So some dude named Oddi, who is a good at astronomy but shitty at poetry, eats a bunch of psychedelic mushrooms and trips some craaazy shit. Technically, he is on a “fishing expedition” and “dreams” it but we’ve all told our parents that, right? Right? So he dreams he’s back at home in and his dream, a guy comes to stay with him and recites the following saga. So, drugs or no drugs, this little ditty is unusual for not being called a saga or tale, but a dream. So this is actually a tale containing a saga in a dream, which totally sounds like shroomy nonsense to me. And just wait. It actually gets trippier.
I have a dream
Unfortunately it’s not a dream of equality or peace, it’s a dream about Sweden. That sounds like a joke about feminism, but it isn’t. Not yet. Sweden was basically ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ in the middle ages—like, kooky illiterate hillbillies at best, murderous mutants at worst. More on this later. So in the saga in the dream, there are some Swedish nobility. There is Geirviður, who excels at his assigned gender role and then there is Hlégunnur. She has no interest in “ladylike pastimes.” She wears armor, carries weapons, and kills any shitbag who disagrees with her. Her father is ashamed of her and is happy when she decides to go off raiding.
Geirviður inherits his father’s kingdom at a young age. When he is twelve, he sets off to challenge two assholes who are living in the woods, robbing the shit out of anyone who passes through. When he declares this, the official court poet, Dagfinnur, says he will the join the king on his quest. Now shit gets real. When Dagfinnur is mentioned in the dream, Oddi’s point of view shifts from his dream-self listening to the saga being told to that of Dagfinnur. So Oddi is now experiencing the life of the character in the saga being told in his dream. So this has to be Inception, the literary magnificence of Virginia Woolf in a previous life, or some fucking really good mushrooms.
He was a poet
So when they arrive to tackle the outlaws, Dagfinnur offers the king two very helpful services. He can either help fight, which he knows nothing about, he’s probably weak as a baby, or he can watch from a safe distance and therefore live to describe to others the king’s brutal death. The king chooses the latter, but manages to kill the outlaws anyway. Dagfinnur recites a poem. There was much rejoicing. Yay.
They find a house full of the all the stolen goods and offer them back to their owners, but they all donate their goods to the king, which is really fucking stupid because he’s already the king and doesn’t need their peasant money. But of course he takes it anyway. Hlégunnur’s dad dies, meaning his land comes under Geirviður’s possession, so she sends some shield-maidens to warn him that she’s the boss-ass bitch of that land and he better be prepared to fight for it. He’s like, “Oh no you isn’t.”
As they head into battle, Dagfinnur leans down to tie his shoe and suddenly wakes up as Oddi again. He goes outside and looks at the stars, which sounds very much like something someone on drugs would do, and remembers the poem from the dream. Something like:
Kings are so rich
Robbers are the worst
This poem doesn’t even rhyme
Then he goes back inside and keeps tripping. He’s suddenly Dagfinnur finishing tying his shoe at the battle in the saga in the dream.
He totally did know it though
So Hlégunnur is there but now I guess she has a wolf head, which she uses to bite off the heads of the opposing army. What did I say about murderous mutant Swedes? Cue joke about feminism: Remember those “ladylike pastimes” she wasn’t into? In a modern context, maybe we can read this she-wolf thing as a metaphor for not shaving her vag. Except women probably weren’t expected to do that back then, which means that in some small ways medieval women were actually less oppressed than many women now.
Anyway, they kill her and win the battle and whatever. Then Oddi “awakes” and remembers more of the poem, which he admits is shitty because he wrote it in his “sleep”:
Hairy ladies are scary
I made a rhyme this time
Moral of the story: It’s not like the ladies like hacking through your 70s porn bush to find your dick, either, gentlemen. So why don’t we just let other people do with their special hairs whatever they like, okay?
Read more Saga Recaps here.