Great Battles of the Viking Age

medieval manuscripts of the sagas
medieval manuscripts of the sagas

Hurstwic is pleased to announce the release of the first in a planned series of DVDs that will show Great Battles of the Viking Age as described in the Sagas of Icelanders.

The sagas contain descriptions of many fights, since weapons were regularly used to resolve disputes in the Viking age. Some of the fights are described in detail, telling us what weapons were used, what moves were used, and what injuries resulted. Our research at Hurstwic suggests that, for the most part, the fights in the sagas represent realistic Viking-age fights, and that the sagas are perhaps our best source of information about how Viking-age people fought and used their weapons.

In this new series of DVDs, Hurstwic plans to bring these fights to life on the screen. We want to avoid a Hollywood dramatization or a fantasy re-enactment. Instead, our goal is to show, to the best of our ability, the real deal: the brutal yet improvisational fighting moves that distinguished Vikings from other medieval fighters.

So, instead of fantasy moves, or re-enactor sporting moves, or stage combat moves, we plan to show the historical Viking-age fighting moves suggested by the sagas, and confirmed by other historical sources. We plan to shoot each of these battles at their historical location, in the footsteps of the men and women who fought in those places over 1000 years ago.

hooking a leg with an axe
hooking a leg with an axe, a move described in the sagas

Viking ships
discussion of Viking ships from a man who has built and sailed them

Yet simply showing the fight is not enough. Without context, the fights can be incomprehensible. So we also seek to provide the background to the fight so viewers understand how the forces of luck, fate, magic, and honor precipitated the battles that often ended the lives of these saga heroes.

Accordingly, each DVD will also include many special feature chapters in which international experts provide the needed context to understand why the fight was, in Viking-age society, inevitable.

The first DVD in the series is now complete and is available direct from Hurstwic, as well as from Amazon and other merchants and shops. The Final Battle of Gísli Súrsson tells of Gísli's fight to the death as he fought alone against 15 armed men at Geirþjófsfjörður. The story is told in Gísla saga.

The second DVD in the series is currently in post-production. We shot it on location in Iceland in August of 2016, and expect to release in spring, 2017.

We hope that this series of DVDs will appeal to a wide range of viewers, including people with an interest in Vikings, Norse mythology, medieval literature, history, or martial arts. Join us on our voyage of exploration and learn more about the people of the Viking age.

The Final Battle of Grettir the Strong

Hurstwic travels to Iceland this summer to shoot video and pictures for our next DVD and book, The Final Battle of Grettir the Strong. Many of our plans are already in place, and we've received a grant from SSNV, an Icelandic funding organization, that will pay for some of our expenses. Now, we've started an Indiegogo campaign to raise more funds for this extraordinary project. Check out our pitch, and please make a contribution. Our perks begin at only $1! We need you to be a part of this adventure with us! Help us bring the real story of a real Viking-age hero to the screen.

The Final Battle of Gísli Súrsson cover

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