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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 10 "Whetstones"

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Book I, Chapter 10

Perhaps the second most mythologized human figure to come out of the Norse domestication of dragons is the Hero's father, Stoick the Vast, a.k.a. Stoick the Lawgiver, Stoick the Wise, Odin's Spear-carrier, and other such titles. Primary sources from his personal contemporaries are minimal, with most of the surviving sources being from the perspective of his son and others of his generation. While the legends generally agree on the broad strokes of his life, the details are shrouded in mutually exclusive legends and myth. This especially pertains to the periods of his life preceding the ascendance of his son; mythologized and mutually contradictory accounts of his childhood, young adulthood, and ancestry are common. Even specific points that many of these accounts agree on have an odor of myth. For example, it is unknown if he truly did 'pop a dragon's head clean off of its neck' as a toddler, as is claimed by legend. His later accomplishments are known with more certainty, but the blank slate of his life prior to the birth of his son has resulted in endless embellishments of his youth, which makes determining the truth a near impossibility.

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This is not helped by the fact that the man had a literally larger-than-life stature; in an era in which the average height of an adult man was sixty-eight-and-one-quarter inches (173.4 cm), Stoick, from modern analysis of his remains and attested from numerous primary sources, is confirmed to have measured eighty-one-and-a-half inches (207 cm) in height, with a build to match.

Additionally, other romanticized aspects of his life are well-substantiated, rendering the sorting of truth from fiction to be more difficult. Perhaps the single most famous example of this is his famous devotion to his wife, Valka. As the cultural expectation of a high ranking Norseman of the era, even on Berk, was to be polygamous, Stoick's attested monogamy has been the subject of significant romanticization…

The Dragon Millennium, Manna-hata University Press, Ltd.
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Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Mac Bethad's entire court reacted in shock upon learning how many dragons Berk has.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Taskill asks Gregor if they could appeal to Hiccup's ego through a pretty face, Gregor shoots that idea down. Taskill asks if it is because he "prefers boys", only for Gregor to bring up his devotion to Astrid.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Much of how weird Berk is compared to the rest of the Viking world is illustrated by the briefing between the traders and King Mac Bethad and Queen Gruoch.
    • They are perplexed by their hierarchy, having a hard time understanding how every adult could be a warrior and that everyone (including the Chief) shares in the labor without thralls and defying the whole "jarl/thane/carl" system most common with vikings. Downplayed overall though since Mac Bethad can understand the practical rationale behind wanting to have as many hands as possible to defend the place from dragons.
      Mac Bethad: Bizarre, but I can see the thought behind it. But... Vikings without thralls? How strange.
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    • They also find Hiccup being a Viking Peacemonger absurd.
    • It is stated to be unusual for Stoick to be a widower for 15 years with no concubine or new wife.



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