Saga Short 4: The Tale of Thorstein Shiver

What happens when a stubborn Icelander enters an outhouse alone at night against the orders of King Olaf Tryggvason? Find out as Saga Thing takes on The Tale of Thorstein Shiver!

If you haven’t read this one yet, you can find it in the back of your Penguin edition of Sagas of Icelanders or Icelandic Histories and Romances

Also, check out Vikings in 30 Seconds (mentioned by John in the conclusion).

Music Credits:

Intro: From “Death Awaits” by Billy Malmstrom

Outro: From “Óðinn” by Krauka

Episode 20F – Njal’s Saga (Part 6)

Skarphedin

In this episode, we travel to foreign lands with Thrain Sigfusson and two of the Njalssons.  Thrain will find things easy going, but the prophecy of hard times for the Njalssons proves true. We’ll also introduce you to two new players in the saga, the heroic Kari Salmundarson and the villainous Killer-Hrapp.  This episode of Saga Thing is full of adventure, intrigue, and digressions. Join John and Andy as they discuss the politics of medieval Orkney, minor deities of the Norse pantheon, and the wonders of the Icelandic landscape.  There’s something here for everyone!

Download this episode (right click and save)

 Music Credits:
Previous Episode Review – “Begin the Beguine” by Artie Shaw
Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Episode 20e – Njal’s Saga (Part 5)

Death of Gunnar and Hallgerd's Shame

This episode of Saga Thing is all about revenge. We conclude the Gunnar section of Njal’s Saga with a look into the aftermath of our hero’s death, the vengeance he demands, and the fate of his brother, Kolskeggi.  If Njal wants to avenge his friend and secure his position in the region, he’ll have to act fast.  Fortunately, he’s got his son, Skarphedin, and Gunnar’s son, Hogni, as willing swords.  Gunnar’s ghost helps get things moving.  While we don’t cover a lot of ground in the saga this time around, we do explore some important issues that inform our reading of the first half of the saga and give us something to look for as we embark on the saga’s dark second half.  We discuss Gunnar’s pride, the ethics of Njal’s behavior, and we finally tackle the “halberd” controversy.  Hallgerð gets her fair share of our attention as well.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Image taken from the beautiful Njal Tapestry.  Visit http://www.njalurefill.is/ for more information.

Music Credits:

Intro MusicPrelude and Action by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Previous Episode Review “The Mooche” by Duke Ellington

Episode Summary“Enchanted Journey” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Gunnar’s PoemRitual by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Outro Music – Stormfront by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Episode 20d – Njal’s Saga (Part 4)

Gunnar's Bow2

Gunnar has been told that he will live to be an old man if he can avoid killing two men from the same bloodline and if he never breaks a settlement.  Achieving this is easier said than done, especially since Gunnar’s personal body count increases every time a challenger appears.  In this episode, Gunnar’s patience will be tested as Morð Valgardsson, Thorgeir Starkaðarson, and Thorgeir Otkelsson plot to finish off their rival once and for all.  But will they have what it takes to bring down Iceland’s champion?  Will Njal be able to rescue his friend once again?  And will Hallgerð forgive Gunnar for the slap, or will she once again seek vengeance?  Find out in part 4 of Njal’s Saga!

Download this episode (right click and save)

If you’re interested in contributing to our bibliography, please contact us at sagathingpodcast@gmail.com.

If you are interested in writing about women in Njal’s Saga or any other saga for the Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University, submit an abstract and paper proposal form for our panel “The Second Sex: Women and Power in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature.”  Again, please use our email: sagathingpodcast@gmail.com

Njal's Saga

Purchase your own copy of Njal’s Saga

Music Credits
Intro Music
Prelude and Action by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Previous Episode Review
Bert Firman – Hangin’ Around

Episode Summary
Adrian von Ziegler – Ótroðinn

Outro Music
Stormfront by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Episode 20c – Njal’s Saga (Part 3)

Gunnar at Ranga

In the third part of Njal’s Saga, we find Gunnar suffering an identity crisis after being pulled into a series of feuds.  As Njal tells him, this is the beginning of Gunnar’s career in killing.  In addition to a lot of fighting, this episode also features a discussion of saga-age masculinity, cheese theft, horse fighting, and famine survival.  Yes, that’s right.  I said cheese theft.  Listen and learn, people.  Listen and learn.
Click here if you’re interested in any of the bibliography we mention. Get in touch with us if you’d like to get involved in the bibliography and resource building for this or any other saga.

Download this episode (right click and save)

 Njal's Saga
If you’re an academic type who wants to write about women in the sagas for our panel “The Second Sex: Women and Power in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature” at the Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University, submit an abstract and paper proposal form to sagathingpodcast@gmail.com
Music Credits
Intro Music
Previous Episode Review
Episode Summary
Outro Music
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Episode 20b – Njal’s Saga (Part 2)

The Feud

In this episode, we introduce Gunnar Hamundarson and his wise friend Njal Thorgeirsson.  We’ll follow Gunnar on a few adventures before he settles down with the lovely, but dangerous Hallgerd Hoskuldsdottir.  If you thought Hallgerd was harsh in Part 1 of our summer saga, just wait until you see what she’s up to this time around.  Will the friendship of Njal and Gunnar survive the escalating violence spurred on by their wives, or will they be consumed by it and destroyed?  There’s only one way to find out.

Download this episode (right click and save)

For anyone who’s interested, we’ve put together a select bibliography for Njal’s Saga.  We have mentioned a few of these, but there’s plenty more here for your perusal. Obviously, you’ll need a good library to access most of these.

Njal's Saga

Join the fun with your own copy of Njal’s Saga!

Music Credits:

Intro Music
Prelude and Action by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Previous Episode Review
Iron Horse by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Episode Summary
Voces Thules – Varizk ér Ok Varizk ér

Outro Music
Stormfront by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Episode 19a – The Saga of the People of Reykjadal and Killer-Skuta (Part 1)

Lake Mývatn, Iceland

In this episode, we travel to the northern districts of Thingey and Eyjafjord where the Askel the goði spends most of his time working out settlements to save the skin of his nephews.  You won’t meet a more saintly Icelander than the wise Askel goði, but you might question his loyalty to Vemund Fjorleifarson.  But, as Vemund’s uncle, poor Askel is caught between a rock and a hard place.  Will his support of Vemund cost Askel the ultimate price in the end, or will he make an honest man of his wayward nephew?  Find out as Saga Thing takes on the first half of The Saga of the People of Reykjadal and Killer-Skuta.

Download this episode (right click and save)

In the introduction, we mention the excellent blog The Saga-Steads of Iceland.  You can visit Emily Lethbridge’s post on Reykjadal here.

And, lastly, here’s my favorite video featuring midges in Mývatn.  It’s worth watching all the way through.

Episode 18c – The Saga of Finnbogi the Mighty (Judgments)

vikings-s4

It’s time to put The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong on trial.  Join us as we review the saga’s more violent moments, count up the dead, and shed some light on a few nicknames.  Who will be outlawed? Who will be chosen as thingman?  Will Andy and John agree on the quality of the saga? You’ll learn all this and more in the Final Judgments.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Episode 18b – The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong (Part 2)

Viking Violence

Join us for the thrilling conclusion of The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong.  In the first part of this episode, we discuss Finnbogi’s evolving relationship with the Norwegian Earl Haakon, his trip to Constantinople, and his pursuit of Alf’s daughter Ragnhild.  Yes, Finnbogi’s got his eye on the daughter of the man he killed on the way to Haakon’s court.  The second part of this episode takes us back to Iceland, where Finnbogi finds that fame isn’t all its cracked up to be.  With rivals emerging everywhere he goes, Finnbogi is forced to move from district to district in search of peace.  That turns out to be a real challenge after he crosses a powerful lunatic like Jokul Ingimundarson, who you might remember from the second part of our episode on Vatnsdæla saga.  There are many many feuds and fights in this part of the story.  We do our best to cover the ones that really matter.  We hope you enjoy this final part of our summary of The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong.  It was a lot of fun for us, which is why this episode ended up so long.

Download this episode (right click and save) 

Incidentally, since Finnbogi does make his way down to Constantinople and we often find ourselves in Byzantium, our listeners might be interested in The History of Byzantium podcast.  He hasn’t covered Emperor John yet, but he’s getting closer to the period of the Varangian Guard.  We’re looking forward to that.  In the meantime, check out his special episode on the city of Constantinople.  It covers the founding of the city, it’s geographical significance, and the daily life of its people.  Great stuff!

Episode 18a – The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong (Part 1)

Mother and Child

The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong tells the tale of a farmer’s son who overcomes an ignoble birth and rises to become one of Iceland’s greatest men, or so the saga author would have you believe.  This obscure and rarely discussed 14th century saga is thought to have been written in response to Vatnsdæla Saga, where Finnbogi comes off rather poorly.  In his own saga, Finnbogi proves to be an upright and noble figure who almost always does the right thing.  With superhuman strength, he’s capable of dispatching an angry bull with his bare hands, snapping the spine of an angry Norwegian bear, and coming out ahead in a seemingly endless feud with Vatnsdæla Saga’s brutish Jokul Ingimundarsson.   Finnbogi’s Saga deserves more attention than it has gotten in the past.  And that’s why you come to Saga Thing.

Download this episode (right click and save)

References:

John Kennedy, Review of Bachman/Erlingsson Translation of The Saga of Finnbogi the Strong, in Scandinavian Studies 64 (1992), 149.

Phillip Pulsiano and Kirsten Wolf, Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia (1993), 194.

Paul Schach, Icelandic Sagas (Boston, 1980), 155-56.

Music for the brief summary: “Nerves” by Kevin MacLeod (incopetech.com).  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0