Discussion

We’re Talking Vikings: þORUNN

 

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This and all images from Vikings are the property of the History Channel. I use them only for illustrations regarding their show.

The Shieldmaidens of History (Protecting the Innocent from Anachronisms) welcome you back to our series on the History Channel show Vikings. 


47eeb-lissabryan2Historical fiction author Lissa Bryan is with me again to discuss the historical aspects of the show. Lissa has written a fantastic historical fiction story of her own, and she is an amazing historian and storyteller. (You can read my review of her Tudor love story, Under These Restless Skies here on my site.)

 

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Heillir! We—Lissa Bryan and Sandi Layne—are two historical fiction authors with a serious thing for Vikings. And for VIKINGS, the amazing series that is going to begin its fourth season on HISTORY CHANNEL.

We are SO excited! So, Warriors and Shieldmaidens all, get your weapons and armor ready, because it’s going to be an amazing season!

Þórunn

Pronounced “THOR uhn”, and usually rendered in English as “Porunn,” Þórunn was introduced to Kattegat as a slave of Princess Aslaug. Played with great strength and a vibrant intensity by Gaia Weiss, Þórunn grows considerably as a person during the course of her seasons with the show.

Björn, who had been living with his mother in her new realm and with her new husband, is captivated by the blond beauty who dances with spirit, even though she’s enslaved.

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She is cautious, though, in his pursuit of her. She cannot deny him, but she doesn’t clearly trust him while they are in such different stages.

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I call that wisdom.

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Aslaug frees her slave, though, and this changes everything, Þórunn wants to be like Lagertha, who is universally admired for her leadership skills as well as her abilities as a shield maiden. Þórunn wants to be a trained warrior as well.

And for Floki to train her to do her eyeliner

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But she cannot deny the handsome son of Jarl Ragnar, either. She will not be tamed by him, but demands his respect.

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At length, Þórunn falls pregnant with Björn’s child, they wed – despite the fact that she is a poor choice for a jarl’s son to take to wife.

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She insists upon fighting despite that, and she is attacked by a Mercian warrior in such a savage manner as to cause her to fall into a great depression. The women in Kattegat struggled to try to find a way to help her.

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She gave birth to a daughter that Björn named Siggy, but it seems the arrival of the baby may have added to Þórunn’s pain.

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Unable to heal the wounds within, Þórunn eventually gives the baby up and leaves Kattegat.

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Will she come back in Season Four? We can only hope.​

 

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What are your thoughts? Join Lissa Bryan and me, Sandi, tonight as we chat at 8PM EST on Twitter about Þórunn and what the series might have in store for her. Use the hashtag #ShieldGeeks to join in the fun!


6 replies »

  1. This is another character whose development has me puzzled. Probably because I know so little of her backstory. Where is her motivation for rejecting Bjorn and the baby? Because of her appearance? Maybe I’ve got the whole shield maiden thing wrong…

    • We think that she has PTSD, and this is causing her to act in what we would consider an irrational manner. Her society is ill-equipped to help her, too.

      • I hadn’t thought about that. And since society didn’t have a remedy, the solution was probably to discourage women altogether from combat so that their children wouldn’t be cast onto the community for upbringing. Just speculating here– from a Dark Ages point of view.

        • Oh yeah. There were women who were warriors, of course, but by and large they likely didn’t have familial obligations. Lagertha being a notable exception, I think. But even she stayed home in Season One at least once. Ragnar and Björn (Porunn’s lord and her husband) basically told her not to fight, but she didn’t heed them. This was very out of character. A Viking woman had huge sway within the confines of her home, but outside, her husband’s word was supposed to be her law.

  2. near my house in huddinge here in sweden/Sverige there is a runestone raised for a mother made by two sons as a thank you.

    I wish the serie would add those things, you know “runestones” we have 100´s of them here- yet I havnt seen a single one in the show.

    it was used for memorials, bragging rights, ownership of the land etc…

    • Hej! Huddinge sounds familiar. Might have to do with a pen pal I had as a child. 🙂 This is a very good point. I haven’t seen runestones, either. I’ll make a note to mention it during the next episode and tag the History Channel. Won’t change anything this season, but Lissa and I keep hoping for next season. AND, now that you’ve mentioned it, I totally need to include some in my next book… **making notes** Thank you! And thanks for reading!