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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 28 "Ties That Bind"

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Book I, Chapter 28

The decisive defeat of the Danish-English navy by Berk in late 1041, in particular, resulted in a tremendous shock to the political status quo of the era. While most of the nobility and royalty had heard of the story of the defeat of the Green Death in the year since the event, that had been an incident from which there was a limited number of primary witnesses, and only second-hand evidence was available (even if that evidence was compelling). In contrast, there were thousands of survivors from the English fleet, all of whom were terrified first-hand witnesses to one of the most one-sided naval battles in recorded history. The rumors and news would be much harder to dismiss as exaggeration or invention as many had done previously. While it might be hyperbole to state that an air of hysteria began to descend on the monarchs of Europe, many did react to the news with varying degrees of fear, placation, aggression, or all three at the new power that had just made itself known.

Corpus Historiae Berkiae, 1396

Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Clarke's Third Law: Harthacnut calls Hiccup a "sorcerer-smith" and believes that his prosthetic leg was created using Black Magic.
    The false foot that he walked upon unnerved Harthacnut in the extreme; if not for the sounds of it's springs and mechanisms, someone would have to look directly at it to notice, as Haddock's gait was unimpaired. He suspected black magic had been involved in its creation.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: While Harthacnut is right in thinking of Magnus as a Puppet King and that Hiccup is the one making sure that Harthacnut follows the new treaty under threat of war, he is wrong in that he thinks that Hiccup is the one in-control of Magnus and his kingdom.
    The legacy of Harthacnut's father, who had once ruled all of the lands touched by the North Sea, would be completely stolen by a bastard boy.
    And given how Haddock was undoubtedly the dominant one of the two of them, there would be little doubt as to who would actually rule his lands.
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  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Harthacnut assumes Hiccup has some ulterior motive for his altruistic actions. Best summed up by the author from the ao3 comment section:
    Aspasia: Relax, Harthacnut, he just wants to help.
    athingofvikings: Which is why Harthacnut can't comprehend it; he's so steeped in power and authoritarianism that he literally cannot grasp the idea of altruism for the sake of altruism. From his POV, it must have some diabolical purpose, because otherwise, why do it?
  • Internal Reveal: It is not until Johann asks about him does Stoick realize that he has not seen Mildew in a while. He investigates his house, only to find it empty of him and all of his belongings.
  • Love Ruins the Realm: Discussed when Astrid confesses that a part of her thinks that Hiccup is making a mistake by marrying her instead of accepting Altar Diplomacy, as despite their raw fire-power, they are a vastly minuscule tribe on a tiny island in the Western world.
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  • Meddling Parents: Having been saved and reunited with Heather, her parents have become rather clingy.
    Two years of wanting her parents freed, three weeks of having them free, and now she desperately wanted them gone for at least a day—or at least out of the way. But she couldn't blame them for their reactions, not when they were still clawing back to control of their own lives and being able to do what they wanted without harsh punishments. So they'd been clinging to her constantly, always needing her for something...
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Downplayed. While the murder attempts haven't come yet, it is clear to Heather that some of the local girls who have had their eyes on Fishlegs are less than accommodating to her. They might have been willing to accept it, had Heather not been a spy in the first place.
  • Retired Badass: Mildew was apparently a "a dragon-slayer of supreme skill" before he was cast out of his own clan for his crimes.
  • Tall Tale: Trader Johann claims that he won an arm-wrestling match with a king. When the king offered any woman in his kingdom, Johann picked his daughter. She is now Happily Married to his nephew and is expecting their fifth child. Stoick isn't 100% sure whether to dismiss it as false given Johann's lack of visible tics.
  • Ten Minutes in the Closet: Having been avoiding each other since her trial, Fishlegs and Heather's parents force them both to work out their issues, threatening to lock them in if they have to. It works.


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