|Tors strid med jättarna* - Mårten Eskil Winge (Source)|
You may be wondering where I'm going with all this. Not really sure myself at this point. Bear with me, sometimes The Muse will toy with me and I don't where I'm going until I get there.
So I've been "binge watching" the History Channel series, Vikings. Which is a semi-historical dramatization of the life of one Ragnar Lothbrok. I say semi-historical because 1) it's on television,which makes me doubt it's historical veracity due to past performance, and 2) scholars still debate whether or not a fellow named Ragnar Lothbrok actually existed or whether he was an amalgamation of several real guys or just completely made up.
Regardless, it's an entertaining series. Lots of cool Norse mythology (which we actually studied when I was a wee lad, no, I grew up in New England, not Scandinavia AND we studied Greek and Roman mythology as well), fighting with swords, axes, and shields, lots of quaffing of ale, and a number of interesting characters. Some of the acting is a bit sketchy at times (really dude, stop trying to do a Norse accent or fire your voice coach) but overall I give the series high marks.
And I mean come on, I'm a guy. What guy doesn't like stories involving drinking, fighting, and (ahem) other activities not really suitable for mention in a blog which tries (sometimes desperately) to stay family friendly? (The series is on The History Channel, so it's not exactly Cinemax where anything goes.) And there are the Viking longships, the tattoos and the "interesting" haircuts.
Now my fascination with this series goes hand in hand with the book series I'm currently reading. The Saxon Tales is a series of books written by Bernard Cornwell (one of my absolute favorite authors) which tells the story of one young Saxon named Uhtred, from Northumbria, that's in Great Britain for those who don't know and...
What do you mean, "What's a Saxon doing in Britain?"
Well, that's something my ancestors were always asking as well. But be patient, we'll get to that.
Now Uhtred was born to a Saxon lord, but he was captured by Danes when he was young, raised by them he had a foot in both camps: the Saxons and the Danes. Incidentally, when I say "Danes," think Vikings. Not completely accurate as to go "Viking" was an activity, not a group of people. Danes (which is what the Saxons collectively called their Norse invaders from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway) who were bored, impoverished, or seeking adventure would go raiding other areas in search of wealth. That was "to go a viking," so those folks became known as Vikings.
Anyhoo. Uhtred lived in the time of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (in Britain, think Land of the West Saxons, as opposed to Essex, East Saxons) in the years 871 to 899. In other words, an awful long time ago. The books are full of action, intrigue, romance (not too much, just enough to make the characters "come alive"), clever plot twists, and lots of bad guys. On both sides, one side being the Saxons, the other the Danes/Vikings.
So I've got this whole Viking thing going on at the moment. If I wasn't getting on in years I would no doubt get it into my head to build a longship and sail up and down Narragansett Bay, terrorizing the locals and quaffing vast quantities of mead and ale. Until the local constabulary or The Missus Herself shut me down.
So earlier I mentioned my ancestors wondering what the Saxons were doing in Britain. The majority of my ancestors were Celts, many living in the area we know today as Scotland, Wales, Ireland, The Isle of Man, and other places within the British Isles. Well, the Angles and the Saxons (Anglo-Saxon, get it) came a calling and a conquering and drove the original inhabitants out of all the good bits. Actually the Romans did most of that, my people though still refer to non-Scots as Sassenachs, literally Saxons, and not Romans or whatever.
For the Romans came a calling and a conquering first, driving the Britons out of all the good bits. Then they left, which opened up those lovely islands to the Saxons, then the Danes, then the Normans.
Which is part of the reason the English language is a mish-mosh of Latin and German terms. And many words spelled in English look nothing like they're pronounced. Either in the full light of day or in the darkest of nights. (See what I did there? And again?)
So that's the stuff which is entertaining Your Humble Scribe lately. And why today's post mentions Thor.
No, not the Marvel character, the real one. Oh wait, I'm a Christian, so Thor isn't real. Anymore than Jupiter, or Neptune.
Perhaps. (I really should discuss theology someday, might make for an interesting post. I like to play devil's advocate from time to time. Ya know, stir the pot.) But that's it for now, I need to go see a man about a hammer. Or something...
See you Friday, (Which is named for either Frige or Freya, either an Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess , or a Norse pagan goddess. Which, en français, is called Vendredi, named for the pagan goddess Venus. Gee, didn't the Christians get to name any of the days of the week? Of course they did, guess which one...)
Until then, farvel, or adieu, if you prefer.
Oh, and here's a theme song to haunt your dreams...
* Thor's Battle with the Giants, of which you can read more here.