Sunday, March 24, 2013

Is Ragnar the New King Arthur?

Recently the History channel started airing a new television show called Vikings. Set in the 700s-800s, Vikings is a historical drama based on mythology and storytelling. This show is at times violent and other times NSFW for other reasons; but its interesting storytelling and has characters you're automatically invested in. Since it's created by the History channel the bar for realistic portrayal is higher and at times not met, but not so missed that a viewer is disgusted and refuses to watch any further.

The main point of this post though is about the focus of the show. The main protagonist is Ragnar, and up and coming Viking leader who at times echoes a similar mythology to that of King Arthur. His wife and his brother (blood brother or brother in war - idk) have an awkward relationship which might lead to a love triangle of sorts. He is well liked by his peers and makes a good war-band leader. In addition to these things, he must overcome the spineless and do-anything-to-stay-in-power earl who controls his village. But in the process of this he must also appear to be the better man and therefore win the hearts of the show's viewers much like the stories of King Arthur have won the hearts of children for hundreds of years.

Ragnar, Vikings

Ultimately, when I pose the question is he the new King Arthur, the similarity is primarily based in the popularity of the character. Not just in how popular he is among his peers but how popular this character might become among the general viewing public. If this show becomes popular enough then maybe tales of Ragnar will spread through current generations like tales of King Arthur spread through previous generations. Probably not, but it's interesting to think about.

1 comment:

Taterloyyd said...

Ragnar's character is so interesting because depending on the lens you use to view him, your perception changes. For instance, to his comrades-in-arms, he's a hero and a strong warrior, to his Earl he's a menace and and upstart, to the Saxon's he's the face of the devil, and to his brother he's the source of great envy as he has everything and Rollo has nothing. I agree that this story is extremely compelling but not always as historically accurate as one would expect from this history channel (i.e. the story is done in modern English). I too am curious to see where the show leads.