In this episode, Thorgeir heads home to Iceland against King Olaf’s advice. Despite being a known outlaw, things go pretty well for Thorgeir at first. His visit takes a turn for the worst when he encounters Gaut Sleituson up north. Their brief meeting triggers events that will change the course of their lives and the trajectory of the saga itself.
Before that though, we revisit a section of Grettir’s Saga we had previously skipped where Thorgeir and Thormod butt heads with Iceland’s most famous outlaw. We also discuss the physical characteristics of a courageous heart, investigate a few scenes from The Saga of the Volsungs and the Prose Edda, wonder about the jiggliness of a horse heart, chat about vin-berries in Vinland, and laugh at John’s attempts to ferment fruits and other garbage in his youth. As if that’s not enough, we pitch a saga-inspired idea for an Icelandic ultramarathon with an unforgettable name. We had a lot of fun recording this one. We hope you enjoy!
Thanks, as always, to Jacob Foust for sticking with us through the Saga of the Sworn Brothers and sharing his talents. Check out more of his work by visiting his Instagram page.
Oh, and if you make it to the end of the episode and want to know more about Patricia Gonsalves and her amazing Archery camp and classes, visit Lykopis Archery. You can listen to our interview with Patricia and Stephen Fox by revisiting Saga Brief 14: Medieval Archery.
Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Poetry Music – “Skjoldborg” by Danheim
Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
One thought on “Episode 33d – The Saga of the Sworn Brothers (chapters 13-18)”
Dear Andy and John,
thanks again for your wonderful podcasts! I particularly enjoyed this one for its discussion of the plant Angelica (“kvann” in Norwegian). I almost always tear off a bit of the plant to chew on, when I come across it on my walks, and bore any companions with my enthusiasm for its importance in Viking times. I did not nnow this story from Grettir’s saga, so will add it to my repertoire. I normally bring up the episode in Olav Tryggvasson’s saga, where the king brings a stalk of Angelica to his queen, and she starts shaming him into instead going to Poland to get her inheritance, leading to his famous death at Svolder. I’ve often wondered whether this story has a further depth, that maybe the episode in Grettir’s saga also may allude to. Angelica is rich in vitamin C, making it preventative to scurvy, and therefore potentially a great boon for long-range sea voyages. Did the king actually bring the Angelica to his queen to say that he was preparing to sail to Poland? Were the sworn brothers gathering Angelica because things were to hot for them on Iceland? Or am I clutching at Angelica straws, hanging over a ledge of wishful thinking?
Your servant and hiberno-håløyg,
Niall Armstrong (which btw is my real name, which raises no eyebrows in Ireland, but has a ring of saga and moonfaring elsewhere.)
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