Episode 14c – The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal (Judgments)


After a two part summary, it’s finally time to put Vatnsdæla Saga on trial.  As one of the longer sagas we’ve covered, there were plenty of candidates for each category.  In fact, with so many great characters available this is the toughest one yet for choosing a thingman.  And outlawry…don’t even get us started on the number of potential outlaws in this saga.  There’s plenty of bloodshed and a decent pile of bodies to keep everyone happy.  And, for the first time, more nicknames than we could possibly deal with in a reasonable amount of time.  John did his best to curb his enthusiasm and make nicknames manageable, but Andy still fell asleep near the end.  We’ve posted a severely edited version of the nicknames section in the episode available for download, but you can see the whole list of nicknames and hear the full original recording (more or less) by following this link: John’s Crazy Nicknames

Among the highlights of this episode, in our humble opinion, is the exploration of just how many large cats a person could reasonably take on in battle.

Andy also reminds John of a backroom deal he offered a while back that would have made the Thingman selection for Vatnsdæla Saga a whole lot easier.  This episode is packed with facts, fun, and a healthy dose of nonsense.  But enough babbling.  Here’s the link you’re looking for:

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Episode 14b – The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal (Part 2)

Ingolf and the Outlaws

Join us for the second half of the epic tale of the Vatnsdal chieftains and their family over six generations. In this episode, we clumsily attempt to trace the final three generations of this remarkable family.  We’ve crammed a lot into this episode and we barely scratch the surface.

We pick up the story with the seven children of Ingimund Thorsteinsson (led by the bickering brothers Thorstein and Jokul) as they seek revenge against their father’s killer and begin a career as luck-favored witch-killers. Along the way, they encounter a particularly impressive villain named Thorolf Sledgehammer and his clowder of ornery cats.  With the district safe from evil-doers, the saga shifts to the next generation.

This section begins with the sons of Thorstein Ingimundarson, Ingolf and some other guy.  Ingolf Thorsteinsson is the important one.  He’s the handsome Don Juan of Iceland who melts hearts and enrages menfolk across the north of Iceland. Ingolf may be a bit narcissistic, but he backs up his boasts with impressive feats of derring-do (see picture above, and note the rock strapped to his chest).

The final generation is represented by Thorkel Scratcher, who we discussed briefly in Hallfred’s Saga Troublesome-poet.  Despite his humble origins as an illegitimate son abandoned to the elements as an infant, Thorkel Scratcher rises to become one of the great figures of Iceland. But great men often have jealous enemies…

This episode is filled to bursting with berserkers, half-giants, demonic pumas, missionaries, witches, outlaws, legendary swords, legendary lovers, and the occasional bloodbath. How does one man with twenty enormous black cats keep the litterbox clean? What are the three tests of a chieftain hero? Can one man singlehandedly take out eighteen bandits if he has big enough stones? Is there room for two berserkers in a single family? And can a Norwegian companion ever survive a saga battle?

Listen in and find out!

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In honor of the many Norwegian companions who have fallen in the name of saga violence, we’ve created a special shirt in our Saga Thing store.  Get one for your own Norwegian companion.

  Norwegian Companion ~ 317    ~ 2206

And grab a coffee mug for yourself while you’re at it.  All that and more, available here: Saga Thing store.

Episode 14a – The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal (Part 1)

Harald Fair-Hair

King Harald Fairhair

The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal tells the story of one family over 5 generations (though John will insist on counting 6).  We begin with Ketil the Large challenging his son, Thorstein, to find out what’s lurking in the woods and killing everybody.  Thorstein turns out to be a very lucky fellow who is soon married to the daughter of a famous earl in Gotland.  Thorstein’s son, Ingimund, is the central figure of this episode of Saga Thing.  We follow Ingimund from his noble youth, through his glory days as a Viking, all the way to his eventual death in the Vatnsdalur region of northern Iceland.  Will his life end peacefully or will he suffer a violent death?  There’s only one way to find out. This episode features giants, witches, and transcendental Laplanders.  We’ve also got epic battles, or at least references to epic battles, seduction, or at least clumsy attempts at seduction, and bloodshed…there’s definitely bloodshed.

[audio http://sagathing.podbean.com/mf/web/xpg6dc/Episode14a-TheSagaofthePeopleofVatnsdalPart1.mp3 ]

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If you like what you hear, pick up a copy of The Sagas of Icelanders from Penguin Books and read the saga for yourself.