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Although based on historical persons from the 9th century, Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons are the subjects of compelling legends dating from the Viking era. Warriors, raiders, and rulers, Ragnar and his sons inspired unknown writers to set down their stories over seven centuries ago. This volume presents new and original translations of the three major Old Norse texts that te Although based on historical persons from the 9th century, Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons are the subjects of compelling legends dating from the Viking era. Warriors, raiders, and rulers, Ragnar and his sons inspired unknown writers to set down their stories over seven centuries ago. This volume presents new and original translations of the three major Old Norse texts that tell Ragnar's story: the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, the Tale of Ragnar's Sons, and the Sogubrot. Ragnar's death song, the Krakumal, and a Latin fragment called the List of Swedish Kings, complete the story. Extensive notes and commentary are provided, helping the reader to enter the world of these timeless stories of Viking adventure.


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Although based on historical persons from the 9th century, Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons are the subjects of compelling legends dating from the Viking era. Warriors, raiders, and rulers, Ragnar and his sons inspired unknown writers to set down their stories over seven centuries ago. This volume presents new and original translations of the three major Old Norse texts that te Although based on historical persons from the 9th century, Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons are the subjects of compelling legends dating from the Viking era. Warriors, raiders, and rulers, Ragnar and his sons inspired unknown writers to set down their stories over seven centuries ago. This volume presents new and original translations of the three major Old Norse texts that tell Ragnar's story: the Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, the Tale of Ragnar's Sons, and the Sogubrot. Ragnar's death song, the Krakumal, and a Latin fragment called the List of Swedish Kings, complete the story. Extensive notes and commentary are provided, helping the reader to enter the world of these timeless stories of Viking adventure.

30 review for The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecka2

    "I desire my death now. The disir call me home, whom Herjan hastens onward from his hall, to take me. On the high bench, boldly, beer I'll drink with the Gods; hope of life is lost now -- laughing shall I die!" Damn, but do I love these old sagas! Epic and fascinating and mysterious, they're simply perfect for me. And it's history. A marriage made in heaven...or should I say, made in Valhall :) Ben Waggoner's translation is easy to read and his notes at the end of the book helpful; I positively flew th "I desire my death now. The disir call me home, whom Herjan hastens onward from his hall, to take me. On the high bench, boldly, beer I'll drink with the Gods; hope of life is lost now -- laughing shall I die!" Damn, but do I love these old sagas! Epic and fascinating and mysterious, they're simply perfect for me. And it's history. A marriage made in heaven...or should I say, made in Valhall :) Ben Waggoner's translation is easy to read and his notes at the end of the book helpful; I positively flew through this one! If you have an interest in the old sagas then I recommend you start here as it is a great deal less heavy than other sagas I've read. And for those that's still saying we have no real proof that shield-maidens existed: "There were the shield-maidens Visina and Heid, and each had come with a great host to king Harald. Visina bore his standard. With her were the champions Kari and Milva. Verbjorg was the name of another shield-maiden who came to king Harald with a great host from the south, from Gotland, and many champions followed her."

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Snow

    It’s not an easy read. The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok is patchwork of literary styles, genres, and stories. Add a lot of names and genealogies and a rather wordy translation, and you have a bit of work ahead of you. But it’s worth it. The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok contains tree sagas, a list of Swedish kings, and a long poem, Krákumál. If you’re unaccustomed with the Old Icelandic literary style, you should start with the sagas: Read The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok first, then The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons, an It’s not an easy read. The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok is patchwork of literary styles, genres, and stories. Add a lot of names and genealogies and a rather wordy translation, and you have a bit of work ahead of you. But it’s worth it. The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok contains tree sagas, a list of Swedish kings, and a long poem, Krákumál. If you’re unaccustomed with the Old Icelandic literary style, you should start with the sagas: Read The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok first, then The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons, and Sögubrot last. Taken together, the sagas give the heroic legends of Ragnar and his sons: Ivar the Boneless, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and the others. The sagas tell the story of how Ragnar got his epithet “Lodbrok” (meaning hairy breeches), how Ragnar killed the snake and got his first wife Thora. They tell Aslaug’s story; how she came to Ragnar “neither clad nor unclad, neither sated nor hungy, not alone yet with one coming with her”. The sagas tell at length of Ragnar and his sons' heroic battles, their plundering and terror, of how Ivar the Boneless conquered Northumbria, of the shirt that made Ragnar invulnerable, and of how he nevertheless ended his life in King Ælle’s snake pit while he, as the snakes bite in on him, makes the poem Krákumál. Aslaug, Ragnar’s wife, of course, is daughter of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer and Brynhild (told of in The Saga of the Volsungs), even if there are three or four centuries between Sigurd and Ragnar (or their quasi-historical models). But this is legend, or “lying sagas” as the Icelanders called them, and everything is possible. It is in these fornaldersagas (literally, tales of times past) that we find the roots of modern fantasy. In the legendary sagas we meet dragons, enormous serpents, holy and powerful cows, talking birds and flying horses. Some people, the shape-shifters, have the ability to turn into animals or birds, and the berserkers turn into wolfs and raging bears. Here are giants, dwarfs, elves, spirits, and all kinds of magic; people who can foretell the future and visit the other worlds. In these sagas we meet Odin, the all-father, and Loki, the trickster, meddling and interfering with human fate, we meet soothsayers, seid-woman, shield-maidens, Valkyries and all kinds of rune magic and sorcery, charms, spell, cursed golden rings and magical swords. But first of all we meet human tragedy. The legendary sagas tell stories of hate, vengeance, rivalry, murder of brothers, husband and children, incestuous relations, friendship, deceit, loyalty, and everlasting love. This is the world of J.R.R. Tolkien and the starting point of all Western fantasy. It is well worth a bit of hard work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I have been watching the TV show "Vikings" so this was very interesting to read. The author uses three major old Norse stories to tell Ragnar's life and deeds. There is a lot of speculation as to whether there actually was a "Ragnar". He has been identified as various historical persons of this period but there is no actual proof. His sons are a different matter as there is more information about them. Anyone wanting to learn a bit more about Ragner and this period of Viking history will enjoy t I have been watching the TV show "Vikings" so this was very interesting to read. The author uses three major old Norse stories to tell Ragnar's life and deeds. There is a lot of speculation as to whether there actually was a "Ragnar". He has been identified as various historical persons of this period but there is no actual proof. His sons are a different matter as there is more information about them. Anyone wanting to learn a bit more about Ragner and this period of Viking history will enjoy these stories.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ace

    I like my Vikings to be on the battlefield. But good background to know.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    Aaaaaaaaw cute collection of sagas about Ragnar Lodbrok - "king in leathern breeches". First story is almost similar to the one from "Heroes of the Norselands" by Katharine Boult. Version in Waggoner's book is closer to the plot that was played in TV Show, but nevertheless is very interesting. Second story is Sögubrot - the saga about Ivar the boneless, and third story tells about the other Ragnar's sons. The last one in this book is Krákumál - dialogue of Ragnar with king Aella, before king thr Aaaaaaaaw cute collection of sagas about Ragnar Lodbrok - "king in leathern breeches". First story is almost similar to the one from "Heroes of the Norselands" by Katharine Boult. Version in Waggoner's book is closer to the plot that was played in TV Show, but nevertheless is very interesting. Second story is Sögubrot - the saga about Ivar the boneless, and third story tells about the other Ragnar's sons. The last one in this book is Krákumál - dialogue of Ragnar with king Aella, before king thrust Ragnar to the snake pit. Variety of styles and genres is present in this collection, but it is cool to have all of these stories conjoined in one edition.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This was interesting. I've recently read the Saxon Stories series and characters there worshiped Ragnar. They were marauding thieves and Ragnar was also known as being that, plus a mighty warrior. So it was kind of fun to read about Ragnar. In some ways this didn't long enough, and in others it seemed long. So 3 stars. This was interesting. I've recently read the Saxon Stories series and characters there worshiped Ragnar. They were marauding thieves and Ragnar was also known as being that, plus a mighty warrior. So it was kind of fun to read about Ragnar. In some ways this didn't long enough, and in others it seemed long. So 3 stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pam Frost Gorder

    This review is for the Audible edition. If you like the History Channel's "Vikings"... ...Then you'll probably like this. It's a retelling of three surviving stories from Old Norse texts. Some of the characters from the show are there as viewers would know them; Others take different forms from story to story, but all have fates intertwined with Ragnar and his children. The seeds of the television show are definitely here, and Ragnar is no less enigmatic and entertaining than he is on television. This review is for the Audible edition. If you like the History Channel's "Vikings"... ...Then you'll probably like this. It's a retelling of three surviving stories from Old Norse texts. Some of the characters from the show are there as viewers would know them; Others take different forms from story to story, but all have fates intertwined with Ragnar and his children. The seeds of the television show are definitely here, and Ragnar is no less enigmatic and entertaining than he is on television.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Markus

    It is wonderful to see all the works relating to Ragnar Lodbrok brought together in one volume. They make a fun and fascinating read, and the translation is well-handled. This book will appeal to lovers of Norse mythology and the sagas, as well as to fans of the TV series Vikings.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wynlord

    Superior translation, Very readable and as entertaining as a 1000 year old Saga can be.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    Ragnar Lidbrook, made famous by the TV show “Vikings”, however the real Norse Sagas are nothing at all like that. First off Ragnar is a prince the eldest son of a king. The sagas contain two different versions of Ragnar’s life. In the first version, the Prince Ragnar goes to a neighboring kingdom to save a maiden, named Thora from a snake that has surrounded her house. Thora is a kings daughter and this snake eats its tale . Kind of like the Midgard serpent. After Ragnar rescues and marries her Ragnar Lidbrook, made famous by the TV show “Vikings”, however the real Norse Sagas are nothing at all like that. First off Ragnar is a prince the eldest son of a king. The sagas contain two different versions of Ragnar’s life. In the first version, the Prince Ragnar goes to a neighboring kingdom to save a maiden, named Thora from a snake that has surrounded her house. Thora is a kings daughter and this snake eats its tale . Kind of like the Midgard serpent. After Ragnar rescues and marries her he has two sons. One is named Agnar and I forget the other one. After a few years she passes on and Ragnar meets another princess. In the first version she is the daughter of s slain king. Harelig hides her in a harp and travels the land protecting her. Later he is betrayed by an older couple that kills him for his money. The princess lives the life of a servant girl until Ragnar comes and rescues her. They marry and have children. The first is Ivar the boneless, the Vitserk, Bjorn Ironsides and finally Sigurth the snake. Ragnars first two sons from the first wife are killed in battle. The other brothers take revenge. Upsalla in Sweden becomes theirs. Ragnar will meet his end in England in a pit of snakes after his magic shirt is removed. Ivar the boneless exacts a cunning revenge and in the first version he founds London. The brothers raid all over Europe. Many are killed in battle but Bjorn and Ivar live on as kings. The second version goes more into the background of Ragnar’s family . Ausug Ragnars second wife is known in the second version as of elven descent and has some magical abilities. She is also descended from Sigurd and Brunhild. In the second version Ivar founds York instead of London. Enjoy the read and learn Ragnar’s real story

  11. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    Great translation with notes to help understand the reasoning behind the translator's interpretations, as well as the history of the interpretations and differing opinions. The introduction provides good context for readers before they begin too! Great translation with notes to help understand the reasoning behind the translator's interpretations, as well as the history of the interpretations and differing opinions. The introduction provides good context for readers before they begin too!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Jane

    3.5 Thoughts to come.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was borrowed this book by a friend who majored in history in college, when I told him I was interested in reading about "really far back accounts of things." This is a series of sagas, and a saga fragment, with fictional events dating from around the 800s or so, and they take place all throughout Scandinavia. From the introduction, I believe that this story may have come from Iceland around the 1300s or 1400s, as did so many other sagas or "prose narratives" (p. xi) Reading these stories made I was borrowed this book by a friend who majored in history in college, when I told him I was interested in reading about "really far back accounts of things." This is a series of sagas, and a saga fragment, with fictional events dating from around the 800s or so, and they take place all throughout Scandinavia. From the introduction, I believe that this story may have come from Iceland around the 1300s or 1400s, as did so many other sagas or "prose narratives" (p. xi) Reading these stories made me curious about the word "saga" to begin with, so I went over to Wikipedia to find out. Apparently, "saga" is a Norse word that means(1) "what is said, statement" or (2) "story, tale, history". I learned from the introduction that there were many kinds of sagas that were told: sagas of "the old times" where there were trolls and other magical beings, sagas of chivalric tales, sagas of kings' lives, and sagas of the first families that came to settle in Iceland. The introduction to the sagas, written by the translator Ben Waggoner, set the stage for how a reader should view these sagas. I found out that, though these sagas may contain some history, the connections certainly are tenuous at best, and took to heart the suggestion to enjoy these tales "for their value to folklorists and medieval historians, for their impact on later English literature, and for their value as entertaining tales of derring-do" (p. xi). And that they certainly were: you get three year olds who speak like adults and lead huge armies (or "hosts," as they are referred to in these sagas), maidens who are beautiful and wise, giant serpents and hiding princesses in oversized harps, and crazy battles. Plenty of battles. And battle poetry (so much battle poetry). In reading Krakumal, Ragnar's death-poem-song(?), I learned about skaldic poetry, and about "kennings," or big elaborate words together that allude to another word. (For example, using phrases like "wyrm of wounds" and "bane-herrings" and "shields' moon"...all of these refer to a sword.) The imagery in this poem was very repetitive at times, but if you take a step back and look at it on the whole, it's pretty metal, especially with the kennings. Although the tone of the sagas could be somewhat simple seeming at times, I think that the translator's intent to keep the stories in an original voice was a good one. He mentioned at one time that these tales could be shared and passed down at huge gatherings while everyone was around a fire, and the way he put everything together, one could imagine easily doing that. Especially in Krakumal: all this constant talk of ravens, wolves, and eagles constantly picking at the flesh of the untold amounts of dead warriors, having fallen bravely during Ragnar's many battles...it definitely would be something cool for people, especially young people, to hear told round a fire. I did not read these sagas entirely in the order they were presented in, but even so, many of them seem to contradict each other, and I could not get a clear idea of the times in which events happened, and who had done them. Especially since in some stories, some characters were presented as related to each other, and in some others they were not mentioned or did not seem related. Resourcing the footnotes was the only thing that kept me in check: they essentially say that a lot of these accounts are mixed up, so you have to kind of enjoy them as loosely connected tales. Lastly, this book was COOL because I discovered Ragnar's wife, Aslaug. My own Norwegian great-grandma had that name, which purportedly means "devoted to God," and it was cool to hear about a kick-ass, smart warrior queen. If you want to be entertained by some seriously old-school Scandinavian/Icelandic tales, you should read this. I think it would probably help if you have read other sagas before and/or have some knowledge of Norse mythology, but even if you don't (like me), the footnotes will be immensely helpful.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    In a British History magazine I read a short article on the authenticity of the History Channel series The Vikings. Because I'm always interested in "period" pieces and I didn't know much about the "reality" of the 8th-10th Centuries, and because the article mentioned the series is as accurate as we can get (from the research we have), I decided to watch it. And, fortunately or un-, got hooked. That means, of course for me, that I had/have to do some "binge"reading on the period, and since my mas In a British History magazine I read a short article on the authenticity of the History Channel series The Vikings. Because I'm always interested in "period" pieces and I didn't know much about the "reality" of the 8th-10th Centuries, and because the article mentioned the series is as accurate as we can get (from the research we have), I decided to watch it. And, fortunately or un-, got hooked. That means, of course for me, that I had/have to do some "binge"reading on the period, and since my masters degree is in medieval literature (albeit French and English, not Icelandic), I had to pick up the Sagas. This slim book deals only with the sagas pertaining to Ragnar and his sons. Ragnar is the main character in the series and is based on the legendary king of these sagas. Although there is not much here, it's a good supplement to Snorri Sturluson's Heimkringla - History of the Norwegian Kings. The translation is easy to read. One of the manuscripts is in fragments, but it is readable and valuable nonetheless. It also contains a translation of Krakumal - Ragnar's Death Poem. It's hard to write a review of this type of book because it appeals to a small slice of the readers in Goodreads. But I think anyone interested in the Sagas or Medieval Icelandic literature will find it great.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Macha

    3 and a half stars. Ben Waggoner's Sagas of Ragnar Lothbok collects all the literature surrounding Ragnar and his sons, and refers across to (although it does not include anything from) Saxo Grammaticus' history. makes for pretty interesting reading, all that detail, these variants in story. mostly prose, but with a lot of significant (and lovely) poetic stanzas folded in, and a concluding poem of great power, the Krakumal, Ragnar's death poem in the pit of snakes: "We struck with our swords!" e 3 and a half stars. Ben Waggoner's Sagas of Ragnar Lothbok collects all the literature surrounding Ragnar and his sons, and refers across to (although it does not include anything from) Saxo Grammaticus' history. makes for pretty interesting reading, all that detail, these variants in story. mostly prose, but with a lot of significant (and lovely) poetic stanzas folded in, and a concluding poem of great power, the Krakumal, Ragnar's death poem in the pit of snakes: "We struck with our swords!" each stanza begins, and the final line is "laughing shall I die". along the way, there's a whole lot of story the scripts to the show are using, including the current eps about the blood-eagle ritual and the birth of Ivar the Boneless. no equivalent to Lagertha in these sagas, though; she's taken from Saxo's account. at any rate, i can recommend the book, and as is typical of sagas the contents are very accessible to a contemporary reader: the prose is straightforward, there's a keen interest in the psychology of the characters, and the poetry where it occurs is spare and unfussy, emotive, evocative, and unsentimental, in the hands of a decent translator. more, give me more, give me more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Anglis

    Do not be fooled by the size of this book. You will spend just as much time reading the book itself that you will be reading the footnotes at the end as you go along. Keep a pen handy to mark that spot, because, while it may seem annoying, keep in mind that you are in a strange place, in a strange time, meeting strange people, and you learn a lot about all of this. That being said I found this book very interesting. It compiles a few different sources that include King Ragnar, including one poem Do not be fooled by the size of this book. You will spend just as much time reading the book itself that you will be reading the footnotes at the end as you go along. Keep a pen handy to mark that spot, because, while it may seem annoying, keep in mind that you are in a strange place, in a strange time, meeting strange people, and you learn a lot about all of this. That being said I found this book very interesting. It compiles a few different sources that include King Ragnar, including one poem at the end that will make your blood boil if you are a fellow warrior like me. The introduction is very well written, and gives you a great preface as what to make of these sagas and Ragnar himself. Moreover, if you are a Viking nerd, and especially if you like the History Channel program Vikings, you will find many familiar faces and events. All in all, an intermediate read that will require some focus. Your mind cannot afford to wander, as it will be in a far enough place already-Old Scandinavia. Skål and Hail Odin!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Greg Kopstein

    I've been obsessed with Viking history lately, which sparked from reading Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology. I started the TV show Vikings, which is excellent, and discovered that it is (very loosely) based on The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok, so I embarked on the tale. This book has several components and it blends nicely, having been diligently translated by Ben Waggoner. It was an entertaining read and I burned through the book in about 2hrs. It was quick, enjoyable, and I loved the historical and myt I've been obsessed with Viking history lately, which sparked from reading Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology. I started the TV show Vikings, which is excellent, and discovered that it is (very loosely) based on The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok, so I embarked on the tale. This book has several components and it blends nicely, having been diligently translated by Ben Waggoner. It was an entertaining read and I burned through the book in about 2hrs. It was quick, enjoyable, and I loved the historical and mythological elements of it. The three stars has nothing to do with the author or the story. I didn't learn much and saw this as more fictional storytelling than a historical piece of Viking lore. I will definitely read more about Vikings. My suggestion: only read this if you're interested, but if you're new to the subject, this is a quick read to get acquainted. Perhaps read Neil Gaiman's book first, so you're familiar with Viking mythology, so this story makes more sense.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Taylor Stone

    Hvitserk would be a top notch cat name.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Miller

    Those of you who've watched even just part of the first season of "Vikings" should recognize the characters (notwithstanding the liberties the show's producers took with the source material). As with much of the surviving material from that age, we're treated with characters who are often larger than life. In this case, most of them, as I understand it, were real people. So perhaps we could consider the Sagas of Ragnar to be sort of the Norse equivalent of America's Tall Tales (Daniel Boone, Dav Those of you who've watched even just part of the first season of "Vikings" should recognize the characters (notwithstanding the liberties the show's producers took with the source material). As with much of the surviving material from that age, we're treated with characters who are often larger than life. In this case, most of them, as I understand it, were real people. So perhaps we could consider the Sagas of Ragnar to be sort of the Norse equivalent of America's Tall Tales (Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, etc.). I "read" this as an audiobook (several times over multiple listening sessions) so I hope the printed version has some sort of Introductory material not included in the audio format that might help us interpret the work in its cultural and historical context. Anyway, I found it quite entertaining, as I'm certain the Norse themselves did while spinning tales in the longhouse during the dark and cold northern winters.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Edoardo Albert

    A lively and readable translation of the various sagas and fragments that tell the tale of Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons. Ragnar straddles the boundary between the legendary and the historical. His sons - if they were his sons and not simply men who traced their lineage back to the clan founder - were the leaders of the Great Heathen Army that visited death and destruction upon 10th-century England, bringing down three of the four Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until only Wessex, precariously, remained. But A lively and readable translation of the various sagas and fragments that tell the tale of Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons. Ragnar straddles the boundary between the legendary and the historical. His sons - if they were his sons and not simply men who traced their lineage back to the clan founder - were the leaders of the Great Heathen Army that visited death and destruction upon 10th-century England, bringing down three of the four Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until only Wessex, precariously, remained. But Ragnar is connected, via his wife, to the legendary Germanic hero, Siegfried, the saga simply ignoring the centuries between them. So how much is true is impossible to tell. The story, though, is excellent, told in the typical, laconic fashion of northern epic, which Waggoner's translation faithfully recreates. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Helene

    Okay it was actually interesting to see how much of the original sagas that was in the series, now that I watched that first and is obsessed! I was confused at first because the first saga started with the story of his second wife Aslaug. Jumped lightly over the story of Ragnar and continued with the children they got. Because they only part Ragnar had was being there and did later xD I mean it's so much more about his sons, their reaction to his death and how big they became. But still fun to s Okay it was actually interesting to see how much of the original sagas that was in the series, now that I watched that first and is obsessed! I was confused at first because the first saga started with the story of his second wife Aslaug. Jumped lightly over the story of Ragnar and continued with the children they got. Because they only part Ragnar had was being there and did later xD I mean it's so much more about his sons, their reaction to his death and how big they became. But still fun to see how accurate the TV series is and ifs basically why I read this in the first place. Ps. King Gandalf is a thing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lux Nyung

    the first section of the book provide an insight on historical references which has initiated my appetite for knowing more! i think i have spent like a month only reading through those initial 30 pages and searching for all the references in there... - this introduction was then followed by a translation of the 3 indicated sagas which reading went quite smoothly. i would advise every reader interested in Norse/Nordic history, to take your own time and savour this book... you won't get disappoint the first section of the book provide an insight on historical references which has initiated my appetite for knowing more! i think i have spent like a month only reading through those initial 30 pages and searching for all the references in there... - this introduction was then followed by a translation of the 3 indicated sagas which reading went quite smoothly. i would advise every reader interested in Norse/Nordic history, to take your own time and savour this book... you won't get disappointed.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    It’s tough to rate a translation of ancient manuscripts. These are legends and the authors are unknown. The writing is beautiful and somewhat poetic. There are places where the 3 different writings tell similar stories and other places where they go in separate directions. I suppose the one thing that disappointed me was that I was expecting more about what Ragnar accomplished in his own life to become so infamous, but instead there was more written about his sons than about him. Much of his lif It’s tough to rate a translation of ancient manuscripts. These are legends and the authors are unknown. The writing is beautiful and somewhat poetic. There are places where the 3 different writings tell similar stories and other places where they go in separate directions. I suppose the one thing that disappointed me was that I was expecting more about what Ragnar accomplished in his own life to become so infamous, but instead there was more written about his sons than about him. Much of his life remains a mystery.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    this was a very nice collection with the original saga, a saga on his ancestors (though missing some pieces), the sagas of his sons, and the “krakumal”aka words of the raven — his death song. the translator has excellent footnotes with good information and the saga reads very well for the modern mind. probably my favorite saga that I have read so far, though ragnars saga is wayyy different from the show i don’t think i’ve lost love for the show as it takes creative freedom and effectively makes this was a very nice collection with the original saga, a saga on his ancestors (though missing some pieces), the sagas of his sons, and the “krakumal”aka words of the raven — his death song. the translator has excellent footnotes with good information and the saga reads very well for the modern mind. probably my favorite saga that I have read so far, though ragnars saga is wayyy different from the show i don’t think i’ve lost love for the show as it takes creative freedom and effectively makes an appealing ode to the Norse “Viking” culture. Very good book and highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel McNeil

    A well researched book that I enjoyed (credit to the author). I watched the Vikings TV series and thought it couldn’t be close to what actually happened. Whilst the sagas are more stories told over the ages, there is no smoke without fire as the saying goes which is why I wanted to read this book. It has proved useful in helping me clarify the story of Ragnar and his sons lives. Onto the biographies! The book could be confusing at points, so a rough timeline/ tree would have been a very useful a A well researched book that I enjoyed (credit to the author). I watched the Vikings TV series and thought it couldn’t be close to what actually happened. Whilst the sagas are more stories told over the ages, there is no smoke without fire as the saying goes which is why I wanted to read this book. It has proved useful in helping me clarify the story of Ragnar and his sons lives. Onto the biographies! The book could be confusing at points, so a rough timeline/ tree would have been a very useful addition. If it had that I would have given it 5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tj

    As a fan of Vikings and all things Nordic this is a rather compelling book. The stories of Ragnar and his Sons are very action packed, full of themes of trust and deceptions, hard choices and severe consequences which ultimately thins the lines between what was fact and what was fiction. Each character is well written and their dialogue fits each personality perfectly. At times it’s a little confusing to follow who is where but you eventually catch up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tram

    I actually read the version that you can find at germanicmythology.com. It contains the original Old Norse text juxtaposed to an almost word for word English translation that is clear to read. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The Norse sagas are always better than the romanticized history we think we know. And yes, the Tale of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons is full of so much more detail than the histoy channel show "Vikings". I actually read the version that you can find at germanicmythology.com. It contains the original Old Norse text juxtaposed to an almost word for word English translation that is clear to read. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The Norse sagas are always better than the romanticized history we think we know. And yes, the Tale of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons is full of so much more detail than the histoy channel show "Vikings".

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I listened to the audiobook version because I really enjoyed the series Vikings and wanted to know more about the legends that inspired it. A lot of it is told in a similar fashion to other Norse myths, but the actual verse and the epic poem are difficult to digest via audiobook, esp since I'd never read them before. I ended up feeling like I needed to read this one the good old fashion way. I listened to the audiobook version because I really enjoyed the series Vikings and wanted to know more about the legends that inspired it. A lot of it is told in a similar fashion to other Norse myths, but the actual verse and the epic poem are difficult to digest via audiobook, esp since I'd never read them before. I ended up feeling like I needed to read this one the good old fashion way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Seems a great translation, not that I am able to compare it to the original. Very readable (listenable) and entertaining. The translation is mostly prose (like the original?) with poetic verses (usually in alliterative verse) here and there. The concluding poem, the Karkumal, is the highlight, in my opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Vroom

    A very interesting book, even if it is only a story and not history. The translation is very good and readable. All notes are very informative and accurate. I recommend reading this together with The children of Odin. the Book of Northern Myths translated by Anon. E mouse eo And also read Dunstan. One man. Seven kings by Conn Iggulden.

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