King Harald Saga: The Epic Story of the Last Viking King (PDF)
King Harald Saga PDF Download
If you are looking for a thrilling and captivating read that will transport you to the world of medieval Scandinavia, you should consider downloading King Harald Saga PDF. This is one of the most famous and influential sagas in Norse literature, written by the renowned Icelandic historian and poet Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. It tells the story of Harald Hardrada, the last great Viking king who ruled Norway for two decades and fought for the crown of England in 1066. In this article, we will give you an overview of what King Harald Saga is about, who wrote it, what are its main themes and characters, and how it is written. We will also provide you with a link to download King Harald Saga PDF for free.
King Harald Saga Pdf Download
The Author of King Harald Saga: Snorri Sturluson
Snorri Sturluson was born in Iceland around 1179 and died in 1241. He was a prominent figure in Icelandic politics, culture, and society, as well as a prolific writer of various genres. He is best known for his works on Norse mythology, such as the Prose Edda, which is a collection of stories and poems about the gods, giants, heroes, and monsters of the pagan Norse religion. He is also famous for his Heimskringla, which is a collection of sagas about the kings of Norway from ancient times to his own era. Heimskringla consists of 16 sagas, each focusing on a different king or dynasty. The third saga in Heimskringla is King Harald Saga, which covers the life and deeds of Harald Hardrada.
Snorri wrote Heimskringla based on oral traditions, historical records, skaldic poetry, and his own knowledge and interpretation of Norse history. He aimed to preserve and celebrate the legacy of the Norwegian kings, as well as to instruct and entertain his readers. He also wanted to show how divine providence guided the fate of Norway and its rulers. He wrote Heimskringla in Old Norse, which was the common language of Scandinavia at that time. He used a clear and elegant prose style that was influenced by classical Latin authors such as Cicero and Sallust.
The Plot of King Harald Saga: Harald Hardrada's Life and Death
King Harald Saga begins with Harald's escape from the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030, where his half-brother, King Olaf Haraldsson, was killed by the Norwegian nobles who opposed his rule. Harald fled to Russia, where he was welcomed by King Jaroslav, and then to Byzantium, where he joined the Varangian Guard, the elite unit of Norse mercenaries who served the Byzantine emperors. He fought in many battles and campaigns in Sicily, North Africa, Palestine, and Bulgaria, earning fame and fortune as a brave and skilled warrior. He also visited Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre, and had a romantic affair with the empress Zoe, whom he later rejected.
After leaving Byzantium, Harald returned to Russia and married Jaroslav's daughter Elisif. He then gathered a large army of Norsemen and allies and invaded Norway in 1046, claiming his right to the throne as Olaf's heir. He met with resistance from King Magnus Olafsson, Olaf's son, who had been ruling Norway since 1035. However, the two kings agreed to share the kingdom peacefully and became friends. Magnus died in 1047, leaving Harald as the sole king of Norway. Harald then turned his attention to Denmark, which was ruled by King Sweyn Estridsson, a rival claimant to the Norwegian throne. Harald and Sweyn fought for many years over the control of Denmark, until they finally made peace in 1064.
In 1066, Harald received an invitation from Tostig Godwinson, the exiled brother of King Harold Godwinson of England, to join him in a rebellion against Harold. Harald saw this as an opportunity to fulfill his ambition of becoming the king of England, which he believed was his destiny since he was a child. He sailed to England with a large fleet and army and landed in Yorkshire. He defeated the English forces at the Battle of Fulford on September 20, but was surprised by Harold Godwinson's arrival at Stamford Bridge on September 25. Harald fought bravely but was killed by an arrow in his throat. His death marked the end of his saga and the end of the Viking Age.
The Themes and Characters of King Harald Saga: A Portrait of a Norse Hero
King Harald Saga is a fascinating and complex portrait of a Norse hero who lived an extraordinary life full of adventure, glory, and tragedy. Snorri presents Harald as a charismatic and ambitious leader who had a vision of uniting Norway and expanding his power across Europe. He also shows him as a courageous and cunning warrior who excelled in combat and strategy. He depicts him as a generous and loyal friend who rewarded his followers and respected his enemies. He portrays him as a cultured and educated man who appreciated poetry, music, art, and learning. He reveals him as a passionate and romantic lover who had many affairs with women of different ranks and backgrounds.
However, Snorri also exposes Harald's flaws and weaknesses as a human being. He criticizes him for being arrogant and greedy, for breaking his oaths and promises, for oppressing his subjects and allies, for neglecting his family and homeland, for being reckless and impulsive, for trusting the wrong people and ignoring good advice. He warns him of the consequences of his actions and the dangers of his fate. He contrasts him with other characters who represent different aspects of Norse society and values. Some of these characters are:
Magnus Olafsson: Harald's nephew and co-king who was more popular and pious than Harald.
Sweyn Estridsson: Harald's rival and cousin who was more diplomatic and pragmatic than Harald.
Tostig Godwinson: Harald's ally and betrayer who was more treacherous and selfish than Harald.
Harold Godwinson: Harald's enemy and victor who was more prepared and lucky than Harald.
Elisif: Harald's wife who was more faithful and devoted than Harald.
Zoe: Harald's lover who was more powerful and seductive than Harald.
Thora: Harald's concubine who was more beautiful and noble than Harald.
Ragnhild: Harald's daughter who was more wise and brave than Harald.
The Style and Structure of King Harald Saga: A Masterpiece of Medieval Literature
Snorri uses language, dialogue, narration, and description to create a vivid and engaging story that appeals to both the mind and the emotions of the reader. Some of these elements are:
Language: Snorri uses a clear and elegant prose style that was influenced by classical Latin authors such as Cicero and Sallust. He also uses skaldic poetry, which is a form of complex and ornate verse that was composed by Norse poets to praise or criticize kings and heroes. He quotes many skaldic verses in his saga, either as direct speech by the characters or as his own commentary on the events. He also uses kennings, which are poetic metaphors that replace a common word with a more descriptive or figurative expression. For example, he calls Harald "the land-waster" (landeyðir), "the gold-giver" (gullbrjótr), and "the breaker of rings" (baugryðir).
Dialogue: Snorri uses dialogue to reveal the personality, emotions, and motivations of the characters, as well as to advance the plot and create tension and suspense. He often uses direct speech to present the words of the characters without any intervention or interpretation by the narrator. He also uses indirect speech to summarize or paraphrase what the characters said or thought. He sometimes uses free indirect speech to blend the voice of the narrator and the character, creating a sense of intimacy and empathy. He also uses reported speech to convey what other people said or heard about the characters or events.
Narration: Snorri uses narration to provide information, explanation, analysis, and evaluation of the characters and events. He often uses third-person omniscient narration, which means that he knows everything about the story and can switch between different perspectives and points of view. He sometimes uses first-person narration, which means that he speaks as himself or as a character in the story. He also uses second-person narration, which means that he addresses the reader directly or indirectly. He sometimes breaks the fourth wall, which means that he acknowledges his own presence as a writer or comments on his own work.
Description: Snorri uses description to create a vivid and realistic picture of the setting, atmosphere, action, and appearance of the characters and events. He often uses sensory details, which are words or phrases that appeal to one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. He also uses figurative language, which are words or phrases that are not meant to be taken literally but rather suggest a comparison or contrast between two things. For example, he uses similes, which are comparisons using like or as; metaphors, which are comparisons without using like or as; personification, which are attributions of human qualities to non-human things; hyperbole, which are exaggerations for effect; and irony, which are expressions of meaning that are opposite to what is expected or intended.
Conclusion: A Summary of the Main Points and a Recommendation for Readers
In conclusion, King Harald Saga is a remarkable work of medieval literature that tells the story of Harald Hardrada, one of the most famous and influential kings in Norse history. It is written by Snorri Sturluson, one of the most renowned and prolific writers in Icelandic literature and history. It covers Harald's life from his escape from Norway in 1030 to his death in England in 1066. It explores his achievements and challenges as a king and a warrior who ruled Norway for two decades and fought for the crown of England in 1066. It portrays him as a complex and charismatic hero who had many virtues and vices as a human being. It also introduces other important characters who represent different aspects of Norse society and values. It showcases Snorri's skill as a storyteller and historian who used various elements of style and structure to create a vivid and engaging story that appeals to both the mind and the emotions of the reader.
We highly recommend King Harald Saga PDF download for anyone who is interested in Norse literature, history, culture, or mythology. It is not only an entertaining and informative read but also a valuable source of insight into the medieval Scandinavian worldview and mindset. It is also a great example of how oral traditions can be transformed into written works that can last for centuries and inspire generations of readers and writers. You can download King Harald Saga PDF for free from the link below.
King Harald Saga PDF Download
FAQs: Five Common Questions and Answers about King Harald Saga
Q: How accurate is King Harald Saga as a historical source?
A: King Harald Saga is not a completely reliable or objective historical source, as Snorri had his own biases, agendas, and limitations as a writer and historian. He sometimes omitted, exaggerated, or distorted facts to suit his purposes or to make the story more interesting or dramatic. He also relied on oral traditions, historical records, skaldic poetry, and his own knowledge and interpretation of Norse history, which may have been incomplete, inaccurate, or inconsistent. However, King Harald Saga is still a valuable and credible historical source, as Snorri had access to many sources that are no longer available or extant today. He also tried to verify and cross-check his information from different sources and to present a balanced and comprehensive account of Harald's life and times.
Q: How influential is King Harald Saga as a literary work?
A: King Harald Saga is one of the most influential and popular sagas in Norse literature, as it has inspired and influenced many other writers and works in different genres and languages. For example, it has been adapted into several operas, such as Judith Weir's King Harald's Saga (1979), which is a one-woman opera for three voices; plays, such as Henrik Ibsen's The Pretenders (1864), which is a historical drama about Harald and Magnus; novels, such as Frans G. Bengtsson's The Long Ships (1941-45), which is an epic adventure novel about a Viking warrior who serves under Harald; poems, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Saga of King Olaf (1876), which is a collection of poems about Olaf and Harald; and films, such as The Last King (2016), which is a historical action film about the civil war that followed Harald's death.
Q: How relevant is King Harald Saga to modern readers?
A: King Harald Saga is still relevant and appealing to modern readers, as it deals with universal themes and issues that are timeless and relatable. For example, it explores the themes of ambition, power, leadership, loyalty, friendship, love, war, peace, fate, freedom, honor, courage, justice, revenge, faith, and death. It also addresses the issues of political conflict, social change, cultural diversity, religious diversity, moral dilemma, personal identity, human nature, and human destiny. It also offers a glimpse into the medieval Scandinavian worldview and mindset, which can help us understand our own cultural heritage and identity.
Q: How difficult is King Harald Saga to read?
It may also require some appreciation of skaldic poetry, kennings, figurative language, literary devices, and techniques that Snorri uses in his writing. Therefore, it may be helpful to read King Harald Saga with some annotations, glossaries, maps, illustrations, or other supplementary materials that can provide some guidance and explanation for the reader.
Q: How can I get a copy of King Harald Saga?
A: There are many ways to get a copy of King Harald Saga, depending on your preference and convenience. You can buy a printed book from a bookstore or an online retailer, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can borrow a book from a library or a friend. You can download a PDF file from a website or a database, such as Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive. You can also listen to an audiobook from a platform or an app, such as Audible or LibriVox. Whatever method you choose, we hope you enjoy reading King Harald Saga and appreciate its literary and historical value.