Episode 36j – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 47-51)

In this thrilling episode, Kjartan asserts his presence in the district (and gets a taste of revenge) by humiliating Bolli, Gudrun, and the Osvifssons. I’d love to tell you more in this teaser about how he goes about that, but I don’t want to spoil the fun. And even as Kjartan pushes back against his rivals at Laugar, Gudrun pushes back harder. All of this sets up one of the saga’s most exciting and moving climaxes as Bolli and Kjartan finally come to blows.

Because this is the saga’s first major climax, we take our time setting it up. And when it’s all finished, there’s a special summons at the end where we consider the good and bad of Kjartan’s character. Find us on social media and let us know how you feel about Kjartan (sagathingpod on Twitter, sagathingpodcast on Instagram/Facebook, or on our unofficial official Discord page).

Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) composed the above illustration of Bolli and Kjartan sharing a quiet moment. It’s quite touching, especially when you know the story. If you don’t know the story, then listen to the episode. What are you waiting for?

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Holiday Special – The Tale of Frosti Snjokarlinn

Happy Holidays to all you amazing Saga Thing listeners out there! Over the past couple years we’ve put out a Holiday Special on or around Christmas Eve. It started with The Saga of Gudmund the Grunch. And then last year we gave you the little known origins of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in “A Visit From Glam.” 

This year we managed to find a fun short story to share with you about a man called Frosti Jónsson, known affectionately to all in medieval Iceland as Frosti snjókarlinn. If you’re familiar with the Rankin/Bass Frosty the Snowman special, you’ll probably recognize some of the names and events of this long forgotten origin of the Frosti legend.

We hope you enjoy.

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod (now with sleigh bells)
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Outro Music“Frosty the Snowman” by Gene Autry

Episode 36i – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 43-46)

This episode is all about Kjartan coming to terms with Bolli’s betrayal. As he comes to realize his relationship with Gudrun came to an abrupt and unexpected end while he was overseas, Kjartan finds solace in his family and in the arms of a new (and much better) woman. But just when everything seems to be moving in the right direction, feast season begins and some rather important gifts from Norwegian royalty go missing. Now who would want to steal from Kjartan and his lovely new bride? Find out as Saga Thing takes on chapters 43-46 of Laxdaela Saga!

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Kjartan_departing_fro...

Thanks, as always, to Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) for providing us with another original illustration for this episode of Laxdaela Saga. Here we see Kjartan bidding a fond farewell to his beloved Hrefna as he prepares to do some sort of manly business. You know these saga boys are always riding off, waving goodbye to their wives and mothers. Hopefully Kjartan makes it back in time for the next episode of our saga. He won’t want to miss it. Then again, he just might want to skip that one if he knows what’s good for him.

And I know that John promised some sort of bibliography would come with this episode. Email him and ask where it is, because he never sent it to me. Typical John.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Episode 36h – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 40-43)

In this episode, Kjartan and Bolli say goodbye to Gudrun and to the safety of Iceland as they travel overseas to make a name for themselves in Norway. Unfortunately for them, Norway is in the midst of a political and religious transition as the country and all who enter it find themselves under the influence of King Olaf Tryggvason. The new king is eager to convert all and sundry to Christianity, often by any means necessary. Along with all the other Icelanders in Nidaros, including our old friend Hallfred the Trouble-some Poet, Kjartan and Bolli are not allowed to leave the port until they turn their backs on the old faith and embrace Christ. Will Kjartan and Bolli resist the pressure to abandon Odin and Thor? Or will King Olaf charm them into accepting the new faith? And how does Gudrun feel about her new beau heading off to Norway for 3 years? There’s only one way to find out!

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Kjartan_and_Bolli_Hea...

Thanks, as always, to Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) for providing us with an original illustration for this episode of Laxdaela Saga.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Episode 36g – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 35-40, but actually only to 38)

In this episode we go back to chapter 35 to pick up on the story of the Hebridean sorcerers. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find out that they’re not exactly welcomed with open arms by the Icelanders. To be fair, this family of sorcerers are particularly bad.

As these illustrations by @skarphedin_illustrator suggest, it doesn’t turn out too well for them.

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Otkel_and_Grima_9-25-...
Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Otkel_and_Grima_the_S...

We also get a chance to check in with some old friends in Laxardal and put an end to a longstanding rivalry.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Episode 36f – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 31-36)

It’s time to dive back into Laxdaela Saga! This time we’re going to wander away from Olaf Peacock and his family for just a little while. Why? Because it’s time to introduce Guðrún Ósvífsdóttir, one of the central figures of the saga! In this episode, we discuss Guðrún’s dreams, her troubled marriage, and some interesting scholarship on gender identity in the saga age.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Saga Brief 25: Saga Manuscripts and the Árni Magnússon Institute (An Interview with Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir)

While Andy’s away, John will play…a recording of his interview with Svanhildur Óskarsdóttirof the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavik. Join us for a discussion of Árni Magnússon’s status as the savior of saga literature and the work of the Institute still carrying on in his name. How important is Árni to Iceland? Well, we found this picture of him:

Arni_on_the_100_Kronur_bill8suyu.jpg

If that’s not enough, learn how a fire in Copenhagen nearly wiped out the sagas, how vellum pages “wander” from one library to another, who upset a sixteenth-century reader so much that they wrote “damn him!” in a manuscript’s margin, and why missing white gloves causes call-in complaints to Icelandic television.

Our thanks to Svanhildur for her time, expertise, and good humor. Enjoy the conversation, and we’ll be back to Laxdæla saga as soon as John can convince Andy to come home…

Check out the Árni Magnússon Institute’s website here.

Episode intro: Kent, “Då som nu för alltid”

Intro: Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur

OutroÓlafur Liljurós

Episode 36e – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 24-31)

In this episode, Olaf Peacock takes center stage as Hoskuld’s life comes to a peaceful close. But don’t think Hoskuld shuffles off this mortal coil before getting one last jab in at his estranged brother Hrut. This episode features an impressive parade, a somewhat lackluster haunting, a trip to Norway, and funeral and wedding feasts. If that’s not enough for you, then you’ll want to stay tuned to hear how Egil Skallagrimsson’s daughter handles a disagreement with her husband.

Foust_-_Laxdaela_Saga_-_Olaf_Peacock_and_Hrap...

Thanks again to Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) for providing us with an original illustration of Olaf’s encounter with Hrapp. You can find more of his work here on Instagram.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Episode 36d – Laxdaela Saga (chapters 20-24)

In this episode, little Olaf Peacock travels to Norway and then to Ireland on a journey to meet his grandfather Myrkjartan. But how will he pay for it? Traveling overseas in the 10th century isn’t cheap (it still isn’t). How will King Myrkjartan and the Irish welcome the Icelandic son of the long lost Melkorka? And what familiar figure from Saga Thing past pops in for a visit and a quick marriage arrangement? There’s only one way to find out!

We also discuss the presumed burial mounds of Thord Goddi and Skallagrim Kveldulfsson. We explore John’s fascination with the Campbell’s monomyth and similarities between Olaf Peacock and Anakin Skywalker (yes, you read that correctly).  For the runesack, we address a funny little stick with strange scratches on it that leads us into yet another conversation about Celtic influences on medieval Icelandic culture and a chat about the origins of our names. There’s a lot going on here!

As promised, here’s a pictures of Andy’s great-grandfather, Andrew Kormos:

And a picture of John’s namesakes:

[forthcoming???]

As always, thank you to Jacob Foust (aka @skarphedin_illustrator) for another original illustration. You can find more of his work here on Instagram.

And finally, some promised bibliography, including works we referenced and some that were used while prepping the episode:

Clover, Carol J. The Medieval Saga. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.

Gísli Sigurđsson. Gaelic Influence in Iceland: Historical and Literary Contacts: A Survey of Research. Reykjavík: Bókaútgáfa Menningarsjóđs. 1988.

Hastrup, Kirsten. Culture and History in Medieval Iceland: An Anthropological Analysis of Structure and Change. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985.

Kellogg, Robert. “Introduction.” In The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, edited by Robert Kellogg, pp. xv-lvii. New York: Viking, 2001.

Kress, Helga, “‘You Will Find It All Rather Monotonous’: On Literary Tradition and the Female Experience in Laxdaela saga.” The Nordic Mind: Current Trends in Scandinavian Literary Criticism. F. E. Andersen and John Weinstock, eds. University Press of America, 1986. 181-195.

Kristjánsson Jónas, and Peter Foote. Eddas and Sagas: Iceland’s Medieval Literature. Reykjavík: Hiđ íslenska bókmenntafélag, 1997.

Morris, William. The Lovers of Gudrun. A Poem. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1870.

Robinson, Peter. “Vikings and Celts.” In Introductory Essays on Egils saga and Njáls saga, edited by John Hines and Desmond Slay, pp. 125-139. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1992.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Episode 36c – Laxdæla saga (chapters 14-19)

We’re back with the third installment of Laxdæla saga! In this lengthy episode, we meet a bunch of minor characters who play a role in the developing tensions in Laxárdalur (the Salmon River Valley). This surprisingly fun section starts with a little disagreement between two former friends over a stack of fish. That disagreement erupts into a violent altercation that drags in the major power players of the district, puts a husband and wife at odds, and eventually leads to an opportunity that Hoskuld Dalla-Kollsson simply can’t pass up.

If that’s not enough for you, we’ve got Hrut’s arrival in Iceland and a suspicious (and frankly rude) seal giving unasked for advice to a helpless family. Not since “whack-a-ghost-seal” have we laughed this hard!

Thanks as always to @skarphedin_illustrator for bringing the text to life. Here we see Hrut fully “aroused” into a frenzy battling for his inheritance. If you’re looking to get one of his illustrations on a shirt or in a print, visit his Etsy page.

Music Credits

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4236-prelude-and-action
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Review Music “The Royal Vagabond Medley” by Jocker’s Dance Orchestra

Outro Music – “Stormfront” by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4421-stormfront
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license