In my second fantasy novel, at the end of every day of the wedding’s tournament, the great hall will provide over 70 course meals, all kinds of entertainment, and joyful people from all across the northern kingdoms. The entertainment will consist of jugglers, acrobats, as well as bards singing songs of the heroes of their respective kingdoms. There will be cauldrons of mead and countless barrels of wine. To give you a glimpse of the atmosphere of this medieval reception party, allow me to share this video from the 2007 version of Beowulf, which pretty much depicts how my ancestors threw a party.
My Viking and Anglo-Saxon ancestors tended to celebrate inside of mead halls, which were the precursors of great halls of medieval castles. To provide you with a more vivid picture of what the interior of Magnus Keep looks like in my fantasy series, the great hall would look like a mead hall where the king of Umbran would invite their barons and knights to celebrate multiple occasions. This mead/great hall will be prominently featured in my second fantasy book especially after it was renovated.
I saw an interesting film on Netflix called The Ritual. It is about four friends who venture into a forest in Sweden only to run into a group of pagans who worship a horrendous monster. This creature is said to be a bastard child of Loki, Norse God of Mischief. It is one of the most grotesque monsters I have ever seen, resembling a giant demonic elk and it had the most unusual head I have ever gazed upon (which is in the picture above). I must say that this is one of the most unholy interpretations of my ancestors’ gods I have ever seen. I loved the camaraderie the characters displayed in the film and the suspense was killing me. Because of its size and appearance, Loki’s bastard blended in with the trees, which leaves you constantly on the lookout and wondering where and when it will strike next. Overall, this was a scary and suspenseful film that leaves you at the edge of your seat.
Because I am of Scandinavian descent, I am thinking of naming several of my future characters after Vikings. Among these Vikings will be the infamous Ivar the Boneless, one of the most ruthless Vikings who ever lived! I will consider naming one of my characters “Ivar”, but I won’t say what noble House or kingdom he will come from. All I can say is that he will be just as scary as his namesake.
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.