The Time for Fated Men: Destiny & Free Will in the Northern World

People Linked by Destiny             Some months ago, I was explaining the Law of Surprise to a friend. The law is a device in the world of Andrej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, and runs like this. Let us say that I am beset by bandits on the road. You hear my cries for help and, skilledContinue reading The Time for Fated Men: Destiny & Free Will in the Northern World

Unlocked His Word-Hoard: A Review of JRR Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún

            A confession; I have never cared for the music of Wagner. When I was younger, it stirred no emotion in me and I thought it over-wrought and melodramatic. Tolkien however, was a different matter. I found his works beautiful, sweeping and emotional, as well as much more grounded in the forest and the mountainsContinue reading “Unlocked His Word-Hoard: A Review of JRR Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún”

Alfred the Great, King of Wessex

            In my final undergraduate year, I studied the work of JRR Tolkien, and it acted like a violent intellectual catalyst, for it was here that I first discovered Old English, Icelandic and Scandinavian literature, mythology, poetry and history. It was a gateway into a previously hidden world, and I was instantly hooked. I ransackedContinue reading “Alfred the Great, King of Wessex”

An Arrow to the Knee: Skyrim & the Northern World

Glossary DLC – An acronym for Downloadable Content, this is additional content released by a studio after the game’s release Dungeons & Dragons –abbreviated to ‘D&D’, this is a cooperative tabletop role-playing game. One person is the Dungeon Master, controlling the world, the enemies and its inhabitants, while the others play as characters in theContinue reading “An Arrow to the Knee: Skyrim & the Northern World”

Vengeance, Voyage & Adventure: Reading the Icelandic Sagas

Listen!             The voice calls through the hall. The wind howls outside, and the fire crackles. The family gather round on benches. The speaker, maybe a parent or skald, by this single word has captured your attention, and they unfold their tale…             This article is about the Icelandic sagas, the great tales that beganContinue reading “Vengeance, Voyage & Adventure: Reading the Icelandic Sagas”

Setting the Record Straight: Viking Warriors

Glossary Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – an account of the events in Anglo-Saxon England by year, possibly started under Alfred’s direction, abbreviated to ASC Berserker – perhaps meaning ‘Hair-shirt’ in Old Norse, these were warriors with mythical powers. They could work themselves into a berserk state, rendering them savage in battle and immune to the bite ofContinue reading “Setting the Record Straight: Viking Warriors”

The Old That is Strong: Tolkien & the Anglo-Saxons

Glossary Churl – the OE word Ceorl, meaning common freeman, the lowest class of free citizen in Anglo-Saxon society Danegeld – money paid to Viking raiding armies to leave a territory, or to enlist them as mercenaries against other Viking forces; ‘set a thief to catch a thief…’ Old English – the language spoken byContinue reading “The Old That is Strong: Tolkien & the Anglo-Saxons”

Worn & Wielded: The Sutton Hoo Helmet

The Sutton Hoo helmet is perhaps the most iconic image of the Anglo-Saxon age. It is a fascinating object with a fascinating history, so let’s take a look at an item ‘worn and wielded’ by the Anglo-Saxons. Glossary Bretwalda – a term used to denote Anglo-Saxon kings whose influence was recognized across large swathes ofContinue reading “Worn & Wielded: The Sutton Hoo Helmet”

Positive Pedantry: The Last Kingdom

            It seems that it is impossible to produce historical fiction without provoking a swarm of online pedantry. From the angle of thatch to armour, from battle tactics to clothing, finding videos and content criticizing the reality of this or that facet of historical shows is sadly easy. Now while pedantry is satisfying in aContinue reading “Positive Pedantry: The Last Kingdom”

The Cross and the Hammer: Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England

Christianity has a long history in Britain, but from where did it originate? Below is my attempt at a brief history… Glossary Angelcynn – the Old English word meaning the Anglo-Saxon peoples, literally ‘Angle-folk’ Bishopric – the area controlled by a bishop. The more modern term Diocese came to be used by the time ofContinue reading “The Cross and the Hammer: Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England”