Having just published ‘The Dragon of Kveldmir’, I’m switching gears and setting to work on a couple of other projects that I have planned out and filling my tank in preparation for these as well. Thus, I am back to reading the Sagas.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Sagas, they are various collections of old stories from the North in general and Iceland in particular. Written down sometime in the 13-14th centuries, they reflect historical, or quasi historical, happenings and heroes from the 9th-11th centuries in Iceland. They are, in my mind, a branch of the Northern school of literature, closely related in style and purpose to not only the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, but also to tales such as Beowulf.
These stories are laced with commentary, sometimes veiled, sometimes overt, on the actions of the characters. And I think this is part of what makes them so special.
They were not just meant to entertain, but also to instruct young men in how they should behave. The actions of the men and women in the stories are shown to have consequences in their lives. A greedy king may find himself in conflict with great warriors who might otherwise have served him, while a gracious and generous lord may find no lack of men to give him aid.
The Sagas are fascinating tales of tangled loyalties, great battles, cunning ambushes, and men seeking their fame and fortune. They are well worth your time to read, and think about. The world these men lived in is not too far from our own. They knew that chance often takes choice from our hands and dashes our hopes on the rocks, but they also knew that they could survive the rocks if they fought hard and lived well.
Probably the best starting point if you want to read the Sagas would be Sagas of the Icelanders, an epic collection which contains the enthralling Egil's Saga, a tale of adventure and expansion. If you don't have a Goodreads account, by the way, I encourage you to get one.
I’ll address the Sagas in more detail in a post I have coming up, where I intend to talk about why I became and English Major with no intention of becoming a Teacher. For those of us who write, it is incredibly important for us to understand why we are writing and why we are telling stories. Our readers’ time is a valuable commodity and if we don’t have compelling reason for creating it, we can’t expect them to have one for reading it.
Also keep an eye peeled for a couple new pages here at Writing Adventures. I have a few posts that deal with some of the more technical aspects of writing that some of you might enjoy. And hey, while you're on Goodreads, check out my book "The Dragon of Kveldmir". Maybe you can be one of the first ones to write a review!
What are some of your out-of-the-way favorites when you need inspiration? What are some old stories that you keep coming back to?