Friday, 24 June 2016

The Best Warriors

Poul Anderson, Hrolf Kraki's Saga (New York, 1973).

"'...with King Hrolf in Denmark and his warriors...I've heard said for sooth that thither are flocking the best fighters in the Northlands.'" (pp. 135-136)

"' out King Hrolf of Denmark. The best warriors fare to him...'" (p. 166)

What better way to show this than to tell the stories of two such warriors before they join Hrolf. We have already summarized "The Tale Of Svipdag." Now Bjarki:

avenges his father;
receives the magic sword, Lovi (p. 164);
rules as a king;
abdicates after three years;
seeks Hrolf.

To paraphrase Milton: better to serve King Hrolf than to be a king elsewhere.

And it seems that Bjarki and Beowulf may originally have been the same guy. See here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I can see how a restless and active man like Bjarki might become dissatisfied with a small, remote, obscure kingdom away north in the Keel of Norway. Compared to Denmark and Svithjod it must have seemed unsophisticated and backward to Bjarki.