Kristin Lavransdatter

by Sigrid Undset

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Who is Bjarne in Kristin Lavransdatter?

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In Kristin Lavransdatter, Bjarne Erlingssӧn is Sir Erling Vidkunssӧn’s son. Bjarne helps Simon Andressӧn convince the King that Erlend Nikulaussӧn’s life should be spared. Later, Kristin reflects that Bjarne was young at the time and was exaggerating his role in the story.

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Bjarne Erlingssӧn is a minor character in this text. He is the only son of Sir Erling Vidkunssӧn. The reader is only briefly introduced to Bjarne, and he is later only talked about in dialogue between other characters.

Bjarne is present in the scene in which Simon Andressӧn informs Stig Haakonssӧn of Mandvik that Erlend Nikulaussӧn is charged with treason. Simon Andressӧn pleads with the king on Erlend’s account, saying that Erlend is a good man and that his life should be spared. Bjarne assists Simon with this task and tells the King that it might reflect badly on his rule if he does not pardon Erlend. Together Simon and Bjarne persuade the king and save Erlend’s life. Bjarne later tells Skule Erlendsson this story, and the two men become close. Skule relays this story and news of their relationship to Kristin Lavransdatter.

Kristin reflects on the account, noting that it was not completely false but that Bjarne was young at the time of the story. She thinks that Bjarne’s age made him count “for little at the time” (936). Her reflection here tells the reader that Bjarne was exaggerating his influence in the story he told Skule. Kristin also says that she does not like the relationship between Skule and Bjarne.

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