Subtext and Subversion: Update


The Vikings season finale just aired this week, so I figured it’s time for an update on the show’s amazing, and in my opinion groundbreaking, central male/male relationship, which I commented on last summer. Our pair, Viking king Ragnar and his constant companion Athelstan, a former Christian monk captured in a raid in season one, have been through a great deal over the course of the show so far, and this season only upped the stakes–to a significant degree.

Will get into the spoilery details below, but the short version: The narrative of this relationship continued doing what it did all through the previous seasons: hitting trope after trope of a kind almost always found solely in stories of romantic love. While still maintaining a tiny shred of plausible deniability for those drowning in heteronormativity, it even crossed lines I never expected a show like this would cross. I have to give showrunner and sole writer Michael…

View original post 7,677 more words


Subtext and subversion: Part Two


Carrying on from the previous post, below is a detailed, episode-by-episode rundown (with pictures!) of Ragnar and Athelstan’s relationship.

I present this not as a “This is why my slash ship is canon” manifesto, but instead as an illustration of the relationship itself, so folks can understand why I’m so giddy about it. Regardless of whether one sees or even imagines a sexual aspect to the relationship, it is still one of the greatest m/m love stories in current popular media, on the same level as some of the all-time great homoromantic (if not homoerotic) relationships such as LOTR’s Frodo and Sam. And it does all this without ever once apologizing, downplaying, laughing it off, or trying to macho things up to avoid anyone getting uncomfortable with it. This is not a “bromance,” with muscle-bound Ken dolls giving each other fist bumps and Man Smacks and then going home to their hot, completely underwritten female love interests. It’s just plain…

View original post 4,415 more words

Two Historical Fiction Authors Talk Vikings – Mercenary

Sandi Layne

This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show. This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show.

The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you back to our review series on the History Channel show Vikings.

146a6-lissa-bryanI am so excited to be back for a third season of History Channel’s VIKINGS series! Once again, author Lissa Bryan and I spent last night on twitter (@LissaBryan, @sandyquill) during Season 3, Episode 1: Mercenary. Today, we present our discussion, recap, and thoughts on this episode. Lissa’s comments will be in blue, this season. And boy, did we have a lot to say!

Lissa: This was a great premier episode! It had everything. Gorgeous costumes (cough boot heels cough), action, love, and conflicting alliances.

Sandi: ​I was enraptured by last night’s episode. Getting to see everyone, trying to…

View original post 3,341 more words

Viking Clothing: A Brief Overview

Midgard to Middle Earth

Greetings, all! Sorry to be a bit late with this one.

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend a lecture on medieval clothing by Gale Owen-Crocker, who is a professor emeritus at the University of Manchester and is an expert in Anglo-Saxon clothing and literature. She has become famous among the reenacting and historically minded communities for her research, and it was through my connection to that community that I heard about the event.  It was just fascinating and I learned so much from her about medieval clothing production and dress. Coincidentally, I recently finished reading a book called Silk for the Vikings by Marianne Vedeler, who is an Associate Professor in Archeology at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. I very much enjoyed the book and I recommend you buy it if you find this post, Viking trade, or Archeology at all interesting. With…

View original post 2,360 more words

Martin Luther’s Anfechtungen–his own dark nights of the soul, and how they affected his teaching and ministry

Grateful to the dead

Martin Luther 2

Well, it seems that each of the three sections of my forthcoming article for Leadership Journal has ballooned to the projected size of the whole piece: 2,500 words. So if I am to share in full what I have learned about Martin Luther’s teachings about spiritual depression (Luther is the third of three figures in the article, along with C. S. Lewis and Mother Teresa of Calcutta), it will need to be here:

Perhaps just as surprising as the story of Mother Teresa is that of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther. Well known is the story of how, as a young monk, Martin struggled mightily with a sense of his own sinfulness and inability to please God. This struggle culminated in the revelation that triggered the Reformation: righteousness is not within our ability to achieve; God himself freely gives it. Surely such a truth would free a man…

View original post 2,364 more words

Spinners & Weavers

too long in this place

I’m taking a day off work for rest & recuperation. I’d thought I might add a few pics to the side panel of my blog & instead got drawn into the powerful world of weaving.

I very much like the image of ‘weaving’ ideas, words & images.

Golden spider weaving words

Weaving creates patterns – each work is unique, the colours & designs chosen are highly individual. Wonderful word-pictures are created & the soul of the weaver shines through.

I have a feeling that a new type of communication is being born.

Word-pictures, feeling-thoughts, fractal-emotions woven on a loom that is itself in the act of being created.

Although I speak English, I am finding two very different forms of it in my daily life – the accepted structured formula of societal conversation,

& the deep, rich, harmonious, lively & colourful communication that sparkles among weavers or

View original post 901 more words

Where is Pomerania and why does it have a Viking connection?

Time Slips

This article is for my friend Patricia Mayhew who is a fellow history geek! She has been following my family history search in Germany and mentioned that her ancestors came from an area called Pommerania. Her ancestor situation there is similar to mine… we can’t trace our individual family line back because of limited information. We can however, find out more about the areas they came from which is interesting in itself.  When I was doing my research on Old Saxony, I kept running across mentions of Pommerania and I immediately thought of Patricia!  So, Patricia- Here is a detailed  history of Pommerania for you… It looks like some Saxon or Viking roots may be tugging at you as well!

History of Pomerania

I first heard of Pomerania when Patricia mentioned that her ancestors were from a place called Pomerania in Germany.  The first question that comes to mind about this…

View original post 7,350 more words

The new incarnation and the old (more on wigs & male hats); then a handy blog list & conference paper

Love this blog and I love all versions of Poldark! I read the books when they first came out, then I watched the 1975 TV series and absolutely loved it! Now I love the new version! For the time, the 1970’s version was good I felt. I still feel much love for the first TV show. I still think of Elizabeth as blonde with all the curls! I don’t care for the new Elizabeth much.

Reveries Under the Sign of Austen, Two

Aidan Turner as Ross at the close of the first episode, POV Demelza (2015)

Courage shall grow keener, clearer the will,
the heart fiercer as our force faileth …
— Anglo-Saxon poem, The Battle of Maldon (as translated by Michael Alexander)

Dear friends and readers,

I had thought to make one more blog for this year comparing the 1975 to the 2015 Poldark mini-series, this one in response to Anibundel on the male hats and wigs and women’s hats, wigs, hair ribbons of another survey of the earlier series.

Demelza first seen is in a boy child hairdo, circa 1970s,

Angharad Rees as Demelza grown up, Gainsborough subdued, before becoming Ross’s lover

But I’ve discovered true to its origin in the progressive earlier sixties, hats are often eschewed or most often “simply historical accurate” in the plainest of ways. When the actors have hats on, they are tricornes



View original post 1,205 more words

Historical fiction vs Historical fantasy

Time Slips

historical fiction

As we wait through the long off time for another raiding season of Vikings, we are offered various glimpses, previews and rumors of what’s to come in the future. We also must find other ways to entertain, amuse, and enlighten ourselves.  For some that consists of re-watching past seasons and catching up on what me might have missed or re-watching in some attempt to understand portions that have left us confused about the ongoing story.  For others, the off season provides time to learn more about the actual history or legends behind the creation of this story. And for many other fans it provides time to indulge in other shows or books.  I try to provide some of that more factual history and or legend here and hopefully, I inspire you to do more of your own research on what ever parts of the story intrigue or interest you the…

View original post 4,501 more words