Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Erik the Viking

UK movie (1989). John Goldstone/ Prominent Features/Erik the Viking Productions. Pr John Goldstone. Exec pr Terry Glinwood. Dir Terry Jones. Spfx Richard Conway. Screenplay Jones. Starring Gary Cady (Keitel Blacksmith), John Cleese (Halfdan the Black), Simon Evans (Odin), Freddie Jones (Harald the Missionary), Terry Jones (King Arnulf), Eartha Kitt (Freya), Tim McInnerny (Sven the Berserk), Richard Ridings (Thorfinn Skullsplitter), Tim Robbins (Erik), Danny Schiller (Snorri the Miserable), Antony Sher (Loki), John Gordon Sinclair (Ivar the Boneless), Imogen Stubbs (Aud). 108 mins. Colour.

An urbane Viking, Erik, depressed by slaughter, is told by Freya the Seer that the wolf Fenrir has swallowed the Sun, that the world is in Fimbulwinter, and that the Gods are asleep, but that he can wake them if he Quests across the sea to High Brasil for the Horn Resounding, which he must blow three times: first to be taken to Asgard, second to wake the gods, and third to be brought home. The expedition he raises sails through the Gates of the World, battles the Jormungand and attains High Brasil, which soon sinks beneath the waves. At the first blowing of the Horn the ship topples over the edge of the world and floats down to Asgard; the second blowing gathers the stars from the skies to form Bifrost. But in Valhalla the gods prove to be (literally) malicious children: they banish Erik and his Companions to Hel (> Hell) – which turns out to be their own village of Ravensfjord.

ETV mixes Monty Python Humour with much from Norse Mythology, not always easily; even so, its imaginative scope is impressive, as is its erudition. Particularly interesting are the interplays between Realities, as when Harald the Missionary, being a Christian, is unable to perceive (> Perception) Valhalla, walking unknowing through walls that are solid rock to the Vikings. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.