5.28.14 Egil’s Saga

Well, having finished with Fangirl and its overall trend towards making me miffed on behalf of fandom and deeply upset on behalf of my bipolar self, I have moved on to greener pastures.

Egil’s Saga, author unknown. Translated by Bernard Scudder. First read:205/205.



Periodically I like to read a saga. This is one of the quintessential sagas, about a giant, hideous Viking type named Egil who likes two things, which are to kill people, and to compose poetry. Sometimes he pairs his two great talents and makes poems about killing people, sometimes in a threatening way and sometimes because he’s already done it and he’s got a minute to spare before someone tries to get revenge.

Egil likes to ruin things. When he’s a kid he’s in a kid’s game full of kids, but he gets mad and murders a guy he’s playing with because the guy annoys him. This is essentially like killing someone in a game of pick-up football. No one is happy about it. Egil never makes anyone happy. He keeps getting kicked out of Norway and running off with his pal Arinbjorn to slaughter awhile, and then he gets in land disputes and comes back to Norway and complains that he’s not getting a fair shake, to which various kings always wonder what the heck he is doing there, complaining to them, when as they remember it they banished him for all time.

Somehow this never gets him killed. This is mostly because lots of people try to kill him, in various numbers, everywhere he goes, but then he always kills them instead. Or more accurately, he kills seven to nine of them, and the rest run for the woods feeling very afraid, and then Egil hunts them down and composes a poem.

Egil’s poems run along the lines of: “A coward lies dead/I used a large sharp weapon/But let’s be real/Probably I could have used my skull/P.S. Odin rules.”

I would not say that I enjoyed Egil as much as my last quintessential saga, largely because Egil’s a real jerk and Njal’s actually a pretty okay guy. On the other hand, in truest fashion, pretty okay guy Njal and his family end up burning to death in their own house, whereas Egil outlives scads of people who should definitely outlive him, and eventually dies of sickness, leaving behind a legacy of a few SUPER BEAUTIFUL Norsemen and a lot of REALLY UGLY Norsemen. It’s all or nothing in Egil’s house.


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