Episode 9: Sacrificing to the Elves

Occasionally, Viking fans and modern-day Norse pagans throw around the term álfablót (elf-sacrifice), but what does that actually involve? What is an elf-sacrifice, anyway? And what is it for? In this episode of the Fjorn's Hall Podcast, I share a few stories from medieval sources dealing with this topic: sacrifices made to the elves. Although … Continue reading Episode 9: Sacrificing to the Elves

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‘Viking’ Love Stories [♪]

Download When it comes to love in the medieval North, these are some of the most essential stories to know. We start things off with a fairly detailed discussion of Freyja, the free-spirited goddess of love and war, which includes some coverage of her ferocious cats and her experience with magic (seiðr). But after that, … Continue reading ‘Viking’ Love Stories [♪]

Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of [♪]

Meet Njal's Saga, a medieval best-seller that most people haven't heard of. But despite its relative obscurity today, it stands out as an epic story fused with both archetypal heroes and the tragic social realities of the 'Viking' world, which have become a cage trapping them and plunging them into a endless tide of human violence beyond … Continue reading Njal’s Saga: A Medieval Best-Seller Most People Haven’t Heard of [♪]

Feuding, I: What is Feud? Solving Problems with an Axe (ft. Beowulf)

Many of the great sagas and ancient lore from the medieval North recount endless, bloody feuds between generations of prominent families: a conflict ends, peace...

Landvættir: The Land-Spirits of the Medieval North

Winter Nights is nearly upon us! And what better time is there to chat about spirits? In this gathering, we explore the roles and importance of the land-spirits in Norse culture and society through 16 different primary sources from the medieval period. Along the way, we discuss the heathen holiday known as Winter Nights, some … Continue reading Landvættir: The Land-Spirits of the Medieval North

Rímur: Reciting Part I of Gisli Sursson’s Epic

Behold! a modern Viking's poem! Hear a skald recite the first part of an epic poem inspired by Gisli Sursson's Saga, a work of medieval Icelandic literature written during the 13th century. This part of the poem recounts the first chapter of that saga, which takes place in Norway just a few generations before Gisli’s time. Quick … Continue reading Rímur: Reciting Part I of Gisli Sursson’s Epic

A Viking Gift: A Beautiful Polar Bear for Feuding Kings

A bear is a Viking's best friend, so why not make it a fancy one? In this tale, we follow the journey of a humble Icelandic farmer, an attractive polar bear with rosy red cheeks, and two salty Norse kings who are at war with one another. Audun's goal is to deliver this bear as a gift to King Svein of Denmark, but will King Harald Hardradi of Norway allow Audun safe passage to his enemy? Will Audun always be running out of money? Could Audun's humility manage to bring these two kings together? And will our attractive polar bear companion ever be recognized for anything beyond its devastatingly good looks? Find out in this gathering at Fjörn's Hall!

Unn or Aud? The Saga(s) of a Remarkable Woman

In this gathering we talk about the remarkable Aud the Deep-minded, an impressive woman from medieval Iceland who boldly saved her family from destruction and became one of Iceland’s most famous settlers. But there’s a catch: she hasn’t always been remembered in quite the same way. In the sagas recounting her deeds, she has been called both Unn and Aud; and although they each refer to the same person, those names reflect alternative versions of both her story and her identity. And so, the aim of this gathering is not only to enjoy her impressive saga(s), but also to unravel the different ways that she has been remembered by the authors who retold her story throughout the medieval period.

Legendary Swords: Gramr, Skǫfnungr, and Grásíða

In this gathering by the hearthside, we’re sharing the stories of three legendary swords from the sagas of the medieval North: Gramr, Sköfnungr, and Grásíða! And while we do, we’re going to find them plunged into trees by a strange old man, stolen from burial mounds by Icelandic Vikings, and manhandled by a headstrong poet. But if that’s not interesting enough, we’re also going to slay a dragon, cut off someone’s back end, introduce ourselves to a sword-dwelling snake, and fix a broken blade with some sorcery. By the end, we’ll not only have cool stories to tell our friends, but also learn a thing or two about what these swords meant for the people telling their tales. Honestly, what’s not to like? It’s a great deal! So tune in to Fjörn’s Hall, if you’d like to hear more!