Egil s Saga tells the story of the long and brutal life of tenth century warrior poet and farmer Egil Skallagrimsson a morally ambiguous character who was at once the composer of intricately beautiful poetry, and a physical grotesque capable of staggering brutality The saga recounts Egil s progression from youthful savagery to mature wisdom as he struggles to avenge his father s exile from Norway, defend his honour against the Norwegian King Erik Bloodaxe, and fight for the English King Athelstan in his battles against Scotland Exploring issues as diverse as the question of loyalty, the power of poetry, and the relationship between two brothers who love the same woman, Egil s Saga is a fascinating depiction of a deeply human character


10 thoughts on “Egil's Saga

  1. Adam Adam says:

    This is probably the ass kickingest story I have ever read Egil s Saga kicks Conan s ass from one end of some stupid fictional continent to the other.Did Conan ever get so miffed after being given sour curds and malt liquor as a guest instead of meat and fine ale, which were being hidden by the greedy host that he held his host against a pillar and vomited on his host s face with such force that his host s teeth were all knocked out Did Conan ax another boy to death at the age of six on a ba This is probably the ass kickingest story I have ever read Egil s Saga kicks Conan s ass from one end of some stupid fictional continent to the other.Did Conan ever get so miffed after being given sour curds and malt liquor as a guest instead of meat and fine ale, which were being hidden by the greedy host that he held his host against a pillar and vomited on his host s face with such force that his host s teeth were all knocked out Did Conan ax another boy to death at the age of six on a ball field, leading his mother to remark, he ll make a fine viking Did Conan ever steal a bunch of food from a longhouse and then realize that the occupants wouldn t know who d done it, so he rode back to scream his name and set the whole place on fire Egil s Saga might not have much to tell us about honor and decency, but as a crazy, kick ass story about early Norwegians settling Iceland and getting buck wild crazy, it s beyond awesome


  2. E. G. E. G. says:

    AcknowledgementsIntroduction NotesFurther ReadingNote on the Translation Egil s Saga NotesMapsEgil s Ancestors and FamilyChronologySocial and Political StructureThe FarmGlossaryIndex AcknowledgementsIntroduction NotesFurther ReadingNote on the Translation Egil s Saga NotesMapsEgil s Ancestors and FamilyChronologySocial and Political StructureThe FarmGlossaryIndex


  3. Markus Markus says:

    Another hallmark text from Medieval Europe, and another portal to the Norse world Egils saga Skallagrimssonar is one of those thoroughly enjoyable pieces of classic writing that simultaneously work splendidly as an entryway into Medieval literature for the uninitiated, and has plenty to offer seasoned veterans as well The skilfully crafted narration is easy to follow, yet so rewarding to analyse a little deeper.As most sagas, it is remarkably short and concise, yet at some risk of sounding li Another hallmark text from Medieval Europe, and another portal to the Norse world Egils saga Skallagrimssonar is one of those thoroughly enjoyable pieces of classic writing that simultaneously work splendidly as an entryway into Medieval literature for the uninitiated, and has plenty to offer seasoned veterans as well The skilfully crafted narration is easy to follow, yet so rewarding to analyse a little deeper.As most sagas, it is remarkably short and concise, yet at some risk of sounding like everything was better back in the day fitsbrilliant storytelling and character development into its modest size than your average modern day 700 page brick The protagonist Egill himself is of course one of the most memorable characters in the saga genre From his anti heroism to his social maneuvering, from his jovial yet violent nature to his strained relationships with relatives and kings, his personality and its development remains intriguing throughout the text.Not to mention that it s pretty much a fantasy novel with roots in history A little haunting, a little shapeshifting, a little skull splitting, and a lot of political intrigue, family drama and revenge plots In short, it has a little bit of everything This means that in my eyes it lacks the enchanting effect of masterpieces such as Nj ls saga or Laxd la saga, or indeed thehistorically rooted kings sagas which I usually work with , but there is little doubt that Egils saga is a wondrous tale


  4. Jessica Jessica says:

    Kids, do you want to know how badass the Vikings really were DO YOU Here s the story of a warrior and poet who once had someone BREAK AN AX ON HIS SKULL, and he just shook it off Of course, later it was discovered that he had some weird genetic disorder that made his bones keep getting denser His skull, exhumed, is hard as a rock, far thicker than it should be, and shows the imprint of his brain on the inside, which means that there was not only terrible, painful pressure on his head his enti Kids, do you want to know how badass the Vikings really were DO YOU Here s the story of a warrior and poet who once had someone BREAK AN AX ON HIS SKULL, and he just shook it off Of course, later it was discovered that he had some weird genetic disorder that made his bones keep getting denser His skull, exhumed, is hard as a rock, far thicker than it should be, and shows the imprint of his brain on the inside, which means that there was not only terrible, painful pressure on his head his entire life, but that he should have died long before he did.But he s Egil, and he s not about to lie down and die Reread 2019 That Egil What a character And now that I ve seen the Last Kingdom, I understand the bits with Athelstan in England much better


  5. Steve Steve says:

    Poets, Viking ones at least, could be genuine bad asses Egil Skallagrimsson, the subject of this saga, is Exhibit A At the age of 7 or 6 , while playing a game of Viking ball whatever that is , Egil gets knocked aside by a 12 year old Egil then goes home, gets a battle axe, returns to the game, and then buries that axe in the offending 12 year old s head Kind of like coming in off the sidelines to make a tackle Viking style A Viking scrum of sorts erupts, with bodies, blood, etc But Poets, Viking ones at least, could be genuine bad asses Egil Skallagrimsson, the subject of this saga, is Exhibit A At the age of 7 or 6 , while playing a game of Viking ball whatever that is , Egil gets knocked aside by a 12 year old Egil then goes home, gets a battle axe, returns to the game, and then buries that axe in the offending 12 year old s head Kind of like coming in off the sidelines to make a tackle Viking style A Viking scrum of sorts erupts, with bodies, blood, etc But after things settle down, Mom sees that her son has real potential as a Viking Actually I jumped ahead a bit Egil s Saga spans the years 850 1000 AD Egil himself doesn t show up until about a third of the way orinto the story What precedes Egil arrival is a complicated story about Harald the Fair hair s conquest of Norway, and the resulting fall out that leads to various dissidents establishing themselves in Iceland At times this can be hard to follow, as endless Thorfinns, Thorwolfs, Thorwhatevers, come and go That can be a drag on your reading, but only if you let it I m sure there are all kinds of depths to be explored in the tangled relationships, but for the non specialist, there isthan enough action to satisfy blood guts enthusiasts Murder, revenge, house burnings, heads chopped, eyes ripped out It s like Deadwood with broad swords Jacking things up considerably is the compressed, laconic prose There isgoing on in these brief chapters than sometimes happens in novels Personally, I find the sagas to be some of the most demanding but also rewarding reading out there And Egil s Saga is considered to be among the very best of the sagas.Egil himself is a paradox When you first meet him, you have to wonder if he s insane see above From early on age 3 he s tagged as a poet a good thing in Viking culture He s often prone to deep depressions, so deep that it had me wondering if he wasn t bi polar As it turns out, he s not insane though he does have a temper He s well liked by many He s also huge, a bear of a man, and ugly as hell Honor is a big deal for Egil, especially when it comes to property disputes On that Egil often will place himself in great personal danger in order to argue his case before the King who has branded him an outlaw You never feel Egil is greedy in these legal wranglings He simply feels he s been wronged which, when it comes to these disputes, is true Egil can also be extremely cruel, killing a host for not being forthcoming with his ale, and later a child of the King And then there s the poetry I thought most of it pretty good, with feasting ravens and wolves and swords singing it s easy to see why Ted Hughes liked the sagas so much One of my favorites was while Egil was dispatching a big bully After he finished the bully off, he sang about how he chopped off his leg More seriously, as Egil gets older, he loses two sons in a short period of time I found his poem to mark these losses to be very moving, and timeless in its appeal I think this poem could have a place in any quality anthology Overall Egil s Saga is a great read, just don t get bogged down too much with the names The general thrust s of the story should be apparent


  6. Jim Jim says:

    Of all the Sagas of Icelanders,


  7. Abi Abi says:

    I love this one It s the first one I read I can remember being really excited when the Hv t White River comes in because I d just got back from Iceland and I d been in that river Egil s is one of the funniest sagas, in my opinion I love the bit when Egil kills one of his father s servants when he s about 8 and his father doesn t say anything, but relations between the two were a little strained or something like that Plenty of viking style hijinks vomiting in people s faces, murderi I love this one It s the first one I read I can remember being really excited when the Hv t White River comes in because I d just got back from Iceland and I d been in that river Egil s is one of the funniest sagas, in my opinion I love the bit when Egil kills one of his father s servants when he s about 8 and his father doesn t say anything, but relations between the two were a little strained or something like that Plenty of viking style hijinks vomiting in people s faces, murdering people, writing poetry to save your life Egil s a really interesting character as well he s an amazing poet we re told the translated examples probably don t do him justice capable of great loyalty and generosity but he s also incredibly bad tempered and violent In some ways he s the pre Christian ideal, just as Njal is the post conversion ideal


  8. Adam Adam says:

    Viking, warrior, farmer, poet.As a boy, Egil plays a ball game where one of the older boys picks on him Egil goes home, grabs an axe, comes back and drives it into the boy s head A battle ensues and seven people die Egil s father is unimpressed, but his mother thinks it a sure sign that he ll become a great viking.As an adult, Egil spends his time settling pillaging Europe, settling Iceland, fighting for the english, duelling and finding reasons to cause trouble for the king of Norway.The vik Viking, warrior, farmer, poet.As a boy, Egil plays a ball game where one of the older boys picks on him Egil goes home, grabs an axe, comes back and drives it into the boy s head A battle ensues and seven people die Egil s father is unimpressed, but his mother thinks it a sure sign that he ll become a great viking.As an adult, Egil spends his time settling pillaging Europe, settling Iceland, fighting for the english, duelling and finding reasons to cause trouble for the king of Norway.The viking pillaging is pretty amazing Maybe the platonic ideal of a viking raid He also kills a berserker in a duel by dropping his weapons and biting the guy in the throat And does rune magic And so many other amazing things He is a bit of a dickhead though Wouldn t want to meet him in real life.Even in his old age, he s a baddass he wants to go the Althing and throw his silver into the crowd and cause a riot His children forbid him, so instead he hides it in a fjord He leaves behind a long line of ugly children Years later a priest finds his skeleton while building a church and is unable to split his skull, proving how tough he was in life.The sagas are full of amazing names, and this one might be the best First there s Skallagrim s party to go meet the king It is worth quoting in full, as it puts the Fellowship of the Ring to shame Skallagrim prepared for this journey and chose the strongest and boldest of his men and neighbors to go with him There was a man named Ani, a wealthy farmer another called Grani, and Grimolf and his brother Grim, who lived on Skallagrim s farm, and the brothers Thorbjorn Hunchback and Thord Hobbler They were known as Thorarna s sons she lived near Skallagrim and was a sorceress Hobbler was a coal biter Other men in the band were Thorir the Giant and his brother Thorgeir Earth long, a hermit called Odd and a freeman called Gris In all there were twelve men in the party, all outstandingly powerful men, and many of them were shapeshifters.In the rest of the book there appears Ulf the Fearless Hallbjorn Half troll Kveldulf aka NIGHTWOLF the brothers Hallstein, Holmstein and Herstein King Harald Tangle hair King Harald Fair hair after unifying Norway Halfdan the Black Solvi Chopper poets Audun the Uninspired, Thorbjorn Raven, Olvir Hump and Bard the White aka Bard the Strong King Thorir Long chin Sigtrygg Travel quick and Hallvard Travel hard dickhead brothers who work for King Harald Grim and Bera Skallagrim Finn the Squinter, Eyvind the Plagiarist, Sighvat the Red Baug Orm the Strong, Son of Storolf Thorlaug Jorund the Godi Guttorm Ragnar and Raghild and Aslaug Ketil Keel farer Grim the Halogalander Onund Keen sighted Grimar Tungu Odd Thordis Stick Olaf Feilan Thord Bellower King Eirik Bloodaxe Thorir Hroaldsson the Hersir Thora of the Embroidered Hand Gunnhild, daughter of Ozur Snout Thorgeir Thorn foot Atli the Short Bjorn the Landowner brothers Thorvald the Overbearing and Thorfinn the Strong Eyvind Braggart King Olaf the Red of Scotland Alf Aksmann Ragnar Shaggy breeches Bersi the godless Ketil the Slayer Beard Thorir Grim Hairy cheeks, son of Ketil Haeng Eirik the All Wise Ljot the Pale Harald Grey cloak Olaf wood carver Skafti the Lawspeaker King Myrkjartan of Ireland Bjarni the Stout Earl Hakon the Powerful.Best lines view spoiler 1 When Kveldulf heard about the death of his son Thorolf, he was so saddened by the news that he took to his bed, overcome by grief and old age.Skallagrim went to see him regularaly and tried to talk him round He told him to take heart, saying that nothing was less becoming to him than to be bedridden Asuitable course would be for us to take vengeance for Thorolf 2 In each province King Harald took over all the estates and all the land, habited or uninhabited, and even the sea and lakes All the farmers were made his tenants, and everyone who worked the forests and dried salt, or hunted on land or at sea, was made to pay tribute to him 3 After that he intended to go north and take on to Naumdal and take on the brothers Herlaug and Hrollaug, who were kings there, but when they heard that he was on the way, Herlaug and eleven of his men went into the mound the had spend the last three years building, and had it closed upon them.4 Then the King said, Such a shame that Thorolf seems to be disloyal and to want to kill me 5 Many of the crew threw themselves into the water, but Skallagrim s crew took the boat they had come on and rowed over to them, killing everyone in the water 6 It is said that people who could take on the character of animals, or went berserk, became so strong in this state that no one was a match for them, but also that just after it wore off they were left weaker than usual Kveldulf was the same, so that when the frenzy wore off he felt exhausted by the effort he had made, and was rendered completely powerless and had to lie down and rest.7 Skallagrim and Bera had many children, but the first ones all died Then they had a son who was sprinkled with water and given the name Thorolf.8 You re not going, said Skallagrim, because you don t know how to behave where there s heavy drinking You re enough trouble when you re sober 9 Let us go back to the farm and acquit ourselves like true warriors kill everyone we can catch and take all the valuables we can carry 10 Not everyone agreed that he was not a shapeshifter.11 In the woods, Egil stopped and said, This is a poor and cowardly raid We have stolen all the farmer s wealth without his knowing Such shame will never befall us Let s go back to the farm and let people know what has happened Everyone tried to dissuade him, saying that they wanted to go to the ship.12 Egil is at a feast and there s a man assigned to keep his horn full of ale He is drinking for himself and for his companions who have started to pass out Egil started to feel like he would not be able to go on like this He stood up and walked across the floor to where Armod was sitting, seized him by the shoulders and thrust him up against a wall post Then Egil spewed a torrent of vomit that gushed all over Armod s face, filling his eyes and nostrils and mouth and pouring down his beard and chest Armod was close to choking, and when he managed to let out his breath, a jet of vomit gushed out with it All Armod s men who were there said Egil had done a base and despicable deed by not going outside when he needed to vomit, but had made a spectacle of himself in the drinking room instead.Egil said, don t blame me for following the master of the house s example He s spewing his guts up just as much as I am Then Egil went over to his place, sat down and asked for a drink Armod leapt to his feet and ran out, but Egil asked forto drink The next day Egil breaks into Armod s room and confronts him in front of his wife and daughter, because Armod had originally served Egil curds and hadn t let on that there was ale until late into the night He gouges out Armod s eyes using his finger, leaving it hanging He also cuts off Armod s beard hide spoiler


  9. Bregje (B a Reader) Bregje (B a Reader) says:

    My favourite part was actually the first part first 50 pages or so which dealt with Egil s father and grandfather rather than with Egil himself


  10. Esmay Esmay says:

    Ugh