Sunday, 27 January 2013

History Repeats Itself

In the second last chapter of Poul Anderson's The Sign Of The Raven (New York, 1980), Harald Hardrada  encroaches, attacking places with familiar names, like Scarborough and York. Recalling his successful sieges as leader of the Varangian Guard in Volume I, he captures the walled Scarborough by setting fire to its thatched roofs.

This makes him remark to his English ally:

"' Your folk are as brave as any I've met; but they seem never to make ready for danger till too late.'" (p. 223)

- to which the ally replies:

" 'It's our great fault...' " (p. 223)

As I write, people in England are complaining that the government is never prepared for expected or predictable bad weather - a Motorway is closed by snow because it has not been gritted.

On p. 225, Harald's name is misspelled "Harold," potentially causing confusion with his opponent, Harold Godwinsson. Harald and his ally are about to attack York. After that, in the concluding chapter, their next stop will be Stamford Bridge.

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