THE VIKINGS. EPISODE 1: RITES OF PASSAGE
A young Viking, RAGNAR LOTHBROK is engaged in a fight to the
death with two LATVIAN WARRIORS, distinguishable by their
eastern-looking clothing. Ragnar has been fighting a long
time. His torso is smeared with blood, like his sword, and
the bodies of the dead lie scattered around.
The Latvians are bigger and heavier but we quickly appreciate
Ragnar’s weapon skills and speed of thought, blocking the
blows of the axes with sword and shield and weaving out of
range. We also see that one of the Latvian’s is already badly
wounded, with blood streaming from a wound in his head.
Ragnar concentrates on him for a moment, thrusting, turning
him, twisting away so the warrior wastes his diminishing
energy slicing thin air with his axe and bellowing angrily.
Finally he stumbles and Ragnar drives his sword into his
But at the same moment the second Latvian attacks from
behind, swinging down his axe for a mighty blow. Ragnar
pivots round, his shield taking the full force of the blow,
leaving the axe-head embedded in the wood.
Aghast, unable to free his weapon, the Latvian abandons it
and starts to run. Very calmly, Ragnar pulls a spear out of
the body of one of the dead and hurls it after the running
man. Speared clean through the back the warrior falls.
Ragnar, suddenly as weary as death, trudges a few yards up
the slope and surveys the rest of the battle field. In the
gathering gloom an eery silence has fallen. Scores of bodies,
hacked, mutilated and speared lie on the ground. And
everywhere flocks of crows and ravens flutter down and feast
upon the corpses. And there is not one living human thing
moving over that field of death - except a solitary figure. A
TALL MAN with a long cloak and a wide-brimmed hat, holding a
spear, he moves slowly between the bodies of the Viking dead,
seeming to note and inspect each one. He is a spectral
figure, strange, disturbing, powerful, with ravens sometimes
perching upon his shoulders...and Ragnar watches him like one
transfigured, like one who has come face to face with his
The tall man pauses by one of the Viking dead and points him
out with his spear. At that moment the air around appears to
shimmer and two or three almost transluscent, almost naked
YOUNG FEMALE VALKYRIES appear and gather the slain warrior
into their arms. In great brightness the young women lift
into the liquid air...and vanish.
Ragnar watches this miracle in silent awe, then looks over
again at the tall man. For a brief moment the tall man lifts
his head, revealing his face beneath the wide-brimmed hat.
The face is indescribable - except for its single eye, which
stares back at Ragnar with a pitiless and terrible intensity.
And then he is gone, as if he had never been, leaving Ragnar
to survey the darkening, mysterious scene.
END OF TEASER:
These words appear on the screen:
NORWAY, LATE 8TH CENTURY.
The wooden and turf house is dark and almost window-less, the
rooms lit by tallow candles. From outside comes the dull
rumble of summer thunder.
Somewhere in the darkness a WOMAN is breathing heavily and
groaning. We hear the sound of other WOMEN’S VOICES, low and
sibilant, almost chanting.
A YOUNG MAN - RAGNAR - fretful and anxious, crosses the place
where the colored war shields are fixed to the wall like
eyes, and looks into the chamber where his wife, LAGERTHA,
the shield-maiden lies upon their bed giving birth,
surrounded by three or four OLDER WOMEN, one of them ancient.
What do you want?
Isn’t it here yet?
The ancient woman doesn’t bother to respond, spits on the
floor and places her hands again on Lagertha’s swollen
stomach and resumes her low, strange chant.
One of the other MID-WIVES speaks more kindly.
Not yet, Ragnar. Go away and do
Outside the storm breaks, the thunder louder and rain hissing
on the ground.
RAGNAR moves away, into another chamber, and crouches down
beside a small wooden statue set in a niche beside the fire,
very crudely carved from a piece of wood: a statue of a nude
female figure,wearing just a necklace, with large breasts.