Blood Feuds and Dangerous Women: Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason’s favourite myths

Blood Feuds and Dangerous Women: Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason’s favourite myths

Richard Fidler: 

I keep returning to the story of Gudrun, from Laxdaela Saga. 

Gudrun is treated thoughtlessly by two foster-brothers, who both love her nonetheless. In her rage she chooses to destroy them both. Afterwards, she’s asked which one of the two men she truly loved, and she replies enigmatically, ‘I was worst to the one I loved the most.’

Today her grave, at the foot of a mountain in Iceland, is a pilgrimage site for saga lovers.

Kári Gíslason:

It’s Njál’s Saga, and especially the story that it contains of Gunnar and Hallgerd. Towards the end of his life, Gunnar is exiled from Iceland. But as he’s riding down to his ship, his horse trips and he’d forced to dismount. He turns around, sees the farm he’s leaving, and says: “Fögur er hlíðin svo að mér hefir hún aldrei jafnfögur sýnst, bleikir akrar en slegin tún, og mun eg ríða heim aftur og fara hvergi”. It means, “The slopes are beautiful, golden fields and freshly mown hay. More beautiful than I’ve ever seen them before. I’m going back; I’m not leaving.”

Everyone in Iceland knows this speech and the story of how Gunnar comes to stay in Iceland — how he breaks the terms of his exile. But I first read the story in Australia, and I found something very moving in his desire to be in Iceland. Across a thousand years and the many differences in our lives, I felt I’d discovered an ancient echo of my own desire to be there again.

Grab a copy here, read our full review here, and read our Q&A with Richard and Kári here.

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                  Publisher details

                  Saga Land
                  Authors
                  Kári Gíslason, Richard Fidler
                  Publisher
                  ABC Books
                  Genres
                  Biography and Memoir, History
                  Released
                  23 October, 2017
                  ISBN
                  9780733338236

                  Synopsis

                  A gripping blend of family mystery, contemporary stories and the beautiful and bloody Viking tales, set against the starkly stunning landscape of Iceland.Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kari Gíslason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland - the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages. These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown.Together, Richard and Kari travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery - a gift from Kari's Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.About the AuthorsRichard Fidler presents CONVERSATIONS WITH RICHARD FIDLER, an in-depth, up close and personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio. He's interviewed prime ministers, astronauts, writers and scientists, but the program often features remarkable people who are unknown to the wider world. The program is the most popular podcast in Australia, with over a million downloaded programs every month. Richard is the author of the best-selling book Ghost Empire.Kári Gíslason is a memoirist, travel writer and creative writing teacher who lectures in creative writing and literary studies at QUT. He is the author of The Promise of Iceland and The Ash Burner.
                  Kári Gíslason
                  About the author

                  Kári Gíslason

                  Kári Gíslason is a memoirist, travel writer and creative writing teacher who lectures in creative writing and literary studies at QUT. He is the author of The Promise of Iceland and The Ash Burner.

                  Books by Kári Gíslason

                  Richard Fidler
                  About the author

                  Richard Fidler

                  Richard Fidler is a well-known Australian ABC radio presenter, best known for his hour-long interview program, Conversations with Richard Fidler.

                  Books by Richard Fidler

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