I had an insane idea for a kingdom in my future fantasy books. I am envisioning a kingdom that is volcanic in nature. With a volcanic kingdom, the inhabitants would have access to both igneous rock and volcanic ash. Igneous rock and lava have a high iron content, which will come in handy when it comes to forging armor, weapons, and other metallic items. Volcanic ash is one of the best fertilizers in the world, which would help the kingdom’s farmers fertilize their fields. As I contemplate this idea, I will be drawing inspiration from Iceland, which not only has a history with my viking ancestors, but also has several active volcanos. It is often said that hard places breed hard people and if these people live in a volcanic environment they would be the hardest people of them all.
The main war in my fantasy series will be fought on many fronts from land, sea, and air. Because I am modeling the main protagonists after Henry Tudor and William the Conqueror, I will be modeling some of the battles they fought after historical battles Henry and William fought. For example, during the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D. ten thousand vikings under Harald Hardrada invaded England around the same time as William the Conqueror. In order to stay true to my viking roots and draw inspiration on Hardrada’s raids, I am thinking of including some sea and coastal battles in the second volume of my fantasy series. The first of Hardrada’s raids was the Battle of Fulford, where the vikings won their first and only victory in the Conquest of 1066.
While the Battle of Fulford allowed the vikings to conquer and sack Fulford and York, their victory was short lived. Soon the vikings wandered too far away from their ships and became trapped behind enemy lines. This misfortune really hurt their war effort when they fought the Battle of Stamford Bridge. By this time King Harold Godwinson of England raised an army to beat back the viking host and he had them outnumbered two to one. The losses the vikings took were so severe that only two dozen of their three hundred ships made it back to Norway.
However, while Harold Godwinson defeated the vikings in the north, William the Conqueror and his Norman army landed in the south. After landing, William and his Normans wasted no time in consolidating a foothold on their future kingdom. In an attempt to defend his crown from the second invading army, Harold and his English army ran south to meet William in open battle. By the time they reached Hastings, Harold and his men were exhausted from running from one side of the country to another. William and his Normans, on the other hand, were well rested and ready for battle. This was one of the factors that ultimately led to Harold’s defeat at the hands of William the Conqueror. This chain of events ultimately led to crowning William king of England and establishing a dynasty that has lasted for almost a thousand years.
In the second volume of my fantasy series, I am thinking of depicting a similar series of events, but with several unique changes of my own. This collection of battles and skirmishes will be even more intense and epic than what happened in real life.
I discovered something darkly interesting about my Viking ancestors. During their raids, they did not just take food, gold, and steel. They often took thralls or slaves during their raids and battles. Even though thralls were at the bottom of Viking society, they did have the potential to climb up the social ladder with some becoming raiders themselves. Who knows? I may be descended from a thrall from Ireland, England, or France. In order to stay true to my Viking (and possibly thrall) roots, I will be including thralldom in my fantasy series. However, I will be making a few changes to the rules of thralldom. For example, a person can only become a thrall during wartime from either the battlefield or newly conquered territory. All other forms of slavery would be considered taboo and illegal because the targets do not get a fair chance to fight back.
Among the subjects I have researched for my fantasy book, I found a number of sources of inspiration in Norse mythology; particularly the Norse gods. I am thinking of including features from the Norse gods into some of my characters. For example, Odin sacrificed his eye in order to gain wisdom and Tyr lost a hand while fighting a demon wolf. This will also give me a chance to reconnect with my Viking roots. I look forward to finding out more to use for my project.
Another section of my ancestry I plan to explore will be the Anglo-Saxons. My Anglo-Saxon ancestors inspired epic tales such as Beowulf. They also ruled England for six hundred years from the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century to when William the Conqueror sacked the country in 1066. The thing I find interesting about my Viking, Norman, and Anglo-Saxon ancestors is that they are essentially the same people because they descended from the same bloodline. In war, the Anglo-Saxons pretty much used the same battle tactics as the vikings, which included the use of the shield wall and rely mostly on infantry. With this in mind, it is possible that my direct ancestors fought on all sides of the Norman conquest of England. That would make it a family feud that pitted kinsman against kinsman. For my fantasy series, I will be drawing inspiration from the Anglo-Saxons’ culture and warfare in order to create one of the factions of the book’s kingdom.
After receiving half of my DNA results, I discovered that a good percentage of me is of Scandinavian origin. That means that some of my ancestors were vikings! Centuries ago, my ancestors were plundering and pillaging through Europe and North America, worshipping gods such as Odin and Thor. I can envision them becoming berserkers on the battlefield with the strength and fury of ten men! This would explain why I had such bright blonde hair when I was a child due to my viking genes. For my fantasy series, I am thinking of creating a faction whose culture is modeled after that of the vikings. I will therefore watch documentaries regarding viking culture and warfare. This will be an illuminating experience because it would allow me to find myself as well as find inspiration for future projects.