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Horny Vikings

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We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow
The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands
To fight the hordes and sing and cry
"Valhalla, I am coming!"
On we sweep with, with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the western shore!

The more Northern, cold-climate cousins of the Pirate, native to Dark Age Europe, who spend a lot of their time cruising in their Cool Boats, pillaging and burning any hapless peasant villages that happen to get in their way.

Vikings in fiction tend to feature elements of The Berserker and Proud Warrior Race Guy, are seldom seen without those spiffy horned helmets and are sometimes adorned with Pelts of the Barbarian. Vikings are always quite hairy, with long beards and longer Braids of Barbarism flying in the ocean breeze. Being Nordic, most of them are blonde or red-headed, but black-haired Vikings are as common as they were in real life. Expect them to approach aboard intimidating, monster-headed longships, fierce men aboard fearsome boats.

The trope name is a pun on Vikings' reputation for raping and pillaging, and the horned helmets that they never actually wore. The horned helmet stereotype started with the Romans, who attributed such helmets indiscriminately to all kinds of Northern barbarians; later this was reinforced by some archeologists digging up a Viking helmet near a couple of drinking horns and assuming that they had once been one piece. Horns on a helmet would actually sabotage its effectiveness, providing a joint to catch incoming blows rather than deflect them. Horned helmets may be replaced by the (equally unhistorical) winged helmets, especially when the work wants to present the Vikings as noble rather than barbaric.



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  • Capital One played with this trope by using Vikings as a metaphor for other cards over-charging (pillaging) customers. Some Vikings wore metal helmets with horns, some metal helmets without horns, and others with nothing at all on their heads. Later, the Vikings were looking for other jobs (since so many people were using the Capital One card) and still later, were using the card themselves.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Jessie and James dressed up like these guys in the Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back. They even had Meowth acting as the figurehead on the bow. Thanks to Woolseyism: "I didn't know Vikings still existed." "They mostly live in Minnesota." (See Sports).
  • Vinland Saga of course, though none of the vikings wear horned helmets. The fact that no living viking has been recorded to wear one is perhaps a testament to Vinland Saga's more realistic depiction of vikings than most other works-see Real Life below.
  • Vicky the Viking, a 1970s German/Japanese colab about a viking boy who prefers to use brain instead of brawn to work out problems. The young viking in question is known as Wickie in Germany, Bikke in Japan, and Vicky in English-speaking countries. The ultimate origin of Vicky, however, is a Swedish children's book series called Vicke Viking from the 1960s.note 
  • One Piece: Word of God states that Vikings, (the ones in Vicky the Viking in particular) were the initial inspiration. They make in-story appearances in the form of the Giants of Elbaf.
  • Honey Honey: Honey and the gang encounter Vikings once in their journey across Europe who dress like this.

  • George Carlin stated they were real bad news.
    George Carlin: We come from that northern European, basically the northern European genes, the blue eyes. Those blue eyes. Boy everybody in the world learned real quick, didn’t they? When those blue eyes sail out of the north, you better nail everything down. Nail it down, strap it down, or they’ll grab it. If they can’t take it home, they’ll burn it. If they can’t burn it, they’ll fuck it.
  • Dave Allen has a sketch which wouldn't be half as funny without horns: cliche vikings storm a village with the standard "Rape and pillage" cry...until they meet the town hag. The chief's horns rotate down and he orders them to just to pillage.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics' The Mighty Thor embodied many Viking cliches. Except the helmet. Thor's helmet is winged, not horned. Thor's step-brother and nemesis Loki takes this up to eleven. He has huge horns.
  • DC Comics had a Norse character, the aptly-named Viking Prince. Also the Viking Commando, a Viking warrior transported through a rift in time to World War II where he fought the Nazis. Neither wears horned helmets though.
  • Asterix and the Normans has Vikings who "don't know fear" — as in, are they are unable to experience it, though they've heard of it. They sail to Gaulia to find someone to teach them how to do it. Specifically, they've heard the expression "fear gives you wings", and believe that by learning this "fear", they too will be able to fly.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Parodied where it turns out that the Vikings they encounter are victims of one of Dr. Bacterius's experiments Gone Horribly Wrong, and the horns are really attached to their heads.
  • Strontium Dog has Vikings are much like this, though only one of them has horns on his helmet.
  • In the Doctor Who Storybook 2010 comic strip Space Vikings!, the Space Vikings have horned helmets, which the Doctor notes is completely wrong.
    Sven: [seeing "Valhalla"] It's unbelievable!
    Doctor: Unbelievable is right, they've even got Valkyries! It's like they've done no historical research at all!
  • In the German comic Werner: The actor in the Faxe beer TV commercial gone wrong around the end of "Sektenquatsch und Eiermatsch" in the book Alles klar?
  • Averted in The Boys: Stormfront, the racist Thor-Alternate Company Equivalent is supposed to be a resurrected Viking (in fact, he's the Nazi's attempt at creating a Supersoldier via compound V). He gets his ass kicked by a Brit, a (the) Frenchman, an American, and a Russian.

    Comic Strips 
  • Hägar the Horrible note  is the title and the name of the main character of a syndicated comic strip created by Dik Browne. If a Viking lies, his horns fall off. (Hagar tends to go through a lot of helmets because of this.) The horns also show the wearer's emotional state, somehow, pointing upward normally but pointing downward when Hagar is sad.
  • The Far Side uses Vikings as a common subject. One strip pitted them against their pillow-wielding counterparts, the Wimpodites.
  • In Pearls Before Swine, Pig has a set of viking action figures that are apparently sentient. They subvert the trope, however, from acting more like preteen girls than anything.
  • Prince Valiant: The Prince was the Viking prince of Thule.
  • Modesty Blaise: In "The Vikings", Modesty battles a group of Scandinavian men who, being supposedly bored with the ease and comfort of modern life, have embraced the ways of their Viking ancestors; plundering shipping and coastal towns. They embrace most of the Viking stereotypes, but it is largely a smokescreen for their actions as Ruthless Modern Pirates: the Viking trappings making it hard for the authorities to take them seriously.

    Fan Works 
  • The reindeer of Tarandroland from the Under The Northern Lights are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Vikings (at least partially). Having natural antlers makes horned helmets unneccessary. Them starting to pillage the coast of Equestria after a very long peace is what sets off the plot.
  • Girl Days: Chinese Vikings are introduced in chapter 18. They've adapted over the years (though they kept the horned helmets), preferring to fish rather than pillage, equipping their longboats with diesel engines and GPS, and have generally peaceful relations with most of the other strange tribes in China. Even the Amazons, who have never quite forgiven them for sneaking a "no forced marriages between our people and yours regardless of your traditions" clause into their peace treaty and retaliated by passing a law to prevent the two groups from ever intermarrying. This doesn't stop one of them from being romantically obsessed with Mousse - if she can't marry him, she'll just "take him to a deserted island, and bed him until he wilts", as two of her tribesmen put it.

    Films — Animation 
  • How to Train Your Dragon has an entire village of Vikings fighting dragons instead of pillaging, while the main character trains a dragon. The main character gets a helmet made out of the breastplate of his Missing Mom. His dad has the other half. Also, all the adult Vikings speak with a Scottish accent, while all children speak with an American one. This is done intentionally, though. The horned helmets might be justified: having sharp, pointy things on your head could be a good way to keep a dragon from trying to land on it or bite it.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: The "Viking prologue" deleted scene. What's unique about this deleted scene is the fact that it is actually the only colorized scene of its kind to ever be made specifically for an animated Disney film (all others, including the rest of the deleted scenes for this movie, are all done using a sketchy, simplistic artstyle). This opening was used for the film's tie-in video game (which is apparently supposed to be a prequel to this movie), however.
  • The vikings from The Secret of Kells are unintelligible brutes that destroy the monastery and get away scot-free, which is unfortunately what usually happened. It's saying something that they're nearly portrayed as more inhuman and monstrous than the literal inhuman monster.
  • Beowulf touches on this trope, more in the film, since it's a legendary British work that's actually about Vikings set in Denmark. Complete with Badass Intro Music showing the hero standing astride his vessel in a raging storm.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. While there aren't too many horned helmets, every other cliche is turned Up to Eleven (including throwing axes to trim the pigtails off a young lady, the burning ship funeral, and hundreds of people shouting "Odin!" as they attack or die).
  • Erik the Viking is set in the Viking world and mines it for laughs. And subverts and sometimes averts this trope. For instance, no horned helmets.
  • Pathfinder: The Vikings are portrayed as Always Chaotic Evil villains who wear classic fictional viking attire, including horned helmets. They speak Icelandic in a gutteral accent to sound like Black Speech.
  • The Lost World film The Island at the Top of the World features explorers finding a lost Viking city in the Arctic. Oddly enough, horned helmets is pretty much the only cliche they didn't use.
  • Parodied in the History of the World Part I segment "Viking Funeral," where the Vikings took off their helmets, revealing that the helmets weren't horned, the Vikings were. Everything up to the punchline was a clip from The Vikings mentioned above.
  • Outlander is set in ancient Norway. In lieu of seafaring and pillaging, there's warfare between two Viking clans, and hunting a giant alien lizard.
  • The 13th Warrior is about Vikings and one well-traveled Arab vs. a tribe of cannibalistic protohumans. The metropolitan Arab is surprised by the vikings' wisdom, courage and sophistication, ultimately going a little native, while they are impressed by his ability to "draw sounds."
  • Vikingdom
  • German "bummfilm" company is not too sure about this trope. In "Mara und der Feuerbringer" horny vikings are the Berserk Button of the professor, who knows his history and thus doesn't believe Maras wild story first. (Things are a bit more complicated as he thinks.) On the other hand, played straight with Frau(!) Ulf, a viking who lives in the fridge of Bernd das Brot.

  • The Long Ships, written in Sweden in the 1940s and set around the year 1000 is the definitive viking novel. Includes characters of myth and history, casual slavery, casual warfare, casual religion switching for pragmatic purposes and plenty of Black Humor.
  • The Everworld series drops a quartet of modern teens into a different universe. This first book brings them to a Viking village that pays homage to Loki, who lives in a nearby castle.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • The Ironborn are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the Vikings. Natives of a small group of islands with poor soil and rich mineral deposits, the Ironborn choose to reave and pillage rather than make their own wealth (indeed, to pay for something with money as opposed to to taking it by force is viewed as extremely dishonorable). To drive the point home, they live in the Northwest, somewhat roughly analogous to the real life location of Scandinavia, their homeland is cold (though not icy) and they have names like Gelmar, Ragnor, and Agarr. They're also the most war-like people in the setting and have arguably the most physically powerful warrior among their ranks, and worship a God who's basically Odin + C'thulhu + Poseidon and their idea of an afterlife is basically Underwater Valhalla.
    • The Wildlings are the 'non-seaborn, settled Norse' version to an extent. With names like Tormund (who is sometimes called the King of a meadhall), Torreg, and so on. With a love for axes and living in the snow.
  • As are Tamora Pierce's Scanrans.
  • The Fjordlanders in Discworld.
  • Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband: The Skandians.
    • Amusingly, the Skandians have horned helms, despite the author knowing perfectly well that the real Vikings didn't.
    • And a bit of Reality Ensues when one of the main characters uses the horns on a Skandian's helmet to grab the helm and smash it back down on his opponent's head. This earns the respect of the Skandian group.
  • In Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series, the Lost Colony of Gramarye eventually gets some neighbors in the form of "beastmen"— coastal raiders in horned helmets and dragon-prowed ships. The twist; they are actually genetically engineered psychic Neanderthals put there by time travelers as part of an Evil Plan to allow their faction to conquer Gramarye and prevent a future Utopia.
  • In Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories features the exploits of Danes and Northmen, only referring to them as vikings when they actually go pillaging (i.e. viking). Horned helmets are absent, but they still possess beast-headed longboats.
  • Tales of ancient times by V.D. Ivanov does a pretty good depiction of the Vikings. Though the narrator blatantly sides with Russians and depicts them as ruthless predators and oppressors and repulsive brutes, it does describe their life faithfully. Specifically, it shows that their seafaring and military successes were for objective reasons: they used state-of-the-art technology and equipment, were well trained and extremely well organized on ships and in battle, used advanced tactics, and a decent share of their Yarls were genuinely good leaders and strategists.
  • The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers includes a small group of middle-aged Vikings who have improbably sailed their ship up the Danube River to Vienna, having sensed the possibility that the prophesied final battle of Ragnarok will take place here.
  • How to Train Your Dragon takes place in the Inner Isles where Viking tribes reign supreme. There is indeed seafaring, horned helmets, raids, not to mention the added inclusion of DRAGONS.
  • The Skaldi of Kushiel's Legacy have definite Viking elements. Their longboats are mentioned but never seen.
  • Harry Harrison's The Technicolor Time Machine is about a movie studio's attempt to use a time machine to make a viking picture with real vikings.
  • Harrison's Hammer and The Cross trilogy focuses heavily on vikings, including Lodbrok and his sons (see below)
  • The Icelandic Sagas are prose stories written (mostly in Iceland, but not exclusively so) c. 1180-1350 AD, in which the medieval Icelanders fondly commemorated the life and times of their Viking Age forebears. Almost every fictional depiction of Vikings that is not locked in clichés draws inspiration from these texts. Sagas that are prominently concerned with Vikings:
  • Dragonships: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's novel series takes place in a fantasy world, the protagonist is from a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Vikings.
  • Dreamscape: The Wanderer mentions the Langsyne; a race whose names and battle tactics are very similar to those of Vikings. No horned helmets though.
  • The short story The Haldenmor Fugue from the Doctor Who Storybook 2010.
  • The Thalesians are The Elenium's Viking Fantasy Counterpart Culture. The Genidian Knights (based in Thalesia) wear horned helmets as part of their formal armor. Justified in that the horns in question come from ogres, and are much harder than steel; they're additional head protection.
  • In Dave Barry Slept Here, the Vikings are described as "extremely rugged individuals" who used Zippo lighters to set fire to English tribespeople's thatched roofs just for fun, and sometime in the ninth century crossed the Atlantic for two purposes: "(a) try to locate North America and (b) see if it was flammable."
  • Rosemary Sutcliff's Blood Feud, Sword Song, The Shield Ring, Knight's Fee and We Lived in Drumfyvie.
  • In "Clubland Heroes", the Splendid Six reminisce about an adventure involving an army of magically reanimated viking skeletons, and The Smart Guy boasts about how he could tell they weren't real vikings because they had horned helmets.
  • The short story series The Monk And The Viking features quite a few Norwegian characters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the classic serial The Time Meddler, the TARDIS crew end up in Viking times and find one of their helmets. The companion asks whether that means there are Vikings around, and the First Doctor snarks: "What did you think it was, a space helmet for a cow?" There are only four Vikings seen, one of whom uttered the classic line to someone offstage: "The rest of you wait at the bottom of the cliff". There was also some Stock Footage of a Viking ship, actually taken from an old BBC Newsreel report about a 20th century Viking re-enactment.
    • In "The Girl Who Died" the Doctor and Clara find themselves in a village filled with Vikings wearing horned helmets. The writers have admitted that they knew horned helmets were inaccurate but felt it was easier to just go with the misconception instead of adding a scene explaining the lack of horns.
  • A Concentration tribute to Scandinavia involved wearing horned helmets. Bob Clayton's helmet was the most historically accurate in the group.
  • Game of Thrones: The people in the Iron Islands, the ironborn, are less like this than in the books, but they still bear more than a passing similarity. They are the smallest and among the least-populous of the regions of Westeros, but the naval skills of their population are unmatched and they enjoy great mobility due to their ships. They have a unique culture centered on maritime raiding and pillaging other peoples.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The "Spam" sketch, set in a humdrum 1970s British cafe features an inexplicable group of Vikings, complete with shaggy coats, horn-ed helmets and blonde braids. Who have an equally unexplainable fondness for a certain canned meat product.
    "Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam lovey spam, wonderful spaaaaam!"
    • Similar Vikings would appear in random cutaway moments to say an unnecessary word or two.
  • Eric Northman from True Blood isn't named like that for nothing, as we learn in a flashback where the mighty warrior lies dying from his battle wounds and discusses the joys of Valhalla with his two loyal companions. Until Godric shows up, that is.... But then again it should be obvious: dude is tall, well-built, blue-eyed and blonde. And speaks Swedish with his minions. And is 1000 years old. Not to mention, he is played by Alexander Skarsgård, son of the famous Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård. It's in the blood.
    • Being tall, blue-eyed and blond later allows Eric to pass for a Nazi. Being able to glamour people helps too.
  • This joke from Blackadder Goes Forth: "A war hasn't been fought this badly since Olaf the Hairy, high chief of all the Vikings, accidentally ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside."
  • The Muppet Show had Vikings show up a few times.
    • In the Rudolf Nureyev episode, Miss Piggy and Link Hogthrob dress as Vikings and sing a love duet from an opera by Wagner (that is, it's announced as being from Giuseppe Wagner's The Barber of Die Fledermaus, but actually it's from Mozart's Don Giovanni).
    • Then there's the episode with Roger Moore, which had a bunch of Vikings ransacking a village while singing "In the Navy" by the Village People. Kermit introduces the Vikings as "cruel, heartless Scandinavian marauders," and an offended Swedish Chef clonks him with a skillet until Kermit backpedals and describes them as "gentle, quaint, fun-loving old charmers."
  • The main characters of Vikings are Vikings at the dawn of the Viking Age. The storyline is based on actual Nordic sagas (themselves a mix of history and fantasy), and the general presentation is fairly historical. Notably, the only horned helmet is worn by a priest for ceremonial purposes.
  • A common segment in Horrible Histories is "Vicious Vikings." Horrible Histories being what it is, these tend to give the facts and stories most in keeping with the Horny Vikings trope, although they often don't actually have horned helmets. Then again, there's Vikingland, a song about Vikings that settled peacefully and contributed to British culture as we know it.
  • Averted in Hem Till Midgård. The show is mostly silly and plays fast and loose with the historical facts, but the horns are completely absent.
  • On Sesame Street back in The '80s, the lead singer of the New Wave Music "band" How Now Brown and the Moo Wave wore a Viking helmet with horns. Their keyboardist also has cow horns on his headband.
  • Played straight, subverted, lampshaded, and mocked to hell and gone in Norsemen.
    • Protagonist Arvid has never had consensual sex in his life. He's done lots of raping, but never been with a willing woman. His new wife Liv tries to accommodate him with a role-play scenario where he pillages their farm, mock-kills their slaves, and ravages her, but he can't get aroused, and leaves with an embarrassed apology to the slaves.
    • Orm is an effeminate Camp Straight who has never been on a raid before and gets his ass kicked by a little girl when he finally does. He is overshadowed by his brother, and even by his wife Frøya, who is not only a fearsome raider, but is introduced wearing a necklace of dicks she cut off of the men she raped. Then he turns out to be a bit more Camp Gay than he let on.
    Arvid: Passionate sex with another man? Yeah, it doesn't get much gayer than that!
    • Jarl Varg is even more effeminate and camp than Orm. When he threatens to publicy defile Liv (who is actually excited about it) to force force Arvid out of hiding, he gets performance anxiety and orders everyone to look away while he tells himself that he’s powerful (which still doesn’t work).
    • The horned helmets also get mocked mercilessly when Ragnar invents one.
  • Three episodes of History Bites center around the Vikings, including an episode on Leif Erickson's discovery of North America.
  • A large number of them are stuck in the present day in Beforeigners. Just don't actually call them the v-word.

  • The Vikings also have their own theme song: "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin.
    Our CEO's a legendary Viking entrepreneur
    We're conquering the world with our self-assembly flatpack furniture
  • Pretty much every song ever written by Manowar that isn't one of the songs that makes them a Trope Codifier for Heavy Meta (and some of the ones that are).
  • Each song of the "Secret of the Runes" album by Therion chronicles a different level of Norse cosmology. Well, except for the ABBA cover.
  • "Eric the Awful" by Ray Stevens, whose titular character even has "hairy hat, shaped like a big bullet with horns comin' out the sides"
  • Many Scandinavian and Finnish heavy metal bands, especially the viking metal subgenre (originally a form of Black Metal), do songs about vikings, though generally more realistic (vikings are less one-dimensional in their culture for obvious reasons).
    • Týr is one of the most famous viking metal bands. Not only do they write their own songs, they also do traditional songs from the Faroe Islands (their home country, it's not really part of Denmark but is mostly controlled by Denmark, kind of like the relationship between Scotland and England) arranged as heavy metal.
    • Death metal band Amon Amarth, despite taking their name from The Lord of the Rings is a viking themed band. Not that Lord of the Rings wasn't itself quite inspired by Norse Mythology. They even have a song on the Jomsviking album (a Concept Album about the legendary Viking band) titled "Raise Your Horns", but it refers to drinking horns (and the "horns" gesture in heavy metal fandom).
    • Sabaton, which usually focuses on the World Wars for its Horrible History Metal, wrote "Swedish Pagans" as a bonus track for the Updated Re-release of their 2008 album The Art of War and ended up with a surprise hit. 2010's Coat of Arms contains "Saboteurs", which is not about Vikings per se but does mention the Norwegian Resistance fighters' Norse ancestry (seemingly as a Take That! to the Viking-obsessed Nazis: "you're not the successors to the Vikings, we are").
      Heroes of the Telemark
      Carry Viking blood in veins
      Warriors of the northern land
      They live forevermore
    • Turisas did an album about Varangians going from Scandinavia to Constantinople. It is one of the only instances of Scandinavian warriors of that era in popular culture not being sea raiders.
  • The music video for Jason Forrest's "War Photographer" features Vikings fighting a seaborne battle of the bands with tasty guitar licks and Humongous Mecha.
  • Tub Ring has "The Viking Song".
  • Leaves' Eyes has quite a few Viking-themed songs.
  • Zakk Wylde
  • Ceann's "Blame the Viking," in which the singer insists that all of his mistakes were actually committed by an elusive Viking "friend".
    And they don't drink beer from skulls. And they never wear horn hats.
    And if I didn't know a Viking personally, then you tell me:
    How the hell did I know that? How the hell did I know that?
  • "Invaders" by Iron Maiden
  • Inverted in "Back through time" by Music/Alestorm. They travel back in time to board a Viking ship.
    Twas off some Carribbean shore while on an epic quest
    We came across a strange device
    A mystic portal into another time
    Where vikings ruled the land and sea
    Such mighty treasure they did hold
    We killed them all to steal their gold!
  • Heilung use a lot of Nordic imagery. Singer Maria Franz is Norwegian, and has a stage outfit with antlers.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • John Nord, whose name fits this trope perfectly, took his emulation of Bruiser Brody (who used Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" as his Theme Song in Japan) into full-on Viking territory. When he entered WWE in 1991, he was originally given the name "The Viking," before settling on the Berzerker.
  • Cyber Viking during AllJapan "Puroresu Love" era, and they were curved so he could sail to IWA Puerto Rico without goring anyone by accident, though they came off when he was unmasked by Hijo Del Santo in CMLL.
  • Former CHIKARA wrestler Tursas, a huge (6 feet 8 inches, 376 pounds) Wrestling Monster who was a member of the Heel faction Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (BDK), with a bearded masked Nordic viking gimmick. One of the BDK's Finishing Moves, performed by Tursas, Claudio Castagnoli (Antonio Cesaro) and Ares, was called "Ragnarok."
  • This is how Melody Mangler and Calamity Kate made their entrance into LLF in 2016 from the icy waters of Vancouver, looking to take the Tag Team Title belts of Chacala and Lady Jaguar.
  • CHIKARA's Oleg The Usurper's Red Baron is "The Mad Viking Warrior."
  • Chieftain is a series of narrative songs that tells the story of one Bjorn Eriksson, the son of a Viking chieftain, as he tries to fulfill his tribe's legacy of strength and glory. Although they do not wear horned helmets, the song portrays them as a typical warmongering brutes who pick fights against other settlement to loot their gold and destroy its inhabitants.

  • The National Football League's Minnesota Vikings have the horns painted on their helmets and their logo is a mustached, braided long-haired blond man with a horned helmet. In keeping with the pun title of the trope, the Vikings NFL team was caught in a major sex scandal aboard (what else?) a party boat.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The HERO Games catalog of alternate universes known as Champions in 3D included a brief description of Mad Viking World, where horned helmets, heavy drinking and incredible overenthusiasm were the order of the day, even when crossing the street.
  • GURPS Alternate Earths 2 included the alternate world of Midgard, where Vikings captured Greek Fire from the Byzantines and came to dominate the European world and a good part of America by the 15th century. No horned helmets here, but plenty of the other classic activities, especially fighting and raiding. (A joke in that world asks "How do you tell a Viking raider from a merchant? If you're armed, he's a merchant.")
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Space Wolves are basically Supersoldier Vikings IN SPACE!. No horns, though. Horned helmets are reserved for the Evil Super Soldiers. According to Word of God, they were originally intended to be an amalgamation of all the berserk warrior types, Celts and Germans as well as the Vikings. Nobody notices, given the fact that they live on an ice world, are amazing sailors, and all have names like Ulrik, Bjorn and Ragnar...
    • The Valhallans are an aversion. Despite the name, they're more Reds with Rockets IN SPACE!, complete with We Have Reserves generals, unlucky conscripts, and commissars who are all too happy to shoot their men to encourage the others... except for the 597th, who are very combat-happy and have a luckless commissar looking after them.
  • The Norscans in Warhammer are basically Vikings in imposing heavy plate and intimidating horned helmets who worship the Chaos Gods. Love battle, slaughter and warfare like the French love their wine. Also have a penchant for being marked by the Chaos Gods in various ways.
    • The dwarfs have a strong Scandinavian influence in their artwork, and feature both the stereotypical horned or winged helmets of the Vikings, as well as the more realistic "spectacle" helmet.
      • The background also mentions the Norse Dwarfs of Kraka Drak, who are a combination of the two. It was implied in the Tome of Corruption supplement that after living in a state of constant siege from the Norscans, some of them have been turned to Chaos.
    • Not nearly to the same extent as the Norscans, but the Empire too has a lot of Nordic flavour, especially the cult of Ulric.
  • In Pathfinder, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings are home to warriors who are actually called "vikings" in-universe. Horned helmets are a Defied Trope, though—the vikings only wear them in plays and ceremonial events because of how unwieldy they are.
  • The Northern Reaches in Mystara are very obviously based on medieval Scandinavia.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse has Battle Forged, a minion of La Capitan whom helps her steal things from various time periods. This also counts as the developers doing their research as Battle Forged does not have a horned helmet.


    Video Games 
  • Lampshaded in Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? When you are in the time of the Vikings, you'll find a helmet in one part of the level. Clicking it will have your guide mention this trope, and a nearby Viking will then scoff at the idea of having a horned helmet.
    Rock Solid: Vikings didn't really have horns on their helmets, that's just a myth.
    Norseman: Horns? On a helmet? Who starts these crazy rumors?
  • The Lost Vikings games.
  • Civilization: For some reason, the games often call the Scandinavian civ "The Vikings", even though not all Scandinavians actually went out on ships and raided hapless peasant villages (and in fact they actually specialize in trade in Civ IV). Civilization V goes more realistic by featuring Denmark as a viking civilisation (though with one industrial-era unique unit) and Sweden as a Reneissance/Industrial warfare juggernaut with no viking elements at all.
  • Zig-zagged in Dark Souls III. The Northern Warrior set has a historically accurate Viking helmet without horns, while the Millwood Knight set has a horned helmet adorned with deer antlers believed to be from the blessed beast of the Ethereal Oak.
  • Mace: The Dark Age: The Viking character from the old N64 game fitted this trope to a T. His name was Ragnar Bloodaxe.
  • The Vrykul in World of Warcraft are nine foot tall vikings, with viking-like name patterns, architecture, culture etc. Most have allied themselves with the Lich King, but even independent factions are not so friendly to outsiders (even to people who might be able to help them). Their major figures and placenames sometimes have references to viking mythology - such as King Ymiron (whose name references the giant Ymir) or Brunhildar Village (the valkyrie Brunhildr) - as does much of the world around them.
  • Age of Empires series.
    • The Vikings in Age of Empires II have the Berserker unique unit which sports the horny helmet.
    • In Age of Mythology Norse heroes, raiding cavalry and upgraded frost giants wear horned helmets. The rest of their units stick to more compact designs. Not to mention that they earn favor with their gods by killing.
  • Final Fantasy series
  • Although there aren't actual Vikings, you can stick a Viking helmet on some of the characters in The Sims 2.
  • One of the Soldier's unlockable hats in Team Fortress 2 is a Viking helmet that covers his eyes, with the left horn broken off about halfway down its length.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Nords, a brawny race of Men with a Proud Warrior Culture who hail from the frigid northern province of Skyrim, are the Viking expies of the ES universe. However, much like the real life Vikings, they Subvert and Deconstruction this trope as often as they Play It Straight. To note:
      • To the other races of Tamriel, especially the races of Mer (Elves) who have warred with the Nords since time immemorial, the Nords play the trope entirely straight. They are viewed as uncultured, often drunken, brute-strength warriors who Do Not Like Magic and gleefully Rape, Pillage, and Burn whenever they get the chance. It is not unheard of for the Nords to play up this image when dealing with other races for the sake of intimidation. Additionally, the Nords themselves have Blood Knight tendencies, will put Honor Before Reason, and seek to enter Sovngarde (a Valhalla expy) when they die. Aesthetically, the Nords also play this trope straight, complete with the famous Viking horned helmets present in various fashions.
      • Despite this, the Nords also Downplay, Subvert, and Deconstruct the trope with elements of their culture. Skyrim in particular, with it being set in the Nordic homeland, is quite dedicated to showing that the Nords do not play this trope straight. It shows them to be a thoroughly civilized Proud Warrior Race with great reverence for their gods (and is in fact the catalyst for the game's civil war), who have a strong bardic element with feasting, family, and tradition just as important to their culture as fighting. Those Nords who do play the trope straight are shown to be criminal elements on the fringes of their society and are actively loathed by their kinsmen for giving Nords a bad name to outsiders. Additionally, Emperor Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire, was born a Nord by the name of Talos (at least, according to his "orthodox" biography).
    • In the backstory, the Nedes (ancestors to most of the modern races of Men) are said to be this. Or, at least, that is the claim made by the Septim Empire's propaganda. Other sources state that they probably weren't from Atmora (where the ancestors of the Nords are said to hail from), instead being one of Tamriel's many indigenous human tribes. Additionally, from the elements of their culture we get to see from various sources, they were closer to pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures along with elements of the early Chinese Empire. (These elements survived in their Nibenese Imperial descendants at least until the 3rd Era.) The whole bit about them being classic "Horny Vikings" like the Nords is believed to be Blatant Lies designed to make the mighty Nords more accepting of the Cyrodiilic Empire.
    • The actual ancient Atmorans, who migrated from the frozen northernmost continent of Atmora to Skyrim, played this quite straight and passed (at least) the aesthetic on to their Nord descendants. The Atmorans were closer to a Barbarian Tribe with proto-Viking elements - they never discovered agriculture and did not have a written language, but were still master shipbuilders and sailors, and it took an army of a mere 500 of their greatest warriors to topple the civilization of the Falmer (Snow Elves) and create a lasting foothold for mankind on Tamriel.
  • Mount & Blade : The Fantasy Counterpart Culture, Nords, of are a subversion, being settled-down and more similar to Danish-like Vikings or proto-Normans. The "Sea Raider" type of bandits fill the niche of the more classical, northerner Vikings, being stereotypical Rape, Pillage, and Burn Proud Warrior Race Guys. Both Nords and Sea Raiders use normal undecorated helmets, mainly the conical and "spectacled" Scandinavian-esque ones.
    • This really doesn't stop the latter from screaming "I WILL DRINK FROM YOUR SKULL!" as a... *ahem* "greeting".
    • The Sword of Damocles mod for Mount and Blade adds (amongst other things) a mercenary faction called the Jotnar Clan, who really are stereotypical fantasy Vikings; horned and winged helmets, double-bladed axes, the full works. In the Warband version, they're allies of the Nords, for double Viking-y-ness.
  • Cultures: This strategy game and its sequel are about (mostly peaceful) vikings. And they wear horny helmets.
  • The Fremennik people of Runescape. Despite their xenophobic reputation, any human can become a Fremennik, if they prove themselves strong enough. Fremennik hate magic, which is quite silly because in this setting magic is safe to its user. Roughly hundred years ago they declared war on magic using humans, and have kept to themselves since. Currently they're at war with the Dagannoth.
  • Standish from Dubloon. He even has a guitar to boot.
  • In Para World, the Norsemen tribe (if the name wasn't a giveaway) are, basically, Vikings with dinosaurs, sabretooths, mammoths, and tanks.
  • League of Legends has Olaf, The Berserker. A steroetypical viking from Lokfar complete with a metal hornet helmet, yellow beard and fur and leather vest. He was on a plundering trip when stuff went to shit, and he's turned to the League in return for their help getting home. Does that mean he trusts anyone in the league? Not a chance in hell, He's disgusted by how easilly they've wrapped their Island, Valoran, around their finger-waggling, and fears that if they'd do the same to Lokfar if he ever tells them anything about it.
    • At least that's how he is in the first lore draft. In the most recent lore, he's still kind of the same, except that he's instead a Death Seeker who wants to die a glorified death in battle, but he's just too good at not dying. He ends up being drafted by Sejuani's Winter Claws so he can have a chance for a glorious death. Winter Claws is a group of strength-based individuals who plunders on the weak, so it kinda fits the trope for Olaf.
    • His playstyle is that of a berserker: The more he's hurt, the more he'll hurt right back. Most champions will retreat when hurt, with Olaf, getting hurt to about a quarter health just means it's time to cut loose.
    • The Freljord in general is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of pop culture Viking-era Scandinavia, so a few other characters take cues from this. Both boar-riding warrior-queen Sejuani and armoured berserker king Tryndamere wear actual horned helmets, and Tryndamere also has a special ability where he can be too angry to die for brief periods.
  • Dark Age of Camelot is a MMORPG that featured 3 playable realms fighting for control of the world. The Albion realm was an Expy of Arthurian-age British legends, Hibernia was the Celtic Expy and Midgard was the Viking one. The Midgard realm actually averted most of the more timeworn cliches and the developers even included things like having the various priests and priestesses of the Gods referred to as "Gothis" and "Gythias," the actual terms used for male and female clerics, respectively. Much of the lore provided to the player when talking to various NPC that wasn't created specifically for the games own storylines are reasonably faithful retellings of Norse lore.
  • The Crusader Kings II expansion The Old Gods pushes the timeline of the game back to allow the player to take control of various Norse warlords at the height of the Viking invasions of Europe. It also introduces special raiding mechanics to reflect their disposition towards Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
  • The brilliantly named Snowmads, a horde of villainous Funny Animal Vikings, from Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
  • The Shake King from Wario Land: Shake It!.
  • The Viking team from Pirates Vikings and Knights manages to avert the horned helmets, but otherwise, they meet all the requirements for stereotypical Vikings.
  • Legacy of a Thousand Suns: The Niflungs are basically Vikings In Space. No horned helmets, but they have space chain mail.
  • Dragon Age has the Avvar, who live to the south of Ferelden in the Frostback Mountains. Since they live inland, they don't have the whole sailing around in longboats thing going but they do wear horned helmets and run around raiding and pillaging. Dragon Age: Inquisition features them as enemies and includes a One-Scene Wonder who throws a goat at your castle.
  • Northgard is a Viking settlement builder and RTS game.
  • Given that Vikings are one of the main factions in For Honor, this is going to crop up. The Warborn are clans of Vikings who live in the frozen wastes of Valkenheim, and their portion of the story mode involves ganging up and organizing a "Great Raid" on the local Samurai for supplies and loot. As to their horniness, that can either be played straight or averted; the Raider and the Valkyrie can both adorn their helmets with a variety of different horns, the Warlord and the Berserker look closer to their actual historical counterparts and have less in the way of horn options (but make up for it with equally impractical helmet ornamentations like the ever-classic winged helmet.)
  • Gift: One of the heroes that failed to rescue Lolita Globo.

    Web Comics 
  • Played with by Kate Beaton
  • Thistil Mistil Kistil
  • Scandinavia and the World is primarily about modern Scandinavia, but the main characters occasionally go back to their roots by putting on horned helmets and beating up England.
  • In Nodwick, the heroes dealt with Vikings like these, who wanted them to slay a sea serpent. In fact, that led to this interesting exchange after Yeagar tried using a cow as bait, which Piffany naturally objected to:
    Piffany: Now let's try a plan that doesn't get anyone hurt, especially cows!
    Yeagar: [aside, to Artax] Does she not know where Vikings get the horns for their helmets?
    Artax: Let's not burst her bubble just now...
  • Zukahnaut features a reborn norseman called Hrothgar the Faceless, a walking embodiment of many Viking stereotypes.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe : Donner, one of the students at Whateley Academy and a rather pointed parody of Marvel Comics' Thor, is described as looking like what you'd get "if superheroes wanted to look like Vikings but didn’t do the research", horned helmet and all. Worse yet, he's actually from Sweden (and thus you'd expect him to know better), speaks English with a nearly impenetrable accent a la the Swedish Chef, and is an utter dunce. Best known for idly swinging (and often, dropping) a warhammer for no good reason.
  • C0DA, written by former The Elder Scrolls series writer/designer Michael Kirkbride, takes place in the far distant future of TES universe. Talos, one of the series most prominent deities, makes an appearance at the bachelor party of the main character, Jubal. Talos' appearance takes it Up to Eleven, stated to be "more Viking than Viking". To note:
    "His helmet has curled goat horns that are longer than his arms. His beard has to be wrapped up in his gigantic leather belt. In either hand, he carries a flagon of mead."

    Western Animation 
  • VeggieTales, "Lyle the Kindly Viking": Cutest. Vikings. Ever.
  • And The Backyardigans, "Viking Voyage", easily matches them. With a mermaid added in to boot!
  • In the Earthworm Jim cartoon, Santa Claus is one of these. (No, really.) In his youth, St. Nick was "Woden, Norse God of Justice", and while he's gotten a lot calmer and nicer in his old age, he's still willing to pull out the old pillaging suit and big sword if something really ticks him off. As Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt finds out when he breaks free of her mind control after she uses him to try and ruin Christmas.
    • Viking Santa isn't too far off the mark, actually. In Norse mythology, Odin traditionally went out hunting every Yule, and rewarded children who left out a bootful of sugar with toys and games. Hence, the modern traditions of the stocking and plate of cookies.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob encountered a tribe of underwater vikings, all of whom were named Olaf, and their leader, who was, of course, named... Gordon.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Juniper has been possessed, along with all her friends and acquaintances, by a horde of dead Vikings.
  • The Secret of Kells features absolutely terrifying vikings, portrayed as huge hulking horned blocks with deep guttural voices, growling out their desire for gold and wealth.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum: Fanboy and Chum Chum's friend Thorbold the Red, brother of Olaf, conquerer of Sweden and fifth-highest score on Whack-A-Dragon.
  • An episode of DuckTales (1987) "Maid of the Myth", the Vikings abducted Mrs. Beakley when she was an opera star.
  • In Kick Buttowski Kick's right hand man Gunther apparently hails from Nordic descent. In one episode Gunther's parents even open a viking themed restaurant, BattleSnax.
  • Gargoyles seems to avert this trope for the most part, the Vikings depicted in the cartoon being bereft of the stereotypical horned helms, axes and berzerker attitude, though they are still all about the pillaging.
  • The second Robbie the Reindeer special featured a lost tribe of pint-sized Vikings, all of them named Magnus.
  • Homestar Runner: Homestar wore a Viking helmet in at least two animations.
  • Modern day Vikings appear in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode, "Northern Lights Out" when vacationing in Norway.
  • One episode of Total Drama World Tour is about Owen donning a horned Viking helmet and speaking like a pirate.
  • Some Transformers have horns on their helmets in robot mode, therefore giving them a Viking-like appearance. G1 Bumblebee and Cliffjumper are two of the most famous examples.
    • Wreck-Gar and the Junkions are very clearly meant to invoke this. Wreck-Gar has horns (the handlebars of his motorcycle mode), a long beard, and wields an axe and shield (the axle and wheel of the motorcycle) in combat, and the Junkions are barbaric raiders and skilled craftsmen who live on a frontier world.
  • An episode of The Care Bears had Grams Bear tell a story with the bears playing the role of vikings. The emphasis on horned helmets is even more pronounced here than usual. Grumpy was only a "small horned" viking, while everyone else was a "big horned" viking. The episode was mostly about Grumpy earning the right to wear "big horns."
  • I Am Weasel had an episode where the main characters were vikings. Considering that they have been pretty much everything else, from egyptians to undead, this was inevitable. The King and Queen of Nopantsland kidnaps them because he wants to be pillaged, and they have to spend the entire episode teaching him how to put up a fight so they can pillage him properly. Seriously, this was a weird show.
  • Brainy and Clumsy encounter Lilliputians that resemble Vikings in The Smurfs Season 9 episode "Big Shot Smurfs".
  • Ivanhoe: The King's Knight has Inge Magnusson and his Norwegians, never mind that the Viking age was one hundred and twenty-eight years prior, and the Gordale Saxons who utter the name of Odin and their leader wields a weapon called Thor's axe. The animation for Norwegian Ivan is even reused for Saxon Elrick.
  • Pirates Passage: Helmets are completely absent, horned or otherwise, and we are instead treated to a historically accurate depiction of Viking age piracy when Captain Johnson gives Jim a lesson on surprisal.
  • The tenth episode of Il était une fois... l'homme is set in the time of the Vikings. However, none of the Vikings have horned helmets, and this episode shows many fascinating facts that makes it very accurate for its time (the 1970's).

    Real Life 
  • The Norse people enjoyed the peak of their power between the 8th and 11th centuries (June 8th, 793 - 1066), in what is called The Viking Age. Real Vikings did not wear horned helmets into battle. In fact, only a single horned helmet has ever been excavated, dating several hundred years before the Viking Age, did not have cow-shaped horns, and was clearly ceremonial. At most, Viking helms often featured the distinctive "spectacle-guard" around the eyes and nose, a style common amongst the peoples in the region.

    It would have been hard for genuine Vikings to wear horned helmets in battle — Viking warfare was based on the shield wall and other close-quarters styles of fighting (including naval combat which involved a lot of boarding actions), and horns would have put allies at risk of impaling an arm or hand on the protrusions. Or more likely, as any helmet is designed to deflect blows, putting horns and other ornamentation on a helmet would give a weapon something to snag and direct the force of the blow to the wearer's head, defeating the purpose of helmets. In close combat, it would also give an opponent an excellent thing with which he could grab and control someone.

    The ancient Norse were also surprisingly civilized, although remembered mostly for their offenses towards women and monks in battle. When not raiding or pillaging, their interests immediately turned to trade and colonization. Areas under the Danelaw quickly became centers of industry and cultural exchange, thanks to wide-ranging Viking vessels.

    Vikings were the direct ancestors of the Normans once the people further up the Seine realized it was easier to buy off these Danish hooligans with land at the mouth of the river, rather than have them raid what would later become Paris every once in a while. Indeed, William the Conqueror was the great-great-great-grandson of Rollo, the founder and first ruler of the viking principality that later became Normandy. It is one of the ironies of history that feudal society has its roots among the descendants of vikings, but feudalism never truly caught on in Scandinavia when the cultural influence of the Normans began to spread (people accustomed to electing their kings were not too impressed with the notion of a society run from the top down — among many other things).

    Viking lords really did have awesome names like Sveyn Forkbeard, Ivar The Boneless,note  and Erik Bloodaxe.

    It should also be noted that "viking" was a job description, more or less, rather than an ethnicity. It was a word for their method of raiding. (These warriors could be hired for a right price — just ask the Roman emperors in Miklagarðr). The vast majority of the people were farmers, craftsmen and traders. Population boom + limited farm land = lots of men with energy to burn. The solution? Have them amass wealth and status some other way. Also, far from being filthy and unbathed, their personal hygiene bordered on OCD (well, for the time, anyway). This makes sense as, when it's too cold to sweat ever, you definitely don't want any dirt or grime sticking to you for long periods of time. Among the excellent documentary evidence for Vikings' cleanliness: a letter from a Saxon bishop, complaining that the pagan Norse settlers were luring away Christian women by washing and combing their hair.
  • Horned Helmets are surprisingly rare in Real Life, but it turns out that one of the few tribes that did have them was a biblical tribe that used cow horns, pointing downwards. They looked ridiculous.
  • Samurai did have the famed Horned Helmets. Likewise, The Teutonic Knights of Northern Europe (founded a century or so after the Vikings' raids ended, for the most part) frequently stuck horns on their elaborate helmets, along with wings, crests, spikes and lord knows what else. The best part? They knew full well that adding bells and whistles to their helmets was at best a hindrance in battle and sometimes even a liability. But it made them look badass, so what the hell. Rule of Cool. It did help that the lower-ranking samurai retainers — that is, the ones who shouldered the majority of the direct combat burden not taken up by the ashigaru — tended to have helmet crests that were much smaller and less awkward than the ones on their lords' helmets. Sometimes, they didn't even have crests at all.
  • The blind singer/composer known as "Moondog" used to walk the streets of New York City in Viking garb.
  • Viking men did carry their weapons in normal life, even when doing the most routine everyday activities.
    • It depends what you mean by a weapon. Like a US frontiersman's Bowie knife, an early Scandinavian's Seax (a straight single-edged blade like a belt-sized machete) was a practical tool for a farmer and hunter, which also served as a weapon in a pinch.
      • The seax was much more important and ubiquitous among the Saxons, as it's both from which their name is believed to derive and also a mark of being a free man or woman. Furthermore, in any culture possessing a defined warrior aristocracy, carrying your weapon was considered part of your normal dress. Samurai and European knights of later eras would actually not be considered dressed if they went out without their sword at their side.
  • The concept of elite, massive descendants of Germanic nobles trained in The Spartan Way and equipped with state-of-the-art armour as well as pattern-welded swords, who allowed people to live on their land if they worked on it, (AKA knights) was designed as the Godzilla Threshold against the Vikings. Considering the hardships and cost it took to train and equip a knight, this speaks volumes about the prowess of both knights and Vikings.
    • On the other hand, it also gave rise to the formation of an effective militia outside of the ties of Germanic tribes, hearkening back to the recruitment of the Roman army (though not as systematic). Previously, soldiers were either knights or men-at-arms, the latter of which were descended from the followers of the knight's own ancestor, a barbarian noble warrior. Both the Vikings and their victims (the smart ones, at least, like the Saxons and Franks) were willing to recruit and train tough men in a defense levy or as a larger support force. The descendants of the original Germanic warriors (AKA knights and Viking Huskarls/Jarls) were still much more effective in combat, due to the nutrition, training, and equipment that tended to come from noble descent; but, well, even a badass needs a bodyguard.
  • The Norweigan Telemark Battalion. Judging by this video, the Old Gods are still alive.


Video Example(s):


The Hairy Hooligan Tribe

The Hooligan tribe on the Isle of Berk is a viking tribe who has fought a 300 year with with the dragons that invade them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HornyVikings

Media sources:

Main / HornyVikings