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12 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Show "Vikings"

It's A LOT more epic than horned-helmets.

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1. To start, Vikings is an Irish-Canadian co-production.

It's produced by Shaw Media, Octagon Films, Take 5 Productions, and MGM Television.

2. The show started as a nine-part mini-series.

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.
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.

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.
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.

The Emerald Isle serves as the beautiful backdrop to the show and mimics the Scandinavian countryside.
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.

He wanted his audience too see beyond the "raping and pillaging" reputation Vikings have been known for.
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.

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.
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.

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."
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.

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.
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.

Rollo's character is meant to be based on William The Conqueror's great-great-great-grandfather.
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!

His younger brother, in fact. Acting runs in their family.
History Channel

His younger brother, in fact. Acting runs in their family.

11. They *actually* hauled a real ship over a cliff.

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.
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.

Viking women enjoyed more rights and freedom than other European women of their time — including the right to divorce and remarry.
History Channel

Viking women enjoyed more rights and freedom than other European women of their time — including the right to divorce and remarry.