marissa_doyle (marissa_doyle) wrote,

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Harald Hardrada and Emma

My high-school-junior son is taking a year-long medieval history course.  Chip off the old block.  He's liking it a lot, and we have fun yakking about the fall of Rome and how Christianity took its final form and light, airy topics like that.  Lest you think we're totally weird, he also takes pleasure in irritating his teacher by referring to Charlemagne as "Big Chuck."

However, he came home with a wonderful bit of information that I've never seen before.  His class is discussing the Heimskringla, or the Chronicle of the Kings of Norway.  One of those kings was a guy named Harald Hardrada (or Hardrade) who spent a lot of time doing Viking stuff in Iceland and elsewhere before returning to Norway and becoming king in 1047.  Typical saga stuff, my son reports, except for this:  it seems that Harald (who was always breaking into verse at the drop of a battle-axe) named his armor.  Yep.  He had a coat of mail so long that it reached almost to the middle of his leg, and it was so strong that no weapon ever pierced it...and its name was Emma.

Imagine my delight.

Because of course, now all I can picture is John Cleese in a Monty Python sketch sporting Viking braids and a long blond beard and a horned hat...wearing a coat of mail named, oh...Clodagh, maybe.  Or Pansy.  

But isn't it wonderful?  This medieval warrior who went sailing around the Mediterranean in his galley, kidnapping princesses and writing songs about all the battles he fought in, called his armor by a girl's name.  Not  "Ironcloak" or  "Thor's Skin" or "+30 black dragon scale mail" (sorry--there've been a lot of my son's D&D manuals floating around the house recently)...but Emma.

Just wonderful.

Oh--if you'd like to see my cover for Bewitching Season, I've posted it over at my other blog


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