His question was one that had been on my mind a lot lately, especially considering my distaste about a rape in Season 1, Episode 2. Why didn’t I quit this show after that?
It’s complicated, but I stayed with it, and I’m glad I did. Here are my reasons for staying with Vikings and why I think it’s so popular.
1. It’s White Pagan Culture
Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a racist and I despise white supremacy.
I could be wrong, but I think white people (like me) are becoming more aware of cultural appropriation. Because of this, we’re seeking wisdom from our own ancestral cultures. The problem with this is that Christianity’s “jealous angry god” decimated much of Europe’s pagan cultures. Few pagan customs remained after people were literally burned at the stake for the suspicion of practicing anything other than the approved version of Christianity. The earth-worshipping cultures were essentially stomped out.
Pagan Viking culture, on the other hand, was relatively untouched by Christianity for much longer. Although they didn’t have a written record for much of their history, what survives is intact, whole, and amazing.
2. It’s Not Supernatural (No Sparkly Hands)
This show doesn’t feature anyone who can kill with a finger-snap or shoot a laser from their third eye. Thank the gods! I, for one, am tired of that. I feel we need more tv shows about realistic pagans. Fantasy is fun, but this show is pretty realistic in a lot of aspects.
Instead of the “ta-da” kind of magic, the gods are there, giving information to the Seer and to many of the characters. The gods are mentioned in almost every episode. They even make appearances in realistic ways that seem appropriate.
3. DNA Testing Results
Stay with me on this one. About two years ago, I got my DNA tested. I was surprised to find I’m about 3% Scandinavian, aka Viking. With the popularity of DNA tests and the proclivity of Vikings to populate (one way or another), it’s possible that there are more people who are aware of their Viking heritage now than ever before.
4. It Features Strong Women
Women play powerful roles in this show, from Viking Queens to Warrior Shield Maidens, there’s always someone I can look up to. I especially appreciate that this was a culturally relevant portion of the show. As more Viking graves are being re-examined, more women warriors are being found.
5. It’s Beautiful
The show has beautiful, great actors. Everything from the setting to the costumes to the boats are gorgeous. The music is earthy and dramatic, and creates a great backdrop.
6. It’s Tough
Times are tough these days. The nation seems more divided than ever. Maybe it’s because I’m a pagan who lives in a red state, with my freedoms eroding away from me, but I feel like I might have to fight sometimes. Seeing brave people on television drives my courage up and gives me hope that I’ll give ’em hell when I need to.
7. The Gods Might Be More Active
I’ve had quite a few experiences with Hel and Thor lately, even before I started watching the show. Maybe this is due in part to having more power from having more believers, especially after the Marvel movies. This could be one of those circular situations where we believe in them more and they do more and we believe in them more, etc. My point is they might be getting more powerful lately and might be cultivating more followers.
8. Vikings Are The New Ireland
The show Vikings is filmed in Ireland, but that’s not what I’m talking about. If you’re old enough to remember the pagan culture in the 90’s and early 2000’s, you probably recall an special emphasis on Celtic and Irish heritage. There were so many books, concerts, CDs, music programs, and people claiming they were part Irish. Even I hoped I was part Irish.
Culture trends seem to swirl in popularity, with one rising in prominence and riding it out as naturally as waves on an ocean riding toward a beach. We should be used to it by now. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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As I mentioned, I’m enjoying the show. I especially appreciate that some parts of the show attempt to keep the history intact. I think it’s a harmless show and don’t think it’s damaging to pagan culture. If anything, it shows a somewhat realistic portrayal of what life might have been like all those centuries ago. I realize it’s a romanticization, but it’s a love affair that I’m glad to be in.