The Sagas of Icelanders

This book is big enough to kill a person.

I mean really. 782  pages?!  That’s a  ton, especially considering that I had to read it as part of my school.  I think once a book becomes required reading, it magically seems larger than what it really is.

Of course, I might have added to my own stress over this book by waiting until the last 4 days of the month to start reading it.  I would like to point out that I DID finish it on time; as in 12 minutes before midnight and my deadline on time.

I’m not entirely sure breaking this thing down into “likes” and “dislikes” is the way to go with this book.  So instead, I’m going to tell you about some of the things that really stood out to me.  These things belong neither in a “likes” or “dislikes” list.  They are simply some facts that were most memorable to me.


  • I Would Have Been an Old Spinster

Apparently if a woman wore pants her husband had the right to divorce her?!  Ha ha.  Ha.  Guess I wouldn’t be getting married.  Or most of the rest of us girls now days, huh?  But, there was one smart lady who put on a pair of pants and went striding around in public to embarrass her husband ( who she did not want to be with ) so he would divorce her.  It worked, and she got away from the man she didn’t like.  All by wearing a pair of pants.

  • There Were So Many “Thors”

Just so, many, THORS.  Why did so many names have to start with Thor???  The Icelanders must have really loved Thor.  Let me give a few examples:

Thorstein, Thorkel, Thorsnes, Thorarin, Thorgrim, Thorfinn, Thorodd, Thorgils, Thorvard, Thorolf, Thordis, Thora, Thorbjorn, Thorgeir, Thorir, and many, many more.

Do you know how confusing this made things?!  It was very confusing.

  • Murdering Was a Widely Used Form of Law

Did someone graze their cows on your field?  Challenge them to a duel.  Did someone dishonor you by not giving you a gift?  Challenge them to a duel.  Did someone marry the girl you love?  Challenge them to a duel.

Basically, if you had any sort of issue, it was duel time.  And then after the duel, people would be sad about the tragic loss of a young life.  It wasn’t until the very last story in the book did someone finally realize, “Hey, if we make dueling illegal, then maybe people won’t die so much anymore!”

  • Many Many Lists of People and Who’s Son They Were

This seems to be a thing with old sagas, wether it be the Icelanders or the Irish or the English or whoever.  They want to write down lists of who everyone is and who their son or father is and all the titles they have and whatever family or clan they were in.  I’ll be very honest; I skimmed a bit on those parts.  The lists were just so very long.

But!  They did offer good information.  I actually had to go back and refer to them a few times because of my shameful skimming.

  • Not a Ton of Magic

I am always in the mood for magic.  But the only magic in here was one story involving a witch and her son, both of which were evil, sadly.  Magic just didn’t seem to fit with these stories all that much.

  • No Folklore

This is not to be seen as a negative point.  This is merely another one of those times where what I think is going to be inside of a book is not what is actually inside of the book, much like the time I read Owl Feathers.  I thought I was picking up something filled with Icelandic folklore; but the word sagas, as I have learned, is more about the great heroes or famous figures in a land, not about their widely told bedtime stories and beliefs.

  • It IS Big Enough to Kill Someone

If it was a hardback, this book would surely be killer.  But thankfully, it’s actually a paperback.  So the only killing it does is of my poor brain cells.  There is no real threat of it jumping off my shelf and giving me a serious head injury.


Overall, I would not recommend this as light reading; but once again, I did put extra stress on myself by only leaving myself 4 days to read all 782 pages.  So perhaps this might actually be somebody’s light reading if, you know, they aren’t stressed out while reading it.

But I would recommend this book to all those who want to know more about the Icelanders and their history.  One of the things that the Icelanders are most famous for are their sagas; and I think that they were very well presented here in this book.  Inside there were maps of all the major landmasses and a short explanation of each story before it started so that the older writing style was easier to understand and follow along with.

This book did a wonderful job at what it was supposed to do.  But, a word of advice:

Do not leave yourself only 4 days to read it and finish it 12 minutes before your deadline.

★★★ 3 Star Rating


Let’s Chat!

Would all of those ‘Thors’ have confused you too ( I can’t be the only one, right )?  Do you too read books that are large enough to kill you or do you smartly stay away from them?  Do you agree with me that the whole pants law was really rather silly?  ( Warning: if you don’t agree with me we will DUEL! ( no wait, we don’t want to do that, do we?! ) )

OH!  I almost forgot.  Who else procrastinates until they nearly don’t meet their deadlines and thus causes themselves an undue amount of stress as a result?!?!  Procrastinators, UNITE!!!


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