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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vikings 5.1-2: Floki in Iceland

My favorite part of the Vikings Season 5 debut last night, even though it didn't take up all that much screen time, was Floki arriving in Iceland.  I've been interested in the Vikings in the New World since I was kid, and Iceland is the very first part of that.  We now know, via carbon dating, that the Vikings reached North America, and it's fascinating to think about what kind of alternate history would have ensued had they made that settlement permanent.  As it was, in our actual history, Columbus' voyage not the Vikings opened up the New World to Europe, and as I explore in my book The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of Information Revolution, this was because Columbus' voyage was written up by his son and became a best-seller in Europe - one of the first products of the newly invented printing press - in contrast to the voyages of the Vikings, which became the stuff of oral sagas, and were easily dismissible as wispy legend and fiction by the rest of the world.

And now, in the fifth season of Vikings, we get to see it begin.  History tells us that Celtic monks were in Iceland before the first Scandinavian settlers, but presumably we're seeing Floki there before those settlers, so who knows what he'll find.  This part of the season's narrative, including how Floki gets word back to Ragnar's sons in England, should be well worth watching.

Meanwhile, back in England, the Vikings take York, and what Ivar did to that priest amply demonstrates that Sigurd was right when he said Ivar was crazy.  Is Ivar's protestation that he's sorry for killing Sigurd believable?  Maybe to not really. What's clear is that Ivar is now calling the shots, through intimidation of his two brothers as much as logic, and this could well be their undoing in England.

What's clear as well is that Bishop Heahmund will be a powerful adversary, though he has his blindspots, too, and a tendency to underestimate the prowess of the Vikings.  Such underestimations have been the downfall of many of the Vikings' targets in the past.  But with Aethelwulf joining forces with the Bishop, there should be a wild, more evenly matched battle looming ahead.

As was the case with most of last season, what's going on in Scandinavia was the least compelling in these first two new episodes.  Lagertha remains an intriguing character, but I've always thought she was in her best element in the battles to the west, in Europe.

And I'll be back with more next week.

See also Vikings 4.1: I'll Still Take Paris ... Vikings 4.2: Sacred Texts ...Vikings 4.4: Speaking the Language ... Vikings 4.5: Knives ... Vikings 4.8: Ships Up Cliff ... Vikings 4.10: "God Bless Paris" ... Vikings 4.11: Ragnar's Sons ... Vikings 4.12: Two Expeditions ... Vikings 4.13: Family ... Vikings 4.14: Penultimate Ragnar? ... Vikings 4.15: Close of an Era ... Vikings 1.16: Musselman ... Vikings 1.17: Ivar's Wheels ...Vikings 1.18: The Beginning of Revenge ... Vikings 4.19: On the Verge of History ... Vikings 4.20: Ends and Starts

And see also Vikings 3.1. Fighting and Farming ... Vikings 3.2: Leonard Nimoy ...Vikings 3.3: We'll Always Have Paris ... Vikings 3.4: They Call Me the Wanderer ... Vikings 3.5: Massacre ... Vikings 3.6: Athelstan and Floki ...Vikings 3.7: At the Gates ... Vikings 3.8: Battle for Paris ... Vikings 3.9: The Conquered ... Vikings Season 3 Finale: Normandy

And see also Vikings 2.1-2: Upping the Ante of Conquest ... Vikings 2.4: Wise King ... Vikings 2.5: Caught in the Middle ... Vikings 2.6: The Guardians ...Vikings 2.7: Volatile Mix ... Vikings 2.8: Great Post-Apocalyptic Narrative ... Vikings Season 2 Finale: Satisfying, Surprising, Superb

And 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

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