Travis Fimmel plays Ragnar Lothbrok, convinced he’s descended from a god, on History’s new series “The Vikings.”
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:20AM
Barricade the door and hide your valuables. The Vikings, those fierce and fearless warriors, raid our shores this weekend as History premieres its scripted series about the legendary Norsemen.
Vikings, a nine-part series starting at 9 p.m. Sunday, created and written by Michael Hirst (“Elizabeth,” “The Tudors”), presents the Norse warriors in all their bloody, battling glory. But it also showcases their adventurous spirit, their love of family and their equally courageous women.
Following last year’s blockbuster success of its first scripted drama, “Hatfields & McCoys,” History has high hopes for “Vikings,” says the network’s Dirk Hoogstra. “We know our brand very well, and know what our viewers are looking for.”
The three nights of “Hatfields & McCoys” became the top three entertainment telecasts of all time on ad-supported cable among total viewers, averaging 17.1 million total viewers and winning Emmys for lead actor Kevin Costner and supporting actor Tom Berenger.
While little written history of the Norsemen exists, “Vikings” wraps its story around Ragnar Lothbrok, a historical figure played by Travis Fimmel, who says Ragnar believed he was a descendant of Norse god Odin.
“Legend has it that Odin sacrificed an eye to look down a well of knowledge to learn more about the world, and he actually hung himself because he was so intrigued about what death would feel like,” Fimmel says. “Ragnar’s very curious as well. He really wanted to know what else was in the world and was willing to sacrifice everything to sail west.”
Fimmel says Ragnar “was sort of a new breed of Viking, and that brings him a lot of conflict with the older order.”
The older order in this series is represented by local chieftain Earl Haraldson, played by Gabriel Byrne (“The Usual Suspects”), who attempts to squelch Ragnar’s wanderlust.
Even though “Vikings” was filmed in Ireland rather than Scandinavia, the production, says Hoogstra, strives for historical accuracy. “We were meticulous about the boats, how they were built and what kind of wood was used. We wanted that world to be very authentic.”
Gannett News Service