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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 51 "Mere Anarchy Is Loosed Upon The World"

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Book II, Chapter 20

Furthermore, the legally mandated food and housing welfare requirements for all members of Berk's holdings—a holdover from the days of the Dragon War, when a surprise dragon raid could put any of the Hooligans out of house and livelihood—helped significantly with accelerating the rate of social, cultural and economic growth.

The end result of the pattern of absorption was that, by the mid-1050s AD, Eire was politically and socially unified, integrated and enfranchised under Berk's auspices as a province of the newly created North Sea Empire. With the second-highest per-capita productivity in the Empire, Gaoidhealg forming one of the initial core Imperial languages, and their voting block resolutely backing and supporting Hiccup Haddock in the Grand Thing, the actions of the Eirish had, and continued to have, an indelible impact on the society, culture, economy and political life of the Empire…

…This is not to say that all went smoothly, especially at first, before the pattern had established itself. The Hooligans took significant time to formulate specific policies and end goals in regards to Eire, and there was also staunch resistance due to the fact that Eire had been a formalized caste-based inequitable society, and had no cultural experience with the Hooligans' more egalitarian traditions. In contrast, the Norse-Gael towns that dotted the coast of the island were easier to acculturate, as they already had the cultural traditions of the proto-democratic Viking Thing and the social closure effect of the holmgang.

Further complicating matters were the long-entrenched conflicts between the native Eirish and the Vikings, and the religious differences between the Norse Hooligans and the Christian Eirish. As the Eirish had no experience nor expectation of actual intent of peace from Vikings, and no worldview that would allow them to see the act of dragon-riding as anything other than witchcraft or devil-worship, it was an uphill struggle for the Hooligans to convince the Eirish of their peaceful intent, much less politically and socially integrate the island's populace—not helped by the necessity of self-defense against preemptive attacks.

Origins Of The Grand Thing, Edinburgh Press, 1631

Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Artificial Limbs: Donnchadh mac Brian has a ornate prosthetic hand.
    His stump had a prosthetic hand on it, a finely carved piece of wood in the shape of a hand, embellished with gold leaf and silver tracings, and detailed to the point that Hiccup could see that the artisan had even included gold fingernails.
  • Badass Boast: In Hiccup's usual humble, peace-mongering fashion, he swears that if Donnchadh mac Brian changes his mind, he can send a herald to Vedrarfjord. If he comes with an open hand, he will shake it. If he comes with an army, he will smash it.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Donnchadh mac Brian believes that Hiccups Flaming Sword is the result of devilry.
    Heathens! Devil worshipers! What dark pacts of treachery have you made?
  • Crazy-Prepared: Hiccup had several canisters of zippleback gas under his coat to create a Smoke Out when their meeting with Donnchadh mac Brian goes south.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: While Hiccup's party was outnumbered in Donnchadh mac Brian's throne room, the zippleback gas and their unusual arsenal made their victory hilariously easy in-spite of it, so much that Hiccup forced a yawn when he ignited it with his Flaming Sword.
  • Cycle of Revenge: After King Donnchadh mac Brian gets curbstomped by Hiccup and his friends, Hiccup pointedly refuses to kill the king, citing this trope as one of his reasons. He didn't want King Donnchadh to become a martyr, or to have an army under his banner seeking revenge against Berk. In defending his decision, Hiccup points out that the Cycle of Revenge is at the heart of the story of Ragnarok; Odin banished or tortured Loki's children out of fear, which prompted Loki to kill Baldr, which drove Odin to punish Loki, which would lead to Loki joining the jotunn against Asgard.
  • Defiant to the End: More or less the idea. When Hiccup's party has Donnchadh mac Brian's beat and himself at Hiccup's mercy, he dares Hiccup to kill him so that he can die a martyr. When Hiccup continually insists that he had no intentions of killing him and conquering his kingdom, he calls him a coward for "not seeing [his] victory through."
    Astrid: Are you honestly complaining that he isn't killing you? Because I can fix that.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Evil may be pushing it, but Donnchadh mac Brian cannot fathom that Hiccup doesn’t want to conquer his kingdom and genuinely wants to live in peace.
  • Hypocrite: Donnchadh mac Brian accuses Hiccup of making "dark pacts of treachery" right after his own attempt at attacking a herald failed.
  • It's All My Fault: While his friends try to cheer him up by citing that defending themselves was fair game when Donnchadh mac Brian violated the rules and conventions of war, Hiccup can't help but feel responsible for the lives lost at the botched attempt at peace.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Donnchadh mac Brian shames Hiccup for not killing him when he had the chance and "not seeing [his] victory through." Later, Heather gets sick of Hiccup's insistence to the contrary that his pacifism is unrealistic and that he needs to "toughen up," leading to Hiccup angrily giving his reasonings about the cyclical nature of revenge and that if he did kill the king, it would only lead to an even bigger, more pointless loss of life.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Exaggerated. Dogsbreath and Inga started out as the two of them arguing with each other over Dogsbreath shaving his father's beard and stealing his coffer. One thing led to another and they wound up waking up spooning naked with each other under stolen furs, having devolved into intense kissing that is better described as "angry near-biting mashing of teeth and lips."
  • Taking A Third Option: Hiccup's explanation for his pacifism in the face of Donnchadh mac Brian attempting to capture him is that the traditional rules and conventions of war are inherently broken and he is trying something different to avoid needless bloodshed. While reluctant, Heather concedes to this, realizing that it was this philosophy that eventually led to her freedom in the long-term.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Sigurd has trained dragons non-stop for a week, the Emperor decides that he and his men had learned enough and try to start dragon-training on their own. Unfortunately, this falls under the "beat it into submission" tactic that Sigurd has repeatedly said does not work with dragons. Not only that, but they tried using spears, swords and arrows, something that could potentially puncture the gas-bladders that give them their fire-breath and cause an explosion.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Both Dogsbreath and Inga conclude that neither of them can go back to Berk or the Bog-Burglar Islands after the breach in hospitality stealing his father's coffer caused, instead deciding to seek sanctuary with Snotlout.


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