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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 27 "A Humble Proposal"

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Book I, Chapter 27

…within half a year of the battle with the Green Death, the first recorded attempt at theft of dragons from Berk occurred, instigated by the then-petty king of Vedrarfjord, known at the time as Adalwin ua Imir, in southeastern Éire. This first attempt failed, but Hiccup clan Haddock appealed for moderation on the part of his tribesmates and likewise failed to end the threat decisively. This allowed Adalwin to insert a spy into Berk, Heather nic Oswald clan Murchadh, then age fifteen. Trained in espionage from the age of thirteen, her orders were to infiltrate Berk, steal dragons, and exfiltrate back to Vedrarfjord.

While not all of the legends about Heather clan Murchadh (later clan Ingerman) are accurate, the broad strokes of those legends are generally on point. Due to emotional attachments to Berk, specifically that of her future husband, Fishlegs clan Ingerman, she defected to the Hooligan tribe. And, as her first action on behalf of her adopted society, she aided Berk in a Trojan Horse-style infiltration of Adalwin's keep for a retaliatory decapitation strike against her former masters.

The attack was a mixed success, with only some of its objectives achieved, and resulting in numerous unintended consequences. These included…

Origins Of The Grand Thing, Edinburgh Press, 1631


Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Call-Back: In Chapter 13, Gobber joked that Hiccup would pay a king's ransom as a bride-price for Astrid. Sure enough...
  • Canon Character All Along: King Adalwin ua Imair is revealed to actually be Alvin the Treacherous.
  • Character Death: Captain Ragnell gets killed by Adalwin/Alvin.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When the Hooligans attacked Vedrarfjord it was just to get rid of the king. That they might have to take over the place now that it doesn’t have a leader never occurred to them.
    Hiccup: Well, we went in to just deal with Adalwin—Alvin. Why didn't we see that we'd end up having to take over the place?
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When Hiccup tells Odhrán mac Marcas to bring every thrall in the city to them, Odhrán thinks that they are demanding thralls as annual tribute, unaware that they are intending to free the thralls they currently have and outlaw thralldom as a practice within the city. When Stoick explains their intentions, Odhrán thinks that this is there way of slowly destroying the city by robbing it of their cheap labor force and "the meanest of [them] and elevate them so, while leaving men of status to starve in the winter."
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  • Marry for Love: Hiccup turns down all politically advantageous marriage proposals in order to marry Astrid, the girl he loves. He literally pays the king's ransom on top of that just to show the world just how much she means to him.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Adalwin/Alvin pulled an escape after realising that not only was his true identity revealed, but his forces were overwhelmed by the Hooligans.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: After literal months of insufficiently grand ideas for Astrid's bride price, Hiccup eventually comes up with quite a doozy: Upon being rewarded the ransom for King Harthacnut (100,000 pounds silver—in an era where one pound silver is the yearly wage for a day-laborer), Hiccup promptly takes Astrid aside and asks her to marry him. When she accepts, stunned, the announcement of the bride price to her parents is not only the entirety of a literal King's Ransom, it is also regency of Berk's new vassal city, Vedrarfjord.


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