Until recently, I had never seen Vikings before. It wasn’t until I started watching all these documentaries around Christmas that I became interested in the television show because it is loosely based on the sagas of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons.
I’ve since seen the first four episodes. The infamous attack by Vikings on the Lindisfarne monastery in Northumbria was very real although it had nothing to do with the real Ragnar Lothbrok and occurred much earlier in the late 8th century. The invasion of England by the Great Heathen Army, the creation of the Danelaw and the role the Vikings played in stimulating the unification of England by King Alfred and his successors was very real.
It will be fun to watch the show which mixes fact with fiction while learning more about the real historical figures. It seems like everyone I know has already seen the show and knows at least a little bit about this period of history and some of the characters involved. The real Æthelstan, for example, wasn’t a priest from Lindisfarne captured in a Viking raid. He was the first king of England. Similarly, the real Rollo was the founder of Normandy.
Note: Listen to the second video to learn how Ragnar met his shieldmaiden wife Lagertha and all his other wives.