Book II, Chapter 2
Sigurd Trondsson's arrival in Constantinople coincided with a period of upheaval for the Byzantine Roman Empire. While Trondsson's actions cannot be blamed for the death of Emperor Michael IV, as he had been ill for years, there is no question to the fact that his arrival, and subsequent introduction of tamed dragons into the intricate politics of the Empire, elevated an already tense situation to new heights. While it is generally agreed that his initial political awareness was minimal, this made matters worse in many ways, as he made alliances and promises without awareness of the deeper waters that he was treading over. When, precisely, he shifted from pawn to player is still a matter of some debate, but there is a general consensus that his first year in the Empire was a period of great shock and growth to the previously coddled young man.
— The Dragon Varangians: A History Of The Vikings Of Byzantium, 1882
Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:
- The Caligula: The first thing the newly appointed Emperor Michael does is demand that Snotlout/Sigurd gives him Hookfang, thinking he is lying when Snotlout/Sigurd gives the reason for his refusal.
- Department of Redundancy Department:Wulfild: So... I know what people do in the winter back homethey drink, play games, drink, go to the sauna, drink, challenge each other to contests, drink, and sing songs and drink. What do you do here?
- Karma Houdini: Wulfhild reveals that Einar and his underlings are the ones who were responsible for Magnus and Wulfhild's exile when they were younger, getting away with it and cementing his position as Dragon-in-Chief when Magnus took the throne.
- Lethal Chef: Astrid, as per canon. Wulfhild mentions that she isn't much better.
- On the Rebound: Fishlegs was one of the few eligible bachelors on Berk who were untaken (unlike Hiccup) or was in any way decent (unlike Dogsbreath, Snotlout and Tuffnut), thus he was considered the only option for most of Berk's untaken women, hence why Heather is resented to much by the other women in the village.
- Pragmatic Villainy:Astrid: Well, we know that [Einar] doesn't have a sense of honor. Just a sense of practicality that pretends to be one.
- Pun: The soapstone pot bombs Hiccup used to save Berk from the invasion has since been given the name "Firecocks" after the shuttlecocks from battledore.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Wulfhild mentions that Einar didn't allow her to practice archery because he thought it was "unnatural" for women to carry weapons.
- Unwanted Harem: While Hiccup is perfectly happy being married to Astrid, their arrangement with Wulfhild has damaged their established friendship, making Astrid's interactions with her distinctly formal in nature while Hiccup is at a loss. Even worse, since concubinage is common on Berk, no one else seems to sympathize.The voice of Dogsbreath clan Jorgenson echoed in his thoughts from their 'talk' in the bathhouse last Washday. Look at you! You've got it all! Two beauties to warm your bed, the most powerful and rare dragon of them all, brains to rival Odin, and a king that calls you 'brother', and you want to complain?