The Plot Hole In Vikings Season One That Fans Still Can't Stand

Your typical Star Wars fan is aware on some level that real-life space exploration is depressingly void of space wizards and oddly sycophantic protocol droids. In exactly the same way, your garden variety fan of the TV series, Vikings, will happily concede that this show isn't meant to be an accurate historical account. The show is indeed on point insofar as there were people called Vikings. And they were, on balance, pretty good at looting and pillaging. Beyond that, most people get that even on a good day this show is nothing more — and nothing less! — than a ripping yarn loosely based on vaguely historical events.

And yes, there is a lot of truth twisting that needs to be brushed aside. First, you have what antiquarian Joshua J Mark refers to in Ancient History Encyclopedia as historical events that are "telescoped, combined, [and] compressed." In the show, momentous affairs like the sacking of Lindisfarne Abbey and later deal-brokering with Vikings to defend these same lands from future raids are butted up against one another, mere episodes apart. These events indeed happened (more or less) but they occurred generations apart. Viewers also need to shrug off seemingly superhuman feats, such as how easily Ragnar becomes fluent in new languages and customs. All these problems are raised and discussed on countless Reddit threads and fan comment threads, but viewers as a general rule have moved on from these and a host of other storytelling distortions. It's mainly the purist historians who feel compelled to point out — and understandably so — that Ragnar and his ax-enamored companions didn't actually single-handedly drive Viking history.

So what got fans riled up?

So what did get fans upset about Season One? It all boils down to deadly snakes ... that weren't, according to Movie Mistakes. Let's take a step back and put the whole snake thing in context. King Aelle of Northumbria hatches a cunning plan. To prove he is a head of state not to be trifled with, the irascible monarch decides he'll have his captives thrown straight into a big ol' pit of venomous snakes. Surely this is a barbaric language his heathen enemy shall understand, the king reasons in decidedly medieval fashion. It's a bold, James Bond villain-esque move, and it certainly made for good TV.

The problem? These were no danger noodles. Herpetological fans were quick to point out that the pit was entirely occupied by non-venomous constrictors. Sure, these creatures aren't exactly cuddly, and some certainly seemed quite put out. But none of these squeezy-wonders were large enough to inflict lasting harm to a human — unless, of course, you factor in the psychological harm of being forced to endure what may be the worst total body massage ever. And that's the plot hole in Season One that many Vikings fans just can't get past. Snakes. Why is a reptilian faux pas such a sticking point when the show is famous for taking much bigger historical liberties? Who knows. Maybe it just boils down to snake-wrongness being more memorable than time telescopy.