Vikings S1 commentary

Vikings is a very strange show. I do not know if there is some fundamental cultural difference I just can't cross or what, but there seems to be something missing from the plot that I just can't seem to overcome.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good show that's not utterly predictable. But there's something missing that's driving all the characters that I can't seem to find. Or understand. Or something.

Alright, the first two episodes were a little slow. Not bad, just "do I continue watching or do I give up?" Once Athelstan gets on the scene, things get immediately more interesting, and I cannot say if this is because of 1) the dynamic this offers the show, 2) the fact that the plot has progressed enough to get interesting, 3) it's George Blagden, or 4) some combination of all three. All I know is from there until Ragnar becomes the near jarl, things are intensely interesting and dramatic and, well, worth watching.

And then you get the rest of the season. Which seems odd, because becoming jarl seems like a season finale sort of deal. But, somewhere, between the episode where he becomes jarl and the next, something fundamentally shifts in the tone of the show. Enough so that I at first thought I'd missed an episode. Because suddenly Ragnar has gone from a man out to make his name in the world, to learn and become rich and famous and all that, to a man who is suddenly intensely interested in his dynasty and this random prophesy about sons that's just show up. He goes from being an intensely complicated, vaguely Tricksterish warrior to a man with a Henry VIII complex almost overnight. It's very disconcerting.

The others aren't so bad. I like Lagatha in this way where I'd really not like to know her, but she's cool to watch from a distance. She's a rather complicated woman, even if the end of season regulates her rather heavily to the "why can't I bear sons" trope. Bjorn I've even become rather attached too, as I have Siggy, who I've come to really like - she's so deliciously complicated and complex.

But Athelstan remains the reason I watch the show. There is a direct correlation to how much he appears in an episode with how much I enjoy it, and whether this is because he's 1) George Blagden, or 2) playing into the "outsider" trope Spock made famous in TOS and various aliens and cyborgs have continued the tradition thereof, I cannot say. But there is something I find immensely interesting in his Job-like conflict of faith, and I almost wish he had repudiated his Christian roots in e8, if only because that would have been a very interesting direction for the show to take. But I love how he comes to blend in, and then almost actively become one of the Norsemen as time goes on, and how his look and whole demeanor seems to reflect his attempts to blend in as well. He so much more of a person - the best person, perhaps, he can be - than he was a monk. And I love it. And if the sneak peaks I've seen of S2 are any indication, I think they take this further, until he's a part of the raiding parties themselves, and this is - forgive the pun - Stockholm syndrome at its best, and the corruption of the innocent, and... Well, an intensely complex story arc, and I'd love to see inside his head. He makes the show.

Because the sex is overdone. Seriously, was it a Viking thing to ask men to bed their wives to see what they'd do? Cause it gets old by e3. And irritating. The scenery is fantastic, as is the costuming, and the actors, but the plot, again, seems to be missing something fundamental to my understanding of the show.

But I'm still mildly obsessed. Sadly, the vast majority of fics I've seen seem to be Ragnar/Lagatha/Athelstan, which at least has the distinction of being actively suggested in e3, but which I cannot see myself, especially after e8 when the first two were actively plotting to sacrifice the third to Odin. That's the kind of thing I can't get around in my ot3, when I can accept them at all, but I don't dislike it enough to avoid the tag. I actually have no ships for this show, only, again, the incidental ones I've stumbled across in searching for decent fanfic. I think it must be a first.

I'll get a rec list posted as soon as I've searched the internet for fic. It seems to be a tiny fandom, with few decent works, but we'll see what I can find.
I watch for Athelstan too :) Have you seen the cast interviews? They're pretty shippy too :P
I generally try to avoid the interviews, as I don't like thinking actors exist outside of their roles, but if you know any good ones, send me the link?