Saturday, 22 September 2012

Hrolf And Hadding

In Norse mythological literature:

King Hadding of Denmark had a son called Frodi;
Hrolf Kraki, the hero of a saga, had a great-uncle called Frodi;
Saxo Grammaticus identified the Frodis;
Poul Anderson thought that this identification was mistaken;
Anderson retold Hrolf Kraki's Saga in 1973;
twenty four years later, he retold the story of Hadding as War Of The Gods.

In terms of Anderson's development as a writer, War Of The Gods is clearly a much later work - and I think better written although I have yet to reread Hrolf Kraki's Saga. For the purpose of arranging Anderson's heroic fantasies into a sequential reading order, it makes sense, even if we do not accept the identification of the Frodis, to go with Saxo's chronology for Hrolf and Hadding and thus to place Saga before War.

Both Hrolf and Hadding are Skjoldungs so it makes sense to know which came first. I expect to know more after rereading both books.

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