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The Allure of the Vikings: Men, Modernity, and Meaning

In a recent conversation with some Word on Fire colleagues, I brought up the ubiquitous nature of Viking culture present in media and film. Sure, the trend of Scandinavian minimalism in home design and a romanticization of the Nordic economic models is apparent in my generation, but I’ve also noticed the allure of the culture of the long-dead warriors known to us as the Vikings. A popular History Channel series, a Marvel Comics tentpole character, and the uber-successful video game series Assassin’s Creed now put the Viking age in its focus. Even fitness equipment and coffee mugs now feature Nordic aesthetic elements and heavy-duty construction.  Why Vikings? Why now in the twenty-first century?  “Well sure! It’s symptomatic of our vacillating culture of masculinity!” asserted one colleague. “The beards and tattoos and ruggedness of the Viking is a reaction to…


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