It is no secret that showrunner Michael Hirst has borrowed mightily from history to tell the vivid tale of Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha the Shieldmaiden in History’s dramatic hit series Vikings.
But a character that figures prominently in this version, Floki, was based on a real-life adventuring Norseman named Flóki Vilgerðarson. In a series of newly released photos, his importance to the overall story seems to be a key component for season five of Vikings on History.
The two-hour premiere is titled ‘The Departed’ and we will see the Lothbrok brothers at a tense standoff as Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen) will undoubtedly defend his reasons for killing Sigurd from last season. Despite tension in their ranks, the sons of Aslaug’s common bond is their hatred for Bjorn’s mother, Queen Lagertha, who murdered their mother and usurped her crown.
How Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith), the elder half-brothers – Lagertha’s only son and the late Queen Aslaug’s eldest son – will show leadership and handle the void of their late father will be of interest. Ragnar’s murder at the hands of King Aelle is a burning goal of son Ivar, intent on honoring his father’s wishes for revenge.
Despite his physical limitations, his ruthless battle cunning, psychopathic lack of empathy and rash behavior make him a fearful wildcard.
But England is aware of all of this on high alert. The series shows warrior Bishop Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) organize quickly to defend their soil from the descending Northmen.
The Great Army will invade York, as Ecbert has relinquished his crown to son King Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford). But will Ecbert (Linus Roache) be spared? Not on your life!
What will be interesting to see is how Alfred – who later becomes Alfred the Great, famous for driving out all the Vikings – will fair through these turbulent years.
But History’s newest release of the images of Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) is telling. Floki bids farewell to Kattegat and heads out to sea following the bird migration patterns. These early sailors were intrepid and had no compasses – just the sun and stars- to guide them.
Iceland is where Floki lands and the imagery shows him having an almost religious experience, as the waterfalls are reminiscent of the fjords of Norway in sheer scale. A rainbow gives him a sign of sorts that will likely keep him exploring until his death.
According to the Mythologian.net researchers, Floki actually created a settlement in Iceland along with two other Norsemen.
Floki’s diversions to the shores of Iceland, the midway point between Europe and the New World in the Northern sea, is an intriguing offset to Bjorn’s sunny adventures in the Mediterranean and the desert.
Though not entirely true to historical accounts, there’s enough veracity to savor in the ongoing story of Vikings by the creator and sole writer Michael Hirst.
Hirst brought us the Academy Award-winning film Elizabeth and the stunning showtime series The Tudors which starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Many of his accomplished department heads like Emmy award-winning costume designer Joan Bergin were with him for all these projects. Her incredible work is clearly on display especially in these photos below which capture the period authenticity of her department’s handmade costumes for the Vikings cast:
Vikings airs Wednesday, November 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on History – (Two-Hour Season Five Premiere).