As far as I know, being ravaged by a marauding viking doesn’t appear on any Top Ten Things to Do Before You Die list.
After watching the first season of Vikings, however, I’d advise midlife women to reconsider.
The series, set in 10th century Europe, follows the exploits of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) an intelligent, formidable warrior. He believes there is a land to the West of Scandinavia full of riches to plunder and slaves to shackle.
His belief contradicts the worldview of Viking chief Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) who rejects Ragnar’s request to borrow a boat to explore the West. Instead, Earl orders him to return to the Eastern lands for the annual Viking invasion.
Ragnar secretly commissions Floki, a boat builder with a spiritual connection to the gods, to construct a boat. Earl hears of the plan but dismisses the quest as futile since no-one can safety navigate the open sea.
Unknown to Earl, however, Ragnar is in possession of a primitive sun dial to guide him. He gathers a renegade crew, including his troublesome brother Rollo (Clive Standen), and sets sail.
Eventually, the Vikings land on the shores of England and discover a monastery. They slaughter the monks, capture the Nordic-speaking Athelstan and return to Scandinavia.
The Viking world then unfolds through the eyes of the captive Athelstan as he struggles to understand the complex and brutal Norse culture. He teaches Ragnar the language of England and unwittingly dooms his ex-countrymen to further raids.
Vikings presents a world of mysticism, ritual and sacrifice. Magic mushrooms and festivities offer some respite from fighting and sailing across treacherous seas.
The Nordic men are fit, strong and clever and the women sturdy and feisty. No wonder the English quaked in their boots whenever longboats were sighted off shore.
I wonder: How different would life be if the West had retained its pagan culture and rejected Christianity? The use of magic mushrooms and the occult would certainly make life more interesting.
Oh, and the Vikings didn’t seem to mind sharing their women – which doesn’t seem too bad a fate when they all look like bearded Ryan Goslings.
In fact, its enough to bring on hot flushes for women of all ages.