The Norse Are Coming: Vikings, The Last Kingdom and Neil Gaiman Bring Back Tales of Old Scandinavia

lagertha

As one huge fantasy franchise sweeps — er, explodes — out the door, another round of sword (and axe) wielding warriors prepare to charge in. In case you hadn’t noticed, the next big thing is: Norsemen…and women. Between History Channel’s Vikings and BBC2/BBCA/Netflix’s The Last Kingdom, we’ll soon be getting our fill of bloody battles for thrones other than the Iron, and happily, with many more female warriors among them.

But firstly, yesterday Neil Gaiman posted about his own incredulity at how quickly Amazon took off with the news he’d be writing a book retelling old stories and myths in a “novelistic” way. Norse Mythology will feature Vanir gods, as well as Asgardian (Thor, Loki), giants, elves, and demons, all retold in the author’s own magical way.

Those Norse tales have accompanied me through pretty much everything I’ve done. They ran like a vein of silver through Sandman, they were the bedrock of American Gods.”

Did someone say American Gods?

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Back to business…

After an absolutely trippy, fantastic, and deadly front half of Vikings, Season 4, the cast is finally back on set to film the second round of ten episodes.

Baby Bjorn aka Alexander Ludwig

Following the big mid-season finale fight between Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and Rollo ( Clive Standen), creator/writer Michael Hirst says…

***Spoilers***

ragroll

 

…that despite appearances,

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we needn’t worry about Lagertha’s (Katheryn Winnick) survival. Whew! Aside from being a powerful force on the series — we’ve watched her rise from wife and mother to Earl, and kick ass all over the place — Hirst says he’s heard from female fans that he’ll be in trouble if he messes with the popular character. 

lagerth

The six-ish year time jump allows Ragnar’s sons to grow into the powerful men he — and we — are about to see:  Ivar (Alex Hogh Andersen), Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith), Hvitserk (Marco Ilso) and Sigurd (David Lindstrom); of all his sons,

Rsons

Hirst says Ivar the Boneless became the most famous. Ragnar’s return after a long disappearance finds everyone changed, secrets are uncovered and the creator called two of Season 4’s upcoming episodes “the best things I’ve ever written“; they “affected everybody on the show”.

 

Over on BBCA/BBC2’s, but soon moving to Netflix, is another take on fictionalized Viking history, The Last Kingdom. You might call it Vikings’ slightly less serious cousin, but that’s not at all belittling the equally enjoyable tales of Saxon-born Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), who as a boy is taken after a raid — along with Brida (Emily Cox) and raised by Vikings. As a grown man Uhtred fights to avenge his adoptive family, as well as get back his rightful land and title, stolen by a nasty uncle. There are a few crossover characters, but the timeline is off enough that VikingsUbbe (Jordan Patrick Smith)

JordanPatrickSmithUbbe

on The Last Kingdom is Ubba (Rune Temte), who looks like this:

TLK-Characters-Ubba

Not a bad crossover casting, eh? 

The Last Kingdom is also currently on set and filming their second season, which will cover events in Bernard Cromwell’s third book, with King Alfred (David Dawson) continuing pushing Christianity, and Uhtred will try to find his sister, who he just found out was still alive.

Kjartan (Alexandre Willaume)

And, there’s as much to love about this Viking series as there is with original flavor Vikings.

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Maybe even more…

uhtrednsfw

Whoops!

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Vikings Season 4b and The Last Kingdom Season 2 return dates are TBA.

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Editor-in-Chief. Former Senior News Editor at Pajiba.com and published at BUST.

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  • AbbySaurus

    I think you’ve just inspired me to watch Vikings. I’ve been on a period tv show kick lately and can’t find anything that looks good. It looks like it will work nicely for me. Also, thank you for the surprise Gillian gif.