The Story of Grettir the Strong Ebook
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In this saga, Grettir’s life is told from beginning to end. As a child, he is rebellious and bad-tempered. He is described as red haired, freckled, and broad around the eyes. But he is also courageous. He takes on and defeats a draugr, a walking corpse or Norse equivalent of a zombie. But in doing so he is cursed, and this is thought to be the cause of his later misfortunes. At times Grettir falls into the role of a bona fide hero, but he is blamed for setting fire to a hall, killing many men, and is condemned by the Thing (assembly) to outlawry (although many suspect the validity of this sentence). This means that anyone may attempt to kill him without legal penalty and citizens are forbidden to help in any way. Many attempts are made but none succeed. This is not dissimilar to the Saga of Gisli (also republished by Abela Publishing). Grettir eventually becomes the longest surviving outlaw in Icelandic history. When he has completed nearly 20 years as an outlaw, his friends and family ask for his outlawry to be lifted, arguing that a man may not spend more than 20 years as an outlaw (in reality there was no such law in medieval Iceland). After a debate at the assembly, it is decided that the outlawry will be lifted when he has truly completed the 20 years, but not before. His enemies make one last effort, using sorcery causing him to wound himself and finally defeat him in the lonely, fortress-like Drangey off the northern tip of Iceland where he was staying with his brother Illugi, and slave Glaumur. Later, in Constantinople, where the Norse served as the Varangian Guard to the Emperor, Grettir’s half brother, Thorsteinn of Dromund, avenges his murder. 33% of the publisher’s profit will be donated to charity.
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