A Quick Chat in Reykholt from Saga Conference 2018


Greetings from Iceland! In this episode, John and Andy sit down in the lobby of the beautiful Fosshotel in Reykholt to chat about the conference and Andy’s travels around Iceland.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Music Credits:

Intro: Corvus Corax – Bibit Aleum

Outro: Rick Wakeman – Journey to the Center of the Earth

Saga Brief 14 – Medieval Archery with Patricia Gonsalves and Stephen Fox

In this special episode of Saga Briefs, our side project here at Saga Thing, John and Andy sit down with Patricia Gonsalves and Stephen Fox for a chat about archery in the Viking world. But the conversation isn’t limited to medieval Scandinavia. Patricia and Stephen, both experts in archery and its history, have travelled the world learning everything they can about the subject. We take full advantage of their expertise as we cover everything from Gunnar Hamundarson’s request for a lock of hair to make a bowstring to cinema’s best archers. Along the way, we learn about fletch mites and the last official kill by a longbow in wartime (hint: it involves dead Nazis). This is our longest interview yet, but it’s an informative and fun one from beginning to end. We hope you enjoy Patricia and Stephen as much as we do.
[auido https://sagathing.podbean.com/mf/play/pieibt/Saga_Brief_14_-_Medieval_Archery_Interview_with_Patricia_Gonsalves_and_Stephen_Fox.mp3%5DDownload this episode (right click and save)


Patricia currently works as the archery consultant for the popular television series Arrow and The Flash, among other shows. While she works behind the scenes, you’ll have seen her work in the skilled and realistic approach to archery she’s trained into every actor who draws an arrow on the shows. Patricia grew up imagining herself in the shoes of literature’s most famous archer, Robin Hood. Today, she not only gets to play with bows and arrows every day, she gets to help make television’s Robin Hood look cool. You can follow Patricia’s adventures on her Facebook page, TheEpicArcher.


Stephen Fox studied Experimental Archaeology and Viking Archery at University College Dublin. If you want to know anything about how bows are made, Stephen is your guy. He’s toured the world studying archery, working at excavation sites and Viking museums. An expert in Viking bow-making, Stephen spent two seasons working at the Lofotr Viking Museum in Norway, where he built his own workshop in the chieftain’s longhouse and crafted bows from scratch. Stephen currently works with Patricia as an archery technician for Arrow.

If you’re interested in getting some hands-on training in historical or traditional archery, you’re in luck. Patricia is the founder and lead instructor at Lykopis Archery, located in Vancouver, Canada. Stephen also works there as an instructor and administrator. In addition to teaching introductory archery classes to youths and adults, Lykopis offers detailed instruction in the Four Disciplines of Archery, including:

The Lithics Discipline: This discipline concentrates on bows and arrows that were used in the Stone Age and throughout prehistory.

The Asiatic Composite Bow: Examines the composites of the Steppe, Eastern Asian bows and the styles used in Mounted Horseback Archery.

The Longbow: Studies the theory and application Viking Longbow and the Tudor/Welsh Warbow and and the heavy draw technique that allowed warriors to pull up to 100 lbs in draw weight.

The Flatbow: Focuses on First Nations and Native American bows, flatbows of the 20th Century and techniques applicable for stealth and for hunting.

Follow Lykopis Archery on Facebook for news and updates on programming.

Episode 25a – The Saga of Ref the Sly

Ref's House

Saga Thing returns with the wild adventures of Ref the Sly. Follow us as we track this wily character from as he travels all throughout medieval Scandinavia leaving piles of wood shavings and bodies in his wake.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Picture: Taken from Grayson del Faro’s recap of Ref the Sly on the Reykjavik Grapevine

Music Credits:

Intro Music – “Prelude and Action” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Summary Music “Industrial Cinematic” 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/

Saga Brief 10 – “Female Viking Warrior” Interview with Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson


Neil Price’s Reconstruction of Birka Bj 581

Dr. Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson is a researcher in the department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University in Sweden. You might recognize her name as the lead author of the recent article, “A Female Viking Warrior Confirmed by Genomics,” which identified the famous Birka warrior of grave Bj 581 as a woman. It’s no surprise that this revelation attracted a lot of attention from both scholars and fans of the Viking Age. In this special Saga Brief, Andy sits down to talk with Dr. Hedenstierna-Jonson about medieval Birka, grave Bj 581, and the exciting implications of this revelation.
Download this episode (right click and save)

Music Credits:

Opening song – “Rúnatal” by An Danzza

Introduction – from Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur

Outro – Ólafur Liljurós

Saga Brief 9 – Thor: The Intersection of Viking Mythology and Popular Culture (Live)


In this Saga Brief, John and Andy visit Seminole State College to talk about Thor in all his incarnations, from the Proto-Germanic god of thunder to the hammer throwing stud of the Marvel Comic Universe.  You can access the PowerPoint slides here: Thor Presentation.

 Download this episode (right click and save)

Special thanks to Michael Mendoza for inviting us and organizing this event. We are also grateful to Aaron Hanlin and the Grindle Honors Insitute at Seminole State College for generously funding our travel. And thank you to the students of Seminole State for your kind attention and enthusiasm.

If you’re interested in having Saga Thing come to your university, contact us at sagathingpodcast@gmail.com.

Thor SlideMusic: 
Intro to Saga Brief – from Icelandic Folk Music: Tröllaslagur


Saga Shorts 1 – Þættir Intro and The Tale of Thorstein Staff-Struck

Icelandic Horses Fighting

Welcome to the first episode of Saga Shorts, a side project of Saga Thing where John and Andy review the þættir of medieval Iceland.  In this episode, we provide a brief introduction to þættir and the difficulties one faces when trying to define the genre.  If you’re not interested in those technical details, just skip ahead to 10:10, where we begin our review of Þorsteins þáttr stangarhöggs (The Tale of Thorstein Staff-struck).  This fun little tale tells the story of an old Viking’s son named Thorstein who gets into some trouble with Bjarni Brodd-Helgisson, the local goði, after killing 3 of his farmhands.

Download this episode (right click and save)


Harris, Joseph. “Genre and Narrative Structure in Some Íslendinga þættir.” Scandinavian Studies 44 (1972): 1-27.

Harris, Joseph. “Þættir.” In Dictionary of the Middle Ages, vol. 12, edited by Joseph R. Strayer, 1-6. New York: Charles Scribner, 1989.

Jakobsson, Ármann. “The Life and Death of the Medieval Icelandic Short Story.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 112 (2013): 257-91.

Kristjánsson, Jónas.  “Íslendinga þættir.” In Eddas and Sagas: Iceland’s Medieval Literature, translated by Peter Foote, 299-309. Reykjavík: Hið íslenska bókmenntafélag, 1997.

Miller, William Ian. “A Case Study of the Sagas as Sources: Þorsteins Þáttr stangarhöggs and the Politics of Accident.” In Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland, 51-76. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Rowe, Elizabeth Ashman. “The Long and the Short of It.” In The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas, edited by Ármann Jakobsson, Sverrir Jakobsson, 151-63. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Rowe, Elizabeth Ashman and Joseph Harris. “Short Prose Narrative (þáttr).” In A Companion to Old-Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture, edited by Rory McTurk, 462-78.  Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

Music Credits:

Intro: From “Death Awaits” by Billy Malmstrom

Outro: From “Óðinn” by Krauka

Episode 20l – Njal’s Saga (Judgments)

Njal's Saga

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!

Download this episode (right click and save)