The biggest influencer on my book was in fact The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell. His book is about a young aristocrat from Northumbria during the 9th century who was orphaned at 10 years and raised by Northmen. How this influenced my book was the fact that my main Viking was in fact anglo-saxon, but he was not raised in luxury – in poverty instead. In my book, when it goes to the flash back of Gunnar in England, when escaping the harsh realities, we will see how he connected with the Vikings and how he wanted to join then; they happily accepted him. At this age he was 18, muscular (which the Vikings liked), feisty, blood-thirsty and willing; all qualities that Vikings lived for. Why I am going about Gunnar is this way is simply for propaganda purposes. I want to make the Anglo-Saxons, treating their own kind as dirt, while the Vikings happily accepted Gunnar and raised him as if he was their own.
Along with The Last Kingdom, another influencer for my book was the TV show Vikings. Like The Last Kingdom, Vikings inspired one of characters; Elmer, the kidnapped priest from Lindisfarne. Though it does sound like I have ripped the idea off of Vikings as Athelstan was also kidnapped from Lindisfarne, I have changed his personality to someone who is not dominated by the christian faith. I want Elmer to be very open-minded about all religions and about the possibility of God not existing. I want Elmer to be a strong willed character, not presented as weak or feeble. When danger is presented to him, he will not cower in fear, but instead do anything in his power to protect himself…and those around him
The TV show ‘Vikings’ has been a big influence on my book. There is a scene in Season 1 in which Ragnar goes to Lindisfarne — which did not happen — and begins to raid the “Holy Island”. The way they portray the characters was perfectly executed, however there was some false information. The biggest being that of Ragnar being present when the first raid on England happened, along with the presence of Rollo and Floki, who were not related to the character Ragnar; that is not important. Some other false information is the priest Athelstan who apparently learnt to speak the language of the Vikings (Old Norse) completely inaccurate. What I do like about this clip, however, is their fighting style. As I obviously do not have a video clip of Vikings fighting in Lindisfarne in real life, getting inspiration from the show Vikings and replicating their fighting style in my book is the next step.
Ragnar’s death song is probably the most famous ballad throughout all the sagas, Ragnar singing this tragic song as he was poisoned by the serpents due to Alle. I want to include an excerpt of this song into my book as he is slowly dying, singing this song with the utmost pride. It also gave me inspiration to write a song for my own Viking, Elmer the one singing it in grief as he watches his friend be slain before his eyes. Writing my own song would require a lot of skill, which I do not possess, but if I read a mass range of different ballads that talk about the death of a certain figure, then maybe i could overcome this barrier. If not, I will ask one of my friend’s who specialise in writing song lyrics to help me with this process.
Why it is important to me writing this song is because I want my Viking to seem as powerful as Ragnar, as if he was on the same wavelength as the famous Viking. My song will be that full of praise and grandeur, making Gunnar seem more important than Ragnar was. Like the poem says about Ragnar, he is going back home to Valhalla to take his seat next to Odin as he is a God.