The series Vikings tells of Ragnar Lothbrok, a humble Danish farmer cum Viking raider who ‘discovers’ England, establishes settlements, and ultimately becomes king of Denmark – a rags-to-riches story typical of television. Students are therefore often surprised to learn that Ragnar Loðbrók is a legendary figure appearing in Old English and Scandinavian records. While the series conflates and abridges these sources, it nevertheless relies on them for its general outline. Furthermore, despite inaccuracies, carefully researched embellishments also provide extra-textual insight to daily life, religion, multiculturalism, and the role of women. Vikings can thus be carefully incorporated into successfully teaching such texts.
Since the discovery of Richard III’s remains in 2012, there has been an increasing interest in making his historical reputation accessible to a wider public through academic research, historical novels, and TV-shows. The main objective of this paper is to analyse the portrayal of Richard III in The White Queen (2013) since this is the first TV series which tackles the king’s historical portrayal, rather than the mythological one. The purpose is to find out how historically accurate his reputation is presented in this TV show and how much it deviates from the Shakespearean and Tudor mythology.
Before the protagonist makes his or her first appearance on screen, the framework in which the story unfolds is usually already installed. The opening shot not only allows a first gaze at the diegetic world – it also functions as a precursor that contains key elements of the film. In case of Arthurian-themed films this is the crucial moment when the relation between history and fiction is negotiated. With only limited screen time the so-called ‘crawl title’ as a complex correlation of image and written words is a popular method of summarizing background information in a short period of time. It contains the tension between history and literary pretext in nuce. This paper discusses different crawl titles in selected Arthurian movies and explores their role in characterizing the film before its beginnings.