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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 58 "A Foul Play"

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Book II, Chapter 27

What is known of Jarl Mildew the Vicious mostly comes from secondary sources—journal entries from the Hooligans, observations from King MacBeth and his court, and others—due to the fact that the man was apparently a recalcitrant loner and hermit, only one step above a formalized outcast from the entirety of the Hooligan tribe. A multiple divorcee and rumored to have had various unsavory habits, he was generally ostracized by the community by his early adulthood. This includes having been formally outcast from his birth clan (Hofferson) in AD 976 and having been forced to take a new name.

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The only reason why he had not been entirely banished from the tribe decades previously, according to the general consensus from Hooligan accounts, was that he was one of Berk's most effective and lethal dragon slayers during the last decades of the Dragon War. According to the records, he was surpassed in dragonslaying only by a handful of his contemporaries, chief among them his younger brother, Rikard clanhead Hofferson. Indeed, the historical records speaks volumes as to how unpleasant a personality he had—and how many restitution payments he had to pay from his winnings—that someone with his substantial kill record was relegated to the fringes of the tightly knit tribe, rather than being feted and toasted as one of their elites.

Corpus Historiae Berkiae, 1396

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Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Assassination Attempt: Someone poisoned Princess Mór nic Echmarcach, which indirectly almost led to Bran mac Muchada getting killed by the bull he was riding.
  • Badass in Distress: While looking for the poisoner, the assassin is able to sneak behind Astrid and hold her hostage with a poisoned knife and threatens to kill her if they try anything. Unfortunately for him, it's Astrid he holds hostage and is quickly disarmed.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Tuathel mac Uaithne thinks this trope is Averted with regards to Wulfhild because of the cut on her cheek with him flat out calling her "damaged goods" to her face.
    Wulfhild: Is that what you think my dragon is? Compensation for this? she gestured to the scar on her cheek, which had lost its redness over the winter but was still quite visible.
    Tuathel: What else could it be for? You're of royal blood and he damaged you. Who would want you with such an unsightly mark?
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  • Bullying the Dragon: When Tuathel continues to insult Wulfhild even after Hiccup pays for Fintan's "compensation", he tells Tuathel to reconsider practicing thralldom before he does something about it
    Hiccup: Enjoy the rest of Thawfest, sir. Take your payment for a man's life and get off my island once the festival is over. And know that you'll never be welcome back. Besides, I think I need to go have another talk with your king about how things are done in your lands. If I were you, I'd start freeing your thralls now, while you have the chance to do it voluntarily.
    Hiccup: A promise[.] My father and I have no patience for keeping men as things, and I'm going to see it gone from your island if I have anything to say about it. And I do.
  • Closet Key: Merida confesses to Cami that while she never really thought about it, she is open to the idea of being with a girl and is willing to pursue a relationship with her.
  • The Dreaded: Merida tells Cami that Berk is seen as a combination of this trope and The Good Kingdom from a fairy tale.
    You really have no idea how this place is seen right now, do you? It's half like something out of the nursery tales, like the old kingdom with the four sons under the old king, a land of peace and plenty… but the other half is a bogle-tale, but instead of frightening little kids, it frightens kings.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Tuathel mac Uaithne doesn't see a difference between he himself keeping pleasure-thralls and Hiccup having Wulfhild as a concubine. Not only that, but he thinks that Wulfhild only has a dragon of her own as "compensation" for the scar on her cheek.
  • Heroic BSoD: Astrid has a brief one after narrowly escaping the assassin and his poison knife, her life and the life of her unborn child getting this close to ending with a single prick.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Tuathel mac Uaithne accuses Fintan for robbery and demands compensation. The collateral he "stole"? Himself, having been his thrall who escaped to Vedrarfjord for sancutuary. What's worse, outside of Berk and its vassal territories, Tuathel has the stronger case.
    Hiccup: You're insane.
    Tuathel: No, Dragon Lord, and if you truly believe that, I will have to claim insult against you[.] I am in full possession of my faculties. I simply demand justice for a theft of my property against the man who now owns what was formerly mine.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It is made clear that Tuathel mac Uaithne kept pleasure thralls and would use them without their consent, this is mentioned just to illustrate how much of a monster he really is (aside from owning slaves, of course).
  • The Spymaster: Stoick asks Heather to be Berk's new Spymaster, reasoning that she could use her spy training for a good cause. While at first against it, she eventually agrees.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The assassin doses cups of Eirish ale with refined Oleander, trying to poison Hiccup, Astrid, and Wulfhild, and does succeed at poisoning a visiting Norse princess.


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