Jul 30 2014

Vikings Creator Michael Hirst on Historical Accuracy, Season 3, and Beyond

Vikings creator Michael Hirst at 2014 SDCC

Vikings creator Michael Hirst at 2014 SDCC

Michael Hirst, the creator of History Channel’s first scripted and smashing hit series Vikings made his second Comic-Con appearance. Just like last year, he remains in awe at the strong following his show generates, particularly with female viewers, as well as the discussions the show’s main themes generate. I had the opportunity to talk to him and Hirst dished plenty on the creative process for the show and what lies ahead in upcoming seasons.

Hirst spoke about a number of key topics for Vikings:

On Historical Accuracy

Nobody could say if it was accurate or not; for starters, it’s the Dark Ages. But is it truthful as a drama, not as a documentary? Is it truthful? As drama, are you trying to tell the truth?

I hate fantasies and I’m on record for saying fantasies are meaningless. It can be entertaining but they’re meaningless. I’m trying to emerge from the records, from what we know, what is going on in their heads. That takes us to the boats; it takes us to paganism. Where it also takes us is to ordinary family lives because who knew Viking guys like Viking girls? They love their children. They were more democratic than other cultures today. All those things are true; all those things are in the shadows.”

On Exploring Religion

Last season’s finale when Athelstan (George Blagden) tried to teach Ragnar The Lord’s Prayer: “Did you notice in that episode, that was the only thing Ragnar said in the whole episode? That was Travis’ idea.”

I’m really personally interested in the spiritual element of social life. I couldn’t have written this without being given the freedom to explore the rivalry and hatred between paganism and Christianity, but also the similarities.”

On Athelstan

Athelstan is a great character for me, who goes, in a sense, with our point of view. He’s a Christian from the western country and goes into Viking situations. He’s our eyes and ears.”

Athelstan feels the Christian god isn’t speaking to him anymore.

On Season 3

The Vikings are heading back to Wessex: “I really like King Ecbert (Linus Roache) and Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey). I love her, she creates mayhem.”

Ragnar and him [King Ecbert] are equals. They can talk to each other; they understand each other.

Next season, the other stop for the Vikings will be Paris: “The French emperor (Lothaire Bluteau) is the grandson of Charlemagne. He’s very important because this isn’t a story line that is going to go away in a couple of episodes. It’s a story line that goes right through to the end of season four and it has a huge impact on several of the main characters. The emperor’s daughter (Morgane Polanski)—she’s an interesting character.”

I’m not rushing ahead, I know we’ve got lot of places to go and I want to go to these places, but I want to take people that I’m interested in, the audience is interested in.”

It’s clear that for Hirst, Vikings is a family drama where the connection between the viewers and the show’s characters, including how the viewers come to care for them, is extremely important to him.

Last, but not least, Hirst teased us about season four. “We’ll probably jump ahead a little bit because I want to get Ragnar’s sons up and running.”


Vikings will return to the History Channel in 2015. To keep up to date with the show, please visit the Vikings’ website at http://www.history.com/shows/vikings. Like Vikings on Facebook. Follow the show on Twitter @HistoryVikings using hashtag #Vikings, as well as some of the cast members—@gblagden, @KatherynWinnick, and @CliveStanden.


Video and photos © 2014 Elle Lutz/Your Entertainment Corner. All Rights Reserved.


© 2014, elleL. All rights reserved.


Soaker of life. I like to experience things and see the world. I consider myself a professional traveler. My love for movies and television goes way back but I'm a sucker for action-oriented films and shows. Oh, and I make excellent martinis! Follow me on twitter @LutzElle.

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