Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Tale Of Svipdag?

For other blogging done today, see here.

I am getting to grips with the structure of Hrolf Kraki's Saga:

Part II, The Tale Of Frodhi, is about the kingship of Frodhi who is killed by the brothers, Hroar and Helgi;

Part III, The Tale Of The Brothers, is about the joint kingship of Hroar and Helgi and ends with the death of Helgi;

Part IV, The Tale Of Svipdag, is divided into sections I-VI;

in section I, Hroar dies, his son Hrorik succeeds but is unacceptable and falls in battle and Helgi's son, Hrolf, becomes king.

Hrolf is the title character of the saga but who is Svipdag? Only further reading will tell.

One passage struck me as humorous. When Hrorik succeeded:

"The headmen had no faith in an overlord known for his sloth and miserliness...'Not being fools,' they said, 'henceforward we look to ourselves.'" (p. 112)

Well, they did not literally say that. A historical comedy film might show a bunch of guys around a council table, then solemnly intoning in unison, "Not being fools, henceforward we look to ourselves!" But the narrator of the saga puts words into the Danish headmen's mouths in order to convey to her audience how those headmen felt about Hrorik.

The story is complicated but I am getting some sense of it by summarizing episodes for blogging purposes.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I know the case of Hrorik was more complicated than this, but I rather like the idea of a slothful ruler! Other things being equal and if there were no pressing dangers from outside enemies, a slothful leader seems far better than an energetic but despotic or incompetent king, president, or PM. But that's the conservative in me, skeptical of mere human beings, speaking!

Making good progress rereading WAR OF THE GODS. I've reached the part where King Uffi of Sweden had defeated King Hadding.