Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar

Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar Composed At The End Of The Fourteenth Century By An Unknown Author, The Saga Of Grettir The Strong Is One Of The Last Great Icelandic Sagas It Relates The Tale Of Grettir, An Eleventh Century Warrior Struggling To Hold On To The Values Of A Heroic Age Becoming Eclipsed By Christianity And A Pastoral Lifestyle Unable To Settle Into A Community Of Farmers, Grettir Becomes The Aggressive Scourge Of Both Honest Men And Evil Monsters Until, Following A Battle With The Sinister Ghost Glam, He Is Cursed To Endure A Life Of Tortured Loneliness Away From Civilisation, Fighting Giants, Trolls And Berserks A Mesmerising Combination Of Pagan Ideals And Christian Faith, This Is A Profoundly Moving Conclusion To The Golden Age Of The Saga Writing

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  • Paperback
  • 226 pages
  • Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar
  • Anonymous
  • English
  • 17 March 2019
  • 9780802061652

13 thoughts on “Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar

  1. says:

    Another strange little example of the great variety of Old Norse literature, and another good starting point for anyone interesting in getting into the sagas just like most of the famous family sagas are.Grettis saga tells the tale of Grettir the Strong, and his decades spent as an outlaw in Medieval Iceland, living on the edge of a society that is already on the edge of Medieval society It contains a good saga dose of absurdly graphical violence, magical swords, some courthouse drama, and ghosts Somehow, it manages, like to many of these, to end in Constantinople.And Grettir himself is pretty badass, of course.

  2. says:

    As time passes, I am convinced and that certain of the medieval Icelandic sagas were among the greatest works from the mind of man The best of them all are Njals Saga, Egils Saga and this one, Grettir s Saga, particularly in the translation by Jesse L Byock of UCLA Never have I seen such a good introduction and such detailed notes as those provided by Byock, who has a distinguished record of publishing books about medieval Iceland and its great sagas Re reading the saga, I was reminded and about America s Old West, which was very much like 10th and 11th century Iceland The main difference is that Iceland was civilized by not having a death penalty Grettir the Strong is initially banished from Iceland for three years for various offenses then he is condemned to full outlawry, during which time he is forbidden to leave Iceland In addition, no one can be punished for killing him For almost twenty years, Grettir roams the island, from one end to the other The second last paragraph of the saga provides a useful summary Sturla the Lawman said that, in his opinion, no other outlaw was comparable to Grettir the Strong He based his view on three factors First, he found that Grettir was the cleverest, as witnessed by the fact that he lived in outlawry longest of all men and was never overcome while he had his health Second, he was the strongest man in the land among those of the same age, and he was better than others at removing the walking dead and monsters The third was that Grettir, unlike any other Icelander, was avenged out in Constantinople To this can be added how much Thorstein the Galleon Grettir s half brother , the one who avenged Grettir, was a man of good luck in the latter part of his life.The statement about Grettir s handling of ghosts and trolls is particularly interesting Earlier in the saga, he kills a revenant named Glam, who prophesies that from now on, Grettir s luck will change and, although he will continue to be the strongest man in the land, he will lose much of his strength.Grettir s Saga is much loved by the Icelanders When I was there in 2001, I stayed in a guesthouse named Bjarg after Grettir s mother s house in the north of Iceland The son of the owner was called Illugi, after Grettir s youngest brother.Is Grettir s Saga a true story To some extent it is, as many Icelanders are descended from his family I doubt however that all the incidents in the saga occurred as described No matter Grettir is Iceland s Billy the Kid, the Clantons, and Jesse James all rolled into one And the saga that tells his story is one of the greatest and most cleanly written Well worth reading

  3. says:

    Grettir s Saga is considered the last of the great Icelandic sagas The underlying message the author seems to be conveying is that a pagan culture is rapidly being replaced by a orderly Christian one Maybe, but for saga lovers, not that fast You will still find in Grettir s Saga, the remarkable economy of language that is found generally in the sagas, as well as a great deal of extreme violence Heads are hewed in two, and eye is gouged out, a jaw ripped off, limbs cut off, house burnings, animals tortured, monsters, etc Interestingly, a lot of this violence occurs around various Christmas feasts The character, Grettir, is big and really strong According to the author, Grettir is considered Iceland s greatest warrior, though I wonder how he would hold against that other hulking thug, the bi polar Egil, from Egil s Saga He s also a sarcastic smart ass who s kind of lazy As the story unfolds, I often found myself thinking of a gunfighter or a samarai moving from town to town He s not totally bad he saves women on several occasions , and his fate becomes sadder as his end approaches Weirdly, for such a ferocious warrior, Grettir is afraid of the dark This wasn t always the case, but after death match at Christmas with a revenant, a central event in the saga, something changes in Grettir He still cracks wise in the face of danger, but he s haunted by a fate that closes in on him ever tighter, until in the end he s isolated on a tiny island with some sheep But Grettir s ending doesn t end the saga The last fifteen pages or so have Grettir being avenged naturally , but with a odd finish set in Constantinople It s as if another writer took over, since the tone changes The story goes from being a saga, to a Christian fairy tale A strange shift, but it doesn t last very long, and it doesn t hurt the overall saga, which is excellent.

  4. says:

    3 3.5 starsThe Sagas of Icelanders are often considered one of the most significant literary genres to come to us from the Middle Ages for the glimpses they give to us of the lives of ordinary people of the time as opposed to the kings, aristocrats, and legendary heroes of other genres That being said, one is still usually not simply in the realm of the ordinary and mundane even in the Family Sagas and that can certainly be said of _Grettir s Saga_ in which our hero is anything but ordinary and the eldritch and supernatural are seen to walk side by side with the routine aspects of daily life.We begin our journey in the company of Grettir s great grandfather Onund Treefoot, the one legged warrior who initially left Norway for Iceland and became the progenitor of the clan that would ultimately lead to Grettir Far from being simply a name dropped in a genealogy as is often the case in the Sagas we actually follow Onund and his descendants on several of their adventures, the most amusing and spectacular of which is perhaps the account of a battle over and literally on top of the carcass of a beached whale in which parts of the whale itself become weapons In the end we come to Grettir during his childhood and see that the troubles that come to haunt him for the rest of his life had an early beginning Not one who gets along easily with others, Grettir s irascible nature and unnatural size and strength often get him into trouble as does his early penchant for animal cruelty In the end his adult life begins as he goes off into exile as part of a period of minor outlawry Arriving in Norway Grettir soon begins to make his reputation as he begins what will prove to be a life long occupation as a land cleanser , or one who is known for defeating monsters and magical creatures that plague particular districts His first such adventure involves the destruction of a Draugr, or undead walker, plaguing the homestead at which Grettir is staying In the end Grettir gains both a magical sword and a name as something of a hero Further adventures that cement this reputation include battles with Berserker raiders, a wild bear hunt, and vengeance on a pompous rival In the end Grettir returns to Iceland with a seemingly bright future ahead of him he has already made his name as a hero and is a member of a good family What could go wrong Well, in many ways Grettir is his own worst enemy and it appears as though the hand of fate has something to say as well.While continuing in the land cleansing work that helped make his name while in Norway Grettir comes across the reanimated corpse of the shepherd Glam who has been plaguing a local farmer and enters into the battle that will ultimately determine the direction of Grettir s life Glam proves to be nearly a match for Grettir and, in one of the most famous scenes of saga literature, even in his moment of defeat the creature lays upon the young hero a curse that will dog him for the rest of his life Grettir shakes off the haunting episode and continues on, returning to Norway for a short time, but in the end he cannot escape the twin plagues of his own hot tempered nature which has caused him to win a fair share of enemies and the curse of Glam and ends up being sentenced to full outlawry unjustly one could easily argue and spends the remainder of his life living in the wilderness after family and friends are no longer able to safely shelter him Grettir s actions soon come back to haunt him as his enemies place a large price on his head and even resort to attacking his family and friends The curse of Glam also has an interesting psychological element as Grettir is forever haunted by the image of the undead eyes staring into his own and he develops an extreme fear of the dark Living as he does as an outlaw this is an even severe punishment than it might otherwise have been as his life as a solitary outlaw makes loneliness and darkness his only constant and reliable companions Cast out from the society of others he cannot trust the outlaws with whom he shares the wilderness for they are as likely to kill him for the price on his head as they are to be companions in misery Thus Grettir is dogged by the twin fears of treachery and the supernatural for the remainder of his days.This psychological complexity of its hero adds to the interest of _Grettir s Saga_ Not only is he plagued by some very human fears admittedly the result of a supernatural event , but Grettir is also not anything resembling a cookie cutter hero as often acting as a plague upon others, especially during his time as an outlaw, as he does as a hero to some In many ways I was reminded of Tolkien s character of Turin Turambar in the figure of Grettir a man cursed by fate to ill luck, but who is also often to blame for the tragic events that befall him due to bad choices and an even worse attitude One can also see many similarities to the adventures of Grettir with those of Beowulf, even down to specific scenes and characteristics of several of his supernatural foes a fact upon which many a scholar has commented In the end I enjoyed this saga and think it a good place to start if you want to gain some insight into some of the aspects of life in medieval Iceland especially those revolving around the legalities of outlawry with a heaping dose of supernatural adventure.Note the edition I read edited and translated by Jesse Byock has an excellent introduction and copious academic apparatus to give context to many of the details of the saga and which shed great light onto medieval Icelandic society for the novice and expert alike.

  5. says:

    By Unknown AuthorWritten in Icelandic, sometime in the early 14th Century Opening There was a man named Onund, the son of Ofeig Clumsyfoot, who was the son of Ivar Horsetail Onund was the brother of Gudbjorg, the mother of Gudbrand Knob, the father of Asta, the mother of King Olaf the Saint His mother came from the Upplands, while his father s relations were mostly in Rogaland and Hordland He was a great viking and used to harry away in the West over the sea He was accompanied on these expeditions by one Balki, the son of Blaeing from Sotanes, and by Orm the Wealthy Another comrade of theirs was named Hallvard They had five ships, all well equipped They plundered the Hebrides, reaching the Barra Isles, where there ruled a king named Kjarval, who also had five ships These they attacked there was a fierce battle between them, in which Onund s men fought with the utmost bravery After many had fallen on both sides, the battle ended with the king taking to flight with a single ship the rest were captured by Onund s force, along with much booty They stayed there for the winter, and spent the succeeding three summers harrying the coasts of Ireland and Scotland, after which they returned to Norway.

  6. says:

    Could it be delightful This is a one book answer to the question, Why medieval literature We get a one legged warrior who uses to disability to vanquish his enemies in a sea battle the famous fight against the revenant Glam Ivar Horse Cock making love to troll daughters in a glacier snappy poetic comebacks travel and hijinks from Iceland to Byzantium and, my favourite bit, the serving woman who marvels at how poorly endowed the big man really is.

  7. says:

    Story of an outsider It has to be one of the greats of outsider fiction although maybe it doesn t occur in The Outsider With the terse psychology of sagas we watch Grettir alienate his fellow man from the start, and then watch him slip through the social pavement He also earns devotion from a few That few includes me This saga, a late one, is just glorious harsh realities, eerie atmospherics, high heroics, lows of homelessness in Iceland This is my saga of choice It has genuinely freaky trolls along with what might be either mental illness or maleficent visions It has stolen bits from Beowulf and from Tristan Isolde It has interesting women and unemployed berserks RIP Grettir I know that is only ironic for you.

  8. says:

    Bare is the back of a brotherless man As far as sagas go this one deserves five stars, it s the best written one I ve read yet, the other ones do not compare It feels like a complete book and not just a list of things that happened with some dialogue thrown in It follows Grettir, a mischievous man, not necessarily evil, just unlucky and hot tempered As a result, he gets into trouble and fights throughout his journeys, eventually all his deeds catch up with him and he is branded an outlaw, he has to constantly flee from place to place, men always after him trying to kill him Full of violence, kennings, trolls and draugrs, this saga was great

  9. says:

    I read this in junior year in high school, and revisiting it after 15 years, I can definitely appreciate the story much better and understand why the teacher assigned it to a bunch of teenage boys It s also surprising how much you forget The only thing I vaguely remember was the desolate scene of Grettir on Drangey and not much else Though like epics the saga lacks any interiority whatsoever and focuses ruthlessly on action, it does have its own magic, of motion and something else that happens to fit the desolate landscape in which the saga is set The upshot was that I did feel sad when Grettir, dying from a self inflicted wound, is killed at the hand of a rather unworthy enemy.

  10. says:

    so i picked this up because i m doing research on draugar, which are norse ghosts that haunt their burial mounds and stir up all kinds of mischief they re super powerful, terrifying, can cast curses and drive ppl mad, all sorts of gr8 shit this was one of the pieces that had the most references back to it in that regard, this book was somewhat of a disappointment, because in the whole thing ghosts in general a draugr specifically only show up in like ten pages.that being said, this was a fucking RIOT from start to finish, omfg i didn t rly know what to expect going into this, and i ll admit the first like 20 pages of the actual saga were kinda dry it was a lot of family history nonsense, this man begat this son, these two families feuded for five years bc family a accidentally set their cow loose in family b s fields, battle battle battle battle, blah blah blah there are so many names thrown at you in so short a time that i literally had no idea who anyone was lmao there are literally 40 different characters whose names start with thor I JUST CHECKED THE CHARACTER INDEX AT THE BACK THERE ARE FUCKING 83 PPL WHOSE NAMES BEGIN WITH THOR OH MY GOD the vast majority of them show up for like two pages then disappear 7 of them are women, which was kinda cool it s possible some of the multiple instances of each name were the same person i counted 4 different thornsteins, for example and i just lost track because i couldn t remember who they were it was super confusing lmao now, pls note that i said kind of dry, because so much of what was happening was fucking WILD, oh my god i think like twenty ppl got burned alive in their homes at different points in time i lost track of how many ppl were dismembered in battle within the first like five pages i think three ppl had lost a leg and at least two or three lost a hand or arm dismemberment featured so prominently that an entire family tree featured names referring to their missing limbs there was a battle over a beached whale during which someone was literally clubbed to death with a whale rib which their assailant took from the corpse of the whale they were fighting over there was a character named ivar horse cock, for what i think are fairly self explanatory reasons, and another named olvar child sparer, a name which was given to him after he refused to participate in the allegedly very popular viking game of throwing children in the air and impaling them on spears another popular game in medieval iceland apparently involved passing an animal penis around the dinner table while reading a poem called handing grettir around the goal of this game was to pass the penis to your neighbor and to not be holding the penis by the time to poem s recitation was finished it is apparently a widespread motif in icelandic sagas for boys to ask their fathers for the means to travel abroad at the tender age of twelve, be refused, and then set out on their journey anyway with little means of support apparently, many of them traveled to norway first oh, and if you wanted to kill a ghost, you cut off its head and shoved it in their butt i imagine this only works when the ghosts are corporeal as they are in norse mythos once grettir actually makes his appearance bc he doesn t show up till chapter like 15 or smth the story does pick up a bit, and it gets a lot less dry he s a piece of shit, and i hate him lmao when he first shows up there are a couple instances of fairly graphic animal cruelty watching everything go wrong for him all the time, especially when he gets cursed by gl mr the draugr and then later by thurid the witch, was it was just beautiful his death was beautiful.the real crowning scenes of the story don t rly come in till the very end besides the ones featuring ghosts, the draugr, or trolls, obviously , when we meet spes grettir s brother thorstein s wife , who is AMAZING i love her.i def recommend reading the introduction before you delve into the saga, esp if you re not familiar with icelandic lore and or the sagas in general super informative, provides lots of context the notes and glossary at the back of the book are great, too.there is a brief non descriptive rape scene in chapter 75 page 170 in this version it s easily skipped over.

  11. says:

    3.5 Of all the Norse Sagas I ve read, this is the one I would recommend It seems to me the most reminiscent of my expectations of Norse stories.What really interested me is that this included lot magic and walking dead scenarios Loved that I got to read this in full after doing only the Christmas Hauntings as an extract in first year The usual limitations when reading sagas are there keeping track of names, occasional dry genealogies but less noticeable in this tale Also enjoyed that the Grettir was a sort of anti hero as an outlaw Also interesting to see such a masculine figure scared of the dark.

  12. says:

    Grettir s Saga is one of the most famous Icelandic sagas, so I regret how long it s taken me to get to it I seem to have read the obscure ones first I enjoyed every minute of this tale, which blends a standard outlaw narrative with elements of the supernatural Byock s translation flowed beautifully, though I regretted the loss of the proper Icelandic spellings of names and places The notes in this edition were also excellent In particular, I appreciated the maps and genealogy charts If you are new to the Icelandic sagas, this would probably be a good one with which to start since it s a fun and feisty narrative and the familial relationships don t get too complicated.

  13. says:

    Sagas are such interesting pieces of literature I wish they were widely taught in America It s so interesting to see how Tolkien was inspired and incorporated mythology and stylistic elements of them in his work.

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