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Apr. 8th, 2010

Thief Eyes cover


Sagafic contest

I'm holding a fic (& art/craft) contest with saga-based prompts over in my journal. Feel free to come play! :-)

Mar. 12th, 2010

magic, protection, wonder, iceland, icon of awe


Tattúínárdœla saga

And the person who wins the Internets this week is the author of a blog called "Tattúínárdœla saga" or "The Saga of the People of Tattooine River Valley," subtitled "If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga".

The introductory post is here. He's since gone on to write the first five chapters of the saga itself, for value-added awesomeness. In Old Norse.

Because, dude, it is totally awesome. I wish Lucas had taken the Icelandic dialog for Luke and Vader's battle in Empire instead of the Middle High German tale he adapted. Go. Read. And when you finish rolling on the floor, come back and gush.


Feb. 13th, 2010

Iceland, gunnar/hillside OTP, snark snark snark, dying for one's ship, sagas


A work in need of progress

It has come to my attention that the TV Tropes page on The Icelandic Sagas is in need of some serious development work. In terms of The Other Wiki, it's little more than a stub. I invite anyone familiar with TV Tropes to come help out, either with the heavy lifting of moving in boxes of tropes or with polishing the furnishing text, whatever you feel up for. Kibitzing suggested additions, even.

Those who aren't familiar with the site, we'll see you in a week when you come back out the rabbit hole. Have fun exploring.


Jan. 25th, 2010

Hallgerður and Gunnar


Does anything depend on it?

(crossposted from my lj)

One interesting thing about the bowstring incident in Njal's Saga is how differently men and women tend to react to it:
At this moment Thorbrand Thorleiksson leaped up on the roof and cut through Gunnar's bow string ... By this time Gunnar had wounded eight men and killed two. Then he received two wounds, and everyone said he flinched at neither wounds nor death.

He spoke to Hallgerd: 'Give me two locks of your hair, and you and your mother twist them into a bowstring for me.'

'Does anything depend on it?' she said.

'My life depends on it,' he said, 'for they'll never be able to get me so long as I can use my bow.'

'Then I'll recall,' she said, 'the slap you gave me, and I don't care whether you hold out for a long time or a short time.'

'Everyone has some mark of distinction,' said Gunnar, 'and I won't ask you again.'
Continued behind the cutCollapse )

Nov. 12th, 2009

Hallgerður and Gunnar


Saga men, saga women

So, on the web site for that edition of the English translation of the complete sagas (yes, I'm still thinking about them!), I found this statement:

... Although we invariably find men dominating the foreground of the narrative, the Saga world is also strongly shaped by women: by mothers who instil their sons with ancient heroic values and incite them to noble deeds, by beautiful young women over whose favours poets fight, by women of steely character who rebel against male power and refuse to accept the limitations imposed on them by custom and law.

(The writers go on to posit the The Saga of the People of Laxardal as an exception, and then to trot out the theory that because of this maybe a woman wrote it.)

I've met statements like this before ...Collapse )

So is there an ongoing tendency to see the sagas as male stories in spite of their many strong women? Where do you think it comes from? In what ways is it justified, and in what ways is it not?


"... and I think you shouldn't find fault with the story unless you can improve on it" -- part two

A while ago, Janni posted about the afterword to Hrolf Gautreksson, wherein the author basically says, keep your trap shut unless you can do better.

I don't think I ever read that saga . . . but I've taken said author up on his challenge.

I first encountered the poem "The Waking of Angantyr" (for which you can blame my weird fixation on Hervarar saga) in Patricia Terry's Poems of the Elder Edda. Not that "Waking" is from the Elder Edda, but it is composed in an eddic style, which is why she included it. The poem stuck in my head, and then I encountered it again in my Old Norse class; we didn't translate it, but E.V. Gordon includes it in An Introduction to Old Norse. And, as it happens, gets his facts wrong: he says Hervor wants the sword from Angantyr so she can go get revenge. Which isn't what happens; if memory serves, Hjalmar died of his wounds after fighting Angantyr et al, and Arrow-Odd goes off to have his own saga before dying of a snakebite. I didn't know that at the time, though, so between the two of them, Terry and Gordon planted a certain image in my head, of the context around this poem.

Then I read the saga.

Read more...Collapse )

Which brings me to my question: what's the biggest fault in the sagas you've read? What's the plot hole or failure to be interesting that you most want to improve upon? (janni, you're not allowed to say "Hallgerd." We already know about her. Pick another one. <g>)

Nov. 10th, 2009

Hallgerður and Gunnar


Complete Sagas of the Icelanders

The (English translation of the) Complete Sagas of the Icelanders are once again available!

On sale, it's in the same price range as the historical thesaurus to the OED.

But the latter is more likely to find it's way into my library, right? :-)

Nov. 9th, 2009

Iceland, gunnar/hillside OTP, snark snark snark, dying for one&#39;s ship, sagas


Best starter saga

So what's the best saga to hand to someone who knows nothing about the sagas or medieval Iceland? The best introduction to the world that will get them hooked without getting them totally confused, lost, or turned off?

Because let's face it, while Njal's Saga is the best, it's also the longest and so most intimidating. Furthermore, it's among the most tightly constructed, with hardly any narrative fat to be trimmed from the plot's frame -- which means if you miss something, you can get just a bit lost (for scalable values of "bit"). So possibly not the best introduction. Then there's that standby of world literature anthologies, "Thorstein Staff-Struck," which is a reasonable start -- it has the style and flavor of a typical saga, and large parts of it are readily comprehensible without cultural annotations (especially Thorstein's relationship with his, er, cranky father). But while it had the virtues of brevity, it also has the flaws thereof -- a bit too short to give a full flavor of the other sagas, over just as you've taken the second bite.

But then what? What's your suggestion?


Oct. 28th, 2009



swan_tower got the idea of Superman / Eddas crossover fic stuck in my head. So in revenge, I'll link to an old post about Viking filk.

I blame Snorri Sturluson.


screwed-up family dynamics for the win!

It's all Mrissa's fault Thanks to Mrissa, I'm 323 words into a story titled "Serpent, Wolf, and Half-Dead Thing," about Loki's three monstrous children. After some hemming and hawing, it seems to have decided that it takes place just after Loki was bound.

Which is not technically saga material, but I figure the Eddas are close enough to pass. :-)

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