When Vikings premiered, back in March of 2013, most people wrote it off immediately. A historically based, medieval, scripted drama series on the History Channel, which had long ago become home to little more than reality shows and WWII nostalgia? Even the allure of writer and showrunner Michael Hirst, hot off The Tudors, was lost in the sea of largely unknown actors cast to bring his story to life.
But Vikings became the little cable show that could, its premiere episode beating out all the American broadcast networks in its timeslot with the all-important 18-49 year old audience, and critics comparing it favourably with Rome, Sons of Anarchy, and Game Of Thrones. Rather than the testosterone-fuelled hackfest many expected, Vikings was a thoughtful, character-driven look at a clash of cultures usually only seen from the point of view of the conquered.
With the sixth and final season of Vikings arriving next month, let’s circle back to the beginning and see how much you remember of the conflicts, heartaches, and triumphs of Ragnar, Lagertha, Rollo and all the rest in the first season of this surprising and compelling look at the men and women of the North.