THE epic tale of Ragnar Lodbrok has become the fifth biggest show on television at present, with violence sex, treachery and epic battle scenes.
1. Ragnar Lodbrok, played by Travis Fimmel, is based on a semi-mythical Viking hero. The name translates as “Hairy Trousers” and the historical character claimed to be a descendant of Odin, the Norse All-Father.
Although there are many controversial written references to Ragnar most of the stories of raids in England and France are based on what is known of Ragnar’s exploits with his band of warrior/farmers. Fimmel won the part not by playing a tough character in his screen test, but by showing a thoughtful, sensitive side!
Rollo did a deal with the French king, Charles the Simple, to stop raiding Paris and got the land of Normandy in return.
3. Ragnar’s first wife, Lagertha, is one tough woman. The list of people she has killed in the series so-far is as long as the credits!
Actress Katheryn Winnick was up for all the fight scenes as she has a black belt in Taekwondo…and Karate! No-one – even Ragnar – wants to mess with this Shield Maiden.
To make sure the sets were as accurate as possible he visited Viking museums and employed researchers. His reward came when a Swedish professor said it was the most accurate portrayal of Viking culture that had been done so far.
5. The Irish connection is on many levels. The majority of scenes were filmed close to Dublin, not far from where Viking longboats landed in the Dark Ages to seize the city and secure settlements.
Extras from throughout Ireland – north and south – played Vikings and English and French warriors. Beards and long hair helped snag a part wielding sword and axe.
Vikings, the epic tale of warriors, fishermen and conquerors, airs Wednesdays on the History Channel at 9/8c