The Beginning of the Journey

Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to my blog! Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Andrea, and I’m a historian fresh out of school with a lot of things packed into my skull. I love writing fiction and non-fiction, medieval sword fighting, costuming, and living history. This is my first blog, but I hope that my style will be a break from the usual norm. I am not exactly normal myself.

 

On this blog I plan to share articles on history and literature, mostly pertaining to the Middle Ages which is my area of expertise (although I also know a bit too much about Victorian mourning practices). I plan to discuss a myriad of topics, from Viking saga literature, to modern fantasy writing, to fun anecdotes about daily life. The format of the blog posts will generally be short articles on specific topics or questions, reviews, and fun lists. I welcome comments, questions, and debates (as long as they are civil) on anything I post. I will readily admit I do not know everything about the topics I write about, and if I ever get something wrong please let me know!  I am also open to tailoring articles based on reader’s questions, so if you want to know more about the type of history I cover, please feel free to leave a question or two in the comments!  I’ll do my best to answer them.

 

Why Write a Blog? – The Eternal Question

I decided to write this blog for a number of reasons. The first is to continue writing about Viking and Medieval history. I have always been proud of my heritage, and I grew up hearing stories of my grandparents’ immigration to the US alongside stories of trolls and Norse gods. When I was four my father took me back to Norway to visit the family, and I was captivated by the Viking boats in the museums and the towering sculptures of trolls.  But it wasn’t until my senior year of undergrad that I turned my lifelong love of Norwegian culture into a passion. I studied medieval history in undergrad and I wrote my honors thesis on the conversion of Norway to Christianity in the tenth and eleventh centuries. One thing I pondered during the process of writing my monster thesis was whether I would get burned out or obsessed with the topic by the end. One year and 145 pages later, I had become obsessed.

It is from that obsession, and several others, that this blog is formed. The others, you may be wondering, dear reader, are my passion for education and my fascination with the great JRR Tolkien. Let me be clear: when I say ‘education’ I do not mean that I think you are ignorant and that I am the great giver of knowledge. No. What I mean is that I like showing people a new prospective on the history we already know. History is often taught in schools as this dusty, boring subject of facts and dates. For me history is about personal narratives and individual struggles just as much as it is about great nations, ideas, and beliefs. Historical persons were as real and vibrant as you and I, and I take their culture as seriously as I do my own. I use the lives and the cultures of past figures to help to help reconstruct the larger narratives of history. And I love sharing what I find in history to others. I strive to make history relatable and enjoyable, and hopefully this passion of mine will come out in this blog. Perhaps you will come to enjoy history too (if you don’t already), and find that while some things in past cultures are undeniably weird, other things are surprisingly understandable.  I look forward to opening a dialogue between you, the reader, and myself, and between us in the present and the people of the past.

And as for Tolkien, well, if you stick around this blog long enough you’ll see just how much he has shaped our current notions of fantasy literature and our current understanding of Anglo-Norse history. In a way, Tolkien too tried to bridge the gap between the past and the present.  Lord of the Rings is as much a retelling of Norse and Anglo-Saxon literature as it is an original work of fiction. But I shall not trouble you with the details now, dear reader. If you are curious, read on!

 

Therefore, on this day in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fifteen, I shall commence this blog. Put on your war-helms, grab your sword, get in your roller-horses, and get ready for a wild ride into history and lore. It’s gonna be fun!

 

-The Valkyrie

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