Weird History

13 Of The Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Vikings

List Rules
Vote up the viking tropes you've seen most often.

Pop culture loves Viking tropes. Far from presenting the Viking world in accurate terms, the worst Viking movies, TV shows, and video games peddle the same old stereotypes about the Vikings that often have nothing to do with historical realities.

Even the word "Viking" is a little inaccurate. Technically, "Viking" only refers to Scandinavian seafarers, though it has been commonly used to describe all people with roots in Nordic cultures from the 700s to the early 1100s. But despite their origins in Scandinavia, Vikings traveled far and wide, and their world stretched beyond modern-day Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. This diverse Viking world was incredibly complex.

But you wouldn't know it from the Viking-themed stories that saturate film, television, and video games. From the image of the burly, blond warrior to inaccurate Viking funeral tropes, these overused stereotypes perpetuate misguided and wrong-headed ideas about some of history's most fascinating and enigmatic groups. Ultimately, pop culture does historical Vikings no favors by woefully oversimplifying and misrepresenting their world.