Saga Thing

A medieval history and literature podcast reviewing all the Sagas of the Icelanders by two professors with beards.

August 17th, 2018    

A Quick Chat in Reykholt from the Saga Conference 2018



Greetings from Iceland! In this episode, John and Andy sit down in the lobby of the beautiful Fosshotel in Reykholt to chat about the conference and Andy's travels around Iceland. 

Music Credits:

Intro: Corvus Corax - Bibit Aleum

Outro: Rick Wakeman - Journey to the Center of the Earth

August 10th, 2018    

Saga Brief 14 - Medieval Archery with Patricia Gonsalves and Stephen Fox


In this special episode of Saga Briefs, our side project here at Saga Thing, John and Andy sit down with Patricia Gonsalves and Stephen Fox for a chat about archery in the Viking world. But the conversation isn't limited to medieval Scandinavia. Patricia and Stephen, both experts in archery and its history, have travelled the world learning everything they can about the subject. We take full advantage of their expertise as we cover everything from Gunnar Hamundarson's request for a lock of hair to make a bowstring to cinema's best archers. Along the way, we learn about fletch mites and the last official kill by a longbow in wartime (hint: it involves dead Nazis). This is our longest interview yet, but it's an informative and fun one from beginning to end. We hope you enjoy Patricia and Stephen as much as we do.


Patricia currently works as the archery consultant for the popular television series Arrow and The Flash, among other shows. While she works behind the scenes, you'll have seen her work in the skilled and realistic approach to archery she's trained into every actor who draws an arrow on the shows. Patricia grew up imagining herself in the shoes of literature's most famous archer, Robin Hood. Today, she not only gets to play with bows and arrows every day, she gets to help make television's Robin Hood look cool. You can follow Patricia's adventures on her Facebook page, TheEpicArcher.


Stephen Fox studied Experimental Archaeology and Viking Archery at University College Dublin. If you want to know anything about how bows are made, Stephen is your guy. He's toured the world studying archery, working at excavation sites and Viking museums. An expert in Viking bow-making, Stephen spent two seasons working at the Lofotr Viking Museum in Norway, where he built his own workshop in the chieftain's longhouse and crafted bows from scratch. Stephen currently works with Patricia as an archery technician for Arrow.

If you're interested in getting some hands-on training in historical or traditional archery, you're in luck. Patricia is the founder and lead instructor at Lykopis Archery, located in Vancouver, Canada. Stephen also works there as an instructor and administrator. In addition to teaching introductory archery classes to youths and adults, Lykopis offers detailed instruction in the Four Disciplines of Archery, including:

The Lithics Discipline: This discipline concentrates on bows and arrows that were used in the Stone Age and throughout prehistory.

The Asiatic Composite Bow: Examines the composites of the Steppe, Eastern Asian bows and the styles used in Mounted Horseback Archery.

The Longbow: Studies the theory and application Viking Longbow and the Tudor/Welsh Warbow and and the heavy draw technique that allowed warriors to pull up to 100 lbs in draw weight.

The Flatbow: Focuses on First Nations and Native American bows, flatbows of the 20th Century and techniques applicable for stealth and for hunting.

Follow Lykopis Archery on Facebook for news and updates on programming.

July 26th, 2018    

Saga Short 3 - The Tale of Jokul Buason



In this special episode, we pick up right where Kjalnesinga saga left off. Bui Andridson is lying dead on the ground, his ribcage crushed from the wrestling match with his son. Ashamed of his dastardly deed, Jokul Buason flees Iceland. And while Kjalnesinga saga assures us that there are no other stories about Jokul, one grouping of manuscripts appends a fun þáttr (tale) about where Jokul went and what became of him.


Follow along as Jokul gets stranded at sea and then shipwrecked in strange lands. If you like trolls, then you'll want to tune in. If you like wrestling, this is the episode for you.  If you're a fan of silly voices, you're in the right place. Join John and Andy as they review Jökuls þáttr Búasonar.


Looking for a copy of The Tale of Jokul Buason so you can read about his adventures for yourself? If the 5 volume set of Sagas of Icelanders isn't in your budget, then grab a copy of Ben Waggoner's Sagas of Giants and HeroesIn addition to this tale, you'll get Kjalnesinga Saga and several other great ones as well. I may have indicated in the conclusion to this episode that the volume also includes Floamanna Saga (our next saga). I was mistaken. But the other contents more than make up for my blunder. It has several sagas mentioned in our previous episode, like The Saga of Halfdan Brana's Fosterling.  And who could pass up the opportunity to read The Tale of Asmund Ogre-Lucky?

And thanks to Matt Smith, aka @barbarianlord, for contributing another brilliant original illustration. We think he captures Gnipa and Geit perfectly. Follow him on Twitter to see more of his work or visit his webpage,


McKinnell, John. Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2005.

Music Credits:

Intro: From “Death Awaits” by Billy Malmstrom

Outro: From “Óðinn” by Krauka

July 2nd, 2018    

Episode 26c - The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes (Judgments)



It's time to put The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes on trial. Listen in as Andy and John bicker over the severity of Bui's crimes. Will Bui be outlawed or redeemed and welcomed into the thingman group of one of your esteemed hosts? Will John find enough nicknames in the bare cupboards of this saga to fill his usual 20 minute lecture? And will Andy talk himself into another high score for a saga that no one has read? There's only one way to find out.

Be sure to check out the recommended reading for this episode:

Richard Cole's Racial Thinking in Old Norse Literature: The Case of the Blámaðr

Ármann Jakobsson The Troll Inside You: Paranormal Activity in the Medieval North


Music Credits:

Intro Music "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License



June 18th, 2018    

Episode 26b - The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes (Part 2)



In this episode, John and Andy continue to follow the adventures of the increasingly unlikable Bui Andridsson. We begin with a much needed change of scenery as Bui flees Iceland. I turns out that some people still hold a grudge for Bui's slaying of Thorstein. In Norway, Bui meets with a somewhat hostile King Harald Fairhair and his foster-father, King Dofri. Oh, and he happens to be a giant who lives in a mountain. What kind of shenanigans will Bui get up to this time? Will Bui reunite with his beloved Olof? And will he ever reconcile with the powerful family of Thorgrim the goði? And who is the striking young stranger wrestling with Bui at the end of the saga? Find out as we wrap up our summary of Kjalnesinga Saga.

Thanks to Matt Smith for sharing his talents. This original drawing shows Bui meeting the imposing, but strangely seductive Frið. As you'll hear, she proves to be a bit more woman than Bui can handle. Matt wrote and illustrated Barbarian Lord, a graphic novel heavily inspired by the Icelandic Sagas.  You can see more of his work here: Again, if you like what he's doing for Saga Thing, drop him a line and express your appreciation on Twitter, where he's @barbarianlord.

Be sure to listen through to the end, because we finally announce the winners of our Promote Saga Thing Contest. Winners should get in touch with us at with info on where to send the Saga Thing t-shirt.


Music Credits:

Intro Music "Prelude and Action" by Kevin MacLeod (

Review Music - "Snake Rag" by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band

Outro Music - "Stormfront" by Kevin MacLeod (

Selections from music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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