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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 35 "Understanding Is A Three-Edged Sword"

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Book II, Chapter 4

In contrast to Hiccup Haddock's skills as a polymath and inventor, Fishlegs Hensteethson clan Ingerman (clan Frelsifrædi post-1061) was a natural research librarian (devising a crude but effective library classification system in his 20s) and polyglot, with a literate skill level in a dozen confirmed languages by the time of his death, and likely many more. A significant part of the explanation of this skill level was simply early conditioning—the Ingerman clan held the unofficial position of being the Hooligan tribe's dedicated scribes, librarians, and archivists, and Fishlegs grew up surrounded by books. However, even by the standards of his clan, he was exceptional, and the primary explanation for this was his own interest and talent.

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In his adult role as Haddock's royal librarian, Ingerman also presided over the founding of the Royal Library of Berk (later the Library of the Grand Thing), the establishment of several imperial universities, and the copying and dissemination of every book that he could get his hands on. The monastic libraries of Ireland in particular, having faded from their glory days of the sixth to ninth centuries, were explored, revived, consolidated, and expanded under his aegis as part of an active campaign of scholasticism.

A History Of The Isles, Oxford, England, 1591

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Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Gobber mentions that his great-uncle Griplout attacked a Monstrous Nightmare while drunk, armed with only a kitchen knife and dressed in nothing but his underwear.
  • Butt-Monkey: The pranks on Heather have only escalated, finding eggs in her shoes, dried brambles sewn into her clothes and a forged note implying she is cheating on him for Fishlegs to find. They don't involve Stoick until Heather nearly falls to her death when they find that the ropes on her saddle were cut.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When Mac Bethad learns about Hiccup's mailing system, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that he is planning on using it to communicate with his allies without anyone else knowing and to siphon information from other existing powers to make them easier to control and/or conquer.
    • Likewise, when he hears about the offers to improve his infrastructure via dragon-powered labor, he assumes it's both another form of spying on his domain and a means of fattening up his tax base before invasion.
  • Morton's Fork: Due to his above mentioned beliefs, Mac Bethad and his court are torn regarding accepting dragon labor; agree, and risk leaving themselves open to invasion by Berk, refuse, and risk leaving themselves open to invasion by someone who took the offer.
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