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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 34 "Masses In Motion"

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Book II, Chapter 3

The era of the Papacy between 904 and 1046, typically referred to as Saeculum Obscurum (Latin: Dark Age), is generally accepted to be the lowest depths of the Catholic Church's moral authority in its recorded fourteen centuries of history from Constantine I. During this time, beginning with the installation of Pope Sergius III in 904, and ending with the final deposing of Pope Benedict IX in 1046, the Church was controlled by a series of powerful and corrupt aristocratic families, who used the ecclesiastical power of the Papacy to increase their worldly influence, and visa versa.

Corruption during this period was the norm, especially in the senior ranks of the Church, who set the trends for their underlings. Routine acts of corruption during this time period included the sale of Church offices and roles (simony), the sale of indulgences, framing scribes with secular crimes to force them to take Holy Orders, bribery, extortion, blackmail, cronyism, and the occasional assassination, as well more personal venality on the part of the individual priests.

The Second Flowering Of Yggdrasil: An Analysis Of The Norse Resurgence, 1710


Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Snotlout only wanted to join the Varangian Guard away from Roman politics. Since he brought Hookfang with him, he unavoidably gets involved and he has to learn Greek and convert to Christianity with the threat of death hanging over his head if he doesn't do either.
  • Death by Adaptation: In canon Oswald the Agreeable wasn’t killed by his son Dagur, here he was.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In canon Oswald the Agreeable presumably died of natural causes, here he was shot with an arrow by his son Dagur.
  • Epic Fail: In his attempts at making glass, Fishlegs had melted the cauldron he was using.
  • Frame-Up: An anonymous harasser sneaks spoiled beef in the mix of meat and vegetables that Heather had prepared for stew, something that could have potentially ruined the stew and have made everyone who ate it sick. Magnhild confront her on this, but having felt immense guilt for when she had to rat people out for Adalwin/Alvin when she was his slave, she holds her tongue. Magnhild is apprehensive, but otherwise deducts her pay as punishment.
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  • Locked Out of the Loop: Having been thralls for three years Griselda and Murray didn’t know that King Donnchad is dead and Mac Bethad is now king.
  • Patricide: Murray explains that Dagur killed his own father and took his place as chief.
  • Refuge in Audacity: As impressive as Vladimir finds Hiccup gaining 100,000 pounds of silver, he is completely floored when he finds out that he gave it all away as a bride price. When Tuffnut also mentions that a vassal city came with the deal, Vladimir flat-out calls him a liar.
    Vladimir: Either hero crazy, or you lie.
  • Sibling Murder: Right after killing his own father, Dagur demanded that Murray relinquish Heather. He claims that he wants to "keep his sister safe", but Murray is convinced that he intends on killing Heather as soon as he is able to cement his position as sole heir to his father's position, even going so far as to think that Dagur was the one who sent the pirates that enslaved them as a means of ensuring his succession. This is the primary reason why Murray has no interest in rebuilding his village.
  • Spit Take: One of Vladimir’s guards chokes on his ale when Tuffnut mentions the ransom Hiccup got for King Harthacnut.
  • Unfit for Greatness: One of the reasons why Murray does not rebuild his village is because he failed so spectacularly at being Chief that he and his family were enslaved due to his negligence in preparing for potential invaders.


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