Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Strands Come Together

Two of the magic swords mentioned in Poul Anderson's Hrolf Kraki's Saga (New York, 1973) are wielded in the book itself, by Hrolf and Bjarki. The others are Sighurd's and Tyrfing. Hrolf says:

" 'The sword Tyrfing goes about in the world, and each owner gets victory from it, but he becomes an evildoer and in the end the sword is his bane.' " (p. 223)

Thus, he summarizes Anderson's first fantasy novel, The Broken Sword.

At last, away from bewitchment and with the benefit of hindsight, Hrolf begins to recognize the yeoman Hrani:

" 'That could have been old Odin. Truly - only now do I know what I saw - he was a man with one eye.' " (p. 224)

Too late to regain Odin's good will, the Danes decide to avoid battle "...for Odin is the Father of Victories..." although Hrolf comments, " ' His own doom sets the life of every man, and not yonder spook.' " (p. 224)

So now, thanks to all their fighting, Denmark have seven years of peace. We would regard this as a positive outcome but to them it is also negative. At peace, they can no longer win wealth or fame in battle and Odin may now be against them. The Saga draws to its end. We may expect a last battle in which the heroes meet their doom.

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