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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Suggestions for Epic Viking Story?         Reply with quote

So anyway, I'm kinda playing with the idea of writing this huge viking epic, most likely in the form of a graphic novel script.

So I'm just wondering, what would you guys want to see in or expect from a good viking myth? Is there anything you think I absolutely shouldn't have? I'm currently looking for themes, but pretty much any suggestions at all are welcome. Recommended research is also great, though I don't plan to read through all the old sagas or anything.

I'm thinking of having a fairly realistic setting with a wholy unrealistic story. Kinda Pirates of the Caribbean style, so to speak, only with vikings rather then pirates. My default approach is that historical correctness is a nice thing to have provided it doesn't get in the way of my storytelling. Wink

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Alex Hiniotama





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah , I have had yet to read a "capturing" if you will, novel on viking epic events. However i do like the story of "Erik the Red" you could really make a good novel on him and his extreme ways.
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Shawn Henthorn




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about a group of Rus traders or Varangian make their way to Baghdad and ingage in intrigue and whatnot....kind of an Icelandic saga meets Arabian Nights kinda thing.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex Hiniotama wrote:
Yeah , I have had yet to read a "capturing" if you will, novel on viking epic events. However i do like the story of "Erik the Red" you could really make a good novel on him and his extreme ways.


Will look it up.

Shawn Henthorn wrote:
How about a group of Rus traders or Varangian make their way to Baghdad and ingage in intrigue and whatnot....kinda a Icelandic saga meets arabian NIghts kinda thing.


Hm, sounds kinda like the first part of The Long Ships, though they ended up in Andalusia rather then Baghdad.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I expect great Viking names (Skeggi, Hrolf) and great monikers like "tree-foot" (someone with a wooden leg). Also, great sword names are a must.

So Hrolf Tree-Foot could have his sword "Shield Splitter". A good formal duel is always welcome.

Happy

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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I expect great Viking names (Skeggi, Hrolf) and great monikers like "tree-foot" (someone with a wooden leg). Also, great sword names are a must.

So Hrolf Tree-Foot could have his sword "Shield Splitter". A good formal duel is always welcome.


Naturally. Awesome swords and holmgangr was already on my list of stuff the story needs. Wink

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First off I would reccomend reading as many sagas as you have time for. The Online medieval and classic library is a good place to go for that (aka OMACL). I would also reccomend that you become familiar with kennings. These are a very specific lterary device that will bring a lot of authenticity to whatever wolrd you create; assuming authenticity is a priority.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I would also reccomend that you become familiar with kennings. These are a very specific lterary device that will bring a lot of authenticity to whatever wolrd you create; assuming authenticity is a priority.


You've managed to intrigue me. What exactly are these "kennings" you speak of?

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kennings are pseudonyms for various objects. Norse and Saxon poets used them frequently, and apparently they are not the same as "naming", as a kenning would apply to anything of that type. The poet and the audience were all familiar with kennings (to ken is to know) but a great poet would be expected to have a wide reportoir of kennings, often very clever.

For example, a kenning for a spear is "fish of battle", because a winged spear is shaped like a fish. Building on that kenning, the poet might call a shield "net of fishes", and the audience would all laugh at the clever kenning.

Wikipedia has an article on this as well. I don't think you should go berserk with the kennings, but it might help spice up some dialogue. Understanding how they work would be a good start to understanding how the norse spoke to each other.

Here's one from Beowulf
Beowulf: "In the end each clan on the outlying coasts beyond the whale-road had to yield to him and begin to pay tribute"

Here the whale road refers to the sea. In some cases kennings are very macho, like "Wound flame" for a sword, but other times they are intentionally silly, like "the leek of battle", also for a sword. Axes are almost always kenned as she-trolls, or giantesses, and usually reflecty the destruction they render on shields.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Kennings are pseudonyms for various objects. Norse and Saxon poets used them frequently, and apparently they are not the same as "naming", as a kenning would apply to anything of that type. The poet and the audience were all familiar with kennings (to ken is to know) but a great poet would be expected to have a wide reportoir of kennings, often very clever.

For example, a kenning for a spear is "fish of battle", because a winged spear is shaped like a fish. Building on that kenning, the poet might call a shield "net of fishes", and the audience would all laugh at the clever kenning.

Wikipedia has an article on this as well. I don't think you should go berserk with the kennings, but it might help spice up some dialogue. Understanding how they work would be a good start to understanding how the norse spoke to each other.

Here's one from Beowulf
Beowulf: "In the end each clan on the outlying coasts beyond the whale-road had to yield to him and begin to pay tribute"

Here the whale road refers to the sea. In some cases kennings are very macho, like "Wound flame" for a sword, but other times they are intentionally silly, like "the leek of battle", also for a sword. Axes are almost always kenned as she-trolls, or giantesses, and usually reflecty the destruction they render on shields.


Heh, I had actually just looked it up on Wiki when you posted that. Happy It's an interesting concept, and I may make something of it. It would make for some rather distinct narrative, at least.

As for authenticity, though, I must be honest and say it's only important to me as a tool for improved storytelling. These kennings, for example, would be more of a stylistic detail rather then a way of simulating a "real" norse story. My aim has always been to entertain rather then to educate.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Reality based or can there be " Mythic " elements: Gods, magic, monsters ?

Alternate history, time travel, aliens ? Just talking possibilities or genres not necessarily suggesting that the story include such elements.

One thing that just popped into mind is that around the time of the Vikings coming to the New World the Earth was sort of warmer and the North West passage might have been navigable during the summers.

Vines in Newfoundland and Greenland was actually green during a natural cycle of global warming.Razz Laughing Out Loud

Anyway, a longship in the story could have crossed the North West passage and Vikings could have crossed the Pacific and reached Japan and China and ended up crossing Asia and getting back to Viking lands on foot/horse.

Oh, in Japan we can have the fun of Knight versus Samurai or at least Western Viking swordsmanship versus Samurai.

Getting there and away from there and back to Europe picking up treasure, making friends and enemies along the way.

As Vikings they need not be 100% good guys as we would judge things in a modern context but at the same time not immune to generous impulses.

As with any novel creating varied characters with interesting and contrasting personalities as well as interesting things to do and learn.

Some mystery or core story arc as they deal with different situations and cultures.

Now the hard part is writing something. Wink Laughing Out Loud

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Suggestions for Epic Viking Story?         Reply with quote

Anders Backlund wrote:
So anyway, I'm kinda playing with the idea of writing this huge viking epic, most likely in the form of a graphic novel script.

So I'm just wondering, what would you guys want to see in or expect from a good viking myth? Is there anything you think I absolutely shouldn't have? I'm currently looking for themes, but pretty much any suggestions at all are welcome. Recommended research is also great, though I don't plan to read through all the old sagas or anything.

I'm thinking of having a fairly realistic setting with a wholy unrealistic story. Kinda Pirates of the Caribbean style, so to speak, only with vikings rather then pirates. My default approach is that historical correctness is a nice thing to have provided it doesn't get in the way of my storytelling. Wink


Please...

Nothing on the order of Pathfinder. Anything else will be acceptable.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Reality based or can there be " Mythic " elements: Gods, magic, monsters ?


I welcome a mythic approach, though I don't want to go completely fantasy with it.

I've half decided to include berserkers, dwarves, enchanted swords, valkyres and probably an Odin cameo, though. There are some things you need to toss in just for the sheer value of awesome. Wink

Quote:
Alternate history, time travel, aliens ? Just talking possibilities or genres not necessarily suggesting that the story include such elements.


Ah, I prefer to keep my genres apart if I can. ^^;

Get too spaced out and you end up not knowing where you are or where you're going, which means your readers will know even less. They'll expect certain things from a viking story, and I think it's important not to scare them away from that. Appealing to a broad audience, and all.

Quote:
One thing that just popped into mind is that around the time of the Vikings coming to the New World the Earth was sort of warmer and the North West passage might have been navigable during the summers.

Vines in Newfoundland and Greenland was actually green during a natural cycle of global warming.Razz Laughing Out Loud

Anyway, a longship in the story could have crossed the North West passage and Vikings could have crossed the Pacific and reached Japan and China and ended up crossing Asia and getting back to Viking lands on foot/horse.

Oh, in Japan we can have the fun of Knight versus Samurai or at least Western Viking swordsmanship versus Samurai.

Getting there and away from there and back to Europe picking up treasure, making friends and enemies along the way.

As Vikings they need not be 100% good guys as we would judge things in a modern context but at the same time not immune to generous impulses.

As with any novel creating varied characters with interesting and contrasting personalities as well as interesting things to do and learn.

Some mystery or core story arc as they deal with different situations and cultures.

Now the hard part is writing something. Wink Laughing Out Loud


Traveling is important. There is always an element of exploring, seeking new horizons, when it comes to vikings. But, that being said, I do wonder to what degree I can really take them out of their own enviroment before the mood gets all odd.

(Not that the idea of vikings rampaging through Asuka Period Japan isn't inherently awesome, though.) Laughing Out Loud

Lin Robinson wrote:

Please...

Nothing on the order of Pathfinder. Anything else will be acceptable.


Yeah, I've seen some pictures from that movie. Dear lord...

I'll let you in on a little secret; this whole idea is really just my Master Plan to get a more correct idea of the vikings out into modern pop-culture.

I'm hoping that if it gets popular enough, someone might make a decent movie out of it so we won't have to suffer stuff like Pathfinder and The 13:th Warrior again. Wink

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Michael Ekelmann




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok, stuff I'd like to see in a Viking story: Sea-kings battling it out on the bloody deck of a drakkar while their warbands look on. Heroes catching spears in mid air and throwing them back. A good swine-array charge. A shieldwall upon which the enemy's charge breaks like surf upon the rocks. Berserks biting shields and hurling really cool inventive insults, then going postal. Doomed rearguard actions that are celebrated in song. Pimped out drakkars, painted longhouses. Magic swords, magic horns. Troll-born wizards, lucky heroes. Honoring the fallen, even if they are the enemy. a blood eagle, even if the Vikings never really did that.

Stuff I wouldn't want to see: Good armour covered by bondage gear. Women in fur and maille bikinis. (not that I'm against that sort of thing, it just belongs at the Renfaire and Comiccon) Modern sentiment dressed in Viking age clothes ( you know, free the thralls, equality for everyone, don't do the odd strandhogg, that sort of thing) Horns on helmets.

“Men prefer to fight with swords, so they can see each other's eyes!" Sean Connery as Mulay Hamid El Raisuli in The Wind and the Lion
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Ekelmann wrote:
Ok, stuff I'd like to see in a Viking story: Sea-kings battling it out on the bloody deck of a drakkar while their warbands look on. Heroes catching spears in mid air and throwing them back. A good swine-array charge. A shieldwall upon which the enemy's charge breaks like surf upon the rocks. Berserks biting shields and hurling really cool inventive insults, then going postal. Doomed rearguard actions that are celebrated in song. Pimped out drakkars, painted longhouses. Magic swords, magic horns. Troll-born wizards, lucky heroes. Honoring the fallen, even if they are the enemy. a blood eagle, even if the Vikings never really did that.

Stuff I wouldn't want to see: Good armour covered by bondage gear. Women in fur and maille bikinis. (not that I'm against that sort of thing, it just belongs at the Renfaire and Comiccon) Modern sentiment dressed in Viking age clothes ( you know, free the thralls, equality for everyone, don't do the odd strandhogg, that sort of thing) Horns on helmets.


...I like your way of thinking. Laughing Out Loud

*takes notes*

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Ryan Moody




Location: Manitoba
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 9:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just finished reading a really good series by Tim Severin, an historian, explorer, and author. It's called "Viking", it's about Thorgils Leifsson, the son of Leif Eriksson, and his journies throughout his life, all over the ancient world. Although it's obviously fictitious, it's also really well researched and written in a realistic style. It's also very entertaining, which is always a bonus. There are three books in the series, and they might give you a good starting point or some tips for a narrative about vikings.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/026-0158965-7970870...%5Fcode=qs
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 11:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Modern sentiment dressed in Viking age clothes


Amen to that. Gladiator took this route in the finale, and it made me nauseous. Something about all of Rome and one human life...

Part of what makes the sagas so interesting is the otherness of thier thinking. I recall reading a story of some vikings who had snuck into a vouse and stolen valuables. The leader of the group, as they made thier way back to thier ship, realizes that they have commited theft. Theft is a shameful crime in the norse mindset, but taking wealth by force is perfectly acceptable. So the party sets fire to the home and kills the owners as they run out. This helps everyone sleep easy, knowing that they are not cowardly thieves.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jan, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Quote:
Modern sentiment dressed in Viking age clothes


Amen to that. Gladiator took this route in the finale, and it made me nauseous. Something about all of Rome and one human life...


Kinda OT, but I was recently watching 300, and whenever Leonidas held one of his speaches about "defending freedom from tyranny and oppression" and all that, I'd remember what horrible people the Spartans really were and what their society was like and I just. Couldn't. Take it. Seriously!

Quote:
Part of what makes the sagas so interesting is the otherness of thier thinking. I recall reading a story of some vikings who had snuck into a vouse and stolen valuables. The leader of the group, as they made thier way back to thier ship, realizes that they have commited theft. Theft is a shameful crime in the norse mindset, but taking wealth by force is perfectly acceptable. So the party sets fire to the home and kills the owners as they run out. This helps everyone sleep easy, knowing that they are not cowardly thieves.


Thieving is dishonorable, but robbery is okay? That's wonderful! Laughing Out Loud

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jan, 2008 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best possible Viking epic already exists: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097289/ Wink
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David Huggins




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jan, 2008 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Anders,

A 'Viking' epic, phew a tall order that one! 'The Long Ships'' considered a Swedish Classic contains all of the elements of an epic and I would highly recommend it to get a flavour of what an viking epic should be.

For further references, check out our myspace profile page http;//myspace.com/jorvik_vikingr which contains a suggested viking age fiction reading list. Good luck.

Best

Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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