The Vikings Animal Detail That Confuses Fans

Ah, the brutal world of History's epic Vikings series.

Through six gory seasons, Michael Hirst and his cable patrons have taken us on a longship journey across the Viking Age — from the historical raid on the Christian monastery of Lindisfarne, through King Ragnar's (Travis Fimmel) reign and the Great Heathen Invasion of England carried out by his blood-thirsty sons. It has been quite the ride, and with the final set of episodes rapidly bearing down upon us, fans have been revisiting some of the earlier episodes in the series — and picking out a few strange details.

Redditor u/CelestialPerch recently uploaded a perfectly timed screen grab under the heading, "how is there a emu in Kattegat?" 

How, indeed, CelestialPerch? How, indeed. The screenshot clearly depicts the distinct flightless bird hanging out around the fictional 9th century Norwegian port city, just minding its own business — as if the freezing shores of Scandinavia were a perfectly reasonable habitat for emus.

Fortunately, some of u/CelestialPerch's fellow Redditors and Vikings aficionados were quick to chime in with some very sensible explanations for the strange, avian cameo.

The emu might have been an homage to Travis Fimmel

A quick jaunt over to Wikipedia reveals that the emu evolved during the Miocene Epoch, though by the 9th century when Vikings takes place, these rare birds were only found on the very distant continent of Australia. Did some ostentatious Scandinavian jarl order up an Australian emu for some gauche menagerie? Unlikely, considering it would be another few hundred years before trade opened up between Norway and Australia. Since it's pretty clearly an emu in that screenshot, there must be some other explanation.

Australian Redditor u/newella16 claims inside knowledge that the crew stuck the emu in as a witty tribute to Australian adonis and lead actor Travis Fimmel. "I heard that they actually put it in without Travis Fimmel knowing and that look he gave it during the shoot was authentic," newella16 wrote. "It was a homage kind of thing to him from the producers because he is Australian. But yeah there is no way the Vikings would of come into contact via trade or raid with any civilization's who had managed to obtain Emu's." Obviously, this poster has obtained the same Wikipedia-level understanding of emu history that we have. 

It's funny to imagine the props department dropping in an emu just to provoke an authentic reaction from Fimmel on set, but we honestly almost prefer u/SN1P3RSHEEP's theory: "That is a spoiler! The emu becomes Jarl."

All hail, Jarl Emu! Long may she reign.