At long last, it is time to put Grettir’s Saga on trial. Does the fight atop a whale carcass have enough appeal to win Best Bloodshed? Will Grettir’s Saga break the Body Count record currently held by Eyrbyggja Saga? Will Andy and John outlaw Grettir or take him on as thingman? Does Andy finally decide whether Grettir’s Saga is better or worse than Gisli’s Saga? And will John ever stop talking about Nicknames? This saga is full of memorable moments, witticisms, and wonders, which is why this judgment section ended up being so long. But don’t worry, there’s plenty to laugh about and plenty to learn here.
We hope you enjoy this conclusion to Grettir’s Saga as much as we enjoyed making it. The journey’s been long, but well worth the time spent. We’ll get to the Saga Brief about Grettir and Beowulf sometime soon. For now, we need a break from this saga. It’s on to the Saga of the Greenlanders next and then Finnbogi the Mighty. Until then!
The Saga of Grettir the Strong continues. In this episode, Grettir arrives home in Iceland only to discover that his father has passed away, his brother has been slain by Thorbjorn Oxen-might, and that he himself has been outlawed for the accidental burning of Thorir of Gard’s sons in Norway. That’s a lot to take in all at once. As an outlaw, Grettir is forced to lurk in the wilds, hide in caves, and rely on the kindness of others for food. Since Grettir’s not terribly kind himself, he usually just steals what he needs. Join us as we discuss the last of Grettir’s adventures, including amazing feats of strength, battles with a troll-hag and a giant, and a rocky encounter with a witch. Will Grettir get stumped by the witch’s black magic? Will he go out in a blaze of glory? And will he ever recover from the embarrassment of his exposed manhood? Find out in this episode of Saga Thing.
Drangey Island in Skagafjörður fjord, where Grettir and Illugi spent their final years.
In this epic multi-part episode, we tell the story of Iceland’s most famous and longest surviving outlaw, Grettir Asmundarson. Join us as we trace his life, from its tempestuous beginning to its tragic end. Before we delve into his amazing exploits as an adult, we must look back to his origins. In traditional saga fashion, we begin with his great grandfather, Onund Treefoot. We follow Onund’s efforts to resist the increasing power of King Harald Fairhair and his struggles to come to terms with the loss of his property and his leg. Forced to redefine his own identity and to make a new life in foreign lands, he emerges as the truest hero in the saga, renowned as “the bravest and most agile of all the one-legged men in Iceland.” From Onund, we wend our way through battles over whale corpses, murder, and legal cases in the genealogy until we arrive at Grettir himself. We’ll look briefly at Grettir’s inglorious youth, his troubled relationship with his father, Asmund, and the events leading up to his first outlawry. Will Grettir learn to control his temper and put his strength to good use? Or will he flout the norms of society and continue to make his own way more difficult? Find out as Saga Thing takes on Grettir’s Saga (chapters 1-20).
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.
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.