Erik

Arnulf and Aud

Halfdan and Loki

Harald

Erik the Viking (1989)

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REALM:

Erik the Viking

CREATED BY:

Terry Jones (Writer and Director)

FORMAT:

Film

SETTING:

Scandinavia, The Viking Age

STORY ARC:

Dissatisfied with his village’s tradition of rape and pillage, Erik leads a band of Vikings on a quest to wake the gods. They encounter the Dragon of the North Sea and travel to legendary Hy-Brasil where they are given the Horn Resounding. After their ship shoots off the edge of the world, they cross the rainbow bridge to Asgard and ask the gods to end the dark age of Ragnarok.

CHARACTERS:

Erik: leader of Viking band
Vikings: Thorfinn Skullsplitter, Sven the Berserk and his dad, Keitel Blacksmith, Loki, Ivar the Boneless, Lief the Lucky, Halfdan the Black
Freya: seer
Harald:
resident missionary
King Arnulf
and Princess Aud: reigning nobility in Hy-Brasil
Odin, Thor: gods of Asgard

BIG CONCEPTS:

Killing is bad. Seems like a big DUH to us (most of us, at least), but for a man in the Viking world, this is quite radical thinking and sets up the ironic comedy of the entire film.

Sound opens dimensional portals. The Horn Resounding is a gigantic ram’s horn which takes the Viking band to Asgard, wakes the sleeping gods, and sends the party back home (ironically blown by Harald, the disbelieving missionary of the group).

Experience is based on our beliefs. Harald, the missionary, does not see the Viking gods, the souls of the dead, or the walls of Valhalla which he walks right through.

The gods are not who men believe them to be. When Erik and his comrades finally reach Valhalla, they are shocked to find the gods to be spoiled children uninterested in the affairs of men.

Humans must change their own world. Odin tells Erik quite bluntly that the gods do not make men love or hate each other and questions whether men will stop fighting as the dark age of Ragnarok comes to an end.

REMARKS:

This superbly written comedic satire by Terry Jones is one of my family’s favorites. From the opening scene of Erik bumbling his role as raider and rapist on through his epic journey to Valhalla to confront the gods, the quirky film is filled with odd and memorable characters, dry wit, and line after line of absurdly humorous dialog. Even the names are exquisitely crafted: Thorfinn Skullsplitter, Sven the Berserk, Lief the Lucky (one of the first to die on the quest), Ivar the Boneless, Snorri the Miserable, Unn-the-Thrown-At (woman used as target in ax-throwing), Ernest the Viking (a Rapist), Ulf the Unmemorable.

Perhaps the most endearing facet of Jones’ creation is his down-to-earth portrayal of the tightly-knit Viking warriors and villagers, the petty squabbles and tender indulgences exchanged between people who have grown up together. I’m especially fond of Harald, the goodhearted missionary whose religious tenets are patently laughable and utterly ignored by the community he has become a part of. Ironically it is Harald, completely blind to the walls and gods of Valhalla, who rescues most of Erik’s crew (even some of the dead ones) from the pit of hell and sends them all home, landing with the battered ship on top of Halfdan the Black’s raiders which saves the entire village.

It’s always a pleasure to encounter intelligently written humor, but it’s exceedingly satisfying to find a well-sculpted comedy that also has something valuable to say – a very rare beast indeed. Jones quite clearly wishes us to consider the folly of human violence and its dire ramifications, and does so quite eloquently by showing us a Viking who questions the beliefs and brutal actions of his culture (a device employed by Hiroyuki Nakano in another of my favorite films, Samurai Fiction). The peace-loving people of legendary Hy-Brasil are a stark contrast to Erik’s Viking band who view the Hy-Brasilians with polite disbelief, and when the entire island sinks due to a single drop of spilled blood, we are shown quite poignantly the absurdity of denying the destructive nature of violence.

My own view of “the gods” is quite a bit more cynical than Jones’ since I’ve seen blatant evidence throughout history pointing to manipulative entities playing god who, for their own selfish reasons, have channeled humans into endless cycles of wars, cruelty, and ignorance. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly support Jones’ depiction of these entities as spoiled, vengeful children as well as his message that humans are ultimately responsible for their own actions and choices.

Three cheers, Mr. Jones! Thank you for your splendid, timeless script.

Images: KB Erik the Viking

Viking Crew

Horn Resounding

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Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

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REALM:  Erik the Viking
CREATED BY:  Terry Jones (Writer and Director)
FORMAT:  Film
SETTING:  Scandinavia, The Viking Age

Erik

Arnulf and Aud

STORY ARC: Dissatisfied with his village’s tradition of rape and pillage, Erik leads a band of Vikings on a quest to wake the gods. They encounter the Dragon of the North Sea and travel to legendary Hy-Brasil where they are given the Horn Resounding. After their ship shoots off the edge of the world, they cross the rainbow bridge to Asgard and ask the gods to end the dark age of Ragnarok.

Halfdan and Loki

Harald

CHARACTERS:
Erik: leader of Viking band
Vikings: Thorfinn Skullsplitter, Sven the Berserk and his dad, Keitel Blacksmith, Loki, Ivar the Boneless, Lief the Lucky, Halfdan the Black
Freya: seer
Harald:
resident missionary
King Arnulf
and Princess Aud: reigning nobility in Hy-Brasil
Odin, Thor: gods of Asgard

Viking Crew

BIG CONCEPTS:
Killing is bad. Seems like a big DUH to us (most of us, at least), but for a man in the Viking world, this is quite radical thinking and sets up the ironic comedy of the entire film.

Sound opens dimensional portals. The Horn Resounding is a gigantic ram’s horn which takes the Viking band to Asgard, wakes the sleeping gods, and sends the party back home (ironically blown by Harald, the disbelieving missionary of the group).

Experience is based on our beliefs. Harald, the missionary, does not see the Viking gods, the souls of the dead, or the walls of Valhalla which he walks right through.

The gods are not who men believe them to be. When Erik and his comrades finally reach Valhalla, they are shocked to find the gods to be spoiled children uninterested in the affairs of men.

Humans must change their own world. Odin tells Erik quite bluntly that the gods do not make men love or hate each other and questions whether men will stop fighting as the dark age of Ragnarok comes to an end.

Horn Resounding

REMARKS:
This superbly written comedic satire by Terry Jones is one of my family’s favorites. From the opening scene of Erik bumbling his role as raider and rapist on through his epic journey to Valhalla to confront the gods, the quirky film is filled with odd and memorable characters, dry wit, and line after line of absurdly humorous dialog. Even the names are exquisitely crafted: Thorfinn Skullsplitter, Sven the Berserk, Lief the Lucky (one of the first to die on the quest), Ivar the Boneless, Snorri the Miserable, Unn-the-Thrown-At (woman used as target in ax-throwing), Ernest the Viking (a Rapist), Ulf the Unmemorable.

Perhaps the most endearing facet of Jones’ creation is his down-to-earth portrayal of the tightly-knit Viking warriors and villagers, the petty squabbles and tender indulgences exchanged between people who have grown up together. I’m especially fond of Harald, the goodhearted missionary whose religious tenets are patently laughable and utterly ignored by the community he has become a part of. Ironically it is Harald, completely blind to the walls and gods of Valhalla, who rescues most of Erik’s crew (even some of the dead ones) from the pit of hell and sends them all home, landing with the battered ship on top of Halfdan the Black’s raiders which saves the entire village.

It’s always a pleasure to encounter intelligently written humor, but it’s exceedingly satisfying to find a well-sculpted comedy that also has something valuable to say – a very rare beast indeed. Jones quite clearly wishes us to consider the folly of human violence and its dire ramifications, and does so quite eloquently by showing us a Viking who questions the beliefs and brutal actions of his culture (a device employed by Hiroyuki Nakano in another of my favorite films, Samurai Fiction). The peace-loving people of legendary Hy-Brasil are a stark contrast to Erik’s Viking band who view the Hy-Brasilians with polite disbelief, and when the entire island sinks due to a single drop of spilled blood, we are shown quite poignantly the absurdity of denying the destructive nature of violence.

My own view of “the gods” is quite a bit more cynical than Jones’ since I’ve seen blatant evidence throughout history pointing to manipulative entities playing god who, for their own selfish reasons, have channeled humans into endless cycles of wars, cruelty, and ignorance. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly support Jones’ depiction of these entities as spoiled, vengeful children as well as his message that humans are ultimately responsible for their own actions and choices.

Three cheers, Mr. Jones! Thank you for your splendid, timeless script.

Images: KB Erik the Viking

Erik the Viking (1989)

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Erin MacMichael is a science fantasy author and artist, creator of the T'nari Renegades series of novellas, novels, covers, and artwork. Her lifelong quest has been to explore past the boundaries of conventional thinking and figure out what really has transpired on this planet. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her marvelous offspring.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *