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Vikings Popular Culture

The Vikings are known to be great warriors and land conquerors. They may even be considered as one of the best warriors in history, because they created new battle techniques and created tools of warfare that are still used and adored today. Vikings are historical figures that arouse the interests of scientists and historians around the world. Because of the bravery they have displayed in the past, there are a lot of Viking stories that are included in the modern culture that are include in books, movies, music and sports.

The world-famous bestseller author Michael Crichton, who wrote famous stories like Jurassic Park, also created a novel based on Vikings entitled The Eaters of the Dead. The famous author, Stephen R. Lawhead, mentioned the existence of Vikings in his two books, Celtic Crusade Trilogy and The Byzantium. The English historical novelist, Bernard Cornwell, also showed particular interest in Viking existence in his three novels: The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, and The Lords of the North. These novels were published in 2004, 2005, and 2006 consequently. In 2004, a modern fiction, with Guy Gavriel Kau as the author, portrayed the story of Canadian Viking in her writing with a mysterious Viking ship illustration in its cover- the Last Light of the Sun. H. Roder Haggard also mentioned Vikings in Eric Brighteyes. The Long Ships, published in 1941/ 1945, also speaks of Viking warfare as told by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson. Modern writer, Jacki French, wrote a book entitled Viking Ships in 2005. Viking It and Liking It by Jon Scieszka is also an example.

Hollywood and international movies have also been greatly inspired by the interesting stories of the Vikings. The most famous one and the oldest movie about these Scandinavian warriors, The Viking, was released in 1958. The Longships, an early medieval movie, followed in 1963. The imaginative adventure movie of 1974, Island at the Top of the World, portrayed an airship expedition that leads to the discovery of the very last Viking colony. A comedy television skit, Spam (Monty Python), is a classic 3-minute comic sketch that portrays groups of Viking men, complete with animal vest and horned helmets, who sang the very famous "spam song". In 1984, the movie Hrafninn flýgur, (also referred to as Revenge of the Barbarians), showed how Vikings raided and conquered lands in search of silver and slaves. Here Vikings are portrayed as men who slayed men and women for richness and land settlement.

Vikings were put in a more humorous and friendly perspective when director and writer Terry Jones released Erik the Viking in 1989. The story evolved around Erik, a Viking who called on the great warriors of his land for an adventurous expedition to the Valhalla. The 13th warrior, portrayed by Antonio Banderas in 1999, is based on Michael Crichton's book Eaters of the dead, which relates the story about Beowulf during the Viking Age. The story that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was actually rooted in the Nordic legend Ring of the Nibelungs, also a 2004 Viking movie. In connection with Crichton's Beowulf story, a movie set during the Viking entitled Beowulf & Grendel was released in 2005. The Beowulf and Pathfinder are two more movies that related to Vikings.

In sports, there are a lot of teams that incorporate the Viking imagery as their mascots and names. Of the most popular of them is Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. University teams like the Cleveland State University Vikings, Portland State University Vikings and Western Washington University Vikings use the tem Vikings in their team names. Colleges also use Vikings in their sports names like Berry College Vikings and Dana College Vikings. Rugby league’s Widnes Vikings and Warner Football's Danbury Viking are also some of the examples.

Original Authors: Jennifer Tumanda
Edit Update Authors: Ryan Norfolk
Updated On: 29/11/2006


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