From 2015-2017 we covered a grand total of 10 sagas. You listened. You laughed. You cried. And when each saga was finished, you heard John and Andy pass judgment on the characters and their actions. Now it’s your turn to be heard.
As always, the Quarter Court reviews the winners from the past 10 judgment episodes. The polls will be open until September 30th. At that time, John and I will close them down and review the results in the judgment section of the Second Quarter Court.
Remember, voting closes on September 30th. Get in while you can.
Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” 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/
At long last, it is time to put Njal’s Saga on trial. You’ve listened to the saga summary for nearly a year. Now, find out who will take home the prestigious Best Bloodshed and Notable Witticism trophies. Discover exactly how many bodies hit the floor (give or take a few). Learn interesting facts you never knew you needed to know, like who among the many candidates for Nicknames turns out to be related to Hamlet of Denmark. Review the crimes of the saga’s villains and consider along with the hosts who most deserves a sentence of outlawry. If you could only take one man or woman from the saga as your thingman, who would you choose and why? Listen as John and Andy debate the question and finally select a new ally to join their formidable bands of thingmen. Is this, as many scholars agree, the very best of the Sagas of the Icelanders? Only John and Andy can decide. Join us now for the epic judgments of Njal’s Saga!
The epic journey through Njal’s Saga finally comes to an end. In this episode, we follow Kari Solmundarson on his quest to avenge the deaths of everyone he was forced to leave behind in the burning house. His targets are Flosi and the Burners. With so many against him, the odds aren’t in his favor. But Kari is known throughout Iceland for his unmatched bravery and fearlessness. His pursuit of the burners carries him from Iceland to the British Isles and then on to Rome. Along the way, we’ll take a brief detour to Ireland for a glimpse at the historic Battle of Clontarf. Though this may be the end for our little summer saga, there’s plenty here for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the revenge, the battles, and the blood, you’ll want to keep listening for the world’s strangest mathematics word problem and a brief discussion on Entish naming practices. Enjoy!
Saga Thing returns after a not so brief holiday hiatus. When last we left you, the settlement for the slaying of Hoskuld Thrainsson had been disrupted by insults and threats of violence. We pick the story up as Flosi gathers his forces to surprise the Njalssons at home. When the surprise attack is spoiled by a wishy-washy conspirator, Flosi is left with the difficult task of finishing what he started regardless of the consequences. In this episode, we finally discover how the Saga of Burnt Njal got its name.
In this episode, we leave the conversion behind and get back to Njal’s Saga. Tensions are running high yet again thanks to the careful plotting of your favorite villain, Morð Valgardsson. Despite their troubled history with Morð, the Njalssons accept his friendship and quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. With a major lawsuit pending and most of Iceland turning against them, the Njalssons seek help from some of Iceland’s most powerful men, including such notable figures as Guðmund the Powerful, Thorkel the Bully, and the inestimable Snorri Goði. Will Skarpheðin lead his brothers to glory? Or will fate finally catch up with Njal and his sons? Find out as Saga Thing takes on Njal’s Saga (again).
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.