From Les

Les sent me kindle versions of these books. I asked for recommendations because the Icelandic Sagas are among his many specialties and he sent me the books instead. I’ve started with The Story of Burnt Njal. (Hope against hope…) this trip is beginning to feel like it might be really real!

Here’s a map of where the story is set. I can’t read a thing but it is Iceland…

And so you can get a feel for the characters in this Icelandic Saga written in the late 1200s telling a story that describes events between 960 and 1020 (I copied this list from the internet):

Njal, a man of law. His sons kill his foster son. In the resulting feud, his house is burned. Njal and his wife and sons die.

Bergthora, Njal’s wife. When the other women leave the house before it is burned, she stays behind and dies with her husband.

Gunnar Hamondsson, Njal’s friend. After Gunnar’s first manslaying, Njal predicts truly that Gunnar will be killed if he slays another man in the same family.

Kolskegg Hamondsson, Gunnar’s brother.

Hallgerda, Hauskuld Heriolfsson’s daughter and a hard-hearted woman. Her third marriage is to Gunnar. There is much conflict between her and Bergthora, but the husbands remain friends.

Hauskuld Thrainsson, the foster son of Njal, who gets him a priesthood so that Hildigunna will consent to be his wife. Hauskuld Thrainsson is killed by Njal’s sons.

Mord Valgardsson, who sows discord between Hauskuld Thrainsson and Njal’s sons.

Hildigunna, the daughter of Flosi and the wife of Hauskuld Thrainsson.

Flosi Thordsson, Hildigunna’s father and Njal’s enemy. After his son-in-law’s death, he attacks Njal’s house and burns it.

Helge, Njal’s daughter.

Kari Solmundsson, the husband of Helge. He escapes from the fire, but his son is killed. After Flosi has paid atonement for the fire, Kari agrees that the burning is avenged, but not his son Thord’s death. After both Kari and Flosi return home from separate pilgrimages, they are fully reconciled.

Hildigunna, the daughter of Flosi’s brother. Kari’s wife Helge having died, Flosi gives Hildigunna to Kari after the reconciliation.

Thord Karisson, who is killed in the fire.

Skarphedinn Njalsson, who is killed trying to escape from the fire.

Helgi Njalsson, who is killed trying to escape with the women before the fire is set.

Grim Njalsson, who also is killed in the fire.

Thorgeir Craggeir, who becomes briefly involved in the post-fire feud between Kari and Flosi.

Thorgerda, the daughter of Hallgerda.

Thrain Sigfusson, who puts aside his wife to marry Thorgerda. He is killed by Skarphedinn Njalsson.

Kettle of the Mark, Thrain’s brother and Njal’s son-in-law. He and Njal make atonement for Thrain’s death, and Njal takes Hauskuld Thrainsson as his foster son.

Hauskuld Njalsson, a base-born son of Njal. He is killed by Lyting.

Rodny, the mother of Hauskuld Njalsson.

Lyting, Thrain’s sister’s husband.

Aumund, the blind and base-born son of Hauskuld Njalsson. His eyes are opened just long enough to enable him to kill Lyting.

Otkell Skarfsson, who is killed by Gunnar following a discord beginning with Otkell selling Gunnar a deceitful thrall.

Thorgeir Otkellsson, who is killed by Gunnar when he attempts to ambush Gunnar.

Starkad, an enemy of Gunnar.

Thorgeir Starkadsson, another enemy of Gunnar. He and his father are with Thorgeir in the attempted ambush of Gunnar.

Geir the Priest, who gets up a band to slay Gunnar. The plot succeeds after much slaughter and difficulty.

Hogni Gunnarsson, who, along with Skarphedinn Njalsson, avenges Gunnar’s death by slaying Starkad and Thorgeir Starkadsson.

Bork the Waxy-Toothed Blade, the father of Starkad.

Hrut Heriolfsson, who had come to Norway from Iceland to claim an inheritance.

Harold Grayfell, the king of Norway.

Gunnhilda, the mother of the king. Hrut sits in her high seat. Before he returns to Iceland, Gunnhilda puts a spell on him so that he will never have pleasure living with the woman on whom he has set his heart.

Unna, whom Hrut marries after his return to Iceland. The marriage is unhappy, and she leaves him. She enlists Gunnar’s aid in getting back her goods from Hrut.

Fiddle Mord, the father of Unna. He asks Hrut to return Unna’s goods. When he refuses Hrut’s offer to fight him instead, Fiddle Mord gets great shame for his suit.

Hauskuld Heriolfsson, the brother of Hrut and the father of Hallgerda. He makes Hrut return Unna’s goods and dowry.

Thorwald Oswifsson, the first husband of Hallgerda.

Glum, the second husband of Hallgerda. He is murdered.

Thiostolf, the foster father of Hallgerda. He kills Thorwald Oswifsson. Hallgerda sends him to tell the news of Glum’s death to Hrut, who strikes him dead.

Olof the Hall, the father of Glum.

Olaf Tryggvisson, a later ruler of Norway.

Thangbrand, who is sent by Olaf to preach Christianity in Iceland.

Thorgeir of Lightwater, who challenges any man who speaks against the new Christian law.

Skapti Thorodsson, who, at Lawman Njal’s suggestion, brings the Fifth Court into law.

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