Sunday, 23 December 2012

1051

In The Road Of The Sea Horse (New York, 1980), Poul Anderson must devote Chapter XII to an update on political events in England. It is 1051. There are only fifteen years left. There is already strong Norman influence in England. William the Bastard, later to be called the Conqueror, " '...is invited hither.' " (p. 211)

Earl Godwin meets with his sons, including Harold. I deduce that the latter will become the King Harold of England who is to defeat Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge but immediately afterwards to be himself defeated by the Conqueror at Hastings. I could confirm or disconfirm this by googling but instead am letting the narrative unfold. Let us pretend that we do not already know the outcome.

When Harold spoke:

""The men yelled, through the long dim hall, till it rang in the rafters. These were warriors. Their breed had come here when Rome was dying, to hammer out a new realm; among their fathers were Danes whose dragons had borne steel and fire and freedom..." (p. 211)

We have seen Rome dying and Danes bearing steel in other works by Anderson. The title of the present work, The Last Viking Trilogy, if nothing else, informs us that we are approaching the end of that era of Danish violence and freedom. The world keeps turning...

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