What Are You Watching? ‘Vikings: Valhalla’


I’m watching “Vikings: Valhalla” on Netflix, Season 1, Episodes 1 to 8. Season 2 has wrapped, and may be released later this year. “Vikings: Valhalla” takes place 100 years after the end of the History Channel “Vikings,” six seasons. Parental warnings include sex, violence, and nudity. If I were warning anyone, I’d say, Violence, violence, violence — all caps, bold.

My interest in “Vikings” comes from my family. My paternal grandparents were Danish. My great-grandmother was a midwife, and I have handwritten Copenhagen police ledgers from 1909 when, pursuant to law at the time, she registered every time she moved back to Copenhagen from assisting a birth in another town.

Once in Denmark, we stopped at a gas station in the rain. While my husband paid inside, I walked around the parking lot to stretch my legs and saw a sign indicating a Viking burial mound up the hill, which I visited. I felt then, and still do as I write this, a profound connection to the site and the Vikings buried there.

The Vikings, from Greenland (Leif Erikson), Norway, Sweden, and Denmark were marauding their way west from about 800 to 1100, before recorded history. However, writings from the 13th century, corroborated by a poem from the earlier 300 years, authenticate some of the stories. But don’t forget, this is Hollywood, so there are many critical articles parsing out anchoring facts from prolific fiction. All of the filming was done in Ireland.

The men are handsome, the women beautiful, their bodies draped roughly in furs and cinched in leather (definitely a Hollywood addition). The plot follows friends, brothers, lovers, kings, queens, and warriors as they plot, scheme, collaborate, and betray each other, to our delight and horror. 

I stopped watching the original “Vikings” because of the violence. But with another roots trip to Denmark planned this year, I’m back and enjoying every minute of “Vikings: Valhalla,” sometimes with my hands over my eyes. Rotten Tomatoes: 93 percent.