Blood And Conquest: A Detailed Argument For Why History’s ‘Vikings’ Is Better Than ‘Game Of Thrones’

03.07.15 4 years ago 103 Comments

Vikings is History Channel’s first originally scripted program and it just began its 3rd season a couple weeks ago. The premiere brought in 4.6 million viewers making it the highest rated cable series on Thursday night, but for a few years now, fans like myself have made the argument that the series — which follows the historical rise of Ragnar Lothbrok and his Norsemen — is better than Game Of Thrones.

It might also qualify as being the best show on television that you’re not watching. Something that’d be easy to say about plenty of shows, but I’m prepared to make the case.  Get your angry comments ready, internet…

Game Of Thrones Lite 

While referring to a show as “Game Of Thrones Lite” may sound insulting, it’s actually a good thing in this case. I’ll admit that I never finished any of George R.R. Martin’s books, so your upturned noses will have no effect on me. I’ve also never really been a big fan of the HBO series.

One of the aspects I always found so off-putting is the sheer size and scope of the story being told. With so many characters being followed, I really find myself only interested in two characters: Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. Beyond them, I start losing track of names, castles and story details because I really just don’t care.

With Vikings, the scope is much smaller, which not only gives these unique characters more screen time, it allows the audience to become invested. Also, Vikings tends to give viewers everything they want regularly. Norse folklore, sexy times, massive fight scenes… it’s almost like a Game Of Thrones episode except say, without all the bare butt and dragons.

So Many Khal Drogos

A friend of mine was explaining to someone why they should be watching Vikings a few weeks back and he ended up concluding that the series was essentially about a bunch of Khal Drogos. The concept of a series that follows an army of Dothraki warriors got her immediately interested and she was soon binge-watching the show. While it’s a funny way to sell a person on a television program, there is some truth to that comparison.

Let’s be clear here: this is a show documenting the conquests of Ragnar Lothbrok and his Norsemen. They are the heroes of this series but let it be known, they aren’t necessarily “good people.” Last week’s episode featured a boat adorned with a selection of severed Englishman heads. And dare I even bring up Rollo’s rape scene from season one?

Ragnar & Lagertha Are THE Viking Power Couple

You can’t really talk about Vikings without talking about Ragnar Lothbrok. He’s like this show’s Rick Grimes in that, without Ragnar there’d really be no show. From a common farmer to king of his people, Ragnar’s drive is to discover new lands and expand his territory. That’s what we see when he discovers England and there are already rumblings about France entering into the picture soon.

Leading the way for all the strong female characters on Vikings is Ragnar’s wife Lagertha is brilliantly portrayed by the beautiful Katheryn Winnick. Here, we not only see a strong independent minded woman and mother, but we also see a formidable Viking shield maiden who fights alongside the men in raids and battles. It’s worth noting that Winnick has Black Belts in Karate and Tae Kwon Do and was once a licensed body guard.

Comparing Ragnar and Lagertha to Cersei and Jamie Lannister is a bit like comparing organic apple trees to rancid moldy orange peels, in that the two couples are in completely different leagues. For all the pillaging, raiding and murdering Ragnar and Lagertha involve themselves with, they are still driven by discovery and are true to their people and their families.

While Jamie Lannister has shown some nice qualities here and there, one must never forget that he likes to have sex with his awful sister Cersei. And, seriously, Cersei is the worst.

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