31B-Viking Sagas: Face-Off

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31B-Viking Sagas: Face-Off

The discussion post for episode 31B: Face-off, which tells the conclusion of the story of Arrow-Odd, a legendary Viking warrior and king.

Summary:

The conclusion of the Saga of Arrow-Odd, a man destined to live 300 years, yet be killed by his favorite horse. He's watched his friends and brothers die in his struggle with his adversary, the evil half-troll Ogmund, but this battle is destined to stretch over centuries.

The creatures this week hang out in pantries, and either tempt you with too much cake or destroy your ill-gotten, likely butter-cat acquired food.

Episode 31B: Face-off

This was a long, long story. Despite being just under 100 pages, it contained so. many. things. What originally drew me to this story was the epic struggle between Odd and Ogmund and that it didn't end up in a bloody battle (though it was not lacking in bloody battles), but in forgiveness and mutual understanding. The prophecy in the beginning and how it was unexpectedly, at least for me, resolved in the end was also irresistible. I'm a sucker for a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby trying to avoid their fates people have inadvertently sealed them.

I also liked that it seemed to trace the history of the Viking conquests. This is a bit of a stretch, but I think there's something here. This story was recorded in the 13th century, well after the end of the Viking Age. What's most striking is that the Vikings don't just kill a bunch of people and get off scot-free. Arrow-Odd destroys Permia in the beginning and that follows him for (almost) the rest of his days. Ultimately, Ogmund, the creation of the wronged people, ends up a king and survives in the end. This story takes a somewhat more sober look at the Viking legacy than Ragnar or Sigurd's wholesale acceptance and promotion of it. It is the story of Vikings who had successes on the waters, but who met violent, gruesome ends by it as well. Odd is brought low because of what he did to the people of Permia, going from king(ish...maybe. I don't think he's technically a king before the barkman episode) to a peasant. The people win.

Elaborations and Errata

Things I left out

  • Odd posed as the hatchling of a giant vulture
  • Odd killed said giant vulture
  • Odd helped a prince of Jotunheim win a dog fight with a bear
  • He received many richest for helping the giant prince become the giant king, but couldn't get them because he couldn't lift the slab they were under.
  • Odd escaped captivity nearly-naked and regained approximately ten ships after ten of his were just killed
  • Quillanus was called Quillanus Blaze after the last fight with Odd. I don't know why I left that out. It's amazing.
  • Odd lost his kingdom...again...after the fight with Quillanus. He then wandered north and married (yet another) princess and became a king somewhere in Europe before venturing home.
  • The other Viking leader, Red Beard, was thought to be Odin. Because Odin.
  • Hjalmar was in love with the king in Sweden's daughter, and she secretly loved him. Odd suggested invading the friendly king's lands for her hand, but good-guy-Hjalmar refused. When Hjalmar died last episode, his rings were delivered to the princess, who dropped dead as soon as she received the news.
  • So many Viking battles.

Errata

  • I misspoke and said Quillanius instead of Quillanus at some points. They are the same person. Or troll.
  • The way Odd's identity is revealed is considerably more boring. He did compose a drunk poem about his life and announce his identity, but he woke up the next morning and found his shirt had been torn. Yet another sworn brother brought him before the king, who said essentially what I said. It would have involved going much more in-depth on the contests (which wouldn't have added much to the story) and explaining the backstory of yet-another disappearing sworn brother.
  • Odd didn't stroke Faxi's skull, he nudged it with his foot

Disclaimer

SPOILERS

  • A throat gets ripped out at  around 15:00
  • There's a big, bloody battle around 21:00
  • Odd rips a person's face off at around 27:00

 

Music:

"Everybody's Got Problems that Aren't Mine" by Chris Zabriskie | "Back in Time" by Jason Stack | "What does Anybody Know About Anything" by Chris Zabriskie | "Cheap Suit" by Jason Stack | "You've Sent for the Absent" by Rowan Box | "Royal Flush" by Keshco | "Shadowplay (goth dream pop)" by Keshco | "Thoughtful" by Lee Rosevere | "Yokushun" by Rolemusic | "Saying Goodbye in the Rain (piano)" by Jelsonic

 

By | 2016-05-03T23:07:09+00:00 May 3rd, 2016|Categories: Articles, Episodes, Podcast|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |14 Comments
  • Djumabek

    In this episode “Odd recieves a message from king of Novgorod which is located in modern Ukrain” but both Novgorods are in Russia, and Great Novgorod is located far northen than Ukrain.

  • Gabe

    I was trying to find the actual quote that Odd received with the rings and truce. You said “we are all that remains,” on the podcast and I wanted to know what the word for word quote was and where I can find it online? The story had a profound effect on me and i think I want to add that quote to a viking tattoo I am working on.

    Thank you.

    • Jason

      That was actually an addition on my part. The original saga didn’t say what was in the box, just that it contained a gift, a note, and brought about peace between Odd and Ogmund. I took some creative license with it because referencing their history and the fact that essentially they were all they had left despite their deep hatred for one another seems like it would be enough to get Odd to stop. It also led directly to Odd revisiting the British Isles and Scandinavia, so I guessed at some sort of connection to the old days. Sorry, I should have made that more clear in the show.

  • Matthew

    Well this story made me an iTunes Subscriber, it was amazing. I can’t think of another story where I felt as bad for the villain as I did the hero! Are there any good books out there for Arrow Odd?

    • Jason

      I wish…I was only able to find him in one saga… It’s such a compelling story. Someone should seriously write a book or make a movie.

  • Neilana

    Very interesting story, thanks! It reminded me the legend about Russian prince Oleg of Novgorod (also known as Oleg The Prophet). He also was predicted to be killed by his stallion and many years later he was bit by the snake that came from horse’s skull. Alexander Pushkin wrote beautiful ballad on the base of this story – “The Song of the Wise Oleg”.
    P.S: sorry for my English!

    • Jason

      Your English is great! It’s probably better than mine…

      I read about Oleg when I was working on this story, and he seems to be the much more famous person to have been predicted to be killed by his horse. Arrow Odd seems to be virtually unknown. I wasn’t aware of the ballad, though. I’ll go look it up. Thanks!

  • Miki

    I adore the Viking legends! Also I feel like the title was a pun/foreshadowing… Which in my opinion is excellent.

    • Jason

      Haha it absolutely was 🙂 I debated because it is also the title of a well-known movie, but I just had to.

  • Tod

    We heard of Odd’s life beginning to end. We know much of Ogmund’s. Are there any further stories of Ogmund?

    • Jason

      I wish… this is the only mention I’ve found of the character in folklore. He was surprisingly sympathetic, especially for the monster of the story.

  • Ethan Dupras

    My favorite series is still the Tain episodes, but these two are right up towards the top, for me.
    I really liked the way you filled in the resolution between the principal characters, too. Nicely done.
    Keep up the good work, sir.

  • AdamB

    I have to say, this was one of the most sentimental endings of any Viking tale I have. ever. heard. Almost got teary-eyed when I heard what Odd sent back to Ogmund in the end. So sad. Still one of the best as well, tho. I have to wonder, how valid is the assumption that Ogmund was actually a “troll” – considering how much power & intelligence he continues to gain, invincibility as well, and power over men? You referred to him as a wizard at some points too, and he had a hella beard as well. And so I wonder, was he really a troll? And if not, what was he??

    • Jason

      Well, he was definitely a half-human, half-ogre, given his parentage. “Troll” can be used as sort of a catch-all term for a lot of different creatures, which I would imagine is how it’s being used here. Looking into it further, even when trolls are considered their own distinct beings, there’s little agreement as to what that being actually is.