“Widrick he leapt onto Shymbling’s back,
His spear held at his knee:
“If I’m not back by evening time,
“You needn’t wait for me.””
This collection of Scandinavian ballads made me so happy.
I’ve long been a collector of Norse mythology as well as sagas from Iceland and Germanic folklore. It’s a whole thing.
Just after reading the first ballad, Widrick Waylandsson’s Fight with Long-Ben Reyser, my blood was pumping, my imagination was firing on all cylinders, and a huge grin was plastered across my face.
All right, fan-girl rant over…almost.
Just to give you a picture of my total geekery on this subject, before I started reading, I wanted to create an appropriate atmosphere. So, I made a Spotify radio station based on Antti Martikainen, a Finnish composer of ethnic, folk, and traditional music. The radio station was epic and really set the stage for reading these ballads.
Olafur Arnalds, an Icelandic composer, would have worked as well, but his music is much more subdued. I wanted something punchy to go with these warrior ballads.
Overall, this was very, very enjoyable. If you’re into folklore, particularly of the Scandinavian variety, I bet you’d enjoy spending an afternoon with these well-translated, and delightfully arranged, warrior ballads.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Some other opinions you may be interested in:
“Warrior Lore is an excellent collection of Scandinavian ballads. Brilliantly translated by Ian Cumpstey, the ballads primarily encompass the theme of warfare.“– Saradia Chatterjee on Goodreads
“The hardest thing to do when translating ballads into another language is trying to keep the rhyme and rhythm of the ballad without losing the original meanings during the translations. Ian Cumpstey’s little collective of Scandinavian ballads, Warrior Lore, mostly finds a comfortable medium between the two.“– Reading Bifrost on Goodreads