Episode 12b – The Saga of Bjorn Champion of the Hitardal People (Judgments)

Lumpfish Poem

In the second part of Saga Thing’s look at The Saga of Bjorn Champion of the Hitardal People, John and Andy discuss the merits of the text, argue over the size and ferocity of the dragon, investigate Thord’s ill-fated encounter with a stranded seal, and share some interesting tidbits from Icelandic law codes about pornographic sculptures and naughty poetry.  We also outlaw a rather deserving villain, choose our thingmen, and offer our thoughts on the saga’s overall quality.  It’s a full episode with a nice balance of humor, scholarship, and speculation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Icelandic legal definitions of níð and ýki as they relate to Bjorn’s Saga, follow this link to Alison Finlay’s excellent article on the subject: Monstrous Allegations: An Exchange of ýki in Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa.  

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Episode 12a – The Saga of Bjorn Champion of the Hitardal People

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The title is a mouthful, but some might call this saga an underappreciated gem of medieval Iceland.  Like the other warrior poet’s sagas, we’ve got a love triangle.  This time Bjorn, a dashing swashbuckler who sports the impressive title “Champion of the Hitardal People,” loses the girl to his conniving rival, Thord Kolbeinsson.  But this isn’t your average warrior poet saga.  Rather than a series of duels and fights, these men trade verbal barbs in some of the raunchiest poetry saga literature has to offer.  It isn’t all taunts and insulting verses, however.  This saga has some depth and strong characterizations that make it an instant favorite for the men of Saga Thing.

You can read along in your own copy of The Sagas of Warrior-Poets


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