In the first season, Ragnar Lodbruk (Travis Fimmel) became the first Viking to reach England, finding a wonderful place where the locals conveniently store their gold in houses of worship guarded by unarmed men who pray to a dead god. Jealous, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) tried to kill Ragnar, but it did not work out as planned. Ragnar became Earl and launched even larger raids on England. Having obtained everything he had wanted, Ragnar should have been satisfied, but alpha males are never satisfied. While performing a mission for King Horik (Donal Logue), he was seduced by Princess Aslaug, and his ambitious brother Rollo (Clive Standen) was seduced by Horik’s rival.
Apparently, a fair amount of time has passed between the two seasons, since Ragnar’s wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) has remarried and their son Bjorn will be played by an older actor. It appears that this season will deal with two issues: the brothers will resolve their differences, presumably with sharp objects, and Ragnar will have to reconcile two families.
While squabbling Vikings expressing their feelings by trying to slaughter each other will undoubtedly be entertaining, I am looking forward to Ragnar’s new English opponent, King Egbert of Wessex, the most powerful of the English kingdoms. Ragnar had initially confined his raiding to Northumbria, the weakest English kingdom, which was defended by disturbingly ineffective warriors. Aside from the inability of the Northumbrians to defeat Ragnar’s men, most of the English characters were not even two-dimensional, giving viewers a one-sided perspective of the Vikings’ marauding. Hopefully, Egbert will actually have some depth.
On a side-note, why did the producers chose such a strange, artsy trailer for the show? And what’s with the rooster next to Horik?
Anyway, the first season was quite good, although it started to slip during the last couple of episodes. The religious issues that were so fascinating on The Tudors, Hirst’s previous show, were not handled as well, but the show embraced the ruthless, predatory nature of the Vikings, so I am curious to see if season two will be as interesting.