Saga Brief 24 – The Northman Interview with Robert Eggers and Sjón

In this episode, John and Andy sit down with Robert Eggers and Sjón to chat about the stories behind their recently released saga-inspired film The Northman. That’s right, we’re talking to the director and co-writers of the biggest Viking film to be released since Kirk Douglas was a star! Stick around for the last 20-30 minutes where the four of us work together to put The Northman on trial Saga Thing style.


Warning: This conversation is full of spoilers from the very beginning. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you’ll want to run out and see it before listening. If you’re on the fence about seeing it, then give the episode a listen. Either way, we hope this interview will help you to better appreciate something of the process of creating a large-scale Viking epic for the 21st century and the unparalleled effort to accurately and respectfully adapt Viking Age culture and saga literature for the big screen. The attention to detail in The Northman reflects a great deal of careful research, time, and a genuine love for the rich literary tradition of the Icelandic sagas and Old Norse mythology.

Our thanks to Robert and Sjón for the generous gift of their time and good humor on the Monday morning after the film’s release. And a special thank you to Garrett for helping to set it all up.

Music Credits

Opening song – Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur

Outro – Ólafur Liljurós

One thought on “Saga Brief 24 – The Northman Interview with Robert Eggers and Sjón

  1. Loved the episode and the film. I’m sad to say that I missed the implicit legal significance of the “Night blade.” Another small thing: the film’s depiction of Knattleikr really did help me retroactively visualize the way these games appear in the sagas and lead to conflict. If anyone is reading this who hasn’t seen the film, they really should check it out. It’s a good film in its own right and there’s a constant stream of extra enjoyment caused by seeing how the film continually works various aspects of the sagas into the film (as discussed in this episode).

    I thought the timing of the podcast’s focus on Aud on the last episode of the podcast (first episode on Laxdaela Saga) was well timed for Gudrún’s reveal late in the film.

    I’m glad Sjon highlighted Ethan Hawke’s final words as an extra notable witticism.


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