1. To start, Vikings is an Irish-Canadian co-production. History Channel It's produced by Shaw Media, Octagon Films, Take 5 Productions, and MGM Television. 2. The show started as a nine-part mini-series. History Channel After the success of the mini-series Hatfields and McCoys, History Channel followed up with what started as a nine-episode scripted series about Vikings. 3. Ragnar Lothbrok is (probably) based on a real person. History Channel There isn't a unanimous opinion on whether or not Ragnar Lothbrok was a real historical figure, though he appears in Viking Sagas as a semi-mythological one. 4. The show is almost entirely filmed in Ireland. History Channel The Emerald Isle serves as the beautiful backdrop to the show and mimics the Scandinavian countryside. 5. Writer and creator Michael Hirst was interested in showing a different side to Vikings. History Channel He wanted his audience too see beyond the "raping and pillaging" reputation Vikings have been known for. 6. Actor Katheryn Winnick, who plays Lagertha, is a skilled martial artist. History Channel She has a third-degree black belt in taekwondo and a second-degree black belt in karate. Her martial arts skills helped her secure the role of the shield-maiden. 7. Four dead languages were resurrected on the show. History Channel Small parts of the scripts were translated into Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Latin and Old Frankish because Hirst wanted viewers to "hear what these people actually sounded like." 8. As far as research for the show, source material is a bit scarce. History Channel Vikings didn't keep written records, so there are few primary resources for Hirst to pull from to write the show. Instead, he focuses on written first-hand accounts of the Vikings from those who interacted with them. 9. The character Rollo is based on a real Viking. History Channel Rollo's character is meant to be based on William The Conqueror's great-great-great-grandfather. 10. The character Floki is played by Alexander Skarsgård's brother, Gustaf Skarsgård! History Channel His younger brother, in fact. Acting runs in their family. 11. They *actually* hauled a real ship over a cliff. History Channel In Season 4 episode 9, Ragnar decides to gain a second chance at defeating the Franks by dragging the Viking boats up the side of a cliff. This wasn't CGI — it was for real. 12. And finally, the storylines and representation of women characters, and their freedoms, are historically accurate. History Channel Viking women enjoyed more rights and freedom than other European women of their time — including the right to divorce and remarry.