Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Scottish Vikings?

Over the weekend I took my three sons to see How to Train Your Dragon, the new animated film from Dreamworks. Aside from scary scenes that made my three- and five-year-old sons cover their eyes a few times, we all thought the movie was terrific—fantastic animation, interesting characters, and the requisite moral lessons that make for good conversation during the car ride home.

My only quibble? The main character, Hiccup, lives in a village inhabited completely by Vikings—but these “Vikings” all speak with extremely thick Scottish brogues. While history tells us that the Vikings attacked and settled in Scotland, I’ve never read an account of Vikings actually being Celtic. I know, I’s only a movie, and Hollywood isn’t known for letting accuracy trump dramatic appeal. Still, I feel sorry that audiences will come away thinking that the Vikings hailed from Scotland and not from Scandinavia. I guess I feel a little protective of our Scandinavian tradition—whether it’s the food, the music, or some of the most well-known warriors in history.

P.S. If horned Viking helmets are a pet peeve of yours, prepare to be irritated throughout How to Train Your Dragon.


Anonymous said...

haha~ funny! thank you for your share~ ........................................

Stu said...

I have as many Scottish connections as Norwegian, so, I thought I'd contribute! First, I plan to see the film, but haven't yet.
There's a lot of back-and-forth between the Scandinavian countries and Scotland in particular. My pet theory is that where Scotland differs from Ireland is often due to a Nordic reason. (No proof, just my hunch, e.g. Sutherland is the NORTHern most part of Scotland which suggests who it was southern to...)
Just anecdotally, living in Sweden now myself, the word for child is "barn"... not unlike the Scotland "bairn"? So, although I get why you didn't like it, there were surely less appropriate choices?
Also, there's another Scottish-Viking connection in film soon: the Danish film Valhalla Rising. Not one to take the kids to, but check out the trailer?

Steinar said...

I'm watching this movie as I write this (good so far) and thought the same. Scottish vikings? I'm from Iceland so I've learned what there is to learn about the vikings in school and on my own and they did seattle in Scotland, but kept the old Norse (Basically Icelandic with a few twists) But not Scottish. But then again, then stereotypical scandinavian is blonde and is called Hans in Hollywood films for some reason. I think they might include some hints or at least some connection to the Scandinavian side. But this is Hollywood, and it still is a pretty good film so, no real harm done... I guess. (It's still a bit like making a film about the War of Independence and making all the Americans have Irish accents...)

Naomi said...

I just watched the film this morning... I laughed about the "Scottish Vikings", too. I felt it wasn't done purposely, which bugged me a little bit (I like the facts to be straighter)... but the horned viking hats were hilarious and quite intentionally so, I believe. :)

My last name is Holter... my great, great grandparents came from Norway and settled in Minn. I am always pleased in my Scandinavian heritage! :) However, I also have Celtic roots... so the thought of Scottish having Viking roots is fascinating as well as a little humorous (simply because... it never crossed my mind before). It would be an interesting study. :)