Yeah, that’s gonna work out fine for the little guy…
Okay, that’s clearly hypocritical, the christians clearly did the same thing that Hrothgar is doing. Also I did some research and apparently the Norse gods condemned murder and greed. Although the Norse people did sacrifice slaves.
Forgive a medievalist intervention… We really know stuff-all about what the old Norse religion did or didn’t condemn. All the sagas and other textual evidence bar a very few funerary inscriptions is post-Christianization, so what you have is a few people at a safe distance trying either to save or to sink the stories they liked best or feared most from what they remember Grandad (or other people’s Grandads) telling of a winter evening. And of course Grandad himself was probably after telling the tallest tale he could get away with even then. And otherwise you have burial and art, which doesn’t tell you what was going on so much as what the person who’s writing it up wants to see in it. The best book on this stuff is Neil Price’s The Viking Way, which used to be on the web for free but seems to have gone while he prepares a second edition, alas.
From what little I’ve read or heard, anyway, the sagas are mostly down on greed, because it unbalances and upsets communities, but they’re kind of ambivalent about murder, or rather killing—murder, in the way that the Norse would have used the word, is specifically killing in secret, and is way dishonourable; if you’re going to kill someone you do it face-to-face where people can see. That upsets things too, obviously, but for our writers is sometimes deserved and can be *awesome*. But in this respect the Norse are hardly different from any of the longer-Christian peoples of the medieval world; try the Song of Roland for what is basically the medieval equivalent of a prolonged chivalric kung fu movie done as an evening-long drinking song.
Oh, also, the comic’s great and I’m enjoying this arc :-)
Thank you both for reading. I’m glad Hrothgar’s sparked this kind of research and conversation.
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