I am a big fan of the show Vikings. I get the skewed time line and why the writers chose to do it. They’ve compressed the Sagas and arranged them in a way that works logically without obliterating their essence. Just started season 4 and the first two episodes have made me wonder if the writers have gotten lazy.
Season 3 dealt with the great raid on Paris. Now, Paris at the time (845AD) was a town on an island in the middle of the Seine. There were no walls. Just a river to act as a moat to keep the would-be raiders out. In real life this worked in favor of the Norsemen and after a brief battle up river, they occupied Paris for a time until Charles the Bald paid them off with an enormous sum of loot. There would be a repeat of this raid in 850s (or there about). Now, the last raid occurred in 885 when 3 Norse leaders including a guy named Rollo (Yes. That Rollo.) tried to sack Paris a third time and wasted their armies against the Parisian walls. The Vikings left and it was only Rollo and his men left behind. At some point he settled in Normandy and eventually agreed to play nice with the Franks becoming the Count of Rouen. Whatever the case, the writers chose to wrap all the events over the course of 60 or so years into one action. Fine. It’s TV. I get it. So you are wondering why I am telling you about Season 3? Well read on.
In Season 4, we see that Rollo has in fact chosen to be left behind. he does get married to Princess Giesla (not the historical Judith) but still fine. He does not, however settle in Normandy. Now, his men, who also chose to stay behind with him, start getting bored. They want to talk with the newly minted Frankish noble, Rollo as to what the heck is going on!? Rollo agrees to meet with them but brings along a horde of crossbowmen who, along with another Frankish noble, mow the entire camp down. Wait. What? I guess it becomes expedient to drive the story along.
I am not optimistic about how the season is going. It is starting to feel like Vikings is trying to be Game of Thrones Lite. There is some freaky bondage scenes (Count Odo and the random noble woman) and some of the fights seem to be set to simply eliminate a plot obstacle. I am still cautiously hopeful that the next few episodes will right this sinking ship. I said cautiously.
Giesla (Giséle) is also a historical figure thought to have married Rollo… recorded by the Norman historian Dudo of St. Quentin. Dudo’s sources were recent oral traditions, certainly as credible as the sagas much of the TV series utilizes. Rollo may or may not have married Poppa (Judith), but she was the mother of his son William. English kings would later claim that she descended of Charlemagne.
I myself have never had that much interest in the Vikings. I’ve always been a Packers fan.
Ha! Well played Chris!
I think I got Charles the Simple mixed up with Charles the Bald. The Bald has Judith for a child. And then, of course, Poppa is the daughter of neither. 😀 Thanks for the corrections!