Magic

  • Magic in Norse Context
    • All magic important to society and widely practiced
    • All magic to some extent Odenic
      • Powerful and potentially dangerous
      • Lots of runic magic
    • Two different types of magic
      • Runic Magic (good)
        • Acceptable, positive, masculine, to heal/protect, should freely offer knowledge to companions. From the Aesir.
        • Egil did a ton of this
          • Runes to heal
          • Runes to show poison (Bard's poison)
        • "If no runes, probably not runic magic"
        • Probably no female characters in the sagas use runes, but this doesn't mean that females never used it. In all likelihood runic magic was used by women as well
      • Seiðr (sorcery) (bad)
        • Negative, part of one's identity, secret learning, condemned, feminine, to harm/destroy. From the Vanir.
        • Only acceptable in the form of prophecy - help people
        • Shapeshifting is grey, but since no runes, we're going to call it Seidr
        • Unsure if haunting is Seidr, probably a different thing
        • Lots of examples
          • Sorcerers in Laxdaela
            • Kotkel curse Hrut's son
          • Gunhhilda curses Hrut with sexual disfunction (Njal's Saga)
          • Egil tries to compose poem, bird disrupts him, probably shapeshifted Gunnhilda
      • This division is projection by scholars, not necessarily the case in old Norse society. Unclear if division exists. Might also be missing an entire category.
      • Runic can be used with Seidr magic, but to be "pure" it needs to be by itself.
      • Dream interpretation is not Seidr/Runic, just wise people.
      • Different types of magic possible lens to view good/bad characters through. "When a character we like does something, it's Runic magic and good. When a character we hate does something, it's Seidr magic and bad."
        • Possible interpretation, but sources are only sagas
        • Egil breaks this, does Seidr and is still good
      • Magic in general is not ritualized, which is indicator that it was very widespread/common.

Laxdaela

  • Kjartan and Bolli
    • Son and foster-son of Olaf Peacock (best of friends)
    • Kjartan meeds Gudrun, get along well, sparks fly (344)
      • Olaf has reservations (345), "have a feeling that relations with [Gudrun's family] will not turn out well"
    • Kjartan and Bolli go to Norway, go swimming
      • Gudrun asks to go with - Kjartan refuses, and tells her that she needs to take care of her family. Kjartan asks to have her wait for 3 years.
      • "Drowning Contest" - wrestling? Metaphor for upcoming conflict?
      • Interactions between Kjartan and the king
        • Both very very strong people
      • Converts to Christianity
        • Icelanders are at first dismissive of Christianity
        • King really really wants to convert people
        • Kjartan sees a Christmas mass and converts
      • Kjartan wants to leave
        • King tells him that the only way he'll let him leave is if Kjartan converts friends and family
      • Bolli returns to Iceland
        • Kjartan stays
          • King holds him hostage (convert or you'll neer see these people again)
          • Been getting along well with king's sister. If Kjartan had asked, could have married Ingibjorn
          • Asked by Bolli for any messages, "give regards... don't mention Ingibjorn"
        • Gudrun
          • Bolli marries her - not enthused
          • Fatfer is also not enthused...
          • "why would I marry anyone if Kjartan is still around?"
  • Following year Kjartan leaves Norway
    • Ingibjorn gives him amazing headress (king's gift) to always remember her by (knows that Gudrun is waiting for Kjartan)
      • Reminder of what he's leaving in Norway (emotional dominance over Gudrun)
      • Gift to elevate Kjartan in eyes of homeland
      • Peace offering to Gudrun
    • Expects to marry Gudrun back home
    • King gives him an amazing sword
      • Prediction - "No weapon would wound you while you wear it"
    • Kjartan refuses Bolli's gift (set of horses) at Osvif's feast
      • Bolli is trying to apologize
      • Kjartan has none of any apologies
      • At the feast, he wears everything fancy he owns to show off
      • Marries Hrefna
    • Olaf's feast, more seating drama
      • Gudrun sees headdress, doesn't speak
    • Thefts
      • Kings Gift (sword) - stolen by Thorolf (Gudrun's brother), direct insult to Kjartan. Olaf tries to keep it quiet - might be a blood feud
      • Headdress - stolen by Gudrun at Osvif's feast (following year)
    • 361 - describe events during Lent - Kjartan surpasses that of other men
  • Death of Kjartan
    • At Laugar (365) Kjartan traps people inside, they are forced to use toilet inside.
    • Bolli tries to buy land at Tunga (366), but doesn't have enough people to witness. Kjartan buys it out from under.
    • Gudrun starts to goad (369) brothers into killing Kjartan
    • Bolli is reluctant
      • Gudrun threatens to divorce Bolli unless his helps kill him
      • Walks on top of ridge to try to warn him
      • During the fight he doesn't attack
    • Kjartan fights very fiercly
    • Kjartan taunts Bolli "kinsmen what you gonna do"
    • Kjartan just lets Bolli kill him "I'd rather end at your hands than be the result of yours"
    • Tragic death
    • When Bolli returns, Gudrun is snarky
  • Revenge for Kjartan
    • Olaf's hands are tied (son & fosterson)
    • Sons of Olaf kill Odd and Stein Thorhallassons
    • Olaf sends supporters to Laugar to support Bolli
    • Settlement between Olaf and Osvif
    • Gudrun's brothers outlawed, Olaf fines Bolli instead of outlawry, Olaf tells Bolli to buy the land at Tunga
  • Death of Bolli
    • Thorgerd (Olaf wife) displeased with settlement over Kjartan - goads into further action (matches pattern of women wanting blood)
    • Goads (377-9) other sons to kill Bolli
    • Sons of Olaf kill Bolli
      • Thorgerd rides with, to ensure kill
      • Helgi wipes bloody spear on Gudrun's shawl
      • After Bolli's death, Gudrun smiles
    • Gudrun asks Snorri the Godi for help
      • Refuses payment for Bolli - so that her sons can get vengeance when they're old enough
      • 12 years pass
  • Revenge for Bolli
    • Gudrun and Snorri decide on a target
      • Trick Thorgils into leading the attack by claiming to marry him
    • Gudrun and her sons (388)
      • Goads with bloody cloak
      • Sons are 12 and 16
    • Blackmail Thorstein the Black (390)
    • Chapter 63 lots of descriptions
      • Shows Helgi knows them very well
      • Heightens tension
    • Kill Helgi, young son Hardbein spared
  • Aftermath
    • Thorgils asks for his reward
      • Gudrun backs out of the deal (399)
    • Gudrun marries Thorkel Eyjolfsson (403)
      • Dispute about Gunnar Thidrandabani
    • Bolli marries Thordis Snorradottir
    • Bolli and Thorleik go abroad
    • Compensation paid for Bolli's father (410)
  • More Aftermath
    • Thorkel downs in Breidafjord
    • Gudrun's vision, religious devotion
      • (418) Gudrun goes to church, sees ghost, sees husband with seawater dripping from body
        • Well known, when someone dies their spirit visits
      • Prophetess
    • Bolli returns, inherits Snorri's godord
  • Asks Gudrun which she loved the most
    • Mentions traits
    • "Though I treated him worst, I loved him best" Who does she mean?
      • Write down examples for Thursday

For Thursday

  • Two articles
    • Hauntings and Draugr
    • In defense of revenge
  • Bring specific questions