Vikings creator Michael Hirst has gone on the record and stated his drama is based on actual history, but how much of it is really based on fact? Not much, according to Viking metal band icon and frontman of Enslaved, Grutle Kjellson. Kjellson trashed the program in a recent interview and said the History series was so inaccurate it was affecting his love of Norse mythology:
I mean, the Vikings is kind of destroying that era for me. I wouldn't mind if they --- it's a fairytale. It's not based upon historical facts or artifacts at all. It's all based on archaeology and history. Everything with that series is fake. They didn't look like that, they didn't live like that, they didn't act like that and they for sure didn't speak like that. It's just a dumb Hollywood adaptation. It's not even an adaptation. It's a fairytale they called Vikings. They might as well call it 'Conan And His Friends On New Adventures'. That's my opinion.
Grutle Kjellson doesn't think much, if any, of Vikings is accurate. Kjellson kept his complaints to the series' story and dismissed a question that implied he took issue with some of the show's actors not being from Scandinavia. The metal singer didn't give many specific notes on how Vikings could improve, although he did tell Diamond Oz later in the interview he appreciated the film Valhalla Rising because there was "less makeup" involved.
Kjellson's opinion may hold more weight than other metal musicians as Enslaved has built a long-lasting career on songs that center on Norse mythology. Enslaved started making Viking-inspired music in 1991 and has since released 14 studio albums to date with another album currently in development. Their dedication to the culture has won them fans and prompted the Norwegian government to commission a song from them to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the country's constitution in 2014.
For all the heat he's getting from Grutle Kjellson, Vikings creator Michael Hirst has received acclaim elsewhere. Notably, the creator mentioned he was thanked by a museum curator in Oslo who said the show has increased people's interest in Viking culture immensely. Hirst also got props from the head of Scandinavian studies at Harvard, so one would imagine his adaptation of Viking life is not as awful as Kjellson would have folks believe.
Ultimately, neither Kjellson or Hirst may ever know how accurate Vikings may be. The Norse texts the series is based on were often written hundreds of years after the events depicted took place, and it's probable the true story behind these legends got twisted or exaggerated as they were passed on over time. Perhaps Vikings really did wear that much makeup, but there were no incidents of bear fights?
Vikings returns to History to finish out Season 5 on Wednesday, November 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out all television that's coming before and after that by visiting and bookmarking our fall premiere guide.