10+ 'Vikings' Behind The Scenes Secrets Fans Didn't Know

It's no easy task for a show to be both engaging and historically accurate. Inevitably, one tends to fall by the wayside. Unless of course, you're talking about Vikings.

This historical drama is as educational as it is exciting and packed with details you wouldn't otherwise have known.

Have a look and check out these 10+ Vikings behind the scenes secrets fans didn't know.

1. The show wasn't always going to be called *Vikings*.

In the early drafts for the series, the working title was Raid, which was most likely in reference to the fact that the Vikings were raiders.

I think they made the right call, don't you?

2. There's an insane amount of fake blood used in every battle scene.


“We have to make approximately ten 50-litre barrels of blood for every battle scene and the challenge was to make something that doesn’t stain costumes or the actors’ skin. We’ve invented a new type of ‘blood’ made of sugar syrup and food colouring that washes out."

3. The musical score is composed using only ancient Norse instruments.

Among others, these include a lyre, a tagelharpa, and something called a bukkehorn.

In case you were curious, a bukkehorn is molded from the horn of a wild goat.

4. The languages spoken on the show are all dead tongues.

The show uses multiple dead languages including Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Old French.

5. All of the ornate pieces of jewelry are hand-made.


The artist goes by the name The Crafty Celt.

The Crafty Celt is based out of South Carolina and has been a student of Norse Mythology and jewelry for the better part of a decade.

6. The eyeliner is actually historically accurate.


People often wonder about the amount of eyeliner worn by both men and women on the show.

It has been reported in contemporary texts that Vikings would wear kohl around their eyes to enhance their beauty and to reduce glare from the sun.

7. None of the weapons that you see are real.

“We mould hundreds of spearheads, which can be replaced in a minute during a battle scene. We do have some hero weapons made of steel for close-up shots, but we can’t have any real practical weapons for safety reasons.”

8. The show invented a new method to apply temporary tattoos to the actors.


“We developed a tattoo paper much like a transfer. It’s actually made in the west of Ireland, and we print it onto decal paper and then use sterilised water to apply to the skin."

But it can still be a painstaking process...

“We’ve developed tips and tricks to help us get the actors in and out within a reasonable time frame, but sometimes the days can be long. We have a new character that has just joined the show. She’s a warrior queen shield-maiden and is covered from head-to-toe in tattoos.

9. Many of the boat sequences are filmed in pools.


“It’s difficult to get boats in the water in the wintertime. The roads in Wicklow can be narrow, icy and really difficult to access, especially with a very large Viking boat. This is when the green screen and tank comes in.”

10. Not everyone can grow a beard.

“We cheated a bit and now hand-lay all the beards on to the actors’ faces and use little ties that we’ve developed here to keep them secure. It’s sped up the process considerably and eliminates the micromanaging of facial hair.”

11. The costume makers are some of the hardest-working people on set.


“Our fabrics comes from everywhere: England, Spain, Italy... and every single costume is unique to the person and the episode, so we rarely reuse what viewers have already seen.”

12. *Vikings* is filmed entirely in Ireland.


This is a credit to the production team as a whole.

It's no easy feat to convince an audience that they're watching a scene unfold in Morocco when really the actors are standing in the hills of Ireland.

13. Ragnar and Bjorn could be brothers.


Actor Travis Fimmel (Ragnar) is only 13 years the elder of Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn). Their age is so close you'd think them brothers, not father and son.

However, this is in keeping with Viking customs of the age.

14. Katheryn Winnick is actually a highly skilled martial artist and fight instructor.


Katheryn is a real-life warrior, basically!

She holds a third degree black belt in Taekwondo, a second degree black belt in karate, and she's also a licensed bodyguard and fight instructor.

15. The character Rollo is based on a real-life Viking named Hrolf.

The name Rollo is actually the Latinization of Hrolf. He really did conquer areas of France, known today as Normandy ("Land of the Norsemen").

Hrolf is also the great-great-great grandfather of another well-known historical figure, William the Conquerer.

16. The strangling scene with Freydis in season five wasn't a simulation.


Actress Alicia Agneson revealed in an interview that she wanted the scene to look as realistic as possible. Even though it went against the recommendations of the crew, Alicia actually allowed herself to be strangled.

She was then tended to by an on-site EMT.

17. You're supposed to notice the ravens.


Ravens are featured throughout Vikings and play a significant role in Norse mythology. They are said to be the agent of Odin. In fact, a nickname of Odin's is Hrafnaguð, which literally translates to "Raven God."

So whenever there's a raven on screen, be sure to pay extra close attention.

18. Rollo's tattoos depict a scene from Norse mythology.

You've probably noticed the impressive tattoos which adorn Rollo's body. One in particular is an ode to a classic Norse myth.

He has a pair of wolves, known as Hatí and Sköll, which are said to chase the moon and sun.

19. There's a reason that the first season has nine episodes.


The number nine is sacred in Norse mythology. There are nine worlds in the world tree, every nine years males of every species were sacrificed to the gods, Rán has nine daughters which are supposed to represent the waves of the sea...

I could keep going but I think you get my point.

20. Ivar the Boneless really did exist.


The Vikings were people that didn't take themselves too seriously. Many of their nicknames were designed to tease or poke fun at a person.

Some argue that the name "Boneless" could be a reference to the fact that Ivar sailed so far and therefore never "walked" anywhere.

21. The haircuts on the show aren't necessarily accurate.

We all love Ragnar's french-braided mohawk, but it's admittedly more of an interpretation than historical fact.

The truth is, there's almost no evidence whatsoever that suggests how Vikings would have worn or styled their hair.

22. Just who are the women in the opening credits?


The opening credits of Vikings is ripe with symbolism. The underwater women are actually supposed to be the nine daughters of Rán.

It's meant to depict a Viking shedding off his mortal coil and crossing over into the next plane.