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Is History Channel’s ‘Vikings’ OK for Kids?

History Channel’s Vikings returned for a second season on February 27th. The show centers around a community in the 8th century and the beginning of their expansion west.  While the show has exaggerated moments, it strives to tell the story of the original Vikings. Is this a great way to learn about history, or is it too graphic for kids? Hopefully this post can help.

Show Details:

Network: History Channel

Time: 10pm/9pmC

Rating: TV-14  D,L, S, V

Stars: Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Is Vikings Educational?

Yes, the show is on the History Channel, and is a period piece set in the 8th century. The show’s main character, Ragnar Lodbrok is a legendary Norse figure, whose existence is that of legend. Writers have done their homework and follow the legends closely.

The show takes liberties with Viking history, and consolidates several events. The show takes place in the late 700’s but includes events that historically may be out of the timeline.  Because the show focuses on such a long timeline, members of the cast have suggested that future episodes may feature more historical  figures such as Leif Erickson, and Ivar the Boneless.

The show also delves into Norse customs. The Vikings had several gods which they prayed to. Odin and Thor are the more popular gods, but the show talks about those lesser known in Nordic mythology, and shows several rituals that are performed to honor them. 

How they viewed their families and children is another huge component to the show.

Is Vikings violent?

The Vikings were notorious for their raiding and pillaging. They would attack unsuspecting villages and remove any threats as quickly as possible, then plunder the villages and take valuables back to their own village. Battle scenes and raids can get graphic. Scenes include mercy killing someone by cutting a main artery, as well as battle scenes where characters are quite literally covered in blood.  There is also a particular episode where human sacrifices are made.

While the show is graphic, it aims to be realistic and capture the brutality of the times.

Is there explicit content?

Yes, during raids, Vikings would take advantage of woman that may have been citizens of the town. These scenes are very brief and there is never anything explicitly shown.

There are consensual scenes as well. These scenes are shown to the viewer and, without full nudity ever being shown, are very suggestive and ‘go through the motions’. These can be inappropriate for younger viewers. In the same episode where human sacrifices are made, there is also a very intense scene which includes multiple people.

Is there profanity or drug use?

Characters do drink wine and ale throughout the show, and sometimes drink to excess. Children are also seen drinking ale. There is also an episode where characters take  hallucinogenics for a spiritual ritual.

There is no foul language.

Your child should watch Vikings if

They’re old enough. The show is intended for a more mature audience, and the violence and suggestive themes may be too much for younger audience.

They like history. The show does an amazing job of recreating the lives of 8th century Scandinavians. History Channel authenticates the experience by building the ships, towns and clothes that the people would use, and documenting the process for viewers interested in the making of the show. You can also discuss with your child what other time periods, or historical figures deserve a TV show.

They like driven role models. While Ragnar may be the most savage example, he is extremely driven and can be  seen as inspiring.

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Peter Spain

Peter Spain

Peter Spain is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a manager at K12. A graduate from George Mason University, Peter has worked for several years in the education and entertainment industry. He strives to make learning fun for children by contributing to the games and activities section of the site, and keeping an eye out for advancements in edutainment.

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