What is Saga Thing?

Saga Thing is a podcast hosted by two friends and former grad-school colleagues who have been reading and enjoying the sagas for years. We’re both professors of medieval literature and we both have beards.  Though we live quite far apart, recording Saga Thing gives us an opportunity to get together again (virtually) and talk about our love of medieval Iceland.  Our goal is to read and review the sagas, one at a time, in an epic quest to put the sagas of the Icelanders on trial and to celebrate the greatness of saga literature.

For a complete list of sagas to be covered, click HERE

Each episode will be broken down in two main sections:

Summary and Discussion: as we review the saga’s characters, action, and plot-lines we’ll dig in to some of the major themes, issues, and questions that make the saga work

Judgment: an evaluation of the saga’s juicier bits through several categories:
1) Best Bloodshed – who had the most brilliant death or maiming?
2) Body Count – a tally of every unnatural death in the saga
3) Notable Witticisms – an award for the best bit of dialogue or description
4) Nicknames – a review of the best nicknames in the saga, with an award for our favorite
5) Outlawry – a tallying-up of the despicable behaviors of the figures in our saga, at the end of which we pass a sentence of outlawry and exile on the most irredeemable of the bunch
6) Thingmen – we become goðar (chieftains) and each choose a figure we’d want on our side in a feud or at the Althing
7) Ratings – where we each offer a subjective assessment of the saga’s quality

As if all that weren’t inducement enough, we’ll also offer random bits of trivia,  snippets of scholarly assessment, and the occasional digression into feud, history, legal culture, and even prudent land management. All this and more…at the Saga Thing!

4 thoughts on “What is Saga Thing?

  1. By all the gods in Valholl – your podcast has been a life saver for me. I completed my masters thesis on the archaeology of horses in Viking Iceland a few years ago and have been pining for any discussion on Icelandic culture since! I listen to your podcast while at my archaeological job in Utah and sorely miss studying the topic. You guys have given me so many good sources and your banter oddly enough keeps me sane throughout the day. I would love to hear your opinions on certain topics – and I have so many questions for you – especially PhD inquires! You have been absolutely amazing. Keep up the great work – and look forward to me pestering you on Twitter with questions (@itsritual). Skål!

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  4. What a treat! My husband and I have listened to your discussion of Egil’s saga and loved it. We could never read the saga and are not literature scholars (or scholars of any kind). You’ve made the saga plot clear, introduced Icelandic culture and politics and made us laugh. Everything made sense (and we’re only Brits!!) … so thank you and well done xx

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