Episode 16 – Grettir’s Saga (Part 1)

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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).

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 This handy genealogy will help you keep some of the names straight in your minds
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Pick up a copy of Grettir’s Saga and discover all the stuff we left out!

Grettir's Saga

Episode 14b – The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal (Part 2)

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Join us for the second half of the epic tale of the Vatnsdal chieftains and their family over six generations. In this episode, we clumsily attempt to trace the final three generations of this remarkable family.  We’ve crammed a lot into this episode and we barely scratch the surface.

We pick up the story with the seven children of Ingimund Thorsteinsson (led by the bickering brothers Thorstein and Jokul) as they seek revenge against their father’s killer and begin a career as luck-favored witch-killers. Along the way, they encounter a particularly impressive villain named Thorolf Sledgehammer and his clowder of ornery cats.  With the district safe from evil-doers, the saga shifts to the next generation.

This section begins with the sons of Thorstein Ingimundarson, Ingolf and some other guy.  Ingolf Thorsteinsson is the important one.  He’s the handsome Don Juan of Iceland who melts hearts and enrages menfolk across the north of Iceland. Ingolf may be a bit narcissistic, but he backs up his boasts with impressive feats of derring-do (see picture above, and note the rock strapped to his chest).

The final generation is represented by Thorkel Scratcher, who we discussed briefly in Hallfred’s Saga Troublesome-poet.  Despite his humble origins as an illegitimate son abandoned to the elements as an infant, Thorkel Scratcher rises to become one of the great figures of Iceland. But great men often have jealous enemies…

This episode is filled to bursting with berserkers, half-giants, demonic pumas, missionaries, witches, outlaws, legendary swords, legendary lovers, and the occasional bloodbath. How does one man with twenty enormous black cats keep the litterbox clean? What are the three tests of a chieftain hero? Can one man singlehandedly take out eighteen bandits if he has big enough stones? Is there room for two berserkers in a single family? And can a Norwegian companion ever survive a saga battle?

Listen in and find out!

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In honor of the many Norwegian companions who have fallen in the name of saga violence, we’ve created a special shirt in our Saga Thing store.  Get one for your own Norwegian companion.

  Norwegian Companion ~ 317    ~ 2206

And grab a coffee mug for yourself while you’re at it.  All that and more, available here: Saga Thing store.

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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Episode 11b – Kormak’s Saga Judgments

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In this episode, John and Andy discuss the problem of Thorveig’s curse, Kormak’s efforts to woo Steingerd, and the excellence of Bersi the Dueller.  It’s time to judge Kormak’s Saga.  Who will be chosen as thingman?  Who will be outlawed? Will the Scottish giant get the recognition he deserves for his brief cameo?  Download the episode and find out now!

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Episode 11a – Kormak’s Saga

SteingerdIf you’re a fan of erotic poetry and dueling, then this is the saga for you.  Join us as we follow Kormak as he pursues the lovely-soled object of his affection, Steingerd.  Yes, I said soled and I meant it.  She’s got nice feet and Kormak is just into that sort of thing.  Who are we to judge?  Along the way, you’ll meet the scoundrel Narfi, a witch in a questionable relationship with a walrus, and a surprising visit from a Scottish giant.  Yes, this saga has a bit of everything.  So what are you waiting for.  It’s time for Kormak’s Saga!

Click here to get your copy of Sagas of Warrior-Poets

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Episode 10a – The Saga of Hallfred Troublesome-Poet

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In this episode, we continue our journey through the Sagas of Warrior-Poets in The Saga of Hallfred Troublesome-Poet. Though you’ve never heard of him, this court poet for 3 of Scandinavia’s greatest rulers is actually quite famous. As his nickname suggests, Hallfred’s poetry often lands him in hot water. He’s a suave lover, a witty poet, and a capable warrior. We’ll sample some of the poetry that made him famous, examine his difficult conversion to Christianity, and cheer as he gouges out the eyes of his enemies. There’s plenty of action and adventure here, with a fair amount of hot lovin’ too. But it’s Hallfred’s relationship with King Olaf Tryggvason that really makes this one special. We hope you enjoy.

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