Who wants to hear about a badass Viking woman from one of the sagas who had the best mic drop in all of the sagas?

I give you Auðr Vésteinsdóttir (Auðr hereafter) from GISLA SAGA.

Auðr is strong-willed, loyal to her husband, and courageous beyond measure. So when her husband Gisli is outlawed and hunted by his enemies, she joins him, fighting with a club at his side when necessary.

She could have kept her social standing & reputation & material comfort by divorcing him--Viking society would have understood and endorsed her for doing that--but she went on the run with him, leaving in a hut in a remote fjord with only her foster-daughter for support.

Time passes, and Auðr is Gisli's emotional support & maintainer of his hideout as he (a murderer, mind you) goes off to have various escapades. She does the emotional work & provides the physical labor for him.

So far, so good--Vikings would have approved of her as a wife.

But what happened next is what elevated Auðr to Heroine Of The Sagas and a role model for Vikings of any gender.

Gisli is finally discovered by Eyjolfr the Grey, an unworthy farmer who was paid to pursue Gisli by the kinsmen of Gisli's murder victim.

Gisli makes it back to the hut ahead of his pursuers. Auðr tells him to hide, which he does. Eyjolfr, certain that Gisli is close, offers Auðr a bag full of silver--a huge sum--if she'll tell him where Gisli is.

Auðr agrees to be paid off.

Her stepdaughter, weeping horrified at Auðr's apparent betrayal, runs to Gisli's hiding spot and tells him what Auðr is doing. Gisli doesn't believe it for a second.

Auðr counts out the money (which it's a lot) and then refills the bag. Then--

Standing in front of all of Gisli's hunters, she swings the bag full of silver at Eyjolfr, breaking his nose & throwing him backwards. As he bleeds, Auðr stands over him and says:

"Take that for your gullibility. There was never any hope that I would render my husband into your hands, evil man. Take this now for your cowardice and your shame, and remember, wretch, for as long as you live, that a woman struck you."

These were killing words in the Viking times--Auðr just destroyed Eyjolfr's honor with the blow and her words. Eyjolfr was practically *obligated* to kill her for what she'd done

So he somewhat hysterically screams to his men that she's a cowardly dog & to arrest her. 10/
The men say they don't want none of that smoke and leave.

Later on others come, and Auðr fights side-by-side with Gisli until he's killed. Auðr leaves Iceland for Rome, never to return.

Quoting Johanna Fridriksdottir's really good VALKYRIE, "the saga expresses unambiguous admiration for [Auðr's] courage and loyalty;" Gisli is your average square-jawed Viking hero, but it's clear throughout that Auðr is his superior.


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31 Jan
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Okay, starting a thread now on family values on the American homefront during WW2. It goes some unhappy places, sorry, and got away from me a bit at the end, sorry again. But ugly truths are better than pretty lies, and pretty lies are what we're fed about the homefront.

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Last week I mentioned my thesis on cyberpunk. Yesterday it arrived in the e-mail. Today I’m going to tweet some information from it.

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