Friday, March 7, 2014

Vikings 2.1-2: Upping the Ante of Conquest

Vikings is back on the History Channel, with an appealing mix of new and continuing characters - including new sons for Ragnor with his new wife - and tensions among Norse leaders which are never too far from erupting into outright killing and battle.

But my favorite parts of the series - last year and now this year as well - are the battles and general interactions Ragnar and his band have with the people living in the British Isles to the West.  Episode 2.2 gets Ragnar and his ships blown off-course.  Some are missing, but Ragnar and a handful of his ships land someplace they have not been before: in the civilized south of England, in the Kingdom of the West Saxons or Wessex.

Wessex has men in armor far more capable in battle than the priests in the monastery or the poorly organized fighters Ragnar encountered in the north last year.  In one of the best scenes in the series, the Wessex fighters surprise Ragnar's camp with a savage attack.  Outnumbered, Ragnar's men - and women - use brilliant defensive strategy to first withstand the attack, and then turn the tables into a rout of the Wessex attackers.

The Vikings, historically, were indeed more agile than the landed warriors of the places they invaded. That, and the initial element of shocked surprise, were the main reasons they did so well in their conquests.   But even the Vikings were not invulnerable to vastly superior numbers of fighters who had any prowess, and the Wessex warriors clearly have some prowess.

Add into this volatile environment the talents of Althestan, who not only speaks the olde English language but has become an effective wielder of an axe on behalf of Ragnar, and it looks like we have the makings of a very good season for Vikings indeed.

See also Vikings ... Vikings 1.2: Lindisfarne ... Vikings 1.3: The Priest ... Vikings 1.4:  Twist and Testudo ... Vikings 1.5: Freud and Family ... Vikings 1.7: Religion and Battle ... Vikings 1.8: Sacrifice
... Vikings Season 1 Finale: Below the Ash

Like historical fiction?   Try The Plot to Save Socrates ...


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