Vikings: Season 2 (2014)



You’ve got to give it to the team behind The Vikings. I thought Season 1 was good; but they kicked off the first episode of Season 2 with an intense battle scene, complete with shield walls, impalement and Rollo surging around without his shirt on; and things simply haven’t let up since. If the first season was about dreams, exploration and quiet calculation, this second season plunges us into the difficulties of keeping hold of power: the negotiation, the double-bluffing and the hard choices about who to trust and who to destroy. Sometimes, as both Ragnar Lothbrok and his enemies will discover in different ways, the most dangerous of men are not those who drink and argue and go fiercely into battle, but those who wait on the sidelines, and watch, and weigh, and measure.

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Vikings: Season 1 (2013)

Vikings: Season 1


(created by Michael Hirst)

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while will have noticed that I tend to get slightly overexcited about some subjects. Tudor costume, for one thing. The Trojan War, for another. And Vikings – for which we can entirely blame Dorothy Dunnett’s King Hereafter. Earlier this year, there were a lot of posters around London advertising the new drama series Vikings, made for the US-based History channel. As I don’t have Sky, I’d given up all hope of being able to watch it any time soon, but I then discovered that LoveFilm Instant has the exclusive rights in the UK and so, over the weekend, I stormed through the entire first season.

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Les Misérables (2012)

Les Miserables


(directed by Tom Hooper, 2012)

I first encountered Les Misérables in choir lessons at school, when we learned some of the songs, and I read the book when I was about fourteen, after my father, knowing how to handle me, said something like, ‘You’ll never get through that’. Now I can’t remember anything of the novel except (spoiler!) the scene of Enjolras’s death, which affected me deeply; but the musical has a secure place in my heart. I’ve seen it several times and I have the soundtrack on CD, so it’s fair to say that I know the score rather well. I was curious to see how it would translate to film (it’s important to stress that this is a film of the musical, not the original book), and overall it’s a success, even if it’s not quite as brilliant as all the hyperbolic reviews had led me to believe.

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