Rethinking the saga of the people of Svarfadardal: or the mysterious death of a godi
Sexton, Linda Lee
From the Icelandic Svarfaðardalur translates to “unruly valley.” The Saga of the People of Svarfadardal proves to be all of this while touching on issues of political power, loyalty and honor. The complexities of the saga have traditionally posed problems that restricted an understanding of the text while barring shape to the characters. The saga leads its audience through events that when interpreted, can vary through individual viewpoint and experience, putting audience analysis at the core of Svarfdæla. From its scattered, inconsistent beginnings, the study presented here shows the path taken by each character through to the saga’s finish. Each character is permitted a consistency to their persona, allowing their interaction with one another coherency. In the end, Yngvild Fair-cheek and her infamous words take on a valid and realistic purpose, releasing her of her cold-hearted image.