One of the most unique characters from the hit TV series Vikings is Floki, played by the Swedish actor Gustaf Skarsgård (son of the famous Stellan Skarsgård, who has become very popular with movies like mamma mia either The Avengers).
Floki, a faithful friend of Ragnar Lodbrok for whom he builds the special ship with which his expedition manages to reach England, has an eccentric personality that combined with his firm devotion to the traditional gods makes his presence the most peculiar moments of the series. The question is Did this character exist?
And the answer, which would also be applicable to other of his colleagues, is neither yes nor no, but quite the opposite. The creators of the series have ever explained that the inspiration was the god loki and, apparently, the actor himself started from that idea, a divinity incarnate, to face his role.
Indeed, Loki had a series of characteristics that are recognizable in Floki, beyond the similarity in the name (whose etymology, by the way, is unknown): funny, mocking, extravagant, tricky… He used to change his physical form to do his things. joked and deceived his own superhuman companions.
Norse mythology embodied in the eddas (a collection of Icelandic legends in prose, part of which was composed by the famous skald Snorri Sturluson) tells that Loki was the son of Farbati and his wife Laufrey, two giantsand had two brothers named Helblindi and Býleistr.
However, no trace of his cult has been found, which is why many authors consider that his nature was not exactly divine, at least at the same level as that of Odin (who nonetheless considered him a brother), Thor or Freyja, for example. . A lesser godTherefore, he married Angrboda, who gave him three children (Fenrir, Jörmundgander and Hela), although he later had two others (Narfi and Váli) with his second wife, Sigyn.
Loki fell out of favor kill Balder, Odin’s offspring, resentful because because of a mortuary nightmare of the latter, his children had been locked up to prevent anyone from harming him. So he fled from the fury of the gods and this part of his story is interesting because it is reflected in the series, humanized, with Floki as the protagonist: after trying to assassinate Ragnar because of his condescension towards Christianity, Floki escaped into the mountains and gives his pursuers the slip several times, hiding under the water of a river (parallel to the myth, in which he turns into salmon).
finally it was caught and punished tying him between two rocks; In mythology, the intestines of their children are used as ligatures, since revenge reached all their lineage in one way or another. Later, Loki would be able to free himself and go to the ragnarokthe battle of the end of the world, a kind of Armageddon.
From all this it can be deduced that the Floki on television is fictitious. Now, the truth is that there was a historical figure named Floki Vilgerdsson (Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerðarsson in Icelandic version) who lived in the 9th century and achieved some notoriety for having been the first Scandinavian to reach Iceland premeditated.
There is a theory that suggests that the island had already been trodden on before, in the 8th century (or even earlier), apparently by Christian monks from the north of Great Britain, but since they left when the Vikings arrived and did not there has been an archaeological record of its passage, you have to go back to the year 874 AD to find the first stable colony, led by Ingolfur Arnarson.
I underline stable because there were previous colonies, like the one in Gardar Svavarssonwho settled there temporarily shortly after naddoddra Viking from the Faroe Islands, discovered that piece of land in the middle of the ocean in 860, baptizing it with the name of snæland (Land of Snow). The nuance is that Nanoddr arrived by chance while Floki Vilgerdsson traveled there on purpose.
His journey is told by landnámabók (Book of the Settlement or Establishment), an Icelandic manuscript from the 12th century that is essential to know that original part of the island’s history. Floki was the son of Vilgerd Karadatter and therefore the grandson of Horda-Kåre Aslaksson, chieftain of the Norwegian kingdom of hordalandbut he was considered a vikingr mikillthat is to say, a misfit, as reflected in the series, in which he lives apart and remains radically faithful to the traditional faith.
Looking for a place to settle on his own, he heard of new lands to the west which they called Garðarshólmi, so he embarked with his wife Gró and their daughters Oddleifur and Þjóðgerður, setting sail from Rogaland. After a stopover in the Shetland Islands, where one of the girls accidentally drowned, he arrived in the Faroe Islands. There he married his other daughter and took over three crows that they were to help him find Garðarshólmi.
Sure enough, put back on track and in the manner of Noah, one of the birds returned to the Faroes and another flew briefly to land on the ship again but the third was out of sight to the northwest and did not returnthus pointing the way forward.
For this reason, Floki earned the nickname of hrafna, which means Raven. It is not clear what year he went but at last he sighted land, a bay he called Faxafloi and that it is in front of the current capital, Reykjavík. Floki did not travel only with his family but with those of other colleagues such as Herjolf, Faxe and, above all, Þórólfur Þorsteinsson (grandson of Grímur Kamban, the first settler of the Faroe Islands), who would later be known by the nickname of smjör (Butter) alluding to a phrase with which he described the discovered land. They raised a town in Vatnsfjörður (now a nature reserve near Barðaströnd) and explored the island.
As his arrival coincided with a splendid summer, when the harshest winter severity they were well prepared to deal with it. However, spring was late in appearing and in the meantime they took the opportunity to explore the territory.
Count the landnámabók that in that period of time Floki ascended to the top of the highest mountain he found, which experts believe could be the nonfell (a 473-meter hill in the Westfjords), and from there he looked out over the whole area, including the great Ísafjörður fjord, which at that time still retained its glacial morphology and was full of moving ice. Apparently, the vision of Ísafjörður was what prompted Floki to rename the island with the name of island (that is, Iceland, Land of Ice).
Despite everything, the Scandinavians were not very happy with the harsh climate of Iceland or with the little benefit they got from the land, so they ended up packing up their things and returning to Hordaland. His descriptions were not very positive, but the fact is that Floki once again showed off his restless ass and once again jumped into the sea to return to his island, from which he not only never moved but ended his days working of goðia kind of priest with extra political powers.
Vikings in history (F. Donald Logan)/Chronicles of the Vikings. Records, Memorials and Myths (Ian Page)/The World of Vikings (Justin Pollard)/iceland. The Bradt Travel Guide (Andrew Evans)/The gospel according to Loki (Joanne M. Harris)/The Book of Settlements. landnámabók (in English).