Seven Viking Romances

Seven Viking Romances

  • Arrow-Odd
    - The phenomenon of “birth omen” – mother sees a hairy Lapp at the moment Grimy Hairy-Cheek is conceived, and he is born with a hairy cheek.
    - The importance of fostering children
    - The hero who “cared little for sacrifice to the gods, but trusted in his own strength”
    - The theme of the “visiting volva” who makes prophecies (found in several sagas)
    - The mound of silver and earth on the Dvina river – a handful of silver is left for everyone who dies, and a handful of earth for everyone who is born. It is sacred silver and may not be stolen! A tribe of giants (allied with the Kvenir) considers it sacred and protects it!
    - Travel to the Gray Isle, where an elf-maid makes him a shirt of invulnerability! The hero later marries Olvor, the elf-maid!
    - Kidnapped by a giant “vulture” and brought to a land o giants, including a liaison with a giantess Hildigunn
    - King Harek (a dragon?) and an ogress Grimhildur had a son, Ogmund, to kill Odd. He is enchanted in every way.
    - Encounter with a harpy-like monster
    - Encounter with Odd’s son Vignir, begotten on the giantess Hildigunn 10 years before
    - Pursuing rumors of Ogmund to Slabland, and the giant sea-creatures known as Sea-Reek and Heather-Back who devour ships.
    - Ogmund killed Vignir but escaped by diving into the sea and not re-emerging. He later turns up at the Baltic, having become the son-in-law of Geirrod of Geirrodstown, having married his daughter Geirrid. He took tribute from the kings around the Baltic in the form of their beards & mustaches, which he made into a shaggy cloak. Ogmund’s beard ripped off, along with most of his face!
    - The companion “Red-Beard” who leads the hero into trouble then disappears, later thought to be Odhinn himself
    - The arrows known as Gusir’s Gifts (the arrow Hremsa, etc.), the sword Snidil, etc.
    - Odd the Barkman! Jolf gives him stone arrows to supplement Gusir’s Gifts . . .
    - King Herraudh of Ostergotland was owed tribute by a land called Bjalka, ruled by a king Alf, nicknamed Bjalki. He and his wife the Priestess were both worshipers of the gods and skilled in magic. They had a son, Vidgrip, whom Odd killed easily. Alf Bjalki was immune to arrows, even Gusir’s Gifts, but was killed by the stone arrows. The priestess, and ogress, could shoot arrows (magic missiles?) from her fingertips. Bjalka was said to be near Greece somewhere – the Balkans? Down through Rys?
    - Mysterious masked figured ruled in Holmsgardhur, called “Quillanus” – turns out to be Ogmund, wearing a mask because the flesh of his face had been ripped off! After a great battle, Odd and Ogmund finally come to terms, since Odd realizes Ogmund cannot be killed, being more phantom than man.
    - Odd finally killed by a poisonous snake lurking in the skull of the horse that was prophecied to kill him, back when he was a child.
  • King Gautrek
    - King Gauti of West Gautland visits the Gilling clan near Gilling’s Bluff, the “Family Cliff” over which the family passes to Odhinn rather than face deprivation & old age. Gauti begot Gautrek on the daughter, Snotra.
    - King Vikar of Agder – his retainer and friend, Rennir, had a son, Ref the Fool. Rennir lived on Rennis Island and kept an ox he valued more than everything, with gold-and-silver inlaid horns and such.
    - Starkad, a friend of king Vikar, gets to overhear the council of the gods – Odhinn and Thorr ordaining his future – for every blessing from Odhinn, a curse from Thorr. To be repaid by the “sacrifice of Vikar” – the stabbing with the reed-stalk spear, the false hanging that becomes real.
    - King Gautrek married Alfhild, daughter of King Harald of Vendland. They had a daughter, Helga. When Alfhild grew ill and died, she was buried in a haugur, and Gautrek would go sit on the mound every day and fly his hawk.
    - Ref the Fool meets King Gautrek, King Aella, and King Hrolf Kraki in service to Jarl Neri.
    - Ref the Fool, also called Gift-Ref and Ref-Nose.
  • Halfdan Eysteinsson
    - One character’s obsession with something he once saw – a pale white hand wearing a golden ring
    - A number of characters become monsters at the end – some go through a waterfall and lie on a glittering hoard and become dragons, another who is immensely wealthy goes alive into a burial mound and becomes a monster (a type of draugur?) living in the mound . . .
  • Bosi and Herraud
    - An old woman, Busla, skilled in magic, who fosters Bosi. She offers to teach him magic, but “he didn’t want it written in his saga that he’d carried out anything by trickery instead of relying on his own manhood.”
    - The epic friendship of Bosi and Herraud, who are willing to die for one another
    - When King Hring of East Gotland was going to but Bosi to death, Busla came to him and cursed him with various curses (three sets, including the Syrpa). She even used the so-called “Syrpa Verses,” which contain the most powerful curses, which may not be sung after sunset.
    - The trip to Permia, the land of King Harek, whose sons serve at the court of King Godmund of Glasir Plains.
    - The entire description of the Temple of Jomali, King Harek the Dragon, the “skergipur” (a giant bird), and all the rest of the adventures in Permia are great stuff!
    - The dragon encircling the bower of Thora Town-Hart is classic stuff too – only Ragnar Lodhbrok could slay it and win her hand in marriage!
  • Egil and Asmund
    - A princess kidnapped by a hjasi, a second kidnapped by a giant vulture the next year . . .
    - The hero Egill One-Hand, whose missing hand was replaced by dwarves with a sword . . .
    - Asmund Berserks-Killer and Egill meet and have a duel. Since the duel is a draw, they swear blood-brothership to one another.
    - Egill and Asmund travel to Jotunheimur, where they meet Queen Eagle-Beak and her daughter Skin-Beak. They offer to tell tales.
    - Asmund tells the tale of his former companion Aran, who died unexpectedly. Asmund had him put in a mound with his hawk and his horse. Asmund sat vigil. The first night, Aran got up and devoured his hawk. The second, he got up and tore apart his horse, eating it raw in a bloody mess, offering some to Asmund, who said nothing. On the third night Aran arose and attacked Asmund, who beheaded him and burned the body. He took the treasures of the mound.
    - Asmund then tells the tale of how he slew berserks for King Herraudh (see previous!), earning the nickname Berserks-Killer.
    - Egill tells the tale of being kidnapped by a giant and made to serve as his shepherd. He tricks the giant and blinds him. Offered a golden ring in payment of service, he takes it, and is nearly killed by the giant as a result. He later killed a berserk named Glammad.
    - Egill tells the tale of meeting a giant fighting a giantess over a gold ring. He intervened, attacking the giant. The giant cut off his hand, so he was forced to flee with the ring. He later saw a dwarf child come out of a mound to fetch a bucket of water. He let the gold ring drop in the bucket. The dwarf’s father came out to thank him, and invited him to come down into the rock. This dwarf treated his stump and affixed the sword-arm for him.
    - Eagle-Beak the giantess was the daughter of Oskrud, and she was the youngest. She inherited a golden ring from him. Her sisters each slept with Thorr, and each was in turn killed by her sisters, until only she remained. She slept with Thorr and begat her child, Skin-Beak. She was later tasked to visit the Underworld to obtain a cloak fire wouldn’t burn, a drinking horn that could never be emptied, and a chess set that would play by itself. She visited King Snow in the underworld and was forced to drink poison (giving her heartburn ever since) in order to get the horn, fought three giant sisters for the chess set (and also obtained a magic glass that lets its user assume any shape, and blind anyone who looks into it). She slept with Odhinn in the Underworld, and he let her have the cloak, though she had to jump over a fire to get it, and this burned off her skin.
    - Eagle-Beak had a small casket containing Egill’s hand (he recognized it by the gold ring on his finger, given him by his mother!). The giantess he had rescued years ago was she! She grafted it back onto his arm, wrapping it in “life-herbs” and silk, and in three days it was healed.
    - One princess had made a flying carpet, the other had made a silk shirt of invulnerability.
    - Egill and Asmund steal back the kidnapped princesses from the giants who stole them away
  • Thorstein Mansion-Might
    - Use of an enchanted “crooked stick” to “ride” through a mound into the Underworld
    - Thorstein saved a dwarf’s child from a giant eagle and is rewarded with a wool shirt that serves as armor, a silver ring that makes certain its owner is never poor, a black flint that turns its holder invisible if he holds it in his hand, and a piece of marble and steel point that allows its owner to control weather, summoning hailstorms and firestorms or sunny weather.
    - Gudhmundur, king of Glasir Plains, says he should be called Mansion-midget, not Mansion-might, and Thorstein says, “So, give me a naming gift, then!” Gudhmundur gives him a ring from his finger. Naming gift! Great idea!
    - Description of the lands of Glasir Plains, Grundir, Risaland, etc.
    - Agdi was slain, but returned from the mound . . .
  • Helgi Thorrisson
    - Lost in the woods, a heavy mist descends. Meeting 12 mysterious women in red, who know his name and invite him to join their feast. The leader was Ingibjorg, daughter of Gudhmundur of Glasir Plains.
    - Emissaries sent from Glasir Plains with giant drinking horns as gifts for the king. The emissaries won’t drink ale that has been blessed, and so leave angrily.
    - Helgi was eventually blinded by Ingibjorg, saying that no woman would enjoy him if she could not.

Seven Viking Romances

Heroes of Midhgardhur Valerianus Valerianus