were some 90,000 of them who went on line to chat with him. Pretty impressive. Someone out there is definitely watching!

Not as complex as Game of Thrones, nor the soap opera that is The Borgias, or as sex drenched as Spartacus, The Vikings has a strong cast, breathtaking scenery and a uncluttered storyline. Filmed mostly in Ireland, giving New Zealand a run for it’s money, this is the story of Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Viking hero, who believed that there were lands to the west of Scandinavia that were unexplored and ripe for the picking.

His nemesis is Earl Haraldson a cunning, but unimaginative leader who is determined to block Ragnar’s efforts to prove him wrong. “There are no lands to the West,” he smugly tells Ragnar. Haraldson, is played by the formidable actor Gabriel Byrne bringing his fine acting style to the proceedings. Haraldson is married to the scheming Siggy {Jessalyn Gilsig) who has a wonderful Lady MacBeth quality that helps to layer the story with interesting twists.

I confess that I was not familiar with Travis Fimmel until The Vikings. Tall, eerily handsome with cornflower blue eyes and a Gary Cooper (say as little as possible) approach to acting; his Ragnar is fascinating to watch. His eyes do most of the talking for him and he knows how to use them! Quiet spoken, with an interior intelligence, he is every inch the hero.

The Producers surrounded him with strong actors who inhabit their Viking skins with style and gusto. Ragnar’s wife Lagertha is a shieldmaiden; as strong and determined a fighter as any of her male cohorts. She is an equal match to Ragnar and fights along side of him as well as caring for their two children. Her brother-in-law Rollo is jealous of his brother Ragnar and secretly in love with Lagertha. Clive Standen, as Rollo, wears a dangerous cloak of sibling rivalry that truly makes you fearful for Ragnar and his family. He is a force to be reckoned with.

The Vikiings were famous for their long boats that they developed and built in the early 800’s. These boats, with shallow hulls, were capable of navigating the open seas and sailing rivers that normal ships of the time could not do. This ability made them dangerous and provided the opportunity for them to sail far beyond their Scandinavian and Icelandic countries. The Vikings and their Icelandic Age lasted from 800 to the late 1100’s. During that time they made many conquests, founded new territories and looted much of the then civilized world. The Vikings is that story. Find season one if you can and don’t miss season two. You will be hooked. It’s first-rate entertainment that also provides a major lesson in history, which is absorbing and exciting.

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