Every few years a new culture seems to capture our collective attention…Pirates, vampires and zombies (oh my?) being the first three that come to mind over the last decade and a half. Lately I have detected a little Scandinavian sensationalism, some Nordic know-how, floating into pop culture. I am, of course, talking about the popularity Vikings seem to be enjoying in television.
Like a monastery laden with treasure for the taking, CLP is full of materials about these notable Norsemen. If you want to delve into the history there are titles like The Age of the Vikings. With Vikings, history is often more riveting than the fiction. The Dark Ages weren’t known for their extensive record keeping, so a host of personalities are ours to color. Heroes, villains and a whole lot of great nicknames. Ivar the Boneless and Ragnar Fur-Pants. Well, the latter seems easy to parse but there are many interpretations for Boneless.
Recent TV shows blend fact and fiction to great result. VIKINGS uses actual persons but mashes together various events. The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell follows a fictional hero amidst the big celebrities of the age, including King Alfred. Dark Ages fans will note with delight the attention to detail. A deep thinking man, the chronicles report he burned a set of cakes while pondering the predicament of a horde of Danes hungry for new land. England might easily be known as South Scandinavia had things gone a little differently.
The leap from the Dark Ages into fantasy literature is a short one. If you are still hungry for swords, armor and intrigue, everyone’s favorite Game of Thrones might fit the bill. And since we left historical sources, might as well have some fun with the Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (and keep an eye out for the TV series to hit our collection)or his collection Norse Mythology.
Books and movies and TV are great. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if one could just experience a little of the Viking life? Especially without the danger of getting killed in a blood feud, dying of disease or living with long hair and no conditioner? You can! Come tonight to the CLP – Sheraden program, Viking Saga! Join us for games, food and storytelling, and live a little like a Viking!
-Natalie (with a lot of help from Sky)