Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Babes with shields. (And a few hot shirtless dudes.)

Snowed in this winter?  Bored with your miserable life?  Seeing Rand Paul shushing a woman makes your face erupt into flames?  Well have I got the solution for you, friends!  It involves spending all your free time on the couch/heaven watching badass women do badass things.  

I seem to have hit a run of great shows involving women doing amazing things like The Fall, The Honourable Woman, Bletchley Circle and Happy Valley.  All BBC shows with great female leads while Viola Davis is over here holding up the entirety of America.

[MS sidebar: I'm not sure why every show about women has to feature the brutal imprisonment, torture and raping of women but it does so take heed and maybe spread these shows apart in viewing.]

And although this show doesn't technically have a woman lead, I've become obsessed with the History Channel's Vikings.  Like, I watched the entire series - two seasons - TWICE over the holidays and through January.  Back to back.  Like a psychopath.

I thought it would be a poor man's Game of Thrones with the production value of Sharknado and I was proved wrong.  It has an actual plot, is beautiful to watch, full of good music and ancient magic AND I done learned some things.  Thanks, History Channel! 

I'm not gonna lie, this helped:

And this:

As well as Alexander Skarsgard's less conventionally-attractive but exponentially more talented brother:

I personally think he's the more attractive one but I'm a weirdo.
But a whole helluva lot of love for the show is because of this woman:

This is Lagertha (read like LAGertha not laGERtha which is how this hillbillly would have said it).  She's based on a real woman and is married to Ragnar (the lead, also a historical figure) on the show.  Lagertha is special because she's a shieldmaiden and will destroy you in battle.  I just love the word 'shieldmaiden.'  


What's nice about the Vikings is that women could be warriors and hold positions of power and divorce their husbands and have some semblance of equality.  Well, as compared to other historical times.  Utopia this was not.  But you can feel pretty comfortable watching this show.

I mean, careful of the intense bloodlust and battle scenes.

And you don't need to have watched the show to appreciate this appreciation post.  Just enjoy the aesthetic details and communal celebration of women kicking ass and taking hard-to-pronounce names.  

And celebrate monumental braidwerk.

Braids on fleek, said the old white lady.
I mean shit gawddamn.  Take a moment to marvel at the neckline here.  I wish Target would have a line of Lagertha-inspired clothing.  If Olivia Pope can make it to the masses then I think we need a Viking line.

Gladiator, indeed.  

Can ANYONE rock a dead animal and a murderous glare quite as effectively?  I think not.  

And this bad bitch knows it.

But she has a soft side and an appreciation for white kittehs so I feel maybe we are kindred spirits.

Just a warrior angel, chillin' in some Norse finery and a braided fauxhawk.  

Fun fact: the actress that plays Lagertha, Katheryn Winnick, is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do, a second degree Black Belt in Karate as well as being a licensed bodyguard.  

I groaned when I picked up the laundry basket earlier...

That is an accomplishment in itself - the extensive martial arts training not my feat of strength - but my pet peeve is watching a woman in an action role with absolutely nothing but a pretty face and an uncomfortable lack of coordination and body awareness.

This is not one of those actors.

I also appreciate the fact that she wears real armor and battle gear and not the metal corset courtesy of Victoria's War Secret that many female fighters end up wearing.  Don't forget to look super sexy while you're decapitating someone, ladies!  

Legend (Wikipedia) says that the real Lagertha fought just like a man with only her hair giving away her gender.

I kinda wish there was a Brienne of Tarth and Lagertha crossover moment.  They would make a vicious blonde duo.

I hate the concept of 'penis envy' but that sword is definitely a dick in this gif.

Back-up bitches.
And lest I linger to long on my lesbian crush this talented ladyperson, there are plenty of other fine ladies on the show too for your enjoyment too.  But shieldmaiden, y'all.

I'm gushing about all this right now because the third season starts SOON on February 19th and that gives you plenty of time to binge watch the first two seasons!  You have over TWO WEEKS! 

Season three doesn't seem to disappoint because we have more braids and dope weaving:

Can I say dope?  I can't think of another word that expresses my appreciation and awe.

There's just a lot more costuming wonderment in general.  I think this is a combination of a crushed velvet and leather lattice cape, vest made of the skins of weak Englishmen and some statement jewelry.  What's not to love?!

The History Channel appears to have its own tumblr (??) dedicated to Vikings and they posted this A++ video (sorry, can't embed) to recap the show.  The whole video message is "HOT SHIRTLESS DUDES.  BABES WITH SHIELDS."  How could you not respect that?

So even though I've fallen down the rabbit hole of historical tv (HAHA JK I live there already) lately with my Outlander appreciation, I still think y'all would really dig this show.  You can watch it on Amazon, Hulu or just where you can watch them all for free (no cable subscription required). [Update: it's apparently only the second season on - sorry!]

And if you think I might be a fan, please take note of this:

From Katheryn Winnick's Instagram
Well at least it trumps a Tweety Bird tattoo.

All pictures gathered from my internet adventures on History's website and blog and tumblrs like vikings-shieldmaidens.  Sorry, I didn't really plan for this post to happen so... 


  1. They should hire you to do PR for this show because I had never heard of it and now I can't wait to watch it.

    And also, now I really want to make a faux-hawk of braids.

    1. I would happily do that as long as they don't make me get a tattoo!

      I'm not sure your viewing tastes but I do think you'd dig it. If you can watch GoT, you will DEF enjoy this show!

  2. You got me so excited I have to go now to catch the first two seasons of Vikings with special attention to Shieldmaiden. I am not sure whether to start with bingewatching or swordtraining. Love the feminist twist!

    1. Braidtraining! And feminism is always twisting around here! ; )