30th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 27-28, 2010

Kevin J. Harty, "Who's Savage Now?—The Vikings on Film in North America"

The Icelandic sagas make mention of the fact that sons of Eric the Red (and maybe even Eric himself) landed and established a settlement in Vinland in North America.  Archaeological digs have uncovered what is probably a supply or winter camp in northwest Newfoundland.  Films early on seized on this Viking intrusion onto American soil some 500 years before Columbus.  In reimagining the first meetings between native peoples and Vikings, such films clearly choose sides as to who was civilized and who was savage, though with different results.  This paper examines who the real savages are in The Viking (1928), The Norsemen (1978), Killian’s Chronicle (1994), The Pathfinder (2007), and Severed Ways (2009).    


Last modified: Oct. 13, 2009
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