Two of the best medieval-style shows that you can watch are Vikings and Game of Thrones, which are very popular among different audience members. They are often compared to one another, even though they may be quite different. And the reason for the comparison is the fact that these shows are full of action and political drama. So, which between Vikings and Game of Thrones is the better series?
Despite the disappointing conclusion to the series, Game of Thrones is better than Vikings. That’s because GOT has a better overall cast of characters, a more intriguing story, and has a bigger cultural impact. Still, Vikings may be better in terms of pure action and overall story pacing.
There is no doubt that Game of Thrones is arguably the greatest series ever made, as it is also the most expensive. It is the most successful television series in the modern age and has had a huge impact on our society. But Vikings is not far behind in terms of how great of a series it is. So, for you to understand why GOT is the better show, let’s look at some points and how well these shows match up against one another.
The story of Vikings was taken straight out of the pages of history, even though there is no definite story that surrounds the narrative behind the different characters that you can find in the series. Nevertheless, what the show’s creator did was that he took different characters from the history books and then created a story out of what he read about them and how they played certain roles in the different events in history. Vikings revolves around Ragnar Lothbrok and his rise to power as one of the most prominent Vikings that invaded England during the eighth and ninth centuries.
Game of Thrones has a story that is also adapted from books, as much of what has been shown on the screen was adapted from George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels. However, Game of Thrones introduced some changes while omitting some events and characters. On top of that, the show had to continue with the story despite the fact that the books were not yet done. Basically speaking, GOT revolves around different characters in their pursuit of obtaining the throne of Westeros while fighting off political rivals and mythical creatures that have come to destroy the entire continent.
Game of Thrones, at the start, had a storyline that is superior to any other show because of how well it adapted the books. However, when the show began to exceed the scope of the novels, that was when it started to decline in terms of story quality steadily. Meanwhile, Vikings also started out on the right foot, but the story became a bit too dragging after Ragnar’s death. That said, neither of them has the advantage over the other.
Points: Vikings 0, GOT 0
The History Channel paid good money to be able to put on the screen the story of the Vikings that lived more than a thousand years ago. In fact, the first season of Vikings alone had a total budget of $40 million, as there is no doubt that the quality of the series was able to give respect to the money spent on producing this show. The scenery, special effects, and acting all reflect the budget. Of course, the other seasons might have also spent somewhere close to that number, as the total money spent on Vikings might be right around $240 million to $300 million throughout its six-season run.
Meanwhile, Game of Thrones spent a whopping total of $1.5 billion throughout its entire eight-season run. That means that every season averaged nearly $190 million, and that’s a number that’s very hard to beat. Of course, Game of Thrones is the biggest and most expensive series in history, especially when you consider the fact that every season’s budget is the equivalent of a blockbuster film. On top of that, GOT was able to earn more than $3 billion.
No matter how you look at it, GOT is the better show in terms of its budget because HBO spared no expense to bring to life this amazing story. The production crew didn’t save a single penny to shoot the series in different locations around the world and to use every button on the panel to give us movie-like special effects. Vikings, mind you, is actually an expensive series, but its budget pales in comparison to GOT.
Points: Vikings 0, GOT 1
Vikings is a series that’s primarily built on its action scenes. Every action scene in the series is intense and very gory to the point that you will really see how vicious Vikings were back in the day when it comes to how they treated their battles. The producers spared no expense in allowing us to see how the Vikings fought and how they used their experience and tactical ingenuity to win different types of battles. And while the action scenes may be a bit too gory, they can be realistic.
Game of Thrones isn’t short on action scenes as well, especially when you look at the latter seasons. There are plenty of different epic battles in the series, as you can see different types of fighters using different swordplay skills to good effect. Of course, the battle scenes between different armies were also done well, especially when we look at the epic fights such as the Battle of the Bastards and the Battle of Winterfell.
Both Vikings and GOT were able to deliver great battle scenes. While GOT’s action scenes are more epic in terms of their scale, Vikings had the more intense battles. As such, this category can be quite subjective, depending on what a person prefers more.
Points: Vikings 0, GOT 1
Vikings was able to bring to life the characters by making use of great actors that were able to see major breaks in their careers when they joined the cast of this series. Travis Fimmel is no doubt the man who brought everything together with his portrayal of Ragnar Lothbrok, as he eventually gained a starring role in HBO’s Raised By Wolves. However, aside from Fimmel and Floki actor Gustaf Skarsgård, the other main actors are yet to get their big breaks outside of Vikings.
Game of Thrones was able to highlight the acting skills of some of the most notable actors we have today, as there is no doubt that the cast members were chosen well. We cannot get enough of Peter Dinklage’s acting, but other cast members like Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Kit Harrington also became huge stars because of GOT.
The fact that GOT has had actors that were able to see other roles in equally big productions means that the casting was done right. Almost all of the major characters of the series were able to have successful careers after Game of Thrones. But while Vikings also has its own fair share of award-winning performances, GOT seems to be better in this department.
Points: Vikings 0, GOT 2
As mentioned, the latter portions of Vikings were not as well-done as the first few seasons that focused on Ragnar. However, Vikings ended well enough when we were able to see concrete conclusions in the stories of some of the main characters, such as the sons of Ragnar. On top of that, we also saw some of the starring characters dying off in front of our eyes, as it was inevitable for them to eventually see their demise. Even though there was still room for a seventh season, season 6 ended satisfactorily.
The biggest reason why Game of Thrones has become an afterthought today and is not as spoken of quite often is the way the showrunners handled the final two seasons. Seasons 7 and 8 of Game of Thrones were rushed to the point that the showrunners simply just wanted to get the series over with, even though there was still room for another season. While the intent of the ending was in line with how Martin would’ve wanted the story to end, the execution was too rushed and half-baked.
As epic as Game of Thrones may be, the way its ending was handled is what has made the final season a disappointment to a lot of fans all over the world. There could have been room for more episodes to make the audience understand why the story had to end that way, but the showrunners just couldn’t wait to end the series. On the other hand, Vikings has an ending that is satisfactory enough, especially if you look at the real-life history behind some of the characters portrayed in the series.
Points: Vikings 1, GOT 2
Vikings is a very popular show as, according to Nielsen, the series premiere was able to garner a total viewership of six million people in the US alone. Meanwhile, the first season alone was able to average nearly one million viewers per episode in the US alone. The number should be higher if you factor in how the series only became more popular in the later seasons. As such, Vikings was able to garner plenty of viewers as far as contemporary standards are concerned.
There is no way any other show would ever top Game of Thrones in terms of its audience and viewership in the modern era. It is regarded as the most-watched series of all time, and its final episode was able to break records. On top of that, the cultural impact of this show is so great that almost every country in the world got hooked on Game of Thrones, and that’s not something that a lot of different shows can say.
Game of Thrones takes this one no doubt because Vikings doesn’t have the same numbers when it comes to its scope. While Vikings did indeed succeed in terms of how many people it attracted, Game of Thrones is on a level that probably no other show will ever come close to.
Points: Vikings 1, GOT 3
Vikings vs. Game of Thrones: Which Show Is Better?
Game of Thrones is the better show compared to Vikings and could even be the greatest series of all time had it not had a disappointing ending. That said, Vikings is no slouch because it has amazing fight scenes, a great plotline, and a captivating story that has attracted plenty of people around the world. But it’s difficult to truly compare any other medieval-themed show or any series, for that matter, with Game of Thrones because of its overall scope and impact. That is why Game of Thrones is perhaps right up there in terms of the greatest TV series ever made.