Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Odin, an Asian conqueror who finally settles in the Scandinavian peninsula. From him, later rulers of the northland claim descent.


Mime, Odin’s friend, a spy killed by a neighboring people. Receiving the head, Odin preserves it with herbs and sings incantations over it; thereafter, it speaks and discovers secrets for him.

On Jorundsson

On Jorundsson, king of Sweden. He extends his life by sacrificing a son to Odin every ten years. His people refuse to permit his tenth son to be sacrificed, and he dies of extreme old age.

Halfdan the Black

Halfdan the Black, king of Norway. A good king, he dies young. His quartered body is sent to separate provinces to spread his good influence.

Harald the Fairhaired

Harald the Fairhaired, Halfdan’s son. Challenged by a girl who refuses his advances because of the smallness of his territory, he conquers all of Norway and marries her.


Aethelstan, king of England. He and Harald constantly try to trap each other into acknowledging the other’s mastery, but each rules his own kingdom until death.

Hakon the Good

Hakon the Good, Harald’s son. Sent by Harald as foster son to Aethelstan, Hakon returns to Norway at Harald’s death, and becomes king of Norway. A Christian, he does not force Christianity on his followers, but many are converted.

Eric Blood-Ax

Eric Blood-Ax, Hakon’s brother. Slayer of at least four other brothers, he is killed in England.

Tryggve Olafsson

Tryggve Olafsson, a petty king slain by Eric’s sons, who rule Norway after Hakon is killed in battle.

Olaf Tryggvesson

Olaf Tryggvesson, the son of Tryggve, who becomes a Viking chieftain when twelve. Converted to Christianity after his raids on England, he in turn converts all of Norway to Christianity. He dies at the hands of Danish kings in 1000.


Aethelred, king of England. Olaf makes and keeps peace with him.

Olaf Haraldsson the Saint

Olaf Haraldsson the Saint, a descendant of Harald the Fairhaired. He extends the influence of Christianity and persistently tries to establish independence and national union. Slain in 1030 by petty...

(The entire section is 988 words.)