Wooden Toy Hail! And welcome to Scandinavian Aggression, a mediocre blog about Vikings past and present. If you aren't already bored, you can check out enlightening materials such as:

- Comprehensive Viking Booze Directory

- Sagas of Pathetic and Banal Exploration
(published at various online journals)


- Praises to Past and Present Heroes of Norse Proliferation

- Norse History for Bostonians including the Prose Edda for Bostonians (published at McSweeney's Internet Tendency)

- Modern Viking Heraldic Banners (T-Shirts full of pomp and splendor)

- Leif Eriksson Was Here: Norumbega, MA - Boston's Vinland Since 1889

- Low Quality Metal Fiction at Metal Sucks

- Thought-Provoking Materials about Alcohol and Failure at Points in Case

And tons of other random drivel having to do with Vikings and Scandinavia. Thanks for stopping by. I skål to your health,

—Rowdy Geirsson

För er som är svenska eller kan svenska/norska/danska: denna är INTE nån politisk eller rasist webbsida. Den handlar bara om vikingar och en sorts deprimerad humör. Jag hoppas att ni kan hitta något att skratta åt!

New England Coastal Sampo

August 31st, 2014

“This was Estonindian black metal dub. Music for wounded bears as they shrugged off tranquilizer darts. A genre so conclusively suicide-inducing, blue-ribbon Congressional panels were afraid to listen to it. If Francis Scott Key had been a ninth-century raider whose head was still throbbing and clanging from an ax-blow to the helmet, standing with one hand braced on the dragon prow of his longship watching his enemies’ tarred warships burn in an uncanny blue bituminous haze, while unseen galley slaves chanting the stroke rumbled the ship from below, he may have closed his eyes, thought of Ragnarok, and composed an anthem like this.”

The above passage is taken from page 229 of Corwin Ericson’s Swell, and it epitomizes everything that I like about the novel, which is easily the best that I’ve read in the past few years. The book is set on a fictitious island off the coast of Maine and follows the misadventures of slacker/protagonist Orange Whippey as he gets sucked into a bizarre series of events involving cranky old fishermen, highly literate Korean smugglers, a North Atlantic whale-herding skald, and an intimidating Thor-cult priestess. This is a book for anyone who enjoys the following:

-Quirks of coastal New England culture
-Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
-Metal (the music)
-Penis humor
-Norse mythology
-Experimentation on whales
-The Kalevala
-Alternate Abenaki/Sami history

The book was actually published in 2011, but I sadly didn’t discover it until a few weeks ago, since I have a great talent at being behind the times. I can at least claim to be the person who ordered amazon.com’s last in-house copy (but you can still get it through one of their affiliate vendors, which you should do). If further convincing is needed, check out these links, provided by Corwin himself, since we’re facebook friends (which makes it official):

http://mymemoriesofafuturelife.com/2011/12/13/the-undercover-soundtrack-corwin-ericson/

http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2012/06/book_notes_corw.html

Great Norse Birthday Suits!

August 2nd, 2014

Ask and Embla stand proudly above the main square of Sölvesborg, Sweden, bearing their mighty fine birthday suits for all to see. Not only is this inspirational because a) these were the first two humans in Norse mythology, and we just don’t get enough Norse mythology these days, but also because b) Embla is freaking hot. Or will be. Actually, I can’t really tell if she’s supposed to be fully grown from the photo or if she’s in some state of late adolescence. Same with Ask. But it could very well be that they’re still just a couple of kids with raging hormones. If I’m not mistaken people started procreating super early way back when there were only 2 people on the whole planet. Let’s change subjects now before this gets any weirder.

So, the statue was created by Stig Blomberg, who also did the badass piece of Thor scowling at his goats like a fucking madman over at Kungliga tekniska högskolan in Stockholm. I used to have an image of that one posted on this site as well, but then someone infiltrated and raped and pillaged my petty domain (because derailing mediocre blogs that get no traffic is a cool thing to do) and I lost that entry and didn’t bother to repost it. Skåls to that.

At any rate, the image at top belongs to a dude named Claes who takes photographs in southern Sweden and then uploads them at http://claesbilder.wordpress.com/ while the one below showing Ask and Embla’s Sölvesborgian context is, typically, from wikipedia.

Odin’s Stuck on the Wall at Oslo City Hall

June 28th, 2014

Ole One-Eyed’s looking mighty impressive from his nook among the bricks of Oslo’s City Hall. Despite the label that Thought and Memory are leading him off into the land of the “twilight forest” he appears to be fastened well in place and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Sucks for him, but at least the rest of us can marvel at his colorfully-rendered, wooden glory. And, apparently, his is just one in a series of panels by Dagfin Werenskiold depicting scenes of Norse mythology at Oslo City Hall.

There’s something pretty badass about prominently displaying a scene of Ragnarok’s fire and carnage on the facade of the same building where the Nobel Peace Prize is annually awarded. Those Norwegians must like to think outside the box.

Heroes of Norse Proliferation: Quorthon

April 27th, 2014

It was only a matter of time until Quorthon’s name was added to this not-so-golden hall of Heroes of Norse Proliferation, and that time has finally come. I unfairly prolonged that time with my uncanny ability to slack off at updating this obscure blog, but despite my best efforts to be ineffective and lazy, I can’t fight fate forever, and neither could the All Father of Viking Metal for that matter. He’s dead, and here I am, no longer going on a full-out berserker-level rampage of neglect and laziness at promoting his glory.

I hope most of you who have somehow managed to find this website know who he is. If you don’t, check out this short biography, then drink some mead and watch this video:

Longships + Wellness

March 18th, 2014

This guy Olav Bjørnerud is my kind of artist. He doesn’t just sit around bemoaning via an obscure website/blog about how Vikings and their artwork have been in decline since 1066. No, instead he sees a space that lacks a Viking-related sculpture and then he goes and makes one with wonderful craftmanship. And then he gets it put on display. I find that highly commendable.

His piece, Strake is the first Viking ship inspired sculpture at Lawrence University, a school whose mascot is a Viking. For more info, you can check out this article about how the school awarded him the opportunity to create the sculpture for their wellness center. You can also visit his own site to see more images and other works.

The images shown here belong to him and Leslie Walfish.

In Which King Gylfi of Sweden Learns about Odin’s Successful Suicide Attempt and the Dental Hygiene of Thor’s Goats

January 9th, 2014

The Prose Edda for Bostonians, Part 3

As the headline suggests, this is the one where the king of Sweden learns a thing or two about Odin hanging himself from a tree and Thor riding around with some fierce goats just so that he can kill giants. Norse mythology is the best.

Heroes of Norse Proliferation: Poul Anderson

January 2nd, 2014

Poul Anderson is dead, but while he was alive he did awesome things, namely, the authoring of some very good Viking novels. It is somewhat unfortunate that he focused most of his writing efforts on science fiction (although I have heard that his science fiction is good, I have not read any of it myself). Nonetheless, he did complete a healthy number of Norse novels (some of which are shown here…don’t be put off by the horrible 70s sci-fi-esque artwork for The Broken Sword—it is a true Viking story full of epic battles, longships, elves, giants, incest, and Norse gods doing mischievous deeds). Poul’s extremely heavy and accurate reliance on Norse mythology and medieval history in these stories makes The Lord of the Rings look like a light-weight in terms of Norse inspiration by comparison. Most of Poul’s books are out of print these days, and that’s looking unlikely to change now that print itself is on a steady decline, but if you can find one of his fine Norse novels at a used bookstore or online somewhere, you should definitely buy it. And raise a horn to his memory!

The Prose Edda for Bostonians, Part 2: In Which King Gylfi of Sweden Learns That Middle-Earth is Just an Eyelash on the Celestial Gallows Pole and That the Real Gandalf was Originally a Filthy Maggot

December 13th, 2013

And continuing from where we left off last week…

The Prose Edda Part 2: In Which King Gylfi of Sweden Learns That Middle-Earth is Just an Eyelash on the Celestial Gallows Pole and That the Real Gandalf was Originally a Filthy Maggot

And while we’re on the topic of Tolkien references, why not enjoy a little Silmarillion music from Blind Guardian?

The Prose Edda for Bostonians: Gylfaginning, Part 1: In Which King Gylfi of Sweden Buys Sex, Goes Drinking at Asgard, and Learns about the Time When Odin Instigated the Cosmological Frost Giant Genocide

December 6th, 2013

Time to get in touch with your inner Bostonian and touch up on your Norse mythology…at the same time…

The Prose Edda for Bostonians: Gylfaginning, Part 1: In Which King Gylfi of Sweden Buys Sex, Goes Drinking at Asgard, and Learns about the Time When Odin Instigated the Cosmological Frost Giant Genocide

This is the first in a 10+ part series that will be running over at McSweeney’s roughly every two weeks or whenever McSweeney’s feels like posting the next update (although part 2 will be running one week from today). I would hope that all ten of you who have somehow managed to stumble across this blog already know that the Prose Edda is Snorri Sturluson’s epic contribution to our knowledge of Norse mythology, and that it should then also come as no surprise to you that the final part of this Southie-inspired rendition will end in raging fires with everyone and everything dying. I’ll skål to that!

Here’s something appropriate to help get you in the mood:

Heroes of Norse Proliferation: Jesse L. Byock

October 27th, 2013

Jesse L. Byock takes the spotlight for the inaugural entry into this wild and crazy new category that I’m calling Heroes of Norse Proliferation. Basically, it just seemed like a good idea to me to give a shout out to the folks out there who have done a lot of good work in making information about the Norse more accessible and/or promoting it, and it’s a lazy Sunday at the end of October, so I consider this to be time well-spent.

But joking aside, Mr. Byock is a heavyweight in the world of Norse studies. He is a Professor of Old Norse in the archeology department at UCLA and you can’t have read the sagas without coming across his name as one of your English-language translators at some point. There are other translators out there as well, and they are all worthy of a good, hearty skål, but Mr. Byock deserves to drink his mead from the metaphorical horn of honor. Counted among his translations are:

The Prose Edda
Grettir’s Saga
The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki
The Saga of the Volsungs

as well as a fine selection of other tomes of high relevance about Viking Age Iceland and the Old Norse language.

I’ve personally been spending a lot of time with Mr. Byock’s translation of The Prose Edda lately and will likely be blogging about it again here within the next month or so, so I especially owe Mr. Byock a debt of gratitude for that fine work.

Lastly, anyone out there who somehow happened to accidentally stumble across this blog and actually kept reading should check out Mr. Byock’s own site at http://www.viking.ucla.edu/.

The photo above was legally stolen from Örlygur Hnefill’s flickr stream.

A Good Day to Hail Leif

October 9th, 2013

Today is the official Leif Erikson Day of 2013, and what appropriate and ironic timing!

Leif’s Icelandic ancestors all bailed from Norway when they finally got too disgusted with their slimy politicians to bother sticking around. Lucky for them, they were able to find a nice (if harsh), uninhabited island out in the middle of the North Atlantic to claim as their own, and their descendents kept the tradition of exploring alive, culminating with Leif’s badass voyage to America. That’s a far cry from our current tactics of belly moaning and ineffective protesting. Too bad we don’t live in an era where we can just get our buddies together, get in a boat, and go find a new place to conquer and settle without getting fire-bombed in retaliation. Oh well.

The photo above is a statue devoted to Leif’s glory located in Reykjavik, Iceland. Check out my Monuments to Greatness page to learn more about Boston’s own glorious Leif statue. And best of luck staying sane in this sea of madness.

Skálmöld Trip Out with the Wolf

September 27th, 2013

It’s the last Frey’s day of the month, the nights are becoming longer than the days, the average daily temperatures are dropping, and “winter is coming.” That makes it a perfect time to trip out with Icelandic Viking metal band Skálmöld in their new music video. In it they take us on a journey through their wild Icelandic landscape and show us all sorts of strange on-goings involving that demon-woman Hel, Odin hanging out passively on the top of a cliff, the iron-ribbon Gleipnir wrapping around a young girl, and the wolf shaking the shit out of his fur to get dry. Pretty badass.

Also, the video itself was created by Bowen Staines who originally hails from New Hampshire, so this is a nice New England-Scandinavia collaboration!

Eastern Geatish Street Art

September 20th, 2013

Who doesn’t like some good old-fashioned Geatish street art? Especially when said good old-fashioned Geatish street art greets you on your way to visit ancient Geatish rock carvings of boners and longships (see post below)? I think my point is made. Hail to A CanZlit, whoever that may be.

The Boners of Östergötland

August 30th, 2013

In Östergötland, Sweden there are many boners carved into the surfaces of large rocks that protrude up through the ground. And, while we’re on the topic, I am sure there are many other boners in Östergötland of another sort as well…that also do their own sort of protruding. But those are not the types of boners that we are interested in here. No, we are interested in the rock-carving boners and these rock-carving boners have managed to keep it up for a solid 3000 years, which is a pretty good indication of an amazing level of stamina if you ask me. In addition to boners, these bronze-age Geats also carved pictures of boats, weapons, and animals. Clearly, these people had their priorities.

It is also interesting to note that Östergötland basically means Eastern Geatland in English. For those of you that are familiar with Beowulf, you will also know that he was a Geat, so we’re basically talking about boner carvings that were made by his ancestors. You can read more about these hällristningar (as they are known in Swedish) at Hällristningar i Norrköpings kommun (in Swedish only), which is also the owner of the image above. Some information in English is available at Upplev Norrköping but is unfortunately much less extensive.

The images below actually belong to me for a change.

Icelandic Lava Beer

June 28th, 2013

 photo lavabeer_zps01b3df40.png Finally! The Icelanders have begun smoking their beer (in addition to smoking their whales and their puffins). I personally can’t think of a more befitting national, Viking-appropriate meal for Iceland than one composed of smoked endangered animal, smoked cute little penguin-type thing, and smoked beer inspired by volcanic eruptions. How could you possibly go wrong with all those items sitting on your table all at the same time? The answer is: you can’t.

Plus it’s 9.4%, so knock yourself out with many and then go break down a door in a drunken rage. Odds are, you’ll only regret the monetary expenses, because Lava ain’t cheap.