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Sigrid by Johanne Hildebrandt

Just finished my first audiobook through the Storytel app. Oh happy commuting! When writing this I am at the x2000, the fast train in Sweden, towards Linköping and later my parents. Mum and I am heading to Gotland and the Medieval week tomorrow. I am in first class this time, found this offer at SJ where you can travel half price in first class this summer. Lovely! Didn´t know that I was a first class person, but must say that this is something I can get used to.

But back to the book.


When younger I read the entire Johanne Hildebrandt saga about Freja and Tor, our old Gods here up in the north. It seem far away and hard to imagine that we ever used to worship them. We even managed to include a eight legged horse and weird sexual relationships in the mess and got away with it. On the other hand I guess that does not make us very different from the Roman and Greek empire with their divers interests.

I, as a lot o peeps, is fascinated by old stories and fairy tales based on history. Sigrid and the Freja series is partly ”real” material and this one was based on a ”real” character called Sigrid Storråda (Sigrid the Haughty) that appeared in old sagas in Norway. It is though unclear if she was a fictional character even then, if she was partly real or even if she, the character, was based on more than one women from this time. Johanne has built her character on these old sagas.

The author Johanne Hildebrandt was born in 1964 and is a famous journalist in Sweden with several nominations on her resume. She is famous for the Valhalla fantasy series and is one of few famous fantasy writers in Sweden and the only one I have read. She is now guest professor on Karlstad University and will be lecturing in global studies this year.

My first impression of Sigrid and maybe all the other books as well (have read Freja, Saga and Idun) is that Johanne portraits strong women and a feminist perspective on women of that time. Reading the saga you get a clear understanding that being a woman in times of war has never been easy. The Valhalla series portrait women that take care of them selves and use their skills to create a good life for themselves not depending on men, even if it at the time was almost impossible. Maybe it is this that intrigues me or maybe it is something different, at least I know that I love the series and I want to read more and more (so exited that there is another one coming called Estrid, the daughter of Sigrid).

I as Linda Skugge that also has given a short review of the books read here is fascinated by the old gods and just want to read more. We both agree on this point.

The language in the books is intriguing. I listened to the book in Swedish, don´t know if any of them is available in English but words as bola, livsväv and vanadisen is intriguing in any language. To be correct and give you some understanding bola is rolling around in the sack, mate etc., livsväv is simpler to translate and means life- weave and vanadisen something spiritual and harder to translate.

For the day traveler or anyone else that loves sagas, dig in and start with the Valhalla series. There is a lot of material and you get to know the old gods in a new way.




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