Turns out it was kind of smarter than a lot of us were giving the writers credit for. It just took me a while to figure out why. Y’all can thank Teen Wolf/The Avengers for it actually. Or don’t thank them. Just ignore this and go worship at the altar that is made up of Tyler Hoechlin’s abs, Chris Evans’ ass, and Jeremy Renner’s arms. It’s a beautiful place. But if you are still with me, here’s the thing.
Back when Ordinary People aired and subsequent episodes, I and most other recappers had a lot of criticisms of the Viking thing. And its still sort of been a bit of a joke I think. Like oh sure werewolf Vikings showed up down in Virginia like a thousand years ago instead of the werewolves being natives and naturally Alaric has a degree in runes. I’m still doubting the Alaric part but I’ll refrain from speaking ill of the dead. #RIP
But um, werewolf vikings? Actually spot fucking on. Like to the point that I sort of want to send baskets of mini-muffins to the TVD writers room. So werewolf legend typically originates in two places; Greek Mythology (the legend of Lycaon) and Norse Mythology (Fenrir, son of Loki–that would be the Avengers reference–and of Asgard). Yes, my nerd is showing, shush. The Originals being from Eastern Europe ties them into both Greek or Norse legends because the Vikings did quite a bit of settling in that area, just like the Greeks way back when. But since we’ve got runes in a cave in Virginia, I’d say the writers went with a Norse influence.
I mean you’ve got Vikings who are all wrapped up in their Norse mythology so if you’re going to have werewolves in what will be America, of course they’re going to be Vikings. And they’re going to use runes to write in because that’s their form of writing at the time. I’m just kind of flailing right now because it all actually does click together. You’ve got werewolves searching for a new home, a place where they would be safe and free, not only because Europe is slowly being settled (not fast, hello this is like 980 AD) but also because people back then would still believe in werewolves, so there were probably a lot more hunters. But getting a witch to tell you about another world where you could be free? Yeah if I’m a werewolf pack, I’m so jumping on that.
And with the whole Viking heritage in their Norse bones, they’ve got a better chance of making it across the Atlantic. Naturally they still want to keep a record of their history, hence the runes. This might be only making sense to me (which happens an awful lot) but my brain is basically realizing that it actually all weaves together a hell of a lot better than any other theory I had before. Like it fits. I love when mythology fits together.
So on that note, sorry I spent so long doubting you Vampire Diaries writers on this point. But seriously, where did Alaric learn to translate runes? Because I still can’t find that correspondence course from the University of Phoenix.