The Comic Wisdom of ‘Erik the Viking’

MV5BMTU1OTc4NzQwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTY5NjYzNA@@._V1_SX214_AL_I highly recommend you watch Erik the Viking if you haven’t, or re-watch if you have. I got to watch it again last night and it is still a fun movie – although I was watching it specifically because I wanted to refresh my memory on what I wanted to discuss here.

This little known movie from 1989 was written, directed and even starred (briefly) Terry Jones – of Monty Python fame. There are two aspects of the film I want to concentrate on and how they relate to our world today. However, in order to do that I need to try to give you a brief synopsis.

The main character of Erik the Viking was played by Tim Robbins. However, he is a gentle Viking and does not see why everyone must fight, rape and pillage. Freya, a wise woman (Eartha Kitt), tells Erik that the age of Ragnarök (an ice age of darkness) and the ensuing violence is caused by Fenrir the wolf who had swallowed the sun. The only way to bring Ragnarök to an end is to travel to Asgard and awaken the gods, who will chase her (Fenrir) away.

Erik decides to take Freya’s advice and recruits members of his village to undertake the voyage to Asgard with him. Among those is a Christian missionary named Harald, who opts to go along in hopes of finding people to convert.

This brings me to the first aspect I want to cover. It is philosophical and a unique way of looking at religion and its followers. Harald is a Christian while the Vikings believe in the Norse hierarchy, led by Odin. So, Harald is unable to see anything that the Vikings believe in, like this scene when they reach the doors of Valhalla.

It is a fascinating concept and one I think we need to take to heart. There are a lot of religions out there. Not everyone believes what you do. And therefore not everyone sees the world in the same way.

Prior to reaching Asgard and the Hall of Valhalla, Erik and his ragtag team needed to travel to Hy-Brasil in order to get a horn that is needed to wake the gods. Hy-Brasil is a peaceful island where King Arnulf (Terry Jones) is in charge of some very odd ducks indeed. But that is beside the point. The point is that Hy-Brasil is under a curse that states that should a single drop of blood fall upon the land, the island would sink. Needless to say shit happens and blood is spilt. The island immediately begins to sink.

Now we arrive at my second aspect. King Arnulf and his people are in complete denial and instead of trying to evacuate or do something, anything, they decide to have a sing-song and ignore the rising waters.

This is vitally important because this is what the Republicans are doing in regards to climate change. You can pretty much kiss Norfolk, VA goodbye. The city is now second only to New Orleans in terms of being threatened by rising seas. It regularly floods at high tide. But climate change is a hoax and doesn’t exist.  “It’s alright.  It’s not happening.”

The response to global warming and climate change that has emerged from Crazy Town (aka Texas) pastor Matthew Hagee is that it is not anything environmentalists have spent years researching, but the imminent return of Jesus.  Although we should respect each other’s beliefs, we cannot in good conscience do so at the peril of others.

See, even pretend Vikings are smarter than the right wing.

 

*This post was originally written (by me) and posted on June 4th, 2014 on All Things Democrat.  You can find the direct link to this post here.

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