The story of Viglund the Fair and his lady Ketilrid is a saga for lovers. This fifteenth century tale, the last of our warrior poet’s sagas, covers several generations. Each generation features a case of true love coming up against the secular tradition of arranged marriage. Can Viglund and Ketilrid overcome the obstacles set in their way and join at last in wedded bliss? It never worked out for the other warrior poets, so why would this one be any different? Listen to find out, if you dare! This is a remarkable, if somewhat late, work of saga literature. While the passage of time has clearly affected the style and structuring of the warrior poet genre, in some ways this is the warrior poet saga you’ve been waiting for. Join us as we examine the romance of Viglund and Ketilrid on this episode of Saga Thing.
Krákumál is an autobiographical poem of the legendary Viking hero Ragnar Loðbrók, composed and spoken while Ragnar awaits his death in the snakepit of King Ælla. We discuss the content and form of the poem, compare it to the Saga of Ragnar Loðbrók and His Sons, and examine the place of the History Channel’s Vikings in the literary tradition of this legendary figure. There’s also some discussion of kennings, quirks of early modern scholarship, and the evolution of literary fads throughout history. We also tackle the question “Unicorns: Fact or Fiction?” in a nearly serious manner.
And to prove the poem’s lasting popularity, check out this performance of Peder Syv’s (1631-1702) adaptation of the 12th century Krákumál from Velbastað on the Faroe Islands in 1959 (at least that’s what the tag on the YouTube video says). Now that’s an impressive journey through the ages.