Historic and Literary Value of "King Harald's Saga"

A biography of some of Norway's and Europe's most illustrious kings from the medieval period is presented in "King Harald's Saga." The book should provide a thorough account of some of the significant actions taken by the early rulers of medieval Europe. These kings were legendary characters who had a big political impact on who led the old dynasties in Norway and Europe. As a result, King Harald's Saga provides a thorough overview of some of these monarchs, their conflicts, and their kingdoms in medieval Norway and Europe. For instance, the text gives an account of the war between King Harald of Norway and his England’s counterpart King Harold that took place at Stamford Bridge. In this war, King Harald was determined to take over England by killing his brother King Harold. However, Harold’s army overpowered the Norwegians and killed their leader. As well, in the battle of Orri, the English army defeated the Norwegians and killed many of their soldiers.

Before meeting his death, King Harald had a well-trained marshal named Styrkar who later got hold of a horse and escaped from his territory towards the coast, and also killed a cart rider for his fur-lined leather coat (Magnusson and Palsson 128). Also, the Duke of Normandy named William was a great figure in the middle ages and played a significant role during the Norman invasion of England. Understandably, William considered himself a better leader to rule England as compared to King Harold, and thus he organized an army in Normandy after which he set off for the battle of Hastings and killed King Harold and later ascended to become the new King of England. Since then, the throne has been held by his descendants to date. On the other hand, King Harald’s son, Olaf Haraldsson moved with his army from England and created dynasties in Norway. Therefore, the entire book narrates about the medieval wars between Norwegian and England’s armies for the control of the regimes during and after the medieval era as illustrated by Duke William’s ascension to the throne and his descendants in the leadership of England.

Documentation of events in medieval Europe

During the medieval era, numerous events took place across Europe leading to the creation of political dynasties that lasted for a long time. Most of these events influenced the medieval politics that followed the conflicts in London and other parts of Europe. In this case, therefore, “King Harald’s Saga” plays a significant role in documenting some of the main events that occurred during this era by mainly focusing on the year 1066 that determined the fate of England and other parts of Western Europe. In essence, the book documents this year as the time when Europe experienced violence and conflict that occurred from the clashes between the greatest and strongest military leaders at that point in the history of Europe. Ideally, these include William of Normandy, Norwegian’s Harald, and England’s Harold, and each of these leaders marshaled their respective armies to fight for the throne of England. Understandably, the book gives a step by step flow of events that precipitated the shift of England’s leadership during the medieval period from King Harold to Duke William with whom his descendants have held the throne to the present time. Interestingly, all the struggles happened in the year 1066, and their aftermaths influenced the political direction of Europe and England at that time. Therefore, the book plays a significant role in documenting historical events by showing the step by step activities that occurred during this period of the medieval era, and the effect of these events on determining the fate of England and Western Europe about the formation of political dynasties.

Fantasies that make the story entertaining

“King Harald’s Saga” utilizes decorations and fantasies as entertainment features throughout the text. Ideally, most of the medieval era kings often used poets to pass propaganda to their subjects through poems. For instance, during the preparation of the battle of Stamford Bridge, King Harald’s remarkable brevity and courage are brought out in the stanzas that claim that he and his men engaged in the battles without armor, and as well, they never surrendered before any storm of weapons. These stanzas exaggerate the nature of brevity and preparedness of King Harald’s army for war, (Magnusson and Palsson 126). As well, at the time of the Stamford Bridge war, it is funny that King Harald was very fierce that he killed many of King Harold’s troops by fighting single-handedly and without a helmet or a coat of mail, (Magnusson and Palsson 127).

Besides, during the Orri’s battle, Eystein Orri’s men had some of the best armor and managed to kill many English fighters. However, these warriors had gone far away from their ships and fell into a battle fury without their armor as long as they could still stand on their feet. Also, they threw away their coats of mail; an act that gave the seemingly weak English men an advantage and killed Orri’s fighters with ease. Understandably, the text has been constructed in a way that brings out a fantasy in the sense that the weak English men defeated the seemingly strong Orri’s men because they dropped off their armor, (Magnusson and Palsson 127). In addition, the book regards some of the best fighters as having extraordinary powers that made them become the greatest warriors in their societies. For instance, Styrkar was one of King Harald’s most outstanding men in the war front, (Magnusson and Palsson 128). Therefore, the book has used fantasy and decoration as entertainment features to reveal the might of the ancient rulers in the middle ages across Europe.

Works Cited

Magnusson, Magnus, and Hermann Palsson. King Harald's Saga. Penguin Books, 1980. Web. 6 Aug. 2017.

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