Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Njal's Saga

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 378
Format : History, Mythology
Reason for Reading : Guardian Challenge

Arguably the most famous of the Icelandic sagas, this history tells of Njal, his sons, friends and surrounding people. It is from the 13th centuary and covers many topics including feuds, impotence, marriage, law etc. Two of the main characters are Gunnar and Njal. Njal is a well known wise man who is an expert in the laws who many turn to for advice. Gunnar is his close friend, but unfortunately their wives do not get on. Gunnar's wife begins a blood feud with Njal's wife where they keep killing people to try to get their husbands to fall out. It's a bit eye for an eyeand very petty.

There are villians and heros and eventually both Gunnar and Njal are killed. Gunnar is killed in battle and Njal is burnt to death in his house with his wife. His sons take their revenge and go after the burners and the feuding continues. Parts of it are an excellent view inside Icelandic life at the time mentioning local food etc. It was also interesting to read about the laws at the Althing.

It's not all blood, guts limbs and heads being chopped off. It has a sense of humor and a charm to the story, although it did loose me a little after Njal was killed. I loved reading the tale after not long having visited Iceland, it made me want to go back even more. I hope to read more of the sagas in the future.


Unknown said...

This looks like it'll be a good one to read eventually. At the moment I'm working my way through the new Tolkien book, Sigurd and Gudrun. Once I'm done with that, if I'm not burned out on the subject, I'll go looking for this.

Thanks for the rec.

Kim L said...

Interesting. I read my first "saga" last year, Beowulf. I did enjoy that much more than I expected, and I bet I would enjoy this one as well. Thanks for sharing.

Ana S. said...

You are braver than I am. I've always wanted to read the sagas but I keep putting them off.