nn the deep-minded. Thorun the Horned. Men's Wit-Breaker. And those are just the women. The Laxdale Saga
proves that if Old Norse sagas have nothing on hard-boiled crime novels when it comes to male characters' nicknames, they take the prize when it comes to distaff monikers.
Not that their male character were slouches either. Those three women are the daughters of Ketill Flatnose and the granddaughters of Bjorn the Ungartered in the great Icelandic saga, which also mentions in passing one Ulf the Squinter. Those are right up there with Itchy Maker and the Whosis Kid
Here's a list of Viking names and nicknames
(and here's one that concentrates on the sagas
). You'd probably want to cross the street if you saw Horse gelder
or Blood axe
coming your way, but you have to feel sorry for the Scandinavian schlemiel nicknamed Awkward poet.
: Bernard Scudder
, who translated crime novels by Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir from Icelandic into English before he died in 2007, also translated Egil's Saga
from Old Norse for the selection available in Penguin's The Saga of Icelanders
. Arnaldur has said that the sagas influences his terse prose style
, so if you like his work, why not grab yourself some sagas?
© Peter Rozovsky 2011
Labels: Bernard Scudder, Dashiell Hammett, Icelandic sagas, miscellaneous, Norway, Old Norse, Scandinavia, translation, translators