"History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

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Joey Nitti
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Joey Nitti » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:43 am

Keith P. Myers wrote:So this kind of brings into question the History Channel's "history."


lol it IS history channel after all. Their "history" is always in question. :roll:
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Ted Elsner
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Ted Elsner » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:19 am

I think its Iceland they are talking about. The whole thing with the sunstone etc seems to be building up to them doing a trip that is further than England. And a church being raided wouldn't rule this out. From wikipedia:

According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, Celtic monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before the Norse settlers arrived, possibly members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula, and carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned somewhere between 770 and 880, suggesting that Iceland was populated well before 874. This archaeological find may also indicate that the monks left Iceland before the Norse arrived.[14]

So I am going to put in my mind that they are in Norway/Sweden and they are going to discover Iceland until I hear otherwise.

As for the history channels history, this at least a step up from Nazi's and Ancient Aliens.
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Alex B
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Alex B » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:19 pm

I did a bit of digging and found plot summaries online (warning, spoilers):
http://stuffpoint.com/vikings/episodes/
The summaries make it quite clear that they go to England. The summary for episode 4 quite explicitly calls England a "new world".

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Roland Warzecha
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Roland Warzecha » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:13 am

Watched the fight sequence you linked to and, well, more blood and gore than in the Kirk Douglas Viking movie more than half a century ago, but really no better: Still the same overarching sword flailing and ludicrous myths like chopping an axe shaft in two square on. I will nevertheless watch the show. Heck, I watched Game of Thrones and enjoyed it despite awful fencing and ugly swords.

Nothing wrong with drama, but why don't we see stage fighting like this in movies (wait till the amazing bladework starts after the comic entry!):
AMEK show fight at SWASH

Don't fight choreographers watch YT or is my taste really that sophisticated? I doubt it!

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keith cotter-reilly
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby keith cotter-reilly » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:42 am

Roland Warzecha wrote:Watched the fight sequence you linked to and, well, more blood and gore than in the Kirk Douglas Viking movie more than half a century ago, but really no better: Still the same overarching sword flailing and ludicrous myths like chopping an axe shaft in two square on. I will nevertheless watch the show. Heck, I watched Game of Thrones and enjoyed it despite awful fencing and ugly swords.

Nothing wrong with drama, but why don't we see stage fighting like this in movies (wait till the amazing bladework starts after the comic entry!):
AMEK show fight at SWASH

Don't fight choreographers watch YT or is my taste really that sophisticated? I doubt it!


I have met a couple of fight choreographers (some who have worked on well known shows and movies) and they are hamstrung by their directors and talent. The choreographers tend to know the stuff, and well, but the directors want what they know (i.e. not much) and often the talent, or really the risk analyzers, don't want points in their faces, or blades that close to them. The other issue, which is minor, is that often "real technique" is too quick and tight to look good on a movie screen. But this can be slowed down and exaggerated a little to make it acceptable. But ultimately the bosses want what they want. Which isn't good...

edit: Forgot to say that in Europe the sword craft tends to be better in the movies because the culture seems to be a little different among the stunt crews and the general staff.

Plus that was a great demo by AMEK :D
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Roland Warzecha
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Roland Warzecha » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:44 am

Keith,

thanks for summing up some of the reasons. I had some talk with Tony Wolf about that dilemma. The thing with the entertainment industry is that they just recycle what has been done before and what earned them money. Until somebody comes along and dares to do something new which by accident turns out to be successful. Like wayback in 1995 when Gibson's Braveheart came out and influenced all medieval battle scenes ever since (not saying his approach was realistic, but it was something new). Or ten years ago in the Matrix movies where they came up with brand new camera technology to freeze frame fast fighting action. Again that has been copied hundreds of times.

Occassionally you see some good bits like most of the single fights in Troy or the street assault on the character portrayed by Tom Cruise in last Samurai where they re-run the fast fighting in slomo. There is no doubt that good fighting can be captured and brought to the big screen to stunning effect, speed is no counter argument at all. The majority of Asian MA movies consist of little else.

But as you say, it is a cultural thing. If Hollywood wants to go medieval it has to be all sinister and brutish, long greasy hair, miserably thatched roofing with the rain pouring through etc.. The refined elegance of a sophisticated fighting culture is as alien to them as the reality of floor heating in some 14th century knightly households. The irony is that audiences would appreciate authenticity. Not because they are concerned with accuracy but because it would feel real and make a difference.

It will probably take one boxoffice surprise success of an independent movie to change that. Or an influential obsessive character – like Mel Gibson was – who decides to get the gory bits as authentic as possible.
We may eventually live to see something like that.
Would be awesome.

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Joey Nitti
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Joey Nitti » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:22 am

Roland, you are completely right. There is absolutely no reason why they cannot make choreographed stage fighting that is both movie-style entertainment, but also somewhat historically accurate and realistic. It's simply that hollywood culture has this idea of how fighting is supposed to look, so they just always follow the standard template. Like you say, all it will take is one blockbuster movie to come out, where they advertise "real" historical european martial arts as part of the movie, and the industry will move to copy them.

edit: one day I hope to see a name I recognize from the HEMA community as the fight choreographer for a movie.

keith cotter-reilly wrote:The other issue, which is minor, is that often "real technique" is too quick and tight to look good on a movie screen. But this can be slowed down and exaggerated a little to make it acceptable. But ultimately the bosses want what they want. Which isn't good...

well, every technique has a counter, right? In a choreographed stage fight, you could use 100% historical techniques, and make the fight last indefinitely, just by assuming that neither fighter makes a mistake and always does the proper counter at the proper time, until the director needs one of them to die.


@all: check out "Born of Hope". It's a fan-made movie, set in the Lord of the RIngs universe. It's a prequel about Aragorn's father. It was made by all volunteers and donations, but considering that, it's a very high-quality movie. They captured the Peter-Jackson-esque interpretation of Tolkien's work. Also, the fighting is very good, and you can tell that whoever they had doing the fight choreography practices HEMA. Probably because they didn't get one of the regular fight choreography teams in the industry, but instead got some local group. You can even see a ranger use a halfswording technique at one point.
Joey Nitti
Ottawa Swordplay

"...stab him in the face." ~Sigmund Ringeck

"Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher by the ears?
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keith cotter-reilly
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby keith cotter-reilly » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:32 pm

Joey Nitti wrote:
keith cotter-reilly wrote:The other issue, which is minor, is that often "real technique" is too quick and tight to look good on a movie screen. But this can be slowed down and exaggerated a little to make it acceptable. But ultimately the bosses want what they want. Which isn't good...

well, every technique has a counter, right? In a choreographed stage fight, you could use 100% historical techniques, and make the fight last indefinitely, just by assuming that neither fighter makes a mistake and always does the proper counter at the proper time, until the director needs one of them to die.


That is true, but the real issue is that when we move through stuff with real speed then it is hard to catch the details. Look at the MMA movie "Warrior" that came out last year. The action was pretty spot on, but the techniques used were a little larger and more obviously done so that the audience could see what was happening clearly.

Ultimately, though, it comes down to Directors being comfortable with practical styles. Which will take a bit to happen.
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Joey Nitti
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Joey Nitti » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:39 am

yeah, I suppose things would need to be made less "subtle", for ease of viewing.

Game of Thrones was particularly strange. You had some characters who fight and almost look like they actually know what they're doing, but then some other characters fight like the most typical cliche hollywood sword bashing.
Joey Nitti
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"...stab him in the face." ~Sigmund Ringeck

"Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher by the ears?
make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out." ~William Shakespeare

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Darijan R.
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Re: "History Channel’s Vikings is just as brutal as GoT"

Postby Darijan R. » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:09 am

There is no reason why you could't use bullet time for swordfighting too, Spartacus and 300 did it. But:

Joey Nitti wrote:historically accurate and realistic.


Who is going to be the judge of that? We=the HEMA "community" can't even agree on most of the very basic issues and if you look at the huge spectrum of answers you'll recieve to a basic question, those hollywood scenes might just es well be somewhere within the spectrum of the answers you'll get. 2013 is no different from 1389. Movies about/with swordfighting are for entertainment, not education (unless explicitly stated). They are leych and Leychmeister direct them. They impress/entertain the ignorant today just as they did centuries ago. That aside, I've seen plenty of bouting footage where you can clearly see that the fencer in question is running a cutscene of himself as Aragorn during Battle of Pelennor Fields in his head...
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