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"Are Vikings the new Vampires?"

"Are Vikings the new Vampires?"
July 30, 2010, 09:19:40 AM
■ Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, a vampire district in Louisiana, and owner of the Fangtasia bar, is a star of the HBO hit “True Blood.’’ The son of a Viking king, the fictional Eric not only has vampire crossover cred, but he recently learned that werewolves murdered his family a thousand years ago. Vamps, Vikes, and werewolves: the pop-cult trifecta. All hail the HBO script scribblers!

■ Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan is working on a Viking script for Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Departed’’ producer Graham King, and, um, Mel Gibson, according to the Los Angeles Times. “There’s never been a good Viking film, not that I’ve seen,’’ Gibson told the Times this spring. “The real problem is making those guys sympathetic. They were monsters.’’ Watch who you’re calling a monster, Mr. Gibson!

■This week Brian Wood publishes the latest installment in his successful series of Northlanders graphic novels, which “explore the life and times of history’s most infamous civilization.’’ Here is the plot summary of the latest release: “Erik, a blacksmith living in Viking-era Norway, meets Ingrid, a poor girl fallen in with corrupt Christian missionaries. When the unlikely lovers find themselves duly banished from their respective societies, they launch a crusade of violent retribution!’’

■New York Review Books has just republished “The Long Ships,’’ Frans Bengtsson’s engaging 1954 epic that Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon claims to have read four times. “It is really good,’’ he enthuses in a new introduction.

■ Chatham’s Bernard Cornwell says he plans to start writing the fifth volume of his best-selling “Saxon Tales’’ shortly. (Volume four, “The Burning Land,’’ appeared last year.) “The Saxon books are all about the Vikings, whatever we mean by that,’’ he wrote in an e-mail, “or specifically the big Danish invasion of Britain in the 9th and 10th centuries which provoked the formation of England. They sell very well (thank god), and I’ll be starting a new one very soon.’’

What’s the allure? The Vikings don’t take guff from anyone, that’s for sure. I’ve been reading “The Long Ships,’’ and the Norsemen seem refreshingly unburdened by any bothersome moral codes, other than revenge, which is a recurring theme. If you lived near the coast — any coast — between 850 and 1000 AD, watch out for the guys in the goatskins and the funny helmets. If they decided to enslave you, that was a good thing. More often they axed first and posed questions later.

“The Vikings knew what gave life meaning, behaving well under duress,’’ says Farmington, Maine-based bookseller Kenny Brechner, an unabashed Nordophile. “Their emphasis on integrity of character, stark and unflinching, still calls out to us with the allure of an enchanted mirror.’’


Oy Caramba!

Re: "Are Vikings the new Vampires?"
July 30, 2010, 09:51:44 AM
I think a lot of people associate vikings with Europe rather than Scandinavia. This mistake can allow every wimpy white kid to think they have a little viking in them and convince themselves that they're actually powerful and fearsome. The black metal community is not immune to viking syndrome.