Einar Selvik on Viking movies

In a recent interview at Riff Magazine, Wardruna singer Einar Selvik shares some thoughts on Viking films, a genre it is not surprising that he is familiar with, considering the genre of his band.

Not familiar with Wardruna? Wikipedia will help you:

Wardruna is a Norwegian music group formed in 2003 by Einar Selvik along with Gaahl and Lindy Fay Hella. They are dedicated to creating musical renditions of Norse cultural and esoteric traditions, and make significant use of Nordic historical and traditional instruments including deer-hide frame drums, flutes, kraviklyr, tagelharpe, mouth harp, goat horn, and lur. Non-traditional instruments and other sources of sound like trees, rocks, water, and torches are also used. The band have released four full-length albums, the first three based on Norse mythology, the last based on the sayings of Odin from the Völuspá and other old Norse sources.

Photo by Grywnn – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Recently, Riff Magazine interviewed Einar who last year was awarded the Egil Storbekken Music Prize in Norway, a honorary award for his work with Norwegian folk music. In the interview, several topics are covered and these two paragraphs are of interest to Viking movie fans:

Have you ever been watching a period movie and then been completely taken out of it because the score felt inauthentic to you?

Einar Selvik: Yeah, but not only the music. It can be all sorts of things. And of course, I understand that such productions are made to entertain the masses, not to please history nerds like myself and other academics. Sometimes it can be painful to watch these historic depictions. But on the other hand, popular period drama — whether or not it’s a game or on TV or movie — there is a need to not only try and get things historically correct; you also need to cater to the popular notion of that time. I’m quite sure if you’re gonna make a 100-percent authentic production about [the] Viking Age, it would be a lot more farming, you know? And I don’t know how interesting that would be for most people.

Is there either a TV show or film other than Vikings that does a really good job of representing the culture?

Einar Selvik: Well, there aren’t that many. But there are some really old movies. There is one called The Outlaw, or Útlaginn”; that’s the Icelandic title of it. If you want an authentic Viking Age movie, that’s the one to go to, because they stay really close to the saga it’s trying to tell the story of. You have The Last Kingdom as well. It’s a BBC series about the same time period. I would say they also do a lot of things correct and a lot of things incorrect. That’s just the way it will always be.

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