This series is not just “historical fiction,” but a metaphor for those moments when people push past their comfort zones and step into a broader world.  The heartbreaking thing is that these times–although leading (hopefully) to a brighter future–are more often than not very painful to endure.  So far, my favorite character is Lagertha.

This series also reminds me of one of my heroes, the Irish St. Brendan the Navigator.  His technical and spiritual curiosity led him to stretch the limits of his age’s technology, and many believe drove him to discover the Americas.  In any case, he was an amazing person.


If you are a fan of historical fiction, whether on the page or on the screen, you will be well familiar with the conflicting emotions of anticipation and dread which accompany a new release in the genre. On the one hand, historical fiction offers cultural landscapes and dramatic narratives which are all the more rich and compelling for being based in the facts of the past. On the other, however, the same historical integrity which breaths life into the story must be balanced with the requirements of character development, dramatic effect (and, in the case of film, budgets).

When managed correctly, the effects can be stunning–read Dorothy Dunnett for an outstanding example of the genre–but all too often a story will end up without enough historical land to stand on, and no narrative oomph to redeem itself. Such has been the case with most recent attempts at portraying the northern…

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