This week Whovian Leap sails the Scandinavian seas, plundering and pillaging for spoilers.
Earlier this week it was announced that actor David Schofield has been cast in Series 9 as “Odin”. As we all undoubtedly recall from our history lessons, Odin is the God of War and Death in Viking mythology, which brings us nicely onto this week’s topic. Vikings in Doctor Who.
Who were the Vikings? They were pirates and traders from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They plundered Europe from the eighth to tenth centuries and their name in Old Norse means “a pirate raid”.
In the Whoniverse we first meet them in “The Time Meddler”. The Meddling Monk is trying to sabotage a Viking raid in order to pervert the course of history and ensure that Harold wins the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Doctor finds a Viking helmet and utters the immortal lines, “What do you think it is? A space helmet for a cow?!”
In “The Ice Warriors” when Victoria first sees one of the Martian warriors encased in ice, she asks Jamie what it is. He replies, “It looks like a Viking warrior. Look at the helmet!”
Much to the Brigadier’s displeasure, the newly regenerated Fourth Doctor dresses up as one, in his wacky search for a new outfit in “Robot” (top)
The Seventh Doctor adventure “The Curse of Fenric” features the Vikings and their mythology. In the ninth century they had stolen a flask containing the evil Fenric and taken it to Northumberland. They had buried it beneath St Jude’s Church and written a warning in runic inscription that the flask was cursed.
The Doctor lands during the Second World War and when the runes are translated his troubles begin. The story heavily references Viking mythology. According to Norse legend, the Well of Hvergelmir contained poison and was located at the roots of Yggdrasil, the Great Ash. This tree supported the world and was continually under attack from two serpents.
In “School Reunion” the Tenth Doctor explains to Sarah Jane what Krillitanes are – “They’re a composite race. Just like your culture is a mixture of traditions from all sorts of countries, people you’ve invaded or have been invaded by. You’ve got bits of Viking, bits of France, bits of whatever. The Krillitanes are the same.”
In an elaborate ploy the Eleventh Doctor receives a Viking funeral in “The Impossible Astronaut”.
Servant of the Silence and chess afficcionado, Gantok, rocks some cool Viking gear in the “The Wedding of River Song”.
Have we any more Scandinavian subjects to study? At a pinch, there is Nord, the brutish biker from “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”. This rude and aggressive motorbike maniac has something of the Viking about him, threatening to do something ‘orrible to our ears, and his name certainly has a Nordic ring! Vikings also appear in Doctor Who novel “Dark Horizons” by Jenny T Colgan.
Will we see more Vikings in Series 9? Will Steven Moffat reveal all? I’m not “Odin” my breath!